The genre had its antecedents in the American folk music revival, The Animals' hit recording of the folk song "The House of the Rising Sun", the folk-influenced songwriting of The Beau Brummels, and the beat music of the British Invasion. In particular, the folk-influence evident in such Beatles' songs as "I'm a Loser" and "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" was very influential on folk rock. The repertoire of most folk rock acts was drawn in part from folk sources but it was also derived from folk-influenced singer-songwriters such as Dylan. The genre was typified by a relatively "clean" (effects- and distortion-free) approach to electric instruments, as epitomized by the jangly 12-string guitar sound of The Byrds. This jangly guitar sound was derived from the music of The Searchers and from George Harrison's use of a Rickenbacker 12-string on The Beatles' recordings during 1964 and 1965.
This original incarnation of folk rock led directly to the distinct, eclectic style of electric folk (aka British folk rock) pioneered in the late 1960s by Pentangle and Fairport Convention. Inspired by British psychedelic folk and the North-American style of folk rock, Pentangle, Fairport, and other related bands began to incorporate elements of traditional British folk music into their repertoire. Shortly afterwards, Fairport bassist, Ashley Hutchings, formed Steeleye Span with traditionalist folk musicians who wished to incorporate overt rock elements into their music and this, in turn, spawned a number of other variants, including the overtly English folk rock of The Albion Band (also featuring Hutchings) and the more prolific current of Celtic rock.