My 11 Favorite American Bands of the '60s

On Friday night, I caught an outstanding solo performance by Roger McGuinn, who had been the central figure in The Byrds, one of the best bands of the 1960s. (You can read my review here.)

With McGuinn's famed Rickenbacker guitar still ringing in my ears a couple nights later, I'm inspired to devote today's Booth Reviews post to "My Favorite American Bands of the '60s."

While my top four British bands of the '60s--Beatles, Stones, Who and Kinks--and even Led Zeppelin (for their first 2 albums) would precede any of my American picks, there clearly was a lot of great music coming from this side of the Atlantic as well.

As with many of my lists, precise calibration of the criteria posed a bit of a mental challenge. Although it's just a list of my personal preferences, I'm sure some will take issue with the fact that I didn't consider The Band eligible, as they were Canadian, even though some of my picks include foreign-born members. I also didn't include girl groups who didn't play instruments (e.g. The Supremes) and wasn't sure if The Four Seasons should count, but they didn't quite make the cut anyway. The Temptations, Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and others of their ilk also may have posed a greater quandary if truly among my very favorite artists of the era.

For my picks, I am only regarding music that was made in the 1960s, so that weighed against a band like Santana, whose first album came out in 1969, as well as Deep Purple, whose '70s output is generally what I know and prefer. And though someone like James Brown had an excellent backing band, I'm considering him a solo artist and thus not eligible here.

Some 1960s bands that I like but not enough to make my "ours go to 11" list of favorites include the Mamas & The Papas, the Rascals, Booker T & the MGs and the Remains, a lesser-known band out of Boston that my friend Dave introduced me to. I should point out that as I am 42, I didn't not hear any of these artists during the '60s (at least not that I remember;)

For the first time, I'm going to do my slideshow as a countdown, from 11 to 1. And with all that out of the way, here goes.



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  • Roger McGuinn - pure genius with his 12 string. Excellent list.
    If you want a later McGuinn song that will flash you back to the Byrds give a listen to Back from Rio album's "Someone To Love" here is a UTube link:

  • I don't recognize many of these bands, but you are an absolutely brilliant writer.

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