My Top 10 Rock Bands of the 1960s

For today’s post I would like to do a countdown of my favorite bands of the 1960’s!   The music in the 1960s was very much inspired by older cultures, as the counterculture movement embraced many mystical traditions!    This is perhaps a reason it is an era of music I truly adore.   Without further ado here are my top ten:

Number 10: The Byrds

~The Byrds were an iconic band who are linked to the Summer of Love and the late 60s culture!    They were a truly peace promoting band, and it can be heard in the lyrics and beat of their songs. 

Number 9: Jethro Tull

 ~Jethro Tull is a folk rock band from England who I adore, mostly for Ian Anderson.   He is both the lead singer and the flute player of this band.   They were introduced to me by my father when I was young and wanted to learn the flute!    Ian Anderson went on to become my flute playing idol!   The band is more associated with the 1970s, but began in the 60s.

Number 8: Led Zeppelin

 ~ This is another case of a British band more associated with the 1970s, but began in the 60s.    They were an iconic band led by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant!    Their music was incredibly powerful and often inspired by fantasy literature.  

Number 7: Big Brother and the Holding Company

 ~ This is the band Janis Joplin was in before making it on her own.    For that reason alone they need to be included on a 60s band countdown!

Number 6: Jefferson Airplane

 ~In the late 60s Jefferson Airplane was famous for their album Surrealistic Pillow, that became the anthem for the Summer of Love in San Francisco (1967)!   Grace Slick was the lead singer of this band that actually would go on to change their name two times when famous.

Number 5: The Rolling Stones

 ~Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are both icons, and this band is still rocking today!   Not much more needs to be said about why they are on this list, other than R.I.P. Brian Jones (early member of the 27 Club).

Number 4: The Beatles

 ~The Beatles are one of the most influential bands of all time, and in fact inspired nearly every band that followed.    I adore the fab four, and their solo work!

Number 3: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

 ~Jimi Hendrix is still the greatest guitar player who ever lived!   One needs only to watch footage of him at The Monterey Pop Festival, or from Woodstock, to see how powerful he was!    Sadly like Brian Jones before him, and Janis and Jim after him, he would become a member of the 27 Club.

Number 2: The Velvet Underground

 ~The Velvets were the antithesis of the peace and love counterculture movement in the West Coast.    They were a New York band put together by Andy Warhol, who forced them to add the “chanteuse” Nico to their roster for their first album.    Lou Reed was the iconic voice of the band, and he would go on to a successful solo career after the band split.   They were true rebels who were unafraid to be gritty and real!

Number 1: The Doors

~My number one for this list had to be one of my favorite bands of all time!    Jim Morrison’s voice and lyrics were deep, soulful, and inspired by his spiritual leanings.   Morrison truly was a poet Rock God.   Ray Manzarek was a classically trained pianist, who loved the blues.    Robby Krieger was an incredible guitarist, trained in flamenco.   Robby would also write many of their hits, as Jim’s songs were incredible but more esoteric than radio hits tended to be!   John Densmore would round out the group as drummer.

~I hope you have enjoyed my countdown of favorite 1960s bands.   Did I mention you favorite?    Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Note: I know this order will shock some rock music lovers, but it is an opinion on who I favor to listen to most.    I will admit that the top five were very difficult to order, and I went with my feelings in the moments I wrote the list.   I did not include solo artists as I was keeping the list strictly to bands (which meant that some people were eliminated based on the fact that they were solo artists).    I also ranked bands that were more famous in the 1970s lower than those who are iconically associated with the 1960s.