Country rock is sub-genre of popular music, formed from the fusion of rock with country. The term is generally used to refer to the wave of rock musicians who began to record country-flavored records in the late 1960s and early 1970s, beginning with Bob Dylan and The Byrds; reaching its greatest popularity in the 1970s with artists like Emmylou Harris, the Eagles and Pure Prairie League.
Rock and roll has often been seen as a combination of rhythm and blues with country music, a fusion particularly evident in 1950s rockabilly, and there has been cross-pollination throughout the history of both genres, however, the term country-rock is generally used to refer to the wave of rock musicians of the late 1960s and early 1970s who began to record rock records using country themes, vocal styles and additional instrumentation, most characteristically pedal steel guitar.
Country influences can be heard on rock records through the 1960s, including tracks on the Beatles for Sale album (1964) (including "I'll Cry Instead" and "Baby's in Black"), on the Rolling Stones "High and Dry" (1966), as well as Buffalo Springfield's "Go and Say Goodbye" (1966) and "Kind Woman" (1968). In 1966, as many rock artists moved increasingly towards expansive and experimental psychedelia, Bob Dylan spearheaded the back-to-basics roots revival when he went to Nashville to record the album Blonde on Blonde, using notable local musicians like Charlie McCoy. This, and the subsequent more clearly country-influenced albums, John Wesley Harding (1967) and Nashville Skyline (1969), have been seen as creating the genre of country folk, a route pursued by a number of, largely acoustic, folk musicians. Dylan's lead was also followed by The Byrds, who were joined by Gram Parsons in 1968. Earlier in the year Parsons had released Safe at Home (although the principal recording for the album had taken place in 1966) with the International Submarine Band, which made extensive use of pedal steel and is seen by some as the first true country-rock album. The result of Parsons tenure in the Byrds was Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968), generally considered one of the finest and most influential recordings in the genre. The Byrds continued for a brief period in the same vein, but Parsons left soon after the album was released to be joined by another ex-Byrds member Chris Hillman in forming The Flying Burrito Brothers. Over the next two years they recorded the albums The Gilded Palace of Sin (1969) and Burrito Deluxe (1970), which helped establish the respectability and parameters of the genre, before Parsons departed to pursue a solo career.
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