The ’60s are often thought of as the decade when the Brits dominated rock, but our list of the Top 25 American Classic Rock Bands of the ’60s show that there was plenty to love in the U.S.

While most of the English groups (the Beatles, of course, were the most notable exception) were looking for new ways to put their own spin on the blues, American acts were seeing what else could be brought to the table. First and foremost among them were the Beach Boys, who’d had several hits before anybody in the U.S. had even heard of Liverpool. When writing about fun in the sun became tiresome, composer Brian Wilson wrote increasingly challenging music with more introspective lyrics, resulting in Pet Sounds.

Bob Dylan‘s influence led to the creation of folk-rock, starting in Los Angeles with the Byrds, and dozens of bands. By the time everybody else had caught up, the Byrds were busy inventing country-rock. A few hundred miles north of L.A., in San Francisco, folk-rock mixed with LSD, prompting 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 lengthy jam or two per album.

R&B similarly evolved during the ’60s, with heavier-hitting rhythms that put greater emphasis on the first beat of a measure. That sound, led by James Brown, with bands like Sly & the Family Stone and the Meters following, became known 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. Check it all out below.





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