Top 25 American Classic Rock Bands of the 60s

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 like in the United States.

While most English bands (the Beatles, of course, were the most notable exception) were looking for new ways to put their own spin on the blues, American artists saw what else could be brought. Foremost among them were the Beach Boys, who had had several hits before anyone in the United States had even heard of Liverpool. When writing about fun in the sun became tedious, composer Brian Wilson wrote increasingly thought-provoking music with more introspective lyrics, resulting in Sounds of animals.

Bob Dylan’s influence led to the creation of folk-rock, beginning in Los Angeles with the Byrds, and dozens of bands. By the time everyone had caught up, the Byrds were busy inventing country-rock. A few hundred miles north of Los Angeles, in San Francisco, folk-rock mixed with LSD, urging musicians to go where the music took them, taking longer solos that owed more in spirit to jazz. than pop. Even Creedence Clearwater Revival, masters of the three-minute single, were usually good for a long jam or two per album.

R&B also evolved during the 60s, with more punchy beats that put more emphasis on the first beat of a bar. This sound, led by James Brown, followed by bands like Sly & the Family Stone and the Meters, became known funk and forever changed the course of black music.

On top of all that, the decade saw the birth of Southern rock and gave us a lot of timeless pop. Check it all out below.

Virginia F. Goins