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Top 20 Artists From The 60s

The sixties were a defining decade for the United Kingdom, bringing some much-needed feelings of hope and freedom to a country left bleak from World War II. It was in this decade that many music legends came to life, expressing themselves in a way that had never been done before.

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To celebrate the sixties and all that they were, we’re here to take you through some of the top artists that came from the decade.

20. The Jackson Five

The Jackson 5 is an American pop band consisting of members from the famous Jackson family. They started to release singles towards the end of the sixties before getting signed to Motown Records in 1968. From here, they amounted to stacks of chart success.

19. The Monkees

The Monkees is an American rock and pop band that was most active from 1966 to 1971. They made a name for themselves in every corner of the world, leading to television contracts and much more.

18. Jackie Wilson

Jackie Wilson was an American soul singer and performer. During his active years, he became responsible for the transition of rhythm and blues into soul. He knew exactly how to entice an audience, resulting in the fitting nickname of “Mr. Excitement”.

17. Dion

Dion DiMucci is an American singer and songwriter that rose to massive amounts of popularity in the sixties. He brought something different to the music scene, incorporating elements of doo-wop, blues, R&B and rock into his tunes.

16. Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was an English rock band that formed at the tail end of the sixties (in 1968). They soon shook the hard rock industry, proving their innovatively by incorporating hints of blues and folk.

15. Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is one of the most successful songwriters and musicians of all time. He’s spent the majority of his musical career as a one-man band, highlighting his talents through electrical instruments and synthesizers.

14. Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin lived a life full of music; even as a child, her passions involved singing gospel at church. Once she signed with Atlantic Records in 1966, her career truly flourished, awarding her the title of the “Queen of Soul”.

13. The Supremes

The Supremes were a favored act of Motown Records during the sixties. They achieved 12 number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and continue to rack up listens to this day. During the 1960s, The Supremes rivalled The Beatles.

12. James Brown

James Brown was (and still is) a huge name in the world of funk. His music career lasted over 50 years, and during this time, he influenced many music genres. His ability to develop any type of genre is what made him so successful.

11. Simon & Garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel also made a name for themselves in the folk industry during the sixties. This American duo reached number one on many charts worldwide. Not too shabby for two friends who met in elementary school!

10. The Mamas & The Papas

The Mamas & The Papas were an American folk group that was active from 1965 to 1968. They had something different to deliver during this time, focusing on harmonized vocals and funky folk beats. Although only active for four years, the band amounted to 17 singles and five studio albums.

9. Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye single-handedly shaped the sound of Motown in the 1960s. He produced hit after hit, breaking into contemporary R&B subgenres that many people hadn’t even heard of before.

8. The Who

The Who are a well-respected English rock band that formed in 1964. They have sold over 100 million records worldwide (and counting!). The Who are responsible for many contributions to the world of rock, including the use of the synthesizer.

7. The Doors

The Doors were an American rock band that formed in 1965. While they caused a lot of controversy in the years they were active, the band played an important part in the decades counterculture. They were erratic and oh-so-talented!

6. Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix’s musical career only spanned for four years, but in this time, he became one of the most celebrated musicians of the century. He was the man who had never-ending talents, strumming on an electric guitar while delivering funky lyrics.

5. The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys are an American rock band that formed in 1961. It didn’t take long for them to get to work in the sixties, making a name for themselves through vocalized harmonies and music that appealed to the younger generations.

4. Elvis Presley

It’s safe to say that everyone on this planet has heard of Elvis Presley. Credited as the “King Of Rock And Roll”, Presley emphasized his charm and good looks to deliver performances that everyone would swoon over.

3. The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are another rock band that formed at the beginning of the 60s. They defined hard rock as we know it, featuring the world-famous Mick Jagger and instrumentalist Brian Jones.

2. Bob Dylan

Often referred to as one of the best songwriters of all time, Bob Dylan has certainly earned his place on this list. Although his music career has spanned the majority of his lifetime, his most iconic work was produced in the 60s. A handful of his songs even became anthems for anti-war movements.

1. The Beatles

The impact of the Beatles still shines through to this day. Formed in 1960, this English rock band consisted of a legendary lineup, featuring:

  • John Lennon
  • Paul McCartney
  • George Harrison
  • Ringo Star

Described as the “most influential band of all time”, The Beatles changed youth culture and the music scene for good.

Whether you’re a fan of music from the past or prefer modern-day tunes, stay in the loop with help from our latest music news. You’ll never miss a moment again!

Emily Wilson
Emily Wilson
Writer, record player and retro music researcher. Emily dives deep into the history of music, and legendary artists and brings their highlights to the Upbeat Geek site for your eyes. Being a regular festival and concertgoer, Emily also writes about the latest music, and soundtracks and loves anything to do with record players. Outside of music research, Emily loves Sunday walks with her dog Lee.