Made popular by rock and roll artists of the 50's and early 60's. Including (in a more-or-less chronological order):
In the early 60's many record executives were of the opinion that guitar bands were on their way out. Groups like The Beatles proved them wrong--with a passion. Throughout the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's electric guitars were prominent as the instrument of choice for many, many bands. Today, rock and alternative bands still make good use of the electric guitar, some noteable examples being Metallica, 3 Doors Down, Dave Matthews Band, and Aerosmith. However, most pop music has succumbed to the seductive lure of synthesized music and rap sounds.
Usually accompanied by drums, a bass guitar (a deeper string sound), vocals, and occasionally an acoustic guitar, harmonica, or piano.