Comprehensive musicology encompassing all genres and styles

The Biggest Pop Music Bands in the Sixties

The sixties was a period of intense social change. People were challenging old values and traditions, and pop music reflected this. The Beatles, the most successful band of all time, set the benchmark for the genre in the sixties. They paved the way for other bands that followed suit in changing pop music forever. The sixties also saw the rise of girl groups such as The Supremes and The Ronettes, Motown acts like The Jackson 5 and New York-based trio The Shangri-Las. Many musicians also adopted new sounds around this time like soul, blues, gospel, rock and roll, country and bluegrass, that continue to influence popular music today. Armed with new influences from around the world and a willingness to experiment with everything from electronics to psychedelics, many artists created some of their most memorable hits during this decade. Here’s our list of the biggest pop music bands of the 1960s…

Top 100 Greatest Songs of All Time

The Beatles

The Beatles’ global impact is impossible to measure, as they are the most successful band in history. They are credited with not just bringing the guitar back into mainstream pop but also paving the way for bands that would come after them. The group’s success resulted from a mixture of their individual talents, innovative and stylish performance, and modern production techniques.

The Beatles Don't Let Me Down

The Beach Boys

Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys came together in 1961 and quickly became one of the most successful bands of their time. The group's rise to fame was built on a mix of those early surf rock hits, along with the group’s harmony laden vocals, which helped pave the way for later acts like The Beatles. Their 1964 album “All Summer Long” is their best-selling album, with more than 5 million copies sold worldwide. It also features some of the band's most popular songs, including "I Get Around" and "Help Me Rhonda."

The Beach Boys Greatest Hits

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones were one of the most popular groups from the 1960s. They formed in 1962 and quickly rose to prominence during the British Invasion. The rock ‘n’ roll pioneers are still active today, with more than 50 years of music under their belt and a loyal fan base that continues to grow. The Rolling Stones were established as an R&B band, but they became known for their bluesy rock songs like “Paint It Black” and “Jumping Jack Flash.” As they experimented with a variety of styles over the years, they continued to produce iconic tunes like “Brown Sugar” and “Gimme Shelter.”

The Rolling Stones Greatest Hits Full Album

Bob Dylan

Arguably one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, Dylan had a huge impact on 1960s pop music. In fact, he was often credited with inspiring The Beatles to make the transition from rock and roll to folk rock. Dylan’s new sound was also inspirational to other artists such as Donovan, who in turn inspired Neil Young. Dylan began his career in the early ‘60s playing Greenwich Village coffee houses. His first album, Bob Dylan, came out in 1962 and was followed by another two albums before he switched gears and went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. He continued to experiment with different sounds throughout the decade; for example, he released Nashville Skyline in 1969 which featured country music influences. In 1971, Dylan released New Morning which included some of his most loved songs like “If Not For You” and “Father Of Night”.

Bob Dylan Greatest Hits

The Mamas and the Papas

The Mamas and the Papas is a pop group that formed in the early sixties. The group’s lineup consisted of John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Michelle Phillips, and Cass Elliot. The quartet had a string of hits during the decade with songs like California Dreamin’, Dedicated to the One I Love, and Monday Monday. They released four studio albums before disbanding in 1968.

Mama & Papa Greatest Hits Full Album 2021

Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company

Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company was one of the first female-led blues rock acts to emerge from San Francisco in 1967. Janis Joplin’s signature vocal style and emotional intensity showed that she had an incredible range, which made her one of the most versatile singers in pop music. The band released their first album Cheap Thrills in 1968. The album's famous singles, “Piece of My Heart” and “Ball and Chain,” along with its raw vocals and electric guitar, earned Janis Joplin a spot as a major figure in 60s rock culture. The group disbanded in 1970 after Janis Joplin died from an accidental heroin overdose.

Big Brother & The Holding Company, Janis Joplin - Ball and Chain

Otis Redding

Otis Redding was a soul singer who was born in 1934. He is best remembered for his songs "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" and "Try A Little Tenderness." Redding’s career started to take off in 1965 with "These Arms of Mine," followed by "Respect" (1967), "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" (1968), "I Can't Turn You Loose" (1968) and "Try A Little Tenderness" (1969). Redding died at 26, when he was killed in a plane crash.

Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay (Official Music Video)