Marvel at the Rock Music of the 60s

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The 1960s was a time of change and experimentation in rock music. From the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix, the 60s saw some of the greatest artists in rock history come to prominence. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the best music of the 60s and what made it so great.

The Beatles

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known lineup comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, are regarded as the most influential band of all time. With a sound rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the group later experimented with several genres, ranging from pop ballads to Indian music and psychedelia. Their popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”, but as their songwriting grew in sophistication they came to be perceived by many fans and cultural observers as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era’s youth: exploration and protest.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in 1962. The first stable line-up consisted of Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica), Ian Stewart (piano), Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar, vocals), Bill Wyman (bass) and Charlie Watts (drums). Stewart was removed from the official line-up in 1963 but continued to work with the band as a contracted musician until his death in 1985. Jones died less than a month after leaving the band under mysterious circumstances in 1969.

The Rolling Stones were at the forefront of the British Invasion of bands that became popular in the US in 1964 and were identified with the youthful and rebellious counterculture of the 1960s. Rooted in blues and early rock and roll, they later experimented with a variety of genres including psychedelia, country music, Disco and 1980s punk rock. The band continued to tour into the twenty-first century and recorded material for their thirty-ninth studio album during that time.

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in Hawthorne, California, in 1961. The group’s original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. The Beach Boys began as a largely regional act without national appeal, but the release of their 1962 album Surf Safari gave them their first taste of mainstream success.

The Doors

The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore. They were unique and among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s, mostly because of Morrison’s lyrics and his erratic stage persona. After Morrison’s death in 1971, the remaining members continued as a trio until finally disbanding in 1973.

Although they were commonly associated with the counterculture of the 1960s, the Doors remained one of the most popular concert attractions into the early 1970s. By 1972, due to drug abuse and creative differences, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore had joined keyboardist Ray Manzarek as the only full-time members of the group. Despite this lineup change, The Doors continued to record and release successful albums—including their final studio album Locked RoomOther Voices—until 1973 when they decided to disband due largely to personal tensions within the group brought on by years of drug abuse by Morrison. Following their break-up, Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger went on to form Manzarek–Krieger while Densmore co-founded The Butts Band

Jimi Hendrix

As the 1960s dawned, rock music was still in its infancy. But by the end of the decade, it had come into its own, with a sound and style that would domination popular music for years to come. And at the forefront of this revolution was Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix was born in Seattle in 1942 and began playing guitar at an early age. He quickly developed a unique style that blended elements of blues, jazz and rock. After moving to New York City in 1964, he began playing with a number of well-known musicians, including Curtis Knight, Chuck Willis and Little Richard.

In 1966, he formed his own band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The group released its debut album, Are You Experienced?, in 1967. The album included such classics as “Purple Haze,” “Fire” and “The Wind Cries Mary.”

The Jimi Hendrix Experience toured extensively throughout 1967 and 1968, headlining at some of the biggest music festivals of the era, including Monterey Pop and Woodstock. Hendrix was also commissioned to write the soundtrack for the movie Rain Man.

By 1969, Hendrix was one of the most famous musicians in the world. He released his fourth album, Electric Ladyland, that year. The album included the hit single “All Along the Watchtower,” which would later be covered by Bob Dylan.

Unfortunately, Hendrix’s career was cut short when he died of a drug overdose in 1970 at the age of 27. But his influence on rock music is still felt today. Every generation since has seen a new crop of guitar heroes attempting to emulate his style. And his albums continue to sell millions of copies around the world each year.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin was an American singer who rose to fame in the late 1960s as the lead singer of the psychedelic-acid rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. She was known for her powerful, soulful voice and her ability to improvise on stage. She appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969. Her song “Piece of My Heart” became a million-selling single. After leaving Big Brother, she formed the Kosmic Blues Band and recorded three albums with them. She also released two solo albums, I Got Dem Ol’ Kosmic Blues Again Mama! and Pearl, which were both commercially successful.

The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in San Francisco. The band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, country, bluegrass, blues, gospel, and psychedelic rock; for live performances of lengthy instrumental jams; and for its devoted fan base, known as “Deadheads.” “Their music,” writes Lenny Kaye, “was Morrison Hotel (1970) done as an acid test.” The band was ranked 57th by Rolling Stone magazine in its The Greatest Artists of All Time issue. The Grateful Dead have sold more than 35 million albums worldwide.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was a British rock band that formed in 1968. The band members were Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. They are often considered one of the pioneering groups of hard rock and heavy metal music. The band’s heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the primary influences on the development of both genres.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was a rock music supergroup of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The group was made up of four highly successful solo artists: David Crosby of The Byrds, Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield, Graham Nash of The Hollies, and Neil Young of Buffalo Springfield and later Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The Who

One of the most influential bands of the 60s, The Who helped to define the sound of rock music. Known for their high-energy live performances and catchy tunes, The Who were one of the most popular bands of their era. With hits like “My Generation” and “I Can’t Explain,” The Who helped to shape the sound of rock music and influenced many subsequent generations of musicians.

Similar Posts