Funk rock is a fusion of funk and rock. Many instruments may be incorporated into the music, but the overall sound is defined by a definitive bass or drum beat and electric guitars. The bass and drum rhythms are influenced by funk music but with more intensity, while the guitar can be funk-or-rock-influenced, usually with distortion.
Jimi Hendrix was the first well-known recording artist to combine the rhythms and riffs of early funk to his rock sound. Perhaps the earliest example is his song "Little Miss Lover" (1967). His live album Band of Gypsys features funky riffs and rhythms throughout (especially the song "Power of Soul") and his unfinished album also included a couple of funk-rock songs such as "Freedom", "Izabella", "Straight Ahead", and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", which many consider to have the funkiest opening riff of its era. Other pioneers of funk-rock evolved in the 1970s in the music of the British rock-band Trapeze, The Rolling Stones ( Miss You & Hot Stuff ), Led Zeppelin (The Crunge) & singer David Bowie with his hit song "Fame". The Mark III & IV lineups of Deep Purple (with Glenn Hughes of Trapeze, David Coverdale of Whitesnake and Tommy Bolin of The James Gang) featured mature elements of funk in such songs as "Sail Away (Tomorrow)" and "Coronarias Redig", enough of which was believed to prompt the exit of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. American artists Frank Zappa ("My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama", "Dirty Love" and "I'm The Slime", like best examples), Steve Miller Band ("Fly Like an Eagle"), Edgar Winter Group ("Frankenstein") and Gary Wright (My Love is Alive, good example of early Synth-funk as well), along with bands like Graham Central Station, Rufus, Betty Davis, Mother's Finest, Funkadelic & the Isley Brothers (The Heat Is On & 3 + 3 albums ) all experimented with the blending of Funk & Rock rhythms. Gang Of Four, Iggy Pop in his lp The Idiot (album), The Big Boys, Xavion(An Afro-American group whose Asylum/Mirage LP in '84 pre-dated Living Colour) & Rick James along with New Wave mainstays Blondie & the Talking Heads created their own sound mix of Punk Funk in the early 1980s. One famous funk rock song of the period was Another One Bites the Dust by British Rock icons Queen. The genre's representatives from the late 1980s to present day include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction, Fishbone, Primus, Living Colour, Spin Doctors, as well as Prince & spinoffs The Time & one hit wonders Mazarati, who all have created, expanded and defined the Funk Rock style. In the early 1990s, several bands combined funky rhythms with Heavy Metal guitar sounds, resulting in "Funk metal", where the emphasis is in using much Heavier distorted guitar sounds in the mix. Funk Rock employs more of a lighter (crunch) distorted Guitar sound, and the musical emphasis tends to be more Beat driven with prominent Bass lines, more rhythmic in the R&B sense. Lenny Kravitz is one of the most prominent musicians today in the fusion of rock riffs and funk rhythms, as can be listened on tracks such as Tunnel Vision, Battlefield of Love, Always on the Run, Love Love Love, American Woman, Will You Marry Me, SuperSoulFighter, Live, and so on.