Rock music is a large genre of popular music that emerged as "rock and roll" in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and evolved into a variety of distinct forms in the mid-1960s and beyond, primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as other countries. He derives from the rock and roll style popular in the 1940s and 1950, which took inspiration from the blues, rhythm and blues, and country music styles of African-American music, as well as from other genres of music including jazz and bluegrass. Apart from this, rock music relied heavily on a variety of other genres, such as electric blues or folk, and integrated elements from other musical traditions such as jazz, classical, and others. The electric guitar has long been a staple of rock music's instrumental compositions, which are frequently performed as part of a rock band with electric bass, drums, and one or more vocalists. A song-based genre having a 4/4 time signature and a verse–chorus structure, rock has evolved to become a very diversified musical genre in recent decades. Lyrics, like pop music, usually emphasise romantic love, but they also cover a broad range of other topics, many of which are social or political in nature.
Albums surpassed singles as the main form of recorded music expression and consumption by the mid-1960s, with the Beatles at the forefront of this trend. The Beatles were at the vanguard of this development. As a result of their efforts, rock music gained cultural acceptability in the mainstream and the music business entered a period marked by rock-informed albums that would last for many decades. Many different rock music subgenres emerged during the "classic rock" period of the late 1960s, such as hybrids such as blues rock, folk rock, country rock, southern rock, raga rock, and jazz rock. Many of these subgenres contributed to the development of psychedelic rock, which was influenced by the countercultural psychedelic and hippie scene in the 1960s. Progressive rock, which expanded the aesthetic aspects, glam rock, which stressed showmanship and visual flair, and the broad and lasting offshoot of heavy metal, which emphasised loudness, power, and speed, were among the new genres that arose throughout the 1960s and 1970s. During the second part of the 1970s, punk music responded by creating social and political criticisms that were pared down and energetic. New wave, post-punk, and finally alternative music were all influenced by punk in the 1980s.
Alternative rock started to take over rock music in the 1990s and burst into the mainstream in the shape of grunge, Britpop, and indie rock, among other forms. In the years afterwards, new fusion subgenres have evolved, such as pop punk, electro-rock, hip-hop rock, and rap metal, as well as intentional efforts to revisit rock's past, such as the garage rock/post-punk and techno-pop revivals that occurred in the early 2000s. While rock music's public appeal and cultural relevance continued to wane in the 2010s, hip hop overtook rock music as the most popular genre in the United States. With many live events being cancelled or postponed, and some musicians turning to online performances, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant influence on the rock scene in the 2020s; the decade has also seen a resurgence of pop punk music.