the beatles

Greatest And Most Famous Rock Bands Of The 1960s

Sujan Tamang 

The tumultuous 1960s witnessed the ascent of numerous well-known rock bands. Bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones rose to prominence during that period and were some of the most famous and successful artists in history.

Some others, like the Grateful Dead and the Beach Boys, were also extremely successful and left a lasting impression on music.

We’ll take a closer look at 15 of the most well-known rock bands from the swinging 1960s in this piece. Now let’s get going.

Simon & Garfunkel

One of the best-selling acts of the 1960s, Simon & Garfunkel was a folk rock songwriting pair that may not have been categorized as a band by traditional standards.

The pair got together in 1963, and the following year they moderately successfully published their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. Unfazed, they put out three more albums in the 1960s, the final two of which were successful commercial releases.

Their second album of the same name included the song “The Sound of Silence,” which contributed to their rise to fame. Other decade-defining songs included “Homeward Bound,” “Mrs. Robinson,” and “I Am a Rock,” all of which did well on the charts.

The Byrds

They formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1964. The Byrds, who included Michael Clarke, Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, and Roger McGuinn in their initial lineup, were well-known for their 12-string guitar technique and folk/psychedelic sound.

Their popular songs “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” were released in the 1960s. Before breaking up in 1973, the Byrds would carry on with their performances for the remainder of that decade and the early 1970s.

Despite having a brief career, they were regarded as folk rock pioneers and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.


One of the bands that legendary guitarist Eric Clapton was a member of, Cream. The band was founded in 1966 by him along with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Their unique sound, which combined hard rock and blues, was well-known.

The band became well-known with their debut album, Fresh Cream, but one of their most well-known hits, “Sunshine of Your Love,” was released on their 1967 album Disraeli Gears. Every aspiring guitarist and bassist will eventually learn this song.

The band that was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received several Grammy Awards for their work also significantly influenced Jimi Hendrix and many other future performers. They were listed as one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

The Kinks

The English rock group The Kinks, who were founded in 1964, saw immense popularity in the latter half of the 1960s. Brothers Ray and Dave Davies founded the group, and the Kinks rapidly became well-known in the UK thanks to their debut record.

“You Really Got Me,” the album’s lead song, peaked at number two in the UK and seven in the US charts. The Kinks’ career began with this song, which was among the first to use guitar distortion. “Sunny Afternoon” and “Tired of Waiting for You” are two more of their 1960s popular songs.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, The Kinks kept recording and touring, but they broke up not long after the 1990s began. They were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, respectively.

The Who

The Who, our next band, was originally made up of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon when it was formed in 1964.

The Who were very successful in the 1960s, releasing hits including “I Can’t Explain” and “My Generation.” Similar to Pink Floyd, they released four studio albums in that period, all of which peaked at #2 on the UK chart. The fourth album, Tommy, was their best-charting record.

The Who is regarded as one of the most important rock bands, and their strong sound encouraged many other bands to follow in their footsteps, even if their live shows were frequently destructive and their instruments shattered.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Originally called the Blue Velvets, Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) was founded in 1959 in El Cerrito, California, by John Fogerty, Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook, and Doug Clifford. Only in 1967 did they transform into Creedence.

The trio enjoyed a string of successful hits towards the end of the 1960s, with songs like “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Fortunate Son” rising to the top of the charts.

Regretfully, after John Fogerty’s divorce in 1972, Creedence Clearwater Revival broke up despite their growing fame. Cook and Clifford carried on, producing Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

Jefferson Airplane

Originally composed of Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, Signe Anderson, Jorma Kaukonen, and Spencer Dryden, Jefferson Airplane was another San Francisco, California, band that formed in 1965. But in 1966, Anderson quit the group, and Grace Slick took his place.

The most well-known aspects of Jefferson Airplane are their psychedelic sounds and their partnerships with Santana and the Grateful Dead, two prominent San Francisco bands.

They put out a number of albums in the 1960s, but “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit,” which both peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 100, were their two biggest hits in 1967.

Janis Joplin & Big Brother And The Holding Company

Next, we look at Janis Joplin, one of the first female rock stars, whose distinctive vocals with the band Big Brother and the Holding Company helped define the sound of the 1960s.

Although the members of this ensemble have changed over the years, Joplin on vocals, Sam Andrew on guitar, James Gurley on guitar, Dave Getz on drums, and Peter Albin on bass are still regarded as the classic lineup.

They formed in 1966 in San Francisco, California, and were well-known for both Joplin’s soulful singing and their psychedelic style.

During the 1960s, Joplin and Big Brother recorded two studio albums; however, Cheap Thrills, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in 1968, was their most well-known release.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd was founded in 1965 and rose to prominence in the progressive and psychedelic rock scenes quite fast. The band has seen a fair amount of member turnover despite its widespread appeal, with some members leaving and others entering.

Roger Waters, Richard Wright, Nick Mason, and Syd Barrett were the original members. David Gilmour joined in 1967, a bit later.

Even though Pink Floyd peaked in the 1970s, their hits from the 1960s, such as “Arnold Layne,” their debut single, and “See Emily Play,” were chart-topping hits. All four of their albums from the decade made it into the top ten, with the fifth record being their best-performing album.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Jimi Hendrix is regarded as one of the best rock guitarists of all time, and you probably already know him.

But some of his most well-known songs were recorded with his band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, which included drummer Mitch Mitchell, bassist Noel Redding, and guitarist Jimi Hendrix.

The ground-breaking Jimi Hendrix Experience was founded in 1966, and the following year saw the release of their debut record, Are You Experienced.

Despite having only three studio albums issued, all three are regarded as classics. Axis: Bold as Love, the band’s most popular album released in 1967, included the smash song “Purple Haze.”

Jimi Hendrix Experience broke up in 1969, but he was nonetheless successful as a solo performer until his untimely death at the age of 27 in 1970. In 1992, the band was admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Doors

In Los Angeles, California, in 1965, Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore formed the Doors. Despite their brief partnership, they had a profound influence on music and were well-known for their eerie and hallucinogenic sound.

With the release of the popular single “Light My Fire” from their 1967 self-titled first album, they were able to attain widespread acclaim. The album shot to the top of the Billboard charts quite rapidly.

The Doors continued to create music until the early 1970s after releasing four albums in the late 1960s, including Strange Days and Waiting for the Sun. Sadly, the band broke up in 1971 following the death of lead singer Jim Morrison.

The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead were a psychedelic rock band well-known for their live shows. Despite their contentious nature, they were among the first bands to make LSD use at concerts popular, which helped to define the 1960s counterculture.

The band, which included Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, and Bill Kreutzmann, was founded in San Francisco, California, in 1965.

In the 1960s, just four albums were released: Live/Dead, Anthem of the Sun, Aoxomoxoa, and The Grateful Dead. All but two were Gold certified, and they were all in the top 100.

The Grateful Dead, renowned for their extended improvisational jams and distinctive sound, are regarded as the pioneers of jam music in rock & roll, having performed their songs in a unique way at every performance.

The Beach Boys

If the Beatles were popular in the UK in the 1960s, the Beach Boys were in the US. With their music, this pop-rock group popularized the California sound.

The Beach Boys—Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine, formed in Hawthorne, California, in 1961. They were well-known for their close harmonies and surf-themed tunes.

Many of their albums from the decade, including Surf’s Up and Pet Sounds, peaked high on the charts and are now regarded as must-listens for fans of surf rock.

The Beach Boys’ 1962 single “Surfin’ Safari” brought them widespread recognition, and they went on to enjoy hits throughout the decade with other songs including “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.”

The Rolling Stones

Next up are the Rolling Stones, who rose to fame as one of the most well-known bands of all time after forming in London, England, in 1962.

The Stones swiftly rose to fame in the US with their 1964 single “(I Can’t Get) No Satisfaction,” reinterpreting American blues and rock music in their own distinctive way. The band’s other 1960s hits include “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Paint It, Black.”

In the 1960s, they also released the albums Aftermath, Beggars Banquet, and Let It Bleed. These are regarded as required listening for every rock music enthusiast.

The Rolling Stones’ dedication paid off, as they were recognized with nine NME Awards, three Grammy Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1989 and 2004, respectively, they were admitted into the Rock and Roll and UK Music Halls of Fame.

The Beatles

The Beatles are without a doubt the most popular and significant rock group of the 1960s (if not the entire history of music). They rank first on our list. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and John Lennon were in the lineup.

The Beatles, who were founded in Liverpool, England, in 1960, were enormously successful in both the US and the UK because of their distinctive sound and memorable songs.

With their breakthrough song “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” they became the first British band to become widely popular in the US in 1964. They maintained their prominence throughout the 1960s, achieving chart-topping songs and innovative albums.

Several recorded classic albums, including Rubber Soul and Sgt, typified the music of the decade. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Beatles received eleven Grammy awards during their career, and fifteen of their albums or singles have been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame.


Here are a handful of the 1960s top-charting rock bands. These bands influenced many upcoming performers and helped define the sound of rock music.

Even though 1960s music was released decades ago, people still like listening to it, and these musicians are regarded as some of the best rock bands of all time.

People are still motivated today by these bands’ revolutionary achievements. They altered the direction of popular music and defined a period.



Recommended Posts

Freddie Mercury and John Lennon

John Lennon’s opinion on Queen

John Lennon was the oldest founding member of The Beatles and was born in Liverpool, England, much like all the other members of the band. He was only 29 years old when the band broke up in 1970, and the music industry had seen rapid turmoil during that decade with the emergence of numerous new […]

Sujan Tamang 
Geddy Lee and Led Zeppelin

Rush’s Geddy Lee gives his opinion on Led Zeppelin

In an interview with Classic Rock magazine, Geddy Lee, the bassist, singer, and occasionally pianist for Rush, shared his thoughts on Led Zeppelin. The Canadian guitarist discussed the band’s sound and offered commentary on their iconic album “Led Zeppelin IV.” Rush’s Geddy Lee gives his opinion on Led Zeppelin: Geddy said, “I had the pleasure […]

Sujan Tamang 

Leave A Comment