British or American Rock Music?

Rock Music was born in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It is a combination of Blues, Gospel, Jazz and Country music.

Historically, the first rock success came basically from American singers such as Muddy Watters, Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly. According to the Library of Congress,

“American rock and roll music was imitated by British groups, who then refined it and, in the view of some, improved it.”

Even if Rock Music was born in United States, musicians like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker introduced the Blues in England. Since the birth of rock music, American and British bands reciprocally influenced and grew up together.

The 60’s were the period named the British Invasion with groups like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who. It cannot be denied that The Beatles led to rock music development around the world. Who doesn’t know one Beatles song at least?!

American bands and singers also brought a lot to rock music. For example, Jimi Hendrix, the great guitar hero invented his own rock style: a kind of  Rock and Blues mixed. In another case, Eric Clapton, the famous English guitarist developed Blues Music especially in Chicago.

However, we can say rock music success always balances  between England and the USA because each country has their own famous bands and singers. Here is the historical global list of famous British and American Rock music bands:

Classic British rock music:  The Shadows, the Animals, Herman Hermit’s, the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Motörhead, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Queen, Eric Clapton, the Police, Dire Straits, Joy Division…

Modern British rock music: Oasis, Blur, the Verve, Radiohead, Muse, Coldplay, Travis, Stereophonics, Placebo, Razorlight, Franz Ferdinand, the Libertines and Babyshambles (Peter Doherty), the Kooks, Kasabian & Arctic Monkeys…

Classic American rock music: Muddy Watters, John Lee Hooker, Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, the Beach Boys, the Stooges (Iggy Pop),The Doors, Eagles, Talking Heads, Kiss, Blondie, Jeff Buckley, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Metallica & Gun’s and Roses…

Modern American rock music: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, REM, Rage Against The Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Queens of the Stone Age, Blink 182, Weezer, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, the White Stripes, Kings of Leon, the Killers & the Strokes…

So what do you prefer? British or American Rock music? Please give your comments.





11 replies
  1. Liz Wilson
    Liz Wilson says:

    Its got to be America every time in my humble opinion. Great Rock muscians like Bill Haley .Little Richard, Fats Domino to name but a few. In the Fifties we Brits slavishly copied American music trends and subsequently claimed “founders rights”

  2. Phil
    Phil says:

    I agree the Brits did a fair bit of copying there but the gap between Brit and American culture has forever been pretty small when it comes to the sharing of music. The same thing is happening today with modern electronic music like dubstep where many people don´t even know where it came from anyway they just know there was/is a huge scene in both the States and the UK.

  3. Montiee
    Montiee says:

    For me I think both countries have great bands. But America invented the Rock music. America have Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Allman Brothers Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Canned Heat, Janis Joplin, The Ramones, Aerosmith, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, The Eagles, Kiss, Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, Metallica, RHCP, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, RATM, Soundgarden etc, For me American Rock industry is more bigger and better than British. But I love both.

  4. Montiee
    Montiee says:

    Where British got The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Queen, Oasis, Cream, Def Leppard Sex Pistols, The Clash, Radiohead, U2, Coldplay etc.

  5. Kerry
    Kerry says:

    I’m Irish. My top 3 favourite rock bands happen to be Armerican (Aerosmith, Guns N Roses and Metallica). In terms of which country’s rock is better its very difficult to say. I’ve studied the UK music scene previously and I came up with this;

    The UK was one of the two main countries in the creation and development of many genres of popular music, including: rock music: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks; hard rock: Led Zeppelin, Cream, Def Leppard, Whitesnake; prog rock: Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, King Crimson; glam rock: David Bowie, Queen, Elton John, T. Rex, blues rock: The Yardbirds, The Animals, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits; heavy metal: Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Judas Priest; punk rock: Sex Pistols, The Clash, Billy Idol; new wave: The Police, Elvis Costello, Culture Club, Duran Duran; goth rock: The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cult; art rock: The Moody Blues, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Procol Harum, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Ferry, Kate Bush; folk rock: Van Morrison, Cat Stevens, Donovan, Jethro Tull, Mumford & Sons; soft rock: The Hollies; blue-eyed soul: Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Steve Winwood; disco: Bee Gees; synth pop: Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, Pet Shop Boys, Gary Numan, Erasure; reggae: UB40; ska: Madness; pop rock: Rod Stewart, Phil Collins, Sting, Joe Cocker, Robert Palmer, Bonnie Tyler, Tears for Fears, Simple Minds; alternative rock: The Smiths, New Order, Stone Roses, Radiohead, Bush, Coldplay; symphonic rock: ELO, Muse; Britpop: Oasis, Blur, Pulp, The Verve; soul: Sade, Soul II Soul, Simply Red, Amy Winehouse, Adele, electronic rock: The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Gorillaz, Massive Attack.

    I would like to come up with a similar list for the US, though I’d need to do more research as there are some genres I wouldn’t be as familiar with (country rock, jazz). Anyone reading this could perhaps do their own US list. Grunge the UK never got so didn’t add any flavour to that scene.


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