The 1960s was a critical decade for the development of rock music. Artists began to experiment with strange new sounds, and in doing so, created genres such as heavy metal and psychedelia. Popular rock music became heavier and somewhat darker. The bands of this period are now recognised as icons and pioneers. Some of them even continue to release new music and tour half a century later.

The Beatles

The Beatles were the biggest band of the 1960s. They were founded in Liverpool, England, and their popularity soon spread across the world. The success of The Beatles and other UK bands in America led to what has been called “The British Invasion”. The Beatles started out releasing fairly generic pop-rock songs. However, their later albums were more experimental and featured surreal sounds. The creative influence of this band continues to inspire new modern artists.

The Rolling Stones

This group was comprised of singer Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards and a range of different temporary band members. Jagger and Richards wrote most of the hit songs such as Paint It Black, Satisfaction and Sympathy For The Devil. The Rolling Stones were an edgy alternative to The Beatles. Their sound was much heavier, and their lyrics would sometimes prove to be controversial. The band were known for their youthful and rebellious image, as well as their association with the counterculture. They continue to tour even though they have been around for over 50 years.

The Who

The Who are one of the most influential groups of the 20th century. They have sold over 100 million rock records globally. Originally the band was comprised of singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and the late drummer Keith Moon. They are associated with the “mod” subculture of the 1960s. Some of their best songs include My Generation, Substitute, and I Can’t Explain.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd was influential in the spread of psychedelic rock. They distinguished themselves with elaborate live performances which featured theatrical lighting. The band liked to test the boundaries of the genre by experimenting with sound. Their lyrics contained philosophical themes and poetic verses. Several of their songs reached the top 10 in both America and Britain. Their most significant albums include The Wall, Wish You Were Here and The Dark Side Of The Moon.

Jefferson Airplane

This was another psychedelic rock band which was key to popularising experimental rock sounds. They were based in San Francisco and associated with the hippy movement of the Bay Area. Two of their songs, Somebody To Love and White Rabbit, have been listed as some of the greatest tracks of the 1960s.

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac started to gain an audience during the late 1960s. Over the past half-century, they have sold at least 120 million records. During the ’60s, they began to develop their unique sound. The lineup changed several times in this period with new bandmates joining and older ones leaving. Some of their best songs released in this decade are Oh Well, I Loved Another Woman and Dust My Broom.