Blues Rock

The Genre

Though blues rock does not really sound like your typical blues music, the fundamentals do borrow from elements like the 12-bar blues, a riff-oriented sound and extended boogie jams. Added to these are the classic ‘rock and roll’ effects of the electric guitar, loud amplification and fast tempo, and what you have are the super loud sounds of blues rock.

The Instrumentation

The essence of blues rock music lies in the sounds created by the drum kit, the bass guitar and of course, the electric guitar. A tube guitar amplifier or an overdrive effect is usually used to amplify the sounds made by the electric guitar. Most blues rock bands use two guitars simultaneously - while the lead guitar plays the melodies and solos, the rhythm guitar takes care of the accompaniment riffs and chords. During the 1950s, the bands used the upright bass, but the 1960s saw them using the electric bass, since it made amplification easier. The piano and the Hammond organ are also occasionally used, and the latter is amplified just like the electric guitar, so that an overdrive effect is created. Blues rock compositions usually follow the 12-bar blues format, but with an altered structure. The player follows a specific chord progression with this, and what you have is music that makes the amps bleed, just like your typical rock song. When playing solos, the lead guitarist generally uses either the major or minor pentatonic scale. If you are looking for a classic example of a blues rock song, pay close attention to Eric Clapton’s ‘Crossroads’.

The History

Though the blues and rock have been closely linked historically, the genre called blues rock gained prominence only during the 1960s. American guitarist Lonnie Mack is believed to have developed this distinct guitar style in 1963, the same year he came out with a number of rock guitar instrumentals that were deeply influenced by the blues. These include the smash hit singles ‘Memphis’ (Billboard #5) and ‘Wham!’ (Billboard #24).

Noted music critic Piero Scaruffi states that the blues-rock genre was born with the release of the album Bluesbreakers by John Mayall in 1966. Scaruffi points out that it was the British bands who made music aficionados take note of blues rock, and he gives credit for this to Fleetwood Mac, Savoy Brown and Free, among others. Some of the American musicians considered trend-setters in this genre are Canned Heat, Paul Butterfield, Cream, Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton,  Blind Faith, The Doors, Janis Joplin, to name a few.

Jeff Beck, a former member of The Yardbirds took both the U.S and U.K by storm when he formed The Jeff Beck Group and introduced the heavy rock effect on blues rock.  Another former The Yardbirds member Jimmy Page formed Led Zeppelin, a group that dominated the blues rock scene in the early 1970s. Other prominent bands of this genre at that time include names like The Who, AC/DC, Aerosmith, The Allman Brothers Band, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The early 1990s to 2000s saw a revival of the blues rock genre, with many new musicians making their mark, like Gary Moore, The White Stripes, Them Crooked Vultures, The Dead Weather, The Black Crowes, John Mayer, Jeff Healey, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Black Keys, Joe Bonamassa and Clutch.

Blues Rock Backing Tracks on

The Blues Rock Backing Tracks found here are in the style of the bands mentioned above and will get you playing blues guitar (or whatever instrument you use to play the blues!) in a blues rock style - enjoy! And let me know if there are any tracks you'd like to see made into 20 minute blues rock backing tracks!


Featured Products
Too Slim Style Taildragging Blues Backing Track in D 84bpm
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'E Blues Funk Fast and Dirty' Blues Backing Track in E Tempo 120bpm,
Incredible Overdriven Rocky Blues Backing Track in E
Shred it to this Rock Blues Backing Track!
Hard Hitting Blues Backing Track in B 88bpm (20 MINUTE LONG DIGITAL DOWNLOAD)
Heavy Rocking Blues Backing Track! BUY NOW!
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'FUTURE BLUES' 20 Minute Blues Backing Track - DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
This Track is (ALMOST) TOTALLY FREE - No strings!