ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Music of the Sixties

Updated on January 26, 2013
Now this is the sixties!
Now this is the sixties! | Source

Beach Boys

The Beach Boys on the Ed Sullivan Show
The Beach Boys on the Ed Sullivan Show | Source


Freedom! There was no greater time than the sixties for young people so aware of and defensive of their "Freedom". Rock n roll music, civil rights, a man on the moon, a presidential assassination, Vietnam, Cuban missile crisis, Martin Luther King, the "counter-culture" revolution, the anti-war movement, gay rights, these things made the music of the sixties. Anyone who lived through the sixties has visions of Haight Ashbury, California in their heads along with flowers in girls' hair and guys and gals doing the twist. There is no other music like music in the sixties! Just like there was no other time like the sixties!

A blend of rock n roll, ballads, folk, protest, all popular in the sixties. The decade when youth found their voice and they weren't afraid to use it. Even Ed Sullivan (TV host) brought the best music to TV. Concerts, sing-a-longs, sit ins, records, TV, songs were everywhere. Not to mention sit ins and protests, ah, the sixties.


Sixties Music Hits (A partial list)

Louie Louie
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Like a Rolling Stone
You've Lost That Lovin Feelin
My Girl
Light My Fire
She Loves You
Whole Lotta Love
Proud Mary
Be My Baby
The Sounds of Silence
Soul Man
Pretty Woman
Ticket to Ride
Tracks of My Tears
California Dreamin
Mony Mony
Bad Moon Risin
Surfin USA
Glad All Over
I'm Believer
The Wanderer
In My Life
I Can See For Miles
Hit The Road Jack
Get Off My Cloud
Good Lovin
Unchained Melody
Turn, Turn, Turn
A Natural Woman
Hang on Sloopy

Sixties Rock Songs

Some of the best rock n roll came from Mowtown! Founded in 1960, Mowtown Records provided the world with a new sound. Mowtown was the first record label owned by an African American and included artists like Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. The first hit for Mowton Records was "Shop Around" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

At the same time, Elvis got out of the Army and started singing again. His first album was "Elvis is Back". Songs like "Are You Lonesome Tonight", "Return to Sender", "Good Luck Charm" and "Blue Hawaii" were all hits. Twenty-two movies and a marriage to Priscilla made the sixties a busy time for Elvis.

Hips were moving to "The Twist" by Chubby Checker and "Twist and Shout" by the Isley Brothers. Johnny Cash sang "Ring of Fire" and the Bee Gees sang "To Love Somebody".

Oh and I have to mention the Beach Boys. I'm from New York but I loved their California sound! They started in 1961 and took over the music scene. They had thirty six top forty hits including; "I Get Around", "409", "Surf City", "Surfin' Safari", "Don't Worry Baby", to name a few, and everyone loves "Good Vibrations". There were lots of issues after Carl Wilson died in 1998, however, the group has performed together several times in 2012 though there are currently no official reunion plans.

No one can forget the rise of the Beatles! In 1964 they came to America and brought their own sound and music. The four mop tops from across the pond took America by storm. Everyone was singing "She Loves You". The Beatles were so successful they were quickly followed by other British groups like The Rolling Stones, Dave Clark Five, Dusty Springfield, Peter and Gordon, Petula Clark, Donovan, The Who and The Moody Blues. British voices rocked the airwaves.

Good Vibrations


Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan performing at St. Lawrence University, New York, November 1963.
Bob Dylan performing at St. Lawrence University, New York, November 1963. | Source
Songs Of Protest
Songs Of Protest

Protest songs from artists like the Kingston Trio, Barry McGuire, Donovan and more.


Protest Music

While the Ronettes and Marveletts were singing, a new talent hit the radio airwaves, one Joan Baez who used her folk music for political activism. She was more or less the beginning of folk and "social enlightenment" songs. "I went to jail for 11 days for disturbing the peace; I was trying to disturb the war." Joan Baez. She teamed up with Bob Dylan, musically and romantically, and the movement was on it's way. Protest and activism where now a part of the music scene.

We have always had "patriotic" music in this County, and there has always been protest music in the world but this protest music took patriotism to a new level. Hippies and "Flower Power" led the way. Even though rock n roll was new on the scene, it's artists recognized the influence their music had over their listeners.

Since I've already mentioned Bob Dylan, why not look at his "Blowin in the Wind"? "The answer my friend is blowin in the wind." Dylan was telling the world, the answer is right in front of us but we can't see it! Stop looking and do something! Guess that applied then and it applies now, "the answer my friend is blowin in the wind". Many of these singers were geniuses in their own right, trying to set the world straight. Modern day troubadours that took up where medieval ones left off.

We know from experience, Baez and Dylan were far from our only protest singers. Even everyday rock n roll singers jumped on the bandwagon and sang protest songs. To name a few:

  • Turn, Turn,, Turn - the Byrds
  • He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother - Kelly Gordon
  • Coming Home Soldier - Bobby Vinton
  • Daddy's Home - Shep & the Limelights
  • In the Year 2525 - Zager and Evans
  • Give Peace a Chance - John Lennon

John Lennon became well known for his protest to the Vietnam war and then, any war. He constantly promoted peace and love.

Pete Seeger joined the 1960s movement and brought his past experiences with him. Seeger always stood up for the working man and believed in his country.

Have you listened to the words of Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence"? Yet another protest song, but done gently; "in restless dreams I walk alone.... People talking without speaking, People hearing without listening, People writing songs that voices never share And no one dared, Disturb the sound of silence."

In The Year 2525

Peter Paul and Mary

Promotional picture of Peter Paul and Mary
Promotional picture of Peter Paul and Mary | Source
Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary
Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary

This album includes some of the best known and most loved songs given to us by the trio of Peter, Paul, and Mary. A free MP3 version of the album is included.


Folk Music

The folk music revival paralleled the protest music, even included it in some instances. Often referred to as the 'counter-culture', folk music represented the feelings of the sixties. More than half of the population was under thirty years old in the sixties. Hippies appeared on the scene believing in peace and free love. Of course when one thinks of hippies, Woodstock comes to mind. Woodstock, a rock music festival promoting that belief in peace and free love.

It has been said that folk music didn't last because you couldn't dance to it. I don't know if that's true or not but I do know it lost it's place in popular music after the early seventies. While it was popular, however, there were great artists and great songs.

The Kingston Trio was one of the most well known folk groups of the sixties, though they started in the late fifties. Songs like "Scotch and Soda" had that old folksy sound. Probably one of their most well known songs is "Tom Dooley", the song based on the 1886 murder of Laura Foster by Confederate Tom Dula (pronounced Dooley). He was Laura's lover and fiance. The murder and trial were widely covered in the newspapers at the time.

"Hang down your head Tom Dooley, hang down your head and cry,
Hand down your head Tom Dooley, poor boy you're gonna die."

Another famous group, or rather trio, were Peter, Paul and Mary. Let me correct that statement, they are probably the most famous folk group to come out of the sixties. They would be Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers. They recorded their first album in 1962. Their recording of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" was a big hit. Just for your information, Pete Seeger wrote the first three verses of that song.

"Puff the Magic Dragon" was probably their biggest hit and is still used as a children's song today. It was written from a poem written by a college student, and is about the loss of childhood innocence, not drug use as is often implied. Peter, Paul and Mary liked to include children's songs in each of their albums.


Puff the Magic Dragon


The music of the sixties encompasses a world of talent, types and songs. The artists that emerged in the sixties are among the best loved ever! The top songs of the sixties are hard to pick. Ask different people, go to different sites on the Internet, and you'll get different results. Where you were and what you were doing will most likely influence your choice.

Those not around in the sixties will have a totally different perspective and may not appreciate the songs we do.

I hope you've enjoyed this little trip down memory lane and this glimpse at music in the sixties.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I grew up with fifties and sixties movies Au Fait so I guess it's in my blood. I still love to listen to it. Thanks for reading and for the votes.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      Love all this music you've mentioned. Seems like I appreciate the Beatles more as time goes on and I think they may even outshine Elvis one day. Yes, they took some of their inspiration from him but they are so versatile. I've only begun to realize that so many songs I love were written and performed by the Beatles.

      Wonderful article and it sure brings back memories. I listen to all this music practically everyday. I like our classic rock station, KLUV out of Dallas, and they specifically play 60s, 70s, and have just added 80s to their repertoire.

      Voted up and BAUI.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      CJ, I think the music we relate most to is the music from our teens. As we are starting to "come into our own" we are paying more attention to the music and tend to remember it fondly. Thanks for the wishes and may I return them to you!

    • profile image

      CJ Sledgehammer 

      6 years ago

      Nicely done, Mary. Reminds me of a hub I wrote a couple weeks ago. As they say, "Brilliant minds think alike." :0)

      Although I was a young lad back in the '60's, I still remember a great deal. In many ways, I wish I could go back in time, but it's pointless.

      Even though my top ten favorite songs are dominated by the 60's, I still claim the 70's as the best decade for music overall.

      It seems we reached our peak as a nation in the 70's and it's been all downhill since.

      Best wishes and be well - C.J. Sledgehammer

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      There's certainly lots of rock music available. I know the seventies and eighties from my kids!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      I'm a great rock music, especially of the late sixties and seventies. Thanks for introducing other genre of the music.


    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Oh Mike, thank you for the lovely comment!

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      6 years ago from London

      Now this is it... a hub for our beloved sixties!! Love the era, thanks for the presentation and the good vibrations we received after reading it :)

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Denise. It sure was an easy and fun one to write.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Boy have you hit the memory box with this one, Mary! I enjoyed the walk down memory lane. :) UP/A

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Oh Paul, I don't know how I left out the Four Seasons, they were my husband's favorite group! Thanks so much for the votes and share. Its always nice to see you here.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      6 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


      This is a great hub and it certainly brings back fond memories. I loved the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and especially the Motown sound. The Four Tops is one of my most favorite groups. Please don't overlook Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Before the Beatles music caught on America, I think the Four Seasons was one of America's most popular groups. After I heard "Dawn" in the fall of 1963, I was hooked on the Four Seasons with their beat, crooning, and the falsetto of Franki Valli. Voted up and sharing on Facebook and with followers.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Not only do I love your comment HawaiiO, but your choice of words transcends my hub! Love it. Thank you so much for reading and leaving such wonderful thoughts. (God I remember paisley print!)

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      You took on quite the challenge here, Mary, and did an excellent job. This was more than a was a panoramic, psychedelic, and paisley print production! : )

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      It seems everybody's got favorites from the sixties Teaches. Glad I could bring back memories.

      You are so right Brett, I never thought of it that way. The strong feelings made for great music and strong memories. I am truly grateful for all your sharing and votes.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      6 years ago from Asia

      With all that was going on at the time, it is not surprising that the music is powerful. The situations and changes inspired strong feelings, both good and bad, which shine through in the music of the era.

      Shared, pinned, tweeted, up, awesome and interesting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      You have mentioned many old favorites of mine: Turn, Turn, Turn was such a hit with everyone back then. Loved the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary are still loved today. Thanks for the memories.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Oh Peg, now you walked me down memory lane. I can remember quarter after quarter to hear our favorite songs playing! Pete Seeger wrote and sang "If I Had a Hammer", PP&M sang it and later Trini was a great song.

      Katherine, funny you should say that about Dylan. The first time I heard him singing I thought he was terrible! His message and laid back manner changed my mind.

      So glad you love the music and liked my hub WND.

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      6 years ago from Alabama

      What a sweet stroll down memory lane. I love the 60's music.

    • kohuether profile image

      Katherine Olga Tsoukalas 

      6 years ago from New Hampshire

      I like a lot of the music from the 60's but I can't seem to get into Folk Music. The closest I come to that genre is Bob Dylan, and I like him more for the music he provided others (Mr. Tambourine Man, Watchtower) than for the music that he sings himself. I find his voice to be grating.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Yes I did enjoy this, Mary. You touched on all the greats of that era. I loved the song "Good Vibrations" and remember putting a quarter in the juke box at a diner and choosing some of these wonderful numbers when my family traveled. We sang along to the Peter, Paul and Mary folk ballads and even sang "If I Had a Hammer" for concert chorus in high school. Thanks for the memories. Peg

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      The writer of Puff was right Jools, dragons live forever! Generations to come will still be singing about Puff. That particular Springfield song is great! Perfect example of the times..."everybody look what's going down"...good advice!

      Thanks Michael, you're so right, turbulent and wonderful. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • cleaner3 profile image


      6 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      Mary this is a great remeinder of the divesity of people and music in that fabulous time called the sixties. a lot of memories here I was on a young man then but it was a turbulent time and a wonderful time . great hub.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Great hub Mary with some wonderful examples shared. I loved The Byrds and we used to sing Puff The Magic Dragon at primary school. My favourite protest song is 'For What It's Worth' by Buffalo Springfiend, written by Stephen Stills.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Wouldn't it be grand if you still had your '69 Camaro Billy my friend? Glad you found this hub fun to read, it was definitely fun to write!

      Janine, I know my generation kept singing these songs...we still do! Glad you enjoyed them and this hub.

      pstraubie, I did the same thing. We spent all our spare time listening to 'records'! We used to try to find places to sing where the echo would be good! Hope the angels are watching you too!

      How right you are Jack. Seems the strides made in the sixties were lost in the seventies. Elvis, the Beach Boys, the Kingston Trio and the Everly's were among my favorites as well.

      Alecia its good to know you understood our songs because it shows you understood our generation as well. I bet your parents were happy about that ;)

      How wonderful for you Michelle, to have such a talented Dad. This music can surely stick in your head. Thanks for the votes and share.

      bdegiulio, my husband was thrilled when we got satellite radio in the car. I think the radio is glued to one station ;) It was hard picking videos so I'm glad you like the ones I did.

      Effer, you've almost quoted Simon & Garfunkel, "..and the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains..." NO crying! Laughing, remember? Thanks my friend.

      Michiganman, with a few exceptions, the songs of the sixties did have melodies you could understand. Thank you for stopping by!

      Thanks for the tip Mhatter. I'll have to check out your FB page.

      Carol, I really love memory lane...I don't want to live in the past, but I don't want to forget it either.

      Thanks Gypsy. It sure was a fun, easy going time.

    • Gypsy48 profile image


      6 years ago

      This hub took me back to my teenage years. So many great songs and artists! Well done:)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I love the 60s music...And it was a trip down memory lane for sure. You did a great job in reviving this great music period.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I didn't get into 60's music until really late. If you like 60's music stop by my FB wall. You might run into a favorite or two.

    • michiganman567 profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      Hi Mary. I like some of the music from the 60s. Motown will last forever with their classic sound. Maybe one day we will return to musical days like that again. This current generation doesn't produce anything of note. I turn on the radio in the car and they play the same songs that they played 10-20 years ago.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Another fun and wonderful walk down Memory Lane...oh how I love them.

      The times.....what an era. The music that is so cemented into our brains....that all these years later, we can still sing along and not miss a beat or a word. Perhaps it's because we could actually hear and understand the words, in the 60's?

      My hubby had the most beautiful black,'67 Chevy Malibu....standard, on the interior.

      I think I'm about to cry....Bye bye.............UP+++

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Mary. What memories. I still listen to 60's stations on the radio. You hit on some of my all-time favorite; the Byrds, Elvis, Beatles, The Temptations, Beach Boys, etc. A great time for music. Love the video's. Really enjoyed this. Voting up and sharing. Great job.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      I grew up with these, Mary! Because my dad is a singer and guitarist who works as a full time musician in pubs, restaurants as well. I grew up listening to it. Thanks for sharing, and am definitely voting up and passing it on.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I love 1960s music. I'm an 80s baby and a 90s kid but my parents are boomers so I heard Motown, the Beatles, and Janice Joplin to name a few. Even though I wasn't around in that time, I completely understand the sentiment and the passion behind it. It is an era of music that will never cease to capture the imagination. Great hub!

    • Jackwms profile image


      6 years ago

      I absolutely loved this. I was born in 1936 and some of my more memorable year were the 196o's with the music you have introduced here. Peter, Paul and Mary were one of my favorites, as was The Everly's, Kingston Trio and all the others . Hippies were , by and large, idealistic young people, that I admired at the time, although I had to keep my nose to the grindstone to support a family. The "protest movement" really did a lot to educate the country about the necessity of wars. Unfortunately, this was lost in the next generation.

      Thanks for posting.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from sunny Florida

      The tunes of the sixties take me way back to a time when one of the things my best friend and I did was listen to records. And we would walk around outside singing them too. When the Big Bopper died, we cried together.

      thanks for the memories...

      Sending Angels your way :) ps

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      6 years ago from New York, New York

      This is more my parents generation Mary, but I grew up listening to so many that I feel like it is mine too by extension. You captured so many of the greats in one place and like so many of them. So thank you for sharing them all here. Have of course voted way up and shared, too!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I did indeed enjoy this trip down memory lane. Thanks for bringing back the classics. There will never be another time like it. Wish I still had my '69 Camaro. :) Fun hub, Mary!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)