5 Folk Rock Music Examples You Need to Hear

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


In this post, we’ll share 5 examples of great folk rock music that you need to hear. Whether you’re a fan of the genre or just getting started, these tracks are essential listening.

The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man

The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band altered the course of popular music in the mid-1960s with their blend of folk and rock music. The group recruited singer/guitarist Roger McGuinn from The Chimneysweeps, and added drummer Michael Clarke and bassist Chris Hillman, both from The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers. Lead guitarist David Crosby also joined The Byrds from another local band, The Les Baxter Balladeers.

Simon and Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence

“The Sound of Silence”, originally “The Sounds of Silence”, is a song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel. The song was written by Paul Simon over a period of several months in 1963 and 1964. A studio audition led to the duo signing a record deal with Columbia Records, and the song was recorded in March 1964 at Columbia Studios in New York City for their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.. Simon and Garfunkel were unhappy with the version that was initially released and requested that producer Tom Wilson remix it, which he did.

The song found success on radio stations after its release as a single in September 1964, reaching No. 1 on several Billboard charts, including Cash Box and differences between versions including accurate representation of volume levels; use of dithering to reduce artifacts; support for SSE instructions; volumelevel normalization; ReplayGain calculation; proper handling of ID3v2 unsynchronization;cuesheet (.cue file) support; freeing memory allocated by other libraries before exiting; custom error handling functions.”

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Teach Your Children

“Teach Your Children” is a song written by Graham Nash. It was first recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and included on their 1970 album Déjà Vu. It is sung from the point of view of a father who is concerned about what the world will be like for his children when he is no longer around. The song is often played at family gatherings and is seen as an anthem for the baby boomer generation.

The song was written in 1968, during the time when Nash was living in Hawaii with his then girlfriend, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Nash has said that the song was inspired by a conversation he had with Mitchell about the future of their relationship and the world their children would inherit.

The song was initially rejected by Crosby, Stills & Nash because they felt it was too personal and they did not want to be seen as preachy. However, Young convinced them to record it and it became one of the most popular songs on the album.

In 2010, “Teach Your Children” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

James Taylor – Fire and Rain

“Fire and Rain” is a folk rock song written by singer-songwriter James Taylor. Released in December 1970 on the album Sweet Baby James, the song garnered great acclaim from music critics and became a commercial success, reaching number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and number 3 on the Cash Box Top 100.

The song is about Taylor’s experiences during his time at the Brightman School in 1968, when he was struggling with depression and addiction. The first verse deals with his feelings of loneliness and despair, while the second verse talks about his former girlfriend Suzanne Schnerr, who committed suicide. The chorus of the song is optimistic, with Taylor looking to the future and saying that “someday we’ll find it all again.”

“Fire and Rain” has been widely covered by other artists, including Emmylou Harris, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Sheryl Crow.

Bob Dylan – Blowin’ in the Wind

Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” is one of the most famous folk rock songs of all time. Released in 1963, the song quickly rose to popularity on the back of its simple, yet powerful lyrics about social injustice and the fight for equality. The song has since been covered by hundreds of artists, including Simon & Garfunkel, Peter, Paul & Mary, and even Bob Dylan himself.

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