Sedimentary are those that are deposited and lithified at the Earth’s surface, with the assistance of running water, wind, ice, or living organisms. Layers may be distinguished by differences in colour, particle size, type of cement, or internal arrangement. The Earth’s surface and crust are constantly evolving through a process called the rock cycle.

These trends peaked in the 1969 Woodstock festival, which saw performances by most of the major psychedelic acts. In America, blues had been pioneered in the early 1960s by guitarist Lonnie Mack, but the genre began to take off in the mid-1960s as acts developed a sound similar to British blues musicians. Key acts included Paul Butterfield (whose band acted like Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in Britain as a starting point for many successful musicians), Canned Heat, the early Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, the J. Geils Band and Jimi Hendrix with his power trios, the Jimi Hendrix Experience , and Band of Gypsys, whose guitar virtuosity and showmanship would be among the most emulated of the decade. Blues rock bands from the southern states, like the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top, incorporated country elements into their style to produce the distinctive genre Southern rock.

It is often argued that the surf music craze and the careers of almost all surf acts was effectively ended by the arrival of the British Invasion from 1964, because most surf music hits were recorded and released between 1961 and 1965. It also has been argued that “That’s All Right ” , Elvis Presley’s first single for Sun Records in Memphis, could be the first rock and roll record, but, at the same time, Big Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle & Roll”, later covered by Haley, was already at the top of the Billboard R&B charts. Other artists with early rock and roll hits included Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Gene Vincent.

And to understand rock’s cultural significance, one has to understand how it works socially as well as musically. In Detroit, garage rock’s legacy remained alive into the early 1970s, with bands such as the MC5 and the Stooges, who employed a much more aggressive approach to the form. These bands began to be labelled punk rock and are now often seen as proto-punk or proto-hard rock. The period of the later 1950s and early 1960s has traditionally been seen as an era of hiatus for rock and roll. More recently some authors have emphasised important innovations and trends in this period without which future developments would not have been possible.

Later in the decade this style, which contained a mix of grunge, punk, metal, rap and turntable scratching, spawned a wave of successful bands like Linkin Park, P.O.D. and Staind, who were often classified as rap metal or nu metal, the first of which are the best-selling band of the genre. Although the first impact of the British Invasion on American popular music was through beat and R&B based acts, the impetus was soon taken up by a second wave of bands that drew their inspiration more directly from American blues, including the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. British blues musicians of the late 1950s and early 1960s had been inspired by the acoustic playing of figures such as Lead Belly, who was a major influence on the Skiffle craze, and Robert Johnson.