In simplest terms, baroque pop is a form of music that conflates rock 'n roll with classical.
Like music from the Baroque
period, this style is characterized by ornate sound arrangements. A typical baroque pop song would include strings, harmonies, and amiable vocals. Though certainly not limited to the following, other instruments commonly found in baroque pop include: horns, pianos, mellotrons, and harpsichords.
Baroque pop began as a commercial product, which meant that most songs followed the composer-producer-performer formula that dominated popular music before the time of rock 'n roll (and still wildly popular, even amongst rock 'n roll, during the mid-'60s, when baroque pop first emerged). Songs were typically aimed toward teenagers, and in typical pop fashion, themes mostly centered around teenage romance.
Baroque pop, even to this day, has many faces. Sunshine pop, a sound pioneered along the West Coast during the 1960s, shares characteristics with baroque pop. Many Northern soul, bubblegum, and psychedelic pop songs fall under the category of baroque pop as well. Even today, many rock 'n roll artists show influence by incorporating lush melodies, harmonies, and instrumentation into songs.
Two of the most popular baroque pop albums are 1966's Pet Sounds
and 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
. Though baroque pop's origins are not definite, many believe that the sound was pioneered by The Zombies
with the release of their first single, "She's Not There", in 1964.