Folk Rock Essentials

Folk Rock Essentials

The Summer of Love was a galvanizing time, injecting urgency into the sexual revolution, into anti-war uprisings—and into the folk-rock anthems that carried those sentiments to the masses. But the foundation for that countercultural watershed was laid almost half a decade earlier, in the static of the guitar Bob Dylan plugged in during his boundary-smashing Newport Folk Fest gig in 1965. This cross-pollination of folk and rock amplified the passion at the core of grassroots balladry, creating dynamic new possibilities for rising up and freaking out. Artists such as Buffalo Springfield and Simon & Garfunkel added depth and riffs to their plaintive missives, while The Mamas & The Papas and The Byrds filtered the troubadour tradition through jingle-jangle portals to tuned-in, turned-on bliss. Once the ’70s were in full swing, folk tropes had been overshadowed by psychedelic grooves, and the halcyon vibes of soft-rock radio hits supplanted the intimacy of strumming a six-string, but Dylan’s Judas moment transformed popular music forever.

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