Pop/Rock  •  Rock & Roll/Roots

Roots Rock

During the mid-'80s, a generation of bands reacted to the slick, pop-oriented sounds of new wave by reverting back to the traditional rock & roll values of the '50s and '60s. By bringing rock back to its roots -- whether that was rock & roll, blues, or country -- the groups managed to sound like a fresh alternative, which brought them critical praise and heavy airplay from American college radio stations. Most of the leading bands of the era -- such as the Beat Farmers, Del Lords, the Long Ryders, and the Del Fuegos -- filtered many of their traditional values through the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival, but there was an equally large number of groups that simply worked in a "rootsy" fashion, without any direct influence outside of the concept of traditional rock and blues. In the late '80s, Roots Rock ceased to be a hip music in the American underground, but most of the bands continued to record and perform into the '90s. Throughout the '90s, a small number of new roots rockers emerged, although they weren't afforded the same exposure as their predecessors.