While in a broad sense Folk Rock can refer to any mix between Rock and Folk music, the term has been commonly applied to Rock-based music that has a strong influence from certain aspects of Folk, such as its acoustic-based instrumentation and relatively simple musical arrangements. As such, Folk Rock started developing as a genre during the 1960s, and can be considered as a derivation of the Contemporary Folk expressions in the United States.
The style was arguably pioneered by releases such as The Beau Brummels' "Laugh, Laugh" and Bob Dylan's "Mixed Up Confusion" singles. However, two events have commonly been described as catalysts for the development of the Folk Rock movement: the success of the Folk-inflicted, chiming sound of The Byrds and the decision by Dylan (considered a key figure of the American Contemporary Folk movement during the early 1960s) to include electric instrumentation and a backing band in most of his recordings and performances during the mid-60s. Other prominent North American Folk Rock musicians during this era include The Band, Buffalo Springfield, The Leaves, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Tim Buckley. Folk Rock was also influential to the sound of Psychedelic Rock bands like Love and Jefferson Airplane. In the United Kingdom, figures such as Van Morrison and Cat Stevens, associated with the Singer/Songwriter genre, would also become connected with the movement. A British Folk Rock style, which mixed Rock and elements of British Folk, would also emerge, represented by bands such as Fairport Convention, The Pentangle and Steeleye Span.
Folk Rock also shared close ties with Folk Pop; artists such as Simon & Garfunkel and Donovan have been considered part of both styles. The genre would also serve as precursor to similarly-minded movements that had their basis in both Rock (such as Country Rock, Roots Rock and Folk Punk) and Folk (exemplified by Psychedelic Folk). Folk Rock has also produced regional variations like Anatolian Rock, Celtic Rock and Nordic Folk Rock.