In the light of the #DoYouRememberWhen craze, we thought we would look back to what is arguably the greatest decade for British music – the swinging sixties. Giving Britain an international face in musical innovation, these 5 acts set down a foundation of rock with songs that despite having played them a thousand times, we still can’t get enough of today.
Emerging from North London, The Kinks had to be first on our list for a band that shaped the sixties. The Kinks dished out revolutionary material, giving us tracks like ‘Sunny Afternoon’, ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘Tired of Waiting For You’ that all claimed a Top 10 spot in several countries – including America. Known for the politically evoking incentives behind some of their most famous tracks – such as Sunny Afternoon’s reach out to the youth of England amongst the countries economic restrictions, resulting in an unforgettable satirical piece.
Needing no introduction, The Beatles are without doubt one of the biggest bands to be produced by the UK and emerging onto the music scene in 1960, they played a massive part in the 60’s music innovation. Breaking down barriers in their transition from songs of boyish love to social commentary, the band soon became the spokespeople for the youth and social change of the decade. With their signature haircuts and taste for rebellion, the four saw a phenomenal amount of their songs reach a number 1 position in the charts across the world, such as (just to name a few) ‘Revolution’, ‘All You Need Is Love’ and of course, ‘Hey Jude’ that settled in the Number 1 spot in both the UK and US for 69 weeks!
This time representing West London, The Who emerged in the mid-60’s and made their mark on music history. Selling over 100 million records worldwide, The Who are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century. Developing from an earlier band the ‘Detours’, the band’s first single as The Who ‘I Can’t Explain’ soared straight into the Top 10. Perhaps their most recognisable hit, ‘My Generation’ was first unleashed to a raging mod crowd in London, capturing the teenage angst that developed in the British society flawlessly in the track. The Who’s energetic, destructive performances, whacky fashion and flashy mannerisms make them an unforgettable contribution to the swinging sixties.
The Rolling Stones
I bet you were wondering when ‘that band with the tongue and lips logo’ would be mentioned, didn’t you? After bursting onto the London scene in the early 1960’s, The Rolling Stones soon gained the notoriety that they still hold today. With a string of iconic members, such as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the band were at the forefront of the British invasion of the United States, identifying them with the youthful and rebellious counterculture of the 1960’s. Selling above an estimated 250 million records, the band have released hit number 1 singles in both the UK, US and multiple other countries, such as ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, ‘Get Off My Cloud‘ and ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ to name a few.
Their name is perhaps not as known as the other acts on our list, but their contribution to the 60’s is a notable one. Formed in Newcastle upon Tyne, their hit single‘House Of the Rising Sun’ garnered the band a number 1 place in the UK and US charts. Separating them from their ‘America-invading’ contemporaries, The Animals released separate albums in both the UK and US, seeing them achieve top 10’s such as ‘San Franciscan Nights’ and ‘See See Rider’ (which made the top 10 in the US but not the UK!). Known for their gritty, bluesy sound and deep-voiced frontman Eric Burdon, The Animals are a valuable ending to our list of sixties’ rock innovators.