Hard rock combines the heaviness of metal and the hooks of rock into an anthemic, fist-pumping blast. This genre was born with the proto-punk and classic rock of the ’60s and ‘70s and constantly changed its sound and style over the decades. But hard rock really came into its own in the late-‘70s and ‘80s, when bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest blazed a path for the bands who brought the genre to stadium-sized audiences.

With virtuoso solos, huge hooks, and a hint of hair metal, bands like Guns N' Roses, Mötley Crüe, and Van Halen ruled the airwaves in the ’80s. The massive success of these groups led to the backlash of ‘90s grunge—when bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains came roaring out of the Pacific Northwest. Nu metal and alternative metal brought their own volcanic sounds to the mainstream with the success of Korn, LINKIN PARK, Staind, Disturbed and System of a Down. And the lines between hard rock, metal, and alternative rock continue to crumble in the 21st century, with boundary-crossing artists like Avenged Sevenfold, Royal Blood, Slipknot, and Halestorm reasserting the power of the killer riff for new audiences.