The Best of 60s British Rock Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

Looking for some of the best British rock music from the 1960s? Look no further than this blog, which features a collection of some of the best tunes from that era.

The Beatles

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential music band in history. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with several musical styles, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock, often incorporating classical elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways. In 1963, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”; as the group’s music grew in sophistication, led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, they came to be perceived as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era’s sociocultural revolutions.

The Beatles built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period from 1960, with Stuart Sutcliffe initially serving as bass player. The core trio of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, together since 1958, went through a succession of drummers, including Pete Best, before asking Starr to join them in 1962. Manager Brian Epstein molded them into a professional act, and producer George Martin enhanced their musical potential on record. They gained popularity from the critical acclaim of music critic Lester Bangs for their debut album Please Please Me (1963). Their popularity grew in Britain with successive number one hits from Please Please Me through rubber soul document (1965) to Revolver (1966). They achieved commercial success internationally with Hey Jude (1970), their best-selling single which topped various charts worldwide. After the deaths of Epstein in 1967 and Stuart Sutcliffe later that year,[10]the band continued to record commercially successful material through 1967 with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), which won four Grammy Awards; The Beatles (1968) (“the White Album”), which was nominated for Album of the Year; Abbey Road (1969); Let It Be (1970), their final released album;and two collections of previously released singles: 1962–1966 (“the Red Album”)and 1967–1970 (“the Blue Album”).

Lennon abruptly left the group after Get Back/Let It Be sessions in January 1970; McCartney officially announced The Beatles’ break-up seven months later. They have sold more than 800 million records worldwide,[11] making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time,[12][13]and become an institution integral to popular culture.[14][15][16] Rolling Stone ranked The Beatles No. 1 on its list “The Greatest Artists of All Time”and declared they “popularized rock & roll”.[17]They are credited with changing attitudes towards racial equality,[18]exposing children across races to each other’s cultures,[19][20]and promoting an appreciation for music among white working class youths.[21]

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first stable line-up consisted of Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica), Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar, vocals), Bill Wyman (bass) and Charlie Watts (drums). The band’s primary songwriters, Jagger and Richards, assumed leadership after Andrew Loog Oldham became their manager in May 1963. Jones left the band less than a month before his death in 1969, having already been replaced by Mick Taylor, who remained until 1974. After Taylor left the band, Ronnie Wood took his place in 1975 and continues on guitar to this day. Since Wyman’s departure in 1993, Darryl Jones has served as bassist.

The Stones have released 25 studio albums in the United Kingdom (24 of those charted on the UK albums chart)[2] and 20 studio albums in the United States (16 of them charted on the Billboard 200 album chart).[3]Since 1989 they have frequently toured worldwide and undergone several lineup changes.

Led Zeppelin

One of the most influential bands of the 60s, Led Zeppelin was a British rock band that is often credited as being one of the originators of heavy metal music. Aside from their hard-driving sound, the band was also known for their use of mystical and mythological themes in their lyrics, which added to their larger-than-life image. The band members were Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (vocals), John Bonham (drums), and John Paul Jones (bass).

The Who

The Who is a British rock band formed in 1964. The group’s classic lineup consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass player John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered to be one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide.

The group’s 1971 album Who’s Next is often cited as one of the greatest albums of all time. The band also released the rock opera Tommy in 1969 and Quadrophenia in 1973. The Who continued to tour and release new music throughout the 1970s and 1980s, though Moon died in 1978 and Entwistle in 2002. Townshend and Daltrey have continued to perform as The Who over the years with a variety of musicians.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle in 1942 and grew up in a broken home. His father, Al, was a WWII veteran who died when Hendrix was 15. His mother, Lucille, raised him and his siblings on her own. Hendrix learned to play the trumpet and saxophone as a child, but it was the guitar that really captured his imagination. He started playing in clubs around Seattle when he was only 15 years old. In 1961, he joined the Army and was stationed in Kentucky. He played in an Army band but was discharged after only one year of service.

Hendrix returned to Seattle and picked up where he left off, playing clubs and bars. In 1964, he moved to New York City and began playing with various R&B bands. It was there that he met Chas Chandler, a former member of The Animals who agreed to manage Hendrix and help him relocate to London. In 1966, Hendrix formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. The band quickly became one of the most popular groups of the 60s thanks to their innovative style of rock music and Hendrix’s incredible guitar playing. They released three studio albums between 1967 and 1968: Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland.

Hendrix’s tenure with The Experience was fraught with tension due to his heavy drug use and difficult relationship with Redding. The band eventually disbanded in 1969. Hendrix continued to perform as a solo artist until his untimely death from a drug overdose in 1970 at the age of 27. Although he only recorded four studio albums, Jimi Hendrix is widely considered one of the greatest rock musicians of all time thanks to his revolutionary guitar playing style and timeless songs like “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and “The Wind Cries Mary.”

Pink Floyd

Of all the British Rock bands to come out of the 60s, Pink Floyd is perhaps one of the most enduring. Formed in 1965, the band has been making music for over 50 years, and their influence can still be heard in today’s music. From their early psychedelic hits like “See Emily Play” and “Interstellar Overdrive” to their more experimental later work like “ Atom Heart Mother” and “The Wall”, Pink Floyd has always pushed the boundaries of what Rock music can be.

While they are best known for their studio albums, Pink Floyd was also an incredible live band. Their live shows were theatrical events, complete with elaborate light shows and sound effects. They were one of the first bands to use giant inflatable puppets on stage, and their live performances were often described as “mind-blowing”. If you’re a fan of Rock music, then you owe it to yourself to listen to Pink Floyd.

The Kinks

The Kinks, formed in Muswell Hill, North London in 1964, are regarded as one of the most important and influential rock bands of the 1960s. The group’s dynamic mix of British blues, pop and R&B made them one of the most popular groups of the time. The Kinks are also credited as being one of the first bands to pioneer the genre of power pop.

The band’s lineup consisted of brothers Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals) and Ray Davies (rhythm guitar, lead vocals), Pete Quaife (bass guitar) and Mick Avory (drums). The band released their debut album, Everybody’s in Show-Biz, in 1972. Other notable albums include Face to Face (1966), Something Else by The Kinks (1967), Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One (1970) and Muswell Hillbillies (1971).

The Kinks disbanded in 1996 but have since reformed for occasional live performances.


Cream was a British rock power trio formed in 1966 consisting of drummer Ginger Baker, bassist/singer Jack Bruce, and guitarist/singer Eric Clapton. The group’s third album, Wheels of Fire, was the world’s first platinum-selling double album. Cream are widely regarded as being the first successful supergroup. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and are also included in both Rolling Stone and VH1’s lists of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. In their prime, they were the most commercially successful exponents of the late 1960s “power trio” format.

Cream’s music included songs based on traditional blues such as Clapton’s “Crossroads” and Bruce’s “Politician”, as well as post-World War II popular music such as Bruce’s “White Room” and Baker’s “Sunshine of Your Love”. Their sound was characterized by a hybrid of blues rock, hard rock, and psychedelic rock, blending together improvisation and tightly structured compositions – such as Baker’s famous drum solo on “Toad” – which led to their once being referred to as exponents of jazz rock. They also became renowned for their use of Marshall amplifiers stacked ten feet (3 m) high onstage, which produced deafening volume levels during live performances at a time when most other groups were still using smaller combo amplifiers.

The band made a significant impact on popular culture through their work; three of their tracks are included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” – “Crossroads” at #4, “Sunshine Of Your Love” at #28, and “White Room” at #93. They also appear at number 16 on VH1’s countdown of the greatest hard rock bands ever.


Traffic was a British rock band, formed in Birmingham, England, in April 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They began as a psychedelic rock group and developed their sound further after the addition ofnon-original member Reebop Kwaku Baah.
The group’s first three singles were “Paper Sun”, “Hole in My Shoe”, and “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”.Afterwinwood’s departure in 1969 to form Blind Faith with Eric Clapton , the band underwent several line-up changes before dissolving in 1975.

The longest lasting and most commercially successful incarnation of Traffic was co-fronted by two former members of the Spencer Davis Group : Dave Mason on guitar and vocals (after his brief time with traffic began on bass) and Steve Winwood on keyboards and lead vocals; this lineup also included Jim Capaldi on drums and percussion who would also serve as Traffic’s main lyricist for much of their 1970s output, along with Reebop Kwaku Baah . All four members had departed from the group by the end of 1971.

The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues are one of the most successful and acclaimed bands of the British rock era. They formed in 1964 and released their debut album, The Magnificent Moodies, in 1965. The band’s sound is a unique blend of rock, pop, classical, and psychedelic influences.

The Moody Blues are best known for their hits “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon,” both of which are included on the band’s 1967 album, Days of Future Passed. The album is a concept album that tells the story of a day in the life of a city, from dawn to dusk. It is considered one of the greatest albums of all time.

The Moody Blues have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame, and they have received numerous other awards and honors.

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