100+ Best Rock Bands of the 60s – Complete List

60s-rock-bands

When it comes to rock music, the 60s was an era that will never be forgotten. This decade brought us some of the best bands in the history of rock, including The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin. 

However, there were many other great bands that contributed to the development of rock during this time and paved the way for future generations of musicians.

In honor of those great bands, here is a list of the 100+ best rock bands of the 60s.

This list covers a wide range of bands, from the classic rock legends to the lesser-known garage bands and everything in between.


Top Best Rock Bands of the 60s

Being one of the most influential decades in music, it is not surprising that the 60s has given birth to some of the best rock bands in history. And with so many great bands to choose from, narrowing it down to just 10 was no easy task.

But after much deliberation, we’ve compiled a list of what we believe to be the 10 best rock bands of the 60s. ( based on their musical talent, popularity, and impact on the genre).

  1. The Beatles
  2. Pink Floyd
  3. The Rolling Stones
  4. The Doors
  5. The Beach Boys
  6. The Who
  7. The Kinks
  8. Steppenwolf
  9. Jefferson Airplane
  10. The Byrds

60s Psychedelic Rock Bands

60s Psychedelic Rock Bands brought a new sound to the music scene that was both trippy and exciting. These bands were influenced by the use of mind-altering drugs, which helped to create their unique sound. They also incorporated elements of Eastern music and culture, which further added to their trippy sound.

While not all of these bands enjoyed mainstream success, many of them have gone on to become cult classics.

So, if you’re looking for some good 60s Psychedelic Rock to listen to, check out our list of 10 popular bands from this genre.

  • The 13th Floor Elevators
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Love
  • Hawkwind
  • Iron Butterfly
  • Big Brother and the Holding Company
  • Blue Cheer
  • The Creation

British Rock Bands of the 60s

British rock bands were at the forefront of the 60s rock scene. They dominated the charts and influenced many American bands. Some of the most popular British rock bands of the 60s include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin.

These bands led the way with their innovative songwriting and dynamic stage presence.

Other bands, such as The Who and Led Zeppelin, quickly followed suit, crafting their own unique styles that would influence musicians for generations to come.

As the 60s came to a close, British rock bands had firmly established themselves as some of the most exciting and influential musicians in the world. Their legacy can still be heard in the music of today, making them an essential part of rock history.

  • Led Zeppelin
  • Herman’s Hermits
  • The Hollies
  • The Zombies
  • Jethro Tull
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • The Eyes
  • The Yardbirds
  • The Beatles
  • The Kinks
  • The Who
  • Pink Floyd

Hard Rock Bands of the 60s

Among the many genres that emerged during this decade, hard rock was one of the most popular.

Hard rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple defined the sound of this new genre with their heavy guitars and driving rhythms.

These bands pushed the boundaries of what was possible in rock music, and their influence can still be felt today.

Not only that, but these bands also laid the foundation for future hard rock and heavy metal bands. Without them, the face of rock music would be very different today. Here are some of the best hard rock bands of the 60s.

  • Black Sabbath
  • Deep Purple
  • Scorpions
  • Judas Priest
  • Rush
  • Vanilla Fudge
  • Blue Öyster Cult
  • Uriah Heep
  • Nazareth
  • Slade

American Rock Bands of the 60s

American rock bands of the 60s were some of the most influential and iconic groups in music history. From the Beach Boys to the Grateful Dead, these bands created a sound that was distinctly American and shaped the course of rock and roll for generations.

These bands were also at the forefront of the counterculture movement, pushing social boundaries and challenging conventional norms.

In many ways, they were the voice of a generation, and their music continues to resonate with people today.

While there are too many great American rock bands of the 60s to list them all, here are just a few that deserve mention:

These are just a few of the American rock bands of the 60s that changed music forever.

  • The Monkees
  • Simon and Garfunkel
  • Sly and the Family Stone
  • The Stooges
  • Buffalo Springfield
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • Moby Grape
  • MC5
  • Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • The Flying Burrito Brothers

60s Classic Rock Bands

Classic rock is a broad genre of rock music that originated in the United States and the United Kingdom in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It is characterized by heavy use of electric guitars, bass guitars, and drums, as well as a strong emphasis on classic songwriting hooks and blues-influenced solos.

The classic rock era is generally considered to have ended in the early 1980s when punk and the new wave began to dominate the charts. However, some classic rock bands such as Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith continued to enjoy commercial success throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

Today it may not be as popular as it once was, but classic rock still has a devoted following among music fans. Here are some of the best classic rock bands of the 60s:

  • Chicago
  • Yes
  • Genesis
  • The Beatles
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Pink Floyd
  • The Who
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • The Doors
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • ZZ Top

60s Garage Rock Bands

60s garage rock bands were an integral part of the 60s music scene. Characterized by its raw, energetic sound and unpolished production, garage rock was fueled by youthful energy and DIY spirit.

Many of the early garage rock bands were made up of young musicians who had just started out on their musical journeys, and their music often drew inspiration from punk and blues.

Some popular examples of 60s garage rock bands include The Sonics, MC5, and The Standells. These bands defined the sound of garage rock and influenced countless other bands that would come after them.

While garage rock has since evolved into many different genres over the years, it remains an enduring symbol of rebellion and passion for those who seek out its authentic sound.

  • The Kingsmen
  • The Stooges
  • The Sonics
  • Count Five
  • MC5
  • The Seeds
  • Them
  • The Standells
  • The Shadows of Knight
  • The Music Machine

Canadian Rock Bands 60s

The Canadian rock scene of the 60s was a thriving hub of musical activity, characterized by a diverse array of talented bands and artists.

At the forefront of this movement were bands like The Guess Who, whose classic hit “American Woman” brought national acclaim to Canada’s burgeoning rock scene.

Other notable acts included Bachman-Turner Overdrive, whose hard-rocking sound was a major influence on many young musicians of the time, and April Wine, whose unique blend of blues and psychedelic rock appealed to audiences across the country.

Overall, it is clear that the 60s era holds a special place in Canada’s musical history, with its distinctive sound and creative energy making it an important precursor to today’s thriving music scene.

  • The Collectors
  • The Guess Who
  • April Wine
  • Steppenwolf
  • The Paupers
  • Edward Bear
  • The Stampeders
  • The Ugly Ducklings
  • The Northwest Company
  • The Quid
  • The Sparrows

Folk Rock Bands of the 60s

Folk rock is a genre of music that emerged in the mid-1960s. It combined elements of folk music and rock music and was often used to describe bands who combined those two genres in their sound.

The folk-rock scene of the 1960s was dominated by a few key bands, including The Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Beatles. These bands helped to popularize the genre and bring it into the mainstream.

Folk-rock continued to be popular throughout the 1970s and 1980s, with new bands like R.E.M. and The Bangles carrying on the tradition. Today, the genre remains as influential as ever, with many modern bands drawing inspiration from the sound of the 1960s.

  • Simon and Garfunkel
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
  • Jethro Tull
  • The Mamas and the Papas
  • Buffalo Springfield
  • The Incredible String Band
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • Peter, Paul, and Mary
  • Pentangle
  • Moby Grape

60s Soft Rock Bands

Known for their laid-back, dreamy sound and catchy melodies, soft rock bands were at the forefront of the 60s music scene.

Whether they were crooning sweetly over minor chords or blending jazzy guitar riffs with soulful vocals, these bands knew how to craft a perfect soft rock song.

Some of the most popular soft rock bands of the time include The Beach Boys, Bee Gees, and Chad & Jeremy.

These bands helped to create a sound that was both intricate and accessible, making their music perfect for both radio airplay and easy listening.

Today, soft rock may have fallen out of favor with the masses, but the legacy of these bands’ endures and their influence can still be felt in the work of many modern bands.

  • Bee Gees
  • The Carpenters
  • Genesis
  • Three Dog Night
  • Bread
  • Simon and Garfunkel
  • Climax Blues Band
  • The Beach Boys
  • Poco
  • REO Speedwagon
  • Classics IV

Dutch Rock Bands 60s

Netherland is known for many things like windmills, tulips, and cheese. But in the 1960s, the small European country also had a thriving rock scene that was home to a number of talented bands.

Among the most popular were The Motions, Q65, and Cuby + Blizzards. These groups were heavily influenced by the British invasion bands of that era, incorporating a distinctive mix of raw energy and musical experimentation. 

The Dutch rock scene of the 60s was also notable for its experimental nature, with many bands pushing the boundaries of what was possible in terms of songwriting and sound.

This experimentalism would go on to influence many of the great Dutch bands of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as a new generation of Dutch rockers who are making their mark on the music scene today.

  • Focus
  • Golden Earring
  • Earth and Fire
  • Freeway
  • Supersister
  • Alquin
  • Ekseption
  • Shocking Blue
  • Mr. Albert Show

Progressive Rock Bands of the 60s

Progressive rock is a genre of music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is characterized by highly complex song structures, unusual time signatures, and lengthy instrumental sections.

Progressive rock bands were often influenced by classical music, and they frequently used elements of jazz and folk music in their pieces.

At the time, this experimental sound was not always popular with mainstream audiences, but it found a devoted following among those who were looking for something different in their music. Thanks to the success of bands like Pink Floyd and Yes, progressive rock became one of the most popular genres of the 1970s.

These bands helped to shape the sound of progressive rock as we know it today, and their influence is still being felt in the work of newer bands. Here are some more prog-rock bands of the 60s.

  • King Crimson
  • The Nice
  • Jethro Tull
  • The Mothers of Invention
  • Soft Machine
  • Caravan
  • Procol Harum
  • Renaissance
  • Van der Graaf Generator
  • Gong

Obscure Bands of the 60s

While bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones may be the first ones that come to mind when you think of 60s music, there were also a number of lesser-known bands who made a significant contribution to the music scene of that era.

Among them were The Velvet Underground, The Zombies, and Love, all of whom helped to create a sound that was uniquely their own.

These bands may not have achieved the same level of commercial success as some of their more famous counterparts, but they nonetheless helped to shape the sound of 60s music and left a lasting legacy. Here are ten of the best obscure bands of the 60s.

  • The Amboy Dukes
  • Manfred Mann
  • Herman’s Hermits
  • The Youngbloods
  • The Hollies
  • The Fireballs
  • The Shadows
  • Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs
  • Dave Clark Five
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears

Surf Rock Bands of the 60s

The 1960s was the golden age of surf rock, a genre of music that was defined by its laid-back, sunny sound. Surf rock bands were huge in California, where their music captured the carefree spirit of the beach culture that was so popular at the time.

Not to mention, they were also instrumental in establishing Southern California as the epicenter of rock music in the United States.

Some of the most popular surf rock bands of the 60s included The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and The Ventures. But there were also many that are less well-known, who helped to shape the sound of this fascinating musical movement.

Today it may have been overshadowed by other genres, but in its heyday (the 60s), surf rock was the sound of summer.

  • The Ventures
  • The Surfaris
  • Jan and Dean
  • The Trashmen
  • Man or Astro-man?
  • The Bel-Airs
  • The Astronauts
  • The Atlantics
  • The Lively Ones
  • Ronny and the Daytonas
  • The Marketts
  • The Hondells
  • The Chantays
  • The Tornadoes
  • The Sandals
  • The Revels

60s Blues Rock Bands

Blues has been around for centuries, but in the 1960s, it underwent a transformation that resulted in the birth of blues-rock. This new genre combined the traditional sounds of the blues with the energy and attitude of rock and roll, resulting in a sound that was both familiar and new.

Blues-rock bands like The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, and Led Zeppelin became some of the most popular acts of the 60s, thanks in part to their thrilling live performances.

Not to mention their ability to capture the raw emotion of the blues, while also experimenting with new styles and sounds that brought a freshness to the genre. Today, blues rock is still going strong, thanks in large part to the influence of these 60s bands.

  • Ten Years After
  • Canned Heat
  • The Rolling Stones
  • The Doors
  • Faces
  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Savoy Brown
  • Steppenwolf
  • The J. Geils Band
  • Wishbone Ash
  • The Electric Flag
  • Cactus

60s Acid Rock Bands

60s acid rock bands like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Quicksilver Messenger Service were known for their use of feedback and distortion to create a mind-bending sound that was perfect for the psychedelic scene of the time.

They were also pioneers in the use of multimedia in their live shows, incorporating lights, film, and projection into their performances.

Acid rock was a direct response to the British Invasion bands that dominated the airwaves in the 60s, and it quickly became the soundtrack of the counterculture movement.

With its driving rhythms and trippy sound effects, acid rock helped to break down barriers and expand the boundaries of what could be accomplished in popular music. In many ways, 60s acid rock bands laid the foundation for the experimental music of subsequent decades.

  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Iron Butterfly
  • Blue Cheer
  • Big Brother and the Holding Company
  • Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • Strawberry Alarm Clock
  • The Seeds
  • Ultimate Spinach
  • The Great Society
  • Moby Grape
  • Os Mutantes
  • Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band
  • The Nightcrawlers

The 60s All Girl Rock Bands

Who says girls can’t rock? In the 1960s, all-girl rock bands were all over the United States, playing their own unique brand of music.

Prior to this decade, women were largely relegated to singing backup or playing instruments in all-male bands. But in the 60s, everything changed, as female musicians started to gain recognition for their musical skills and artistic vision.

One of the most celebrated 60s all-girl rock bands is The Feminine Complex, who achieved mainstream success with their 1969 debut album. Other notable groups included the Shaggs, Goldie and the Gingerbreads, Fanny, and The Pleasure Seekers.

Though they were often overshadowed by their male counterparts, these all-girl rock bands made a lasting impact on the music scene of the 60s, paving the way for future generations of women in rock.

  • Goldie and the Gingerbreads
  • The Pleasure Seekers
  • The Feminine Complex
  • The Liverbirds
  • The Ace of Cups
  • The Heart Beats
  • Ariel
  • Fanny
  • Shaggs

Conclusion

As you saw the 60s was a time of unparalleled creativity and musical experimentation, with great bands emerging in a wide variety of genres. Not only that, but many of these groups were at the forefront of important social movements, from the rise of the counterculture movement to the fight for women’s rights. Not to mention the fact that the music of the 60s still sounds as fresh and relevant today as it did 50 years ago.

So, we hope you enjoyed this post as much as we enjoyed compiling it for you. Thanks for reading!!