jethro tull

9 Best British Folk Rock Bands of All Time

Sujan Tamang 

Rock and folk music are combined in the genre known as British folk rock. It frequently makes use of contemporary manufacturing methods and electric instruments. The popularity of the Animals, the Beatles, and the Byrds—all of whom combined folk elements into their rock songs—had a significant impact on the emergence of British folk rock in the 1960s. Among the most significant and well-liked British folk rock groups are:

Best British Folk Rock Bands


The folk rock ensemble Pentangle was founded in 1967. Two of the greatest fingerstyle acoustic guitarists, John Renbourn and Bert Jansch, were featured. They were accompanied by drummer Terry Cox, bassist Danny Thompson, and singer Jacqui McShee.

Pentangle created a distinctive and elegant sound by fusing folk, jazz, blues, and classical music. They are also well-known for the albums Cruel Sister (1970), which was based on a traditional folk tale, and Basket of Light (1969), which featured the popular track “Light Flight.”

Steeleye Span

The folk rock group Steeleye Span was founded in 1969. It included violinist Peter Knight, bassist Ashley Hutchings, guitarist Tim Hart, and singer Maddy Prior. Later on, they were joined by drummer Nigel Pegrum and guitarist Martin Carthy. Steeleye Span specialized in bringing classic folk tunes back to life, particularly those found in the Child Ballads compilation.

They employed vocal harmonies and counterpoint in addition to electric guitars, percussion, and synthesizers. Moreover, their two most popular commercial releases are Below the Salt (1972), which has the epic “Thomas the Rhymer,” and All Around My Hat (1975).

Fairport Convention

In music history, Fairport Convention holds a significant position as the first and most influential British folk rock band. They experimented with psychedelic rock, American folk rock, traditional British folk, and other musical genres after forming in 1967. The most well-known work they have produced is Liege & Lief (1969).

Along with original compositions, it included renditions of vintage folk ballads like “Tam Lin” and “Matty Groves.” Numerous other folk rock musicians, including Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, and Richard Thompson, were influenced by Fairport Convention.

Jethro Tull

The folk rock group Jethro Tull was founded in 1967. Drummer Clive Bunker, guitarist Martin Barre, bassist Glenn Cornick, and singer/flautist Ian Anderson were also involved. They started out as a blues rock group before adding elements of heavy metal, hard rock, progressive rock, and folk.

Their albums Thick as a Brick (1972) and Aqualung (1971), which included the well-known song “Locomotive Breath,” are well-known. It was one song, forty-three minutes long, split into two sections.


In 1970, the folk rock group Lindisfarne was founded. It included drummer Ray Laidlaw, guitarist Simon Cowe, bassist Rod Clements, singer and guitarist Alan Hull, and singer and mandolinist Ray Jackson.

In addition, they were influenced by traditional folk music from their native North East England as well as artists like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Byrds. Their albums Nicely Out of Tune (1970) and others are well-known. Fog on the Tyne (1971) and the iconic “Lady Eleanor” were among them. In the UK in 1972, it was also the best-selling album.

The Albion Band

In 1971, the folk rock group The Albion Band was created. Drummer Dave Mattacks, bassist Ashley Hutchings, vocalist and fiddler Dave Swarbrick, and singer Simon Nicol were all involved. They originated from the Fairport Convention.

In addition, the group persisted in investigating British folklore. They frequently worked along with other folk musicians, including Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, and John Kirkpatrick. Their albums Rise Up Like the Sun (1978) and others are well-known. It also included the catchy song “Poor Old Horse” and the Industrial Revolution-themed concept album Light Shining (1983).


Former Strawberry Hill Boys members created the folk rock group known as Strawbs in 1964. They began as a bluegrass band but eventually experimented with progressive rock and art rock. Among their best-known songs are the smash song “Part of the Union,” which peaked at number two in the UK Singles Chart in 1973, and the well-liked progressive rock ballad “Lay Down” from the same album.

Notable musicians also played with Strawbs, including Rick Wakeman, who played keyboards for two albums before joining Yes, and Sandy Denny, who sang with them before establishing Fairport Convention.

Skinny Lister

The folk rock group Skinny Lister was founded in 2009. It included bassist Scott Milsom, drummer Thom Mills, singer and mandolinist Max Thomas, singer and accordionist Lorna Thomas, and vocalist and guitarist Dan Heptinstall. They are influenced by traditional folk music, punk rock, and sea shanty.

The band has a vibrant and enthusiastic live presence. Their albums Forge & Flagon (2012) are well-known. Additionally, it included the upbeat song “Rollin’ Over” and the energetic song “Trouble on Oxford Street” from Down on Deptford Broadway (2015).


The folk rock group Oysterband was founded in 1976. John Jones, guitarist and vocalist, Ian Telfer, mandolinist and guitarist Alan Prosser, bassist Al Scott, and drummer Dil Davies were among the performers. They draw inspiration from British and Irish folk music as well as rock, punk, reggae, and world music.

Their albums Holy Bandits (1993) are well-known. Among its highlights were the stirring song “When I’m Up I Can’t Get Down” and Ragged Kingdom (2011), a joint effort with folk musician June Tabor.


Over the years, British folk rock has generated many excellent bands and songs. It’s a rich and varied genre. From the 1960s pioneers to today’s pop artists, British folk rock has always been inventive and imaginative. It incorporated several musical traditions and styles.

There is a British folk rock band for everyone, whether you like the punk rock of Skinny Lister, the indie folk of Mumford & Sons, the progressive rock of Jethro Tull, or the traditional sound of Fairport Convention. There are countless more British folk rock bands to find and savor; these are only a few of the greatest of all time.

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