Jimi Hendrix performing at Madison Square Garden in New York City in May 1969
Jimi Hendrix | Walter Iooss Jr./Getty Images

Classic rock is a genre made up of some of the greatest rock artists and groups of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The genre emerged in the 1980s on traditional radio stations in the United States.

Radio stations were trying to diversify their content, with many playing rock hits from the ’60s and ’70s and thus coining the term “classic rock.” Over the years, the genre has evolved to include rock hits from the ’80s and, to some, the ’90s.


Subgenres: Rock, punk, alternative, rock alternative, pop-rock
Notable Classic Rock Musicians: Jimi Hendrix, Curtis Mayfield, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Ozzy Osbourne, Stevie Nicks
Notable Classic Rock Bands: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac


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