The 411 Music Top Five 11.19.13: Top 5 1960s Acts
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 11.19.2013
From the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin and more, the 411 staff count down their top 5 musical acts of the 1960s!
THE TOP 5 1960s Acts
Criteria: The 411 Music Zone is going to take a trip through the decades of popular music for the next few weeks! First up for us is the 1960s. While popular music in its current form really kicked off in the 1950s, it is the '60s where a lot of elements really began to coalesce into something amazing. This week we're looking at the best acts to exist during that decade.
I'll start this out by saying out of the 5 bands on this list, Cream is the one that I know the least about. I think it's probably because they're the least tenured and popular in terms of mainstream play, but I do love what I have heard of them. They were one of the best power trios of their era, and possibly any era, and they also had the first worldwide platinum double album. Which is pretty damn good, if you ask me.
4. Led Zepplin
I'm sure everyone saw this coming, they had to show up somewhere, right? But the reason why I put them all the way back here is because I feel like their greater output was in the next decade. Sure, we got two classic albums from Zepplin in the 60s, but the best was yet to come, so expect more of them later!
3. Creedence Clearwater Revival
This is all my dad's fault; if it weren't for him, I would enjoy this band nearly as much as I do now. They were really one of the earliest tastes of a southern rock that I ever had, and I really have never looked back, at least deep down. Even under all my metal, I still have a soft spot for Southern rock, I guess it's due to my roots, and where I live, but this band is to blame for all of this, even over Lynyrd Skynyrd.
2. Jimi Hendrix Experience
Besides my number one, I would say that this band is one of the most influential bands in all of this decade, mostly because of their guitar player, the gone too soon Jimi Hendrix. To this day, I'm still blown away by some of the riffs that Hendrix has come up with. His solos are also the things of beauty, and I still think one of the greatest musical tragedies is Jimi passing away. Remember guys, drugs are bad.
1. The Beatles
I honestly couldn't give you any other answer. I'll be 100% honest with you all, I'm not THAT big of a fan of theirs. Sure, their music is pretty good, and I like them, but you'll never hear me claiming that they're the greatest band ever. Maybe my tastes don't give me the right to claim who is the best band ever, but I honestly find the Beatles to be a great band that have sure a giant bubble of hype behind them that it is hard to live up to that hype train if you aren't wowed by them at first listen. With that being said, they truly are the best band of the 60s. Every member of the band was a great musician, and they were great lyricists, but maybe I just don't "get" them. While I don't think that they're the best band ever, but when you look at who they influenced, and how big they are in terms of influence and the love people have for them, they do deserve a top spot. They also get extra points for their music being one of the two bands used by the hilarious Beatallica.
Honorable Mention: The Supremes, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Marvin Gaye, Roy Orbison, The Who
5. Aretha Franklin
Come on, really? Do you really need an explanation of why Aretha Franklin is one of the top five artists of the 1960s? Oh, right, that's the whole point, my bad. Seriously though, the Queen of Soul set the bar by which every other female singer has been measured since. And almost without exception, they come up short from what Aretha pushed it to. Of course you have her anthem "Respect," but my personal favorite will always be the one below, "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." It's R&B/pop music at its absolute finest.
4. James Brown
From the Queen of Soul to the Godfather. Though James Brown wouldn't truly earn that title until the 1970s, he was nothing less than amazing on the build up to that in the '60s. As the frontman for the Famous Flames, Brown built his name on pushing the boundaries of how far soul music could penetrate into the mainstream. And yes, he would certainly push it further once the decade was over but with tracks like "Don't Mind" and "I'll Go Crazy" he certainly laid the groundwork.
3. Bob Dylan
Yes, him again. Dylan's height as an artist was undoubtedly the 1960s and in many ways he exemplified the era; he was a vital part of the rising influence of folk in rock music before he cast his banjo aside (metaphorically) and went electric, changing the face of rock and roll in the process. Dylan is the supreme songwriter of this era (and perhaps any other), and he shaped the course of popular music during the 1960s as strongly as almost anyone else had or has since. He is my favorite, but I couldn't quite push him to #1 on this list because of THE feud.
2. The Rolling Stones
Ahh, yes...THE feud. And by the feud, I mean the one that the media desperately wanted to pop up between the Beatles and the Stones, but which never did. The Stones, like James Brown, hit their heights a touch after the 1960s were over and that's the only thing that keeps them from #1 here; they weren't at their peak. But Jagger, Richards, Jones, Wyman and Watts gave us some of the all-time great rock songs of the era, bar none.
1. The Beatles
This week we have a no-brainer for #1. The Beatles may have faded a bit as time went on but during the 1960s they were clearly the top band. No one set records like they did, and more to the point no one had a level of sheer quality all-around like they did. Dylan was a better lyricist than Lennon & McCartney; the Stones were better showmen. Hendrix was a better musician. But the Beatles had the perfect balance between all of those and captured the essence of music during that era. No one was better than the Beatles at their best, not even my favorites.
The Final Word
As always, the last thoughts come from you, the reader. We're merely unpaid monkeys with typewriters and Wikipedia. Here's what you need to do: List your Top Five for this week's topic on the comment section using the following format:
5. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
4. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
3. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
2. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
1. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it