The ’60s are often considered the decade when the British dominated rock, but our list of the 25 best American classic rock bands of the’ 60s shows that there was a lot to love about the United States.
While most English bands (the Beatles, of course, were the most notable exception) were looking for new ways to give the blues their own unique twist, US bands saw what else could be brought to the table. Foremost among them were the Beach Boys, who had had several hits before anyone in the United States had heard of Liverpool. When it became tedious to write about fun in the sun, composer Brian Wilson wrote increasingly difficult music with more introspective lyrics, resulting in Animal sounds.
Bob Dylan’s influence led to the creation of folk-rock, starting with Los Angeles with the Byrds and dozens of bands. By the time everyone had caught up with them, the Byrds were busy inventing country rock. A few hundred miles north of LA, in San Francisco, folk-rock mingled with LSD, prompting musicians to go where the music took them, taking on longer solos that owed more in the spirit to jazz than ‘to pop. Even Creedence Clearwater Revival, the masters of the three-minute single, were generally good at a long jam or two per album.
R&B evolved similarly in the 1960s, with more powerful beats that put more emphasis on the first beat of a bar. This sound, led by James Brown, with bands like Sly & the Family Stone and the following Meters, became known for funk, and it changed the course of black music forever.
On top of all that, the decade saw the birth of southern rock and gave us plenty of timeless pop. Find out all below.