Music

The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated January 2, 2020 94.5k votes 8.1k voters 330.8k views 279 items

List Rules If I missed one of your favorite artists of this era, you may add them to this list.

List of the best pop artists of the 60s, ranked. The 1960s may very well be the best decade for music in the rock era. Music from the decade 1960-69 can bring back good memories for many who grew up in this era and holds a certain allure for those who were born later. It's tough to decide which artists were truly the best of the 60s - perhaps the easiest way to judge these 1960s bands is by their staying power. Yes, many on this list were popular bands in the 60s, but which ones continue to touch future generations with their songs? The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles are at the top of this list with good reason. For many, they epitomize 1960s music - the atmosphere and attitude of the time - and when younger listeners want to tap into that era, they usually flip one of those bands on and listen to the best singers of the 60s.

This does not mean that everyone loves these bands. The question of the top 60s artists is subjective - that's why we are putting it up for a vote. Upvote your favorites and add any 60s musicians you love that somehow didn't make it on the list. 

list ordered by
1
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s

Albums: Abbey Road, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The White Album, Rubber Soul, + more

Labels: Swan Records, United Artists Records, Parlophone, ATCO Records, EMI, + more

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With a line-up comprising John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they are regarded as the most ...more

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#1,279 of 2,828 The Most Influential People of All Time The Worst Beatles Songslisted on The Best English Boy Bands

2
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Folk music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Highway 61 Revisited, Blood on the Tracks, Blonde on Blonde, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home, + more

Labels: Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Island Records, Asylum Records, Columbia

Bob Dylan (born May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, poet, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for more than fifty years. Much of his most ...more

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#306 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #64 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years The Best Bob Dylan Songs

3
The Rolling Stones is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s

Albums: Let It Bleed, Exile on Main St., Sticky Fingers, Beggar's Banquet, Some Girls, + more

Labels: Decca Records, London Records, Atlantic Records, Polydor Records, Interscope Records, + more

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first settled line-up consisted of Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts. ...more

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#3 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #134 of 465 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers What Happened When The Rolling Stones Hired The Hells Angels To Run Security

4
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s

Albums: Pet Sounds, Surfin' USA, Ultimate Christmas, Endless Summer, Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys, + more

Labels: Ariola Records, CBS Records, Caribou Records, Brother Records, Reprise Records, + more

The Beach Boys are an American rock and roll band. Formed in 1961, they gained popularity for their close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting a California youth culture of surfing, girls, and ...more

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#982 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time #65 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time The Best Beach Boys Songs of All Time

5
Creedence Clearwater Rev... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s

Albums: Green River, Cosmo's Factory, Willy and the Poor Boys, Bayou Country, Pendulum, + more

Labels: Fantasy Records

Creedence Clearwater Revival (often referred to as Creedence or CCR) was an American rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s which consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and ...more

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#15 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #1 of 15 Bands Whose Whole Thing Is Hating Each Other The Best Creedence Clearwater Revival Albums of All Time

6
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
Genre: Christian music, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Jailhouse Rock, The Sun Sessions, From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential '60s Masters, Can’t Help Falling in Love / Rock-A-Hula Baby, Elvis Presley (Legacy Edition), + more

Labels: Sun Records, RCA Records

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known mononymously as Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th ...more

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#365 of 1,139 The Best Actors in Film History #26 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive The Best Elvis Presley Songs of All Time

7
The Everly Brothers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
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Albums: Christmas With The Everly Brothers, The Everly Brothers Sing Great Country Hits, It's Everly Time, Born Yesterday, All-Time Original Hits, + more

Labels: Cadence Records, Mercury, Warner Bros. Records, Razor & Tie, RCA Records

The Everly Brothers were an American country-influenced rock and roll duo, known for steel-string acoustic guitar playing and close harmony singing. Consisting of Isaac Donald "Don" ...more

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#88 of 844 These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time #352 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Everly Brothers Albums of All Time

8
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
looksharp added Genre: Rock music, Rhythm and blues & Rock and roll; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Great Twenty-Eight, Maybellene, Two Great Guitars, Rock, Rock, + more

Labels: ATCO Records, Chess Records, Mercury

Charles Edward Anderson Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" ...more

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#556 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #145 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time The Best Chuck Berry Albums of All Time

9
The Kinks is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
ChangesDownClub added

Albums: The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur (or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire), The Kink Kronikles, Something Else by The Kinks, Face to Face, + more

Labels: Sony Records, London Records, MCA Records, PRT Records, Universal Records, + more

The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. The ...more

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#239 of 502 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s #121 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Kinks Songs of All Time

10
The Who is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
CWinn added

Albums: Who's Next, Tommy, Quadrophenia, Live at Leeds, The Who Sell Out, + more

Labels: Decca Records, MCA Records, ATCO Records, Brunswick Records, Geffen Records, + more

The Who are an English rock band formed in London in 1964. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass guitarist John Entwistle and ...more

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#14 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #10 of 133 Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About The Who's 'Who Are You'

11
The Mamas & the Papa... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
looksharp added

Albums: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, Deliver, The Mamas & the Papas, Monday, Monday, + more

Labels: Dunhill Records

The Mamas & the Papas was an American folk rock vocal group that recorded and performed from 1965 to 1968, reuniting briefly in 1971. They released five studio albums and seventeen singles, ...more

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#135 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #70 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands Jaw-Droppingly Out-Of-Control Stories From The Mamas & The Papas

12
Bee Gees is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s

Albums: Saturday Night Fever, Main Course, Spirits Having Flown, Living Eyes, Size Isn't Everything, + more

Labels: RSO Records, Warner Bros. Entertainment, ATCO Records, Leedon Records, Rhino Entertainment, + more

The Bee Gees were a pop music group formed in 1958. Their lineup consisted of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The trio were especially successful as a popular music act in the late ...more

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#1,025 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time The Best Bee Gees Albums of All Timelisted on List of Famous Bands from Australia

13
The Hollies is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s

Albums: Would You Believe?, Bus Stop, He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother / 'Cos You Like to Love Me, The Hollies, + more

Labels: Parlophone, EMI, Imperial Records, Epic Records, Polydor Records, + more

The Hollies are a British rock group best known for their pioneering and distinctive three-part vocal harmony style. The Hollies became one of the leading British groups of the 1960s (231 weeks ...more

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#186 of 465 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers #511 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Hollies Albums of All Time

14
Simon and Garfunkel is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
ChangesDownClub added

Albums: Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sounds of Silence, Bookends, The Graduate, The Concert in Central Park, + more

Labels: Columbia

Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They are best known for achieving commercial and critical success in the ...more

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#17 of 454 The Best Duos of All Time #27 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time The Best Simon And Garfunkel Songs

15
The Jimi Hendrix Experie... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
richerb added

Albums: Electric Ladyland, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, Live at Monterey, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, + more

Labels: MCA Records, Polydor Records, Reprise Records, Barclay Records, Track Records

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was an English-American rock band that formed in Westminster, London, in September 1966. Composed of singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, bassist and ...more

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#14 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time #20 of 277 Rank the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

16
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
Genre: Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul & Pop music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Songs in the Key of Life, Innervisions, Talking Book, Stevie Wonder's Original Musiquarium I, Music of My Mind, + more

Labels: Motown Records, Tamla Records

Stevland Hardaway Morris (born May 13, 1950), better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. A prominent figure in popular music, ...more

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#116 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #8 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time The Best Stevie Wonder Songs of All Time

17
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
DennisNJ added

Albums: The Doors, L.A. Woman, Strange Days, Morrison Hotel, Light My Fire, + more

Labels: Warner Music Group, Rhino Entertainment, Elektra Records

The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger. The band took its ...more

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#193 of 285 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame #31 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time The Best Doors Albums of All Time

18
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
MatthewGill added

Albums: The Wall, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Meddle, Animals, + more

Labels: Harvest Records, EMI, Tower Records, Columbia, EMI Records, + more

Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London in 1965. They emerged from London's underground music scene during the late 1960s, and became one of the most commercially successful and ...more

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#4 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time #4 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time The Best Pink Floyd Songs

19
Eric Burdon & the An... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s

Albums: The Greatest Hits of Eric Burdon and The Animals, House of the Rising Sun, The Best of The Animals, The Best of the Animals, The Singles Plus, + more

Labels: Decca Records, Atlantic Records, ATCO Records, Jet Records, MGM Records, + more

The Animals are an English rhythm and blues and rock band, formed in Newcastle upon Tyne in the early 1960s. The band moved to London upon finding fame in 1964. The Animals were known for their ...more

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#106 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #906 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Animals Albums of All Time

20
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
looksharp added Genre: Outlaw country, Christian music & Americana; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: American V: A Hundred Highways, American IV: The Man Comes Around, At Folsom Prison, American Recordings, American III: Solitary Man, + more

Labels: Mercury, American Recordings, Legacy Recordings, Columbia, Sun Records

John R. "Johnny" Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, ...more

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#108 of 330 The Coolest Actors Ever #29 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive The Best Johnny Cash Songs of All Time

21
Led Zeppelin is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
Crabbs added

Albums: Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin II, Physical Graffiti, Houses of the Holy, + more

Labels: Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group, Polydor Records, Swan Song Records

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham. ...more

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#10 of 424 The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands Of All Time #2 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time The Best Led Zeppelin Songs

22
Cream is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
richerb added

Albums: Disraeli Gears, The Very Best of Cream, Fresh Cream, Wheels of Fire, Those Were the Days, + more

Labels: RSO Records, ATCO Records, Polydor Records, Reprise Records, Reaction Records

Cream were a 1960s British rock supergroup power trio consisting of bassist/singer Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker, and guitarist/singer Eric Clapton. Their unique sound was characterised by a ...more

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#26 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #84 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Cream Albums of All-Time

23
The Monkees is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
looksharp added Genre: Bubblegum pop, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Then & Now...The Best of the Monkees, Headquarters, Daydream Believer / Goin' Down, Head, More of the Monkees, + more

Labels: Rhino Entertainment, Bell Records, Arista Records, Colgems Records, RCA Records

The Monkees are an American rock and pop band originally active between 1966 and 1971, with reunion albums and tours in the decades that followed. Their original line-up consisted of the ...more

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#27 of 285 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame #147 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time The Best Monkees Albums of All Time

24
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
looksharp added Genre: Lubbock sound, Rock music & Rockabilly; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Buddy, 20 Golden Greats, What You Been A-Missin': What You've Been A-Missin', The Buddy Holly Story, That'll Be The Day, + more

Labels: Decca Records, Brunswick Records, Coral Records

Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American musician and singer-songwriter who was a central and pioneering figure of ...more

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#87 of 695 The Best Rock Vocalists #102 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time What Actually Happened The Day The Music Died?

25
Jefferson Airplane is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s
looksharp added

Albums: Surrealistic Pillow, Volunteers, Bark, Long John Silver, Crown of Creation, + more

Labels: Epic Records, Grunt Records, RCA Records

Jefferson Airplane was a rock band based in San Francisco, California, that became one of the pioneering bands of psychedelic rock. Formed in 1965, the group defined the San Francisco Sound and ...more

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#89 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #93 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Jefferson Airplane Albums of All Time