Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk rock emerged from the folk music revival and the influence that the Beatles and other British Invasion bands had on members of that movement. Performers such as Bob Dylan and the Byrds—several of whose members had earlier played in folk ensembles—attempted to blend the sounds of rock with their preexisting folk repertoire, adopting the use of electric instrumentation and drums in a way previously discouraged in the U.S. folk community. The term "folk rock" was initially used in the U.S. music press in June 1965 to describe the Byrds' music.
The commercial success of the Byrds' cover version of Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" and their debut album of the same name, along with Dylan's own recordings with rock instrumentation—on the albums Bringing It All Back Home (1965), Highway 61 Revisited (1965), and Blonde on Blonde (1966)—encouraged other folk acts, such as Simon & Garfunkel, to use electric backing on their records and new groups, such as Buffalo Springfield, to form. Dylan's controversial appearance at the Newport Folk Festival on 25 July 1965, where he was backed by an electric band, was also a pivotal moment in the development of the genre.
During the late 1960s in Britain and Europe, a distinct, eclectic British folk rock style was created by Pentangle, Fairport Convention and Alan Stivell. Inspired by British psychedelic folk and the North American style of folk rock, British folk rock bands began to incorporate elements of traditional British folk music into their repertoire, leading to other variants, including the overtly English folk rock of the Albion Band and Celtic rock.