Scroll through 100 years of rock music in just minutes

June 13, 2014

As a genre, rock music has seen countless permutations. After all, it’s hard to tie jump blues with symphonic black metal, or Hawaiian folk to d-beat, or drone to honky-tonk country. Nonetheless, these guitar-based subgenres all share common ancestry—and finally, designer Brittany Klontz has discovered a way to make sense of it all.

She released an infographic that not only tracks the music’s evolution—right from its building blocks of spirituals, Western music, Appalachian folk, and so on—into the multi-faceted beast it is today. It also traces the explosive growth of the genre; from the 1960s to the 1990s, many of the genres we know and love today gestated. Who knew that the rap-rock behind Limp Bizkit’s “Rollin'” could be traced right back to electric blues, and even further back to traditional work songs? You done us proud, Freddie.

“The influence of music isn’t a perfect science, as each genre subtly affects every other one,” Klontz told Fast Co. Design. “However, to create a clear framework for design, we worked hard to pinpoint specific years when each genre began to take shape, using key albums or singles.”

OK, so maybe we were kidding when we linked Chocolate Starfish to Muddy Waters. Still, the infographic is a wonderful visualization of how intertwined genre is in rock—and how the genre continues to evolve. Scroll through the chart below, and then head to ConcertHotels.com to listen to side-by-side samples of each subgenre.

Klontz claims that it takes a minute to scroll through the timeline, but if you get lost in it—as we did—prepare to lose an entire day listening to new German metal and boogie woogie.

Exclusive videos, interviews, contests & more.

sign up for the a.side newsletter

sign up