4 of the Best Folk Rock Bands From the 1960s

Folk rock definitely had its hey-day in the 1970s. However, we can’t forget the folk rock bands of the 1960s who paved the way for the entire genre. Some of the following four bands lasted well past the 1960s, but the music they made during that specific era is nothing short of legendary. Let’s take a look, shall we?

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1. The Byrds

This California-based folk rock band made music well into the 1970s. However, their work during the 1960s influenced the likes of The Beatles and other huge bands. In many ways, they put folk rock on the map by 1965. “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” may not have been written by the band, but they put their unique folk rock spin on those tracks and turned them into huge hits. They took a more psychedelic turn through the decade with releases like Fifth Dimension and The Notorious Byrd Brothers.

2. Buffalo Springfield

One can’t deny that Neil Young mastered the art of folk rock, both as a solo artist and through several bands he was a part of. Buffalo Springfield is one such folk rock band from the 1960s that he really shined in. Buffalo Springfield managed to blend folk rock with country and psychedelic elements that made them stand out from similar artists at the time. “For What It’s Worth” is still a beloved protest song today.

3. The Mamas & The Papas

It’s not a list of the best folk rock bands from the 1960s without The Mamas & The Papas! This quartet was formed back in 1965 and delivered some beloved hits that still have listening power today. Hit songs like “California Dreamin’” and “Dedicated To The One I Love” are essential listening for younger fans who may not be familiar with these folk rock pioneers. Cass Elliot’s solo works are also essential listening.

4. Love

This folk rock band is still around, though only one original member (Johnny Echols) still remains. Love is known for their hit album Forever Changes from 1967 which is still considered one of the most culturally significant albums of the decade. Love was one of the very first racially diverse bands of the era, and their music mixed folk rock with psychedelia and garage rock in just the right way.

Photo via The Mamas & The Papas’ The Complete Singles 50th Anniversary Collection album cover

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