20+ Best 60’s Rock Bands of all time

Rock music was the most popular kind of music in the 1960s, which also saw a total transition of popular music. Significant social and cultural changes occurred throughout the 1960s.

Increased prosperity and consumerism during the post-World War II era resulted in a younger demographic with discretionary cash and a yearning for novel types of entertainment.

Their frustrations, goals, and wishes could be expressed rebelliously and energetically via rock music. Music technology made great strides in the 1960s.

The availability and affordability of electric guitars, amplifiers, and other instruments increased, allowing performers to experiment with new sounds and push the limits of conventional music.

The music business expanded during the 1960s as record companies, radio stations, and concert venues looking for fresh, exciting talents.

Best rock bands of the 60s

No. Band Album Sales (Million)
1 The Beatles $377
2 Elvis Presley $132
3 The Rolling Stones $111
4 Simon & Garfunkel $89
5 The Jimi Hendrix Experience $20
6 Creedence Clearwater Revival $16
7 The Beach Boys $12
8 Cream $5
9 Jefferson Airplane $4
10 The Byrds $1

Due to the amazing bands that produced music throughout the 1960s, it was quite difficult for us to compile a list of the top bands of the decade. However, we’ve narrowed the field of the greatest rock groups from the 1960s.

The Beatles

One of the most well-known bands of all time, The Beatles has had record sales that have exceeded a billion around the globe. The greatest impact on the globe in the history of rock music has also been exerted by this band.

They had a crucial role in shaping the counterculture and mainstream music of the 1960s. The group was established in Liverpool, England, and was a part of the UK’s long-standing tradition of producing amazing musicians. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison made up the band.

The Beatles were an easy pick for our list because of their legendary and undisputed history and the fact that all of their recordings from the 1960s are truly musical masterpieces.

The Beatles completely altered how popular music sounded. They constantly experimented with new methods and added many musical genres, pushing the limits of rock music.

Their ground-breaking method of composition, which included utilizing intricate harmonies, discordant chord progressions, and studio experimentation, raised the bar for artistic expression in the genre.

George Harrison’s contributions helped the John Lennon and Paul McCartney combination round out their amazing discography of classic songs.

Their compositions perfectly encapsulated the essence of the human condition, from love and romance to reflection and social satire. Their songwriting’s breadth and variety struck a chord with a large audience and has persisted ever since.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd

The ULTIMATE progressive rock group is this one. More than 200 million records of Pink Floyd have been sold.

The usage of fireworks and light displays during live concerts was pioneered by this band. Nick Mason, Syd Barrett, Richard Wright, Roger Waters, and David Gilmour, who subsequently joined the group, made up Pink Floyd.

One of the finest bands of the 1960s without a doubt, and their success would last for several more decades.

Soundscapes that are ethereal and atmospheric are hallmarks of Pink Floyd’s music. To produce a distinctive sound, they combined elements of ambient music, space rock, and psychedelic rock.

They created engaging and thought-provoking immersive music scapes by utilizing instruments, synths, and studio techniques.

Pink Floyd frequently addressed social and political issues in their lyrics, including alienation, the human condition, war, and the perils of contemporary society.

Their songs struck a chord with listeners, presenting a critique of the period and giving voice to the worries and annoyances of the day.

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The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones

When it came to rock music, they were the bad guys. The group is still praised for their accomplishment today and is frequently regarded as a musical masterpiece.

They created thrilling music with explicit lyrics in the rock and roll genre by reinterpreting American folk, blues, R&B, country, and rock. With hits like “Tumbling Dice,” “Wild Horses,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” and “Gimme Shelter,” among many others, The Rolling Stones became well-known.

Rock ‘n’ roll’s spirit was best exemplified by The Rolling Stones. Their blues, R&B, and rock influences gave their music a raw, dynamic feel that attracted fans.

They stood out and remained popular for a long time because of their ability to combine parts of various genres with their own distinctive style.

The rebellious and countercultural atmosphere of the 1960s was forever associated with The Rolling Stones. The frustrations and aspirations of the youth of the period were mirrored in and expressed through their music.

They defied expectations and pushed the envelope, becoming a symbol of teen unrest and rock ‘n’ roll revolt.

The Who

The Who

The Who was a tremendously avant-garde band in terms of music, culture, and dress. They were most well-known for wearing Union Jackets.

Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon, John Entwistle, and Pete Townshend made up The Who band. By 1969, the band had put out 12 studio albums, including Tommy.

The character of Tommy was employed to convey the tale of a blind, deaf, and stupid guy who is also skilled at pinball.

Their most well-known tunes included “The Kids,” “My Generation,” and “Baba O’Riley.” Unquestionably among the top bands of the day.

The Who were known for their wildly energetic live shows. With Roger Daltrey’s powerful vocals, Pete Townshend’s distinctive guitar playing, Keith Moon’s frantic drumming, and John Entwistle’s virtuoso bass lines, they brought a certain intensity and energy to the stage.

Their live performances went down in history, having a profound effect on audiences and establishing new benchmarks for live rock performances.

The Who’s songs displayed complexity and reflection. The song’s principal author, Pete Townshend, created lyrics that addressed themes of rebellion, identity, societal problems, and individual challenges.

Their songs connected with a generation looking for connection and significance, delivering a distinct viewpoint and an emotional depth that made them stand out.

The Doors

The Doors were one of the greatest and most well-known 60s rock bands despite having a brief career. Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robby Krieger made up The Doors.

The band is primarily remembered for their number-one hits, including “Light My Fire,” “Break on Through,” “People are Strange,” and “Touch Me.”

They sold nearly 100 million albums worldwide, making them one of the most well-known and prosperous bands in history.

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Despite the fact that The Cream only existed for three years, the band was a classic rock power trio. They have maintained their appeal to this day thanks to hits like White Room.

Before becoming Cream as a band, the members established their individual notoriety. Jake Bruce, Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton made up the band. The songs by Cream that stood out included “I’m So Glad,” “Spoonful,” “I Feel Free,” “Crossroads,” and “Bridge.”

Cream played a pivotal role in popularizing blues-rock as a genre. They took the traditional blues sound and infused it with a heavier and more electrified approach.

Their extended instrumental improvisations showcased their technical abilities and pushed the boundaries of what was considered rock music at the time.

The Byrds

In terms of popularity, the Byrds were a spirited challenger to the Beatles. They are regarded as folk rock’s forerunners. The Byrds created a vast family tree of important pop and rock groups.

The group’s members include Winter Haven, Clarence White, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Michael Clarke, Roger McGuinn, and Gene Clark.

Most people are familiar with The Byrds from songs like “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” “All I Really Want to Do,” “Fifth Dimension,” “My Back Pages,” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.”

The Moody Blues

A progressive psychedelic band called the Moody Blues started recording in 1964. The group gained notoriety for operatic songs like “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights in White Swan.”

Ray Thomas, Mike Pinder, Denny Laine, Clint Warwick, and Graeme Edge made up the Moody Blues. The Moody Blues invented classical rock, a kind of rock that fuses pop music with classical music.

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Blood, Sweat, And Tears

With its blue jazz influences and big horn sections, the rock band established a significant milestone for the rock music business.

They were well-known among fans for fusing brass instruments with rock band instrumentation. They were a strong jazz-rock band when they were formed in 1967 in New York.

The band is made up of Keith Paluso, Dylan Elise, Jonathan Powell, Glen McClelland, Michael Boscarino, Brad Mason, and Ric Fierabracci.


In 1967, the band was established. Genesis made a concerted effort to establish their music as a progressive rock among the general public and kept it there. Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, and Michael Rutherford made up the band.

The musical variety of Genesis was very diverse. They combined dramatic, rock, folk, and even classical elements into their music with ease.

Their music included complex melodies, beautiful lyrics, and creative storylines. They distinguished themselves from their contemporaries by fusing several musical styles in an effortless manner to produce a unified sound.

Genesis’s biggest commercial successes occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, but its foundation in the 1960s set the stage for its long-lasting legacy.

Future generations of artists were profoundly influenced by the band’s investigation of progressive rock and commitment to musical innovation. Many progressive and alternative rock musicians have been influenced by them.

Jethro Tull

They are a 1967-founded British band. Jethro Jull created distinctive rock and roll sounds that were influenced by classical music.

The band was able to create its own sound by using instruments like the flute. Before branching out to a progressive rock style, Jethro Tull initially performed a jazz-blues-rock fusion.

The band comprised Jonathan Noyce, Marin Barre, John Evan, Andrew Giddings, John Glasslock, Dee Palmer, and Doane Perry, with Ian Anderson serving as the lone continuous member.

The songs “Beggars Farm,” “Teacher,” “Thick As A Brick,” “Aqualung,” and “Too Old to Rock N’ Roll” by Jethro Tull are among their best-known compositions.

The Kinks

The Kinks were an English rock group that successfully sustained its reputation in the music business by carefully modifying its musical approach and lyrical subjects to suit shifting audience tastes.

Ray and Dave Davies, two brothers, made up the Kinks band. In the annals of rock music, their smash hit “You Really Got Me” ranks among the most well-known tunes.

The Kinks were renowned for their eclectic and innovative musical styles. In their music, they skillfully incorporated elements of rock, pop, blues, music hall, vaudeville, and even British folk.

They were able to experiment with many musical genres and develop distinctive sounds throughout the course of their career because of this diverse approach.

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The Velvet Underground

The album by the Velvet Underground and Nico is recognized as one of the greatest in music history. Although it wasn’t at first well recognized in the music world, its impact on music culture cannot be denied.

The band endured stylistic changes during the 1960s, but Lou Reed’s dark, filthy lyrics and the band’s lovely melodies will always be remembered.

Rock music’s frontiers were pushed by The Velvet Underground’s avant-garde and experimental style.

They used aspects of rock, avant-garde, art, and even noise and drone music in their songs. They accepted dissonance, atypical song forms, and subjects that were frequently forbidden at the time.

This innovative and distinctive approach pushed the boundaries of what rock music might be.

Buffalo Springfield

The band Buffalo Springfield was made up of Canadian artists. Bruce Palmer, Richie Furay, Neil Young, and Stephen Stills make up the band.

They only lasted for roughly two years as a rock band, but they had a big effect on the 1960s rock music scene.

The group was a modern band that contributed to the early development of folk-rock by fusing elements of country music, folk music, psychedelic rock, and British invasion influences into their music.

Popular songs by Buffalo Springfield include “Rock & Roll Woman,” “Expecting to Fly,” “For What It’s Worth,” “Mr. Soul,” and “Stop Children What’s That Sound.”

Buffalo Springfield’s vocal harmonies were a defining aspect of their sound. The blend of Neil Young’s distinctive high tenor, Stephen Stills’ soulful voice, and Richie Furay’s warm delivery created a captivating and melodic vocal presence.

Their harmonies added a layer of depth and beauty to their music, enhancing the emotional impact of their songs.


This band, which was American-Canadian, had several significant successes. John Kay, Goldy McJohn, Jerry Edmonton, Michael Monarch, and Rushton Moreve were all band members.

They were well known for producing “biker rock,” a style of rock. More than 25 million albums were sold globally by the band.

They released one platinum album and seven gold albums, and they charted on the Billboard Hot with 13 songs. Steppenwolf had chart-topping hits including “Rock Me,” “Magic Carpet Ride,” and “Born To Be Wild” which all placed in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 hits.

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The Grateful Dead

In 1965, this American band was established. The Grateful Dead were known for their unique and energetic approach.

Blues, rock, reggae, folk, bluegrass, gospel, country, and psychedelic rock were all creatively combined by the band. The group was regarded as the inventor of the jam band musical genre.

The Grateful Dead’s devoted followers were known as “Deadheads.” Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia, Ron McKernan, Phil Lesh, and Bill Kreutzmann made up the Grateful Dead band.

The Grateful Dead’s music defies easy categorization, blending elements of rock, folk, blues, country, jazz, and psychedelia.

They developed a distinct improvisational style, often taking their songs on extended journeys with ever-changing arrangements and solos. Their eclectic sound and ability to explore diverse genres set them apart from other bands of their time.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

The Florida-based band in question is an American one. Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Bob Burns, and Larry Junstrom made up the band.

They concentrated on the Southern rock subgenre and helped make it well-known. Their popular songs “Free Bird,” “Simple Man,” “Tuesday’s Gone,” “Gimme Three Steps,” and “Sweet Home Alabama” are among their most well-known.

Southern rock was invented by Lynyrd Skynyrd, who combined elements of rock, blues, country, and boogie.

Their unique style, which was marked by strong guitar riffs, soulful vocals, and pounding rhythms, caught the spirit of the American South and connected with a broad audience.

When an aircraft disaster killed numerous band members, including lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, the group experienced sorrow. Despite this tragic incident, Lynyrd Skynyrd came together, demonstrating resiliency and resolve.

Their undying passion and dedication were evident in their determination to continue making music in memory of their deceased bandmates.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s impact on rock music cannot be overstated. Their pioneering work in the Southern rock genre paved the way for countless other bands and artists.

Their influence can be heard in the music of bands like Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws, and The Black Crowes, as well as artists from various genres who incorporate Southern rock elements into their sound.

The Beach Boys

In 1961, The American Band was established. Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine made up the band.

The Beach Boys were talented songwriters who wrote a lot of songs about surfing and pretty females. They were among the most well-known bands on this list, the pinnacle of surf rock and pop music, and significant trendsetters during the 1960s.

The Beach Boys’ artistic development took another leap with the release of “Pet Sounds.” The album showcased their willingness to experiment with unconventional song structures and instrumentation, paving the way for the emergence of progressive and art rock.

Their exploration of complex harmonies, studio effects, and innovative songwriting techniques influenced countless artists and albums that followed.

The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” had a profound impact on The Beatles, particularly Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

The album inspired them to create their own masterpiece, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (1967), which further expanded the possibilities of rock music and solidified the Beach Boys’ influence on the direction of the genre.

Fleetwood Mac

In 1967, the band was founded in London. Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, Jeremy Spencer, and John McVie made up the band. Popular songs by Fleetwood Mac include “Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain,” “Landslide,” “Dreams,” and “Little Lies.” They created progressive rock music by fusing rock, folk, blues, art pop, and soft rock.

Fleetwood Mac faced several lineup changes and personal challenges throughout their career. Despite these obstacles, they managed to reinvent themselves and release successful albums that captured the spirit of each era.

Their ability to evolve and adapt while maintaining their core musical identity showcased their resilience and determination.

Fleetwood Mac’s rhythm section, consisting of drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, provided a solid foundation for the band’s music.

Their tight-knit and intuitive playing served as the backbone of the band’s sound, allowing the other members to shine and creating a cohesive musical unit.

Fleetwood Mac’s impact on subsequent generations of musicians is undeniable. Their unique sound, songwriting prowess, and vocal harmonies have influenced countless artists across various genres.

Their music continues to inspire and resonate with new generations, ensuring their legacy lives on.


Who was the most popular rock band in the 60s?

During the 1960s, The Beatles were widely regarded as the most popular rock band in the world. Hailing from Liverpool, England, The Beatles achieved unprecedented fame and success during this decade, becoming a cultural phenomenon and leaving a significant impact on the music industry and popular culture.

Who were the hard rock bands in the 1960s?

In the 1960s, the hard rock genre was still developing, and several bands were influential in shaping its sound. Some of the notable hard rock bands from the 1960s include:

  • Led Zeppelin
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Cream
  • Deep Purple
  • Steppenwolf
  • the Jeff Beck Group

Who was the king of rock in the 60s?

In the 1960s, Elvis Presley is widely regarded as the “King of Rock and Roll.” He was already a prominent figure in the rock and roll scene during the 1950s, and his influence continued into the 1960s.

Was rock big in the 60s?

The 1960s is often considered the “golden era” of rock and roll, as it was a time of tremendous growth and innovation for the genre.

During this decade, rock music underwent significant evolution and diversification, giving rise to various subgenres and iconic bands and artists.

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