Space rock is a subgenre of rock music; the term originally referred to a group of early, mostly British, 1970s progressive and psychedelic rock bands such as Hawkwind, Gong and Pink Floyd, characterized by slow, lengthy instrumental passages dominated by electronic organs, synthesizers, experimental guitar work and science fiction or outer space-related lyrical themes, though it was later repurposed to refer to a series of late 1980s British alternative rock bands that drew from earlier influences to create a more ambient but still melodic form of pop music.
Man's entry into outer space provided ample subject matter for rock and roll and R&B songs from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s. It also inspired new sounds and sound effects to be used in the music itself. A prominent early example of space rock is the 1959 concept album I Hear a New World by British producer and song writer Joe Meek. The album was inspired by the space race and concerned man's first close encounter with alien life forms. Meek then went on to have a UK and US #1 success in 1961 with Telstar, named after the newly launched communications satellite and thus intended to commemorate the new space age. Its main instrument was a clavioline, an electronic forerunner of synthesizers. Space rock emerged from the late 1960s psychedelic music scene in Britain, and was closely associated with the progressive rock movement of the same era.