Arabic music directly influenced the creation of Surf music and Surf music went on to influence the formation of Garage Rock and Punk Rock.

Dick Dale, a great guitarist who pioneered Surf music was of Lebanese descent and apart from incorporating Arabic sounds into his music the “breakneck speed of his single-note staccato picking technique” and his showmanship with the guitar is considered a precursor to “Heavy Metal” influencing guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen.

So you can gauge how influential Arabic music has been on western music leading to the development of Garage Rock, Punk Rock and Heavy Metal.

Most of us know about the Desert Blues bands like Tinariwen, the great Malian bluesmen like Ali Farka Tour and the Algerian rock master himself Rachid Taha plus some other bands from Morocco like Hoba Hoba Spirit and many, many others could be mentioned.

Here though, I wanted to present a selection of stuff that I had found that maybe many of you had not heard of.  It’s by no means the freshest, exhaustive or most definitive. I was mainly interested in finding Arabic Rock that retained some form of its origins in some way as opposed to Arabs just doing Western Rock music.

Let’s start with some Rock tracks that I stuck on my Once Upon A Time In Arabia mixtape:

The Arabic Rock Orchestra appeared on it:


Mayssa Karaa

This one was on the American Hustle soundtrack that blew my mind when I heard it at the movie theatre!




Some awesome stuff from the Lebanese Underground:

One by the great Moroccan band Hoba Hoba Spirit:

Now let’s move away from my mixtape and onto some other stuff:


Lovin’ this grungy stuff from Jordanian band Akher Zapheer آخر زفير:



Some sort of Corporate Goth Rock from the U.A.E.!

Kayan Band


Egyptian Rock anyone?

The main message of this group is “The Resistance for whatever you resist for”.



Somebody already did a lot of the hard work for me when I found this playlist, some cool choices in here:


Here’s a cool mix too. Arabic rock tracks by 5 great bands, including Arabic covers of Gorillaz and Pink Floyd:

Arabic Rocks! from OmarAbdelNabi on 8tracks Radio.

Mashrou’ Leila


More from Lebanon and one of the more well known ones.


Here’s an all female Rock band from the U.A.E.

Sadly I couldn’t find any material by them.



Here’s two of my favourite Arabic inspired songs by western artists.

First up is the Rock God himself and a huge Arabic music fan.

Not the first time he has meddled with Middle Eastern music but this madly overlooked and highly underrated cut from his debut solo album has stayed with me for years.


And this one…no words can express my gratitude for this track…

Here’s one that American Afghan Goth Goddess Zohra Atash from the incredible Azar Swan introduced us to this recently and what she said about them:

“I love psychedelic music from Texas to Turkey. The Devil’s Anvil was formed in New York City in the mid 60′s and only released one record creatively titled Hard Rock from the Middle East which is crazy good. And just like this list, the borders are stretched, as there’s a cover of the Greek “Miserlou” as well as the rebetiko-esque sung in Greek “Kley”.

And here’s some others that are pretty iconic. You might be surprised that you didn’t notice the Arabic influence in some of these:

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