10 Greatest Music Albums of the '60s

What are the 10 most influential albums of the 1960s? 

The '60s was an interesting decade for music. We saw the emergence of hard rock, surf music, psychedelic, and of course Beatle Mania!  The '60s marked the start of many genres of sound, and paved the way for how much of the music we love sounds today.

So, in our final part of the music decades review, in no particular order, here are ten of the most significant albums released in the '60s.  Each and every one of these popular albums were hugely important in their own right, and here's why...

The Beatles, ‘Abbey Road’

Abbey Road was the last thing The Beatles recorded, and yet if you listen to this album carefully, you'll notice there wasn't a single sign of fatigue setting in.  The Fab Four, in many people's minds, saved their best for last, and who are we to argue? 

Abbey Road felt like a real group effort, with Lennon and McCartney at their ultimate song-writing best, and Harrison penning two of his best songs. Heck, even Ringo had significant input in this masterpiece, with “Octopus’ Garden” and contributes his only drum solo in the group’s history on “The End.”

The Beach Boys, 'Pet Sounds'

Up until around 1966, it was hard to think of anything else than surfing on the waves crashing against a hot beach, when The Beach Boys were mentioned. But all that changed with the release of Pet Sounds, an initially unsuccessful album for the group that is now its most beloved. 
The album took the band into a new direction, evolving its sound and purpose in the process, which was urgently needed, especially when you consider how varied and far ahead of the game the Beatles were. This album cemented The Beach Boys as one of the most successful music artists of the '60s. 

Marvin Gaye, ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’

Marvin Gaye, on the brink of his socially conscious breakthrough What’s Going On, closed out the ‘60s with this collection that obviously sought new places. I Heard It Through the Grapevine became one of Motown’s defining moments, and is still regarded as one of the most significant albums of its genre. 

Bob Dylan, 'Highway 61 Revisited'

Highway 61, much like the thoroughfare that stretches from Dylan’s native Minnesota and follows the Mississippi down to New Orleans from which it takes its name, represents a certain musical journey. While Highway 61 is the route the delta blues took to travel north, Highway 61 is Bob Dylan’s path to the stratosphere. It’s the logical next step after Bringing It All Back Home, expanding upon the electric sounds he played with on that record. - PasteMusic
This was the type of rock ‘n’ roll music the kids were getting into at the time, and if there was ever a decade when an artist truly hit their peak, it was Bob Dylan. His masterpiece track, “Like A Rolling Stone", should not go unmentioned. 

The Doors, 'The Doors'

The Doors’ 1967 self-titled debut catapulted the Los Angeles four-piece from house band at the Whiskey A Go-Go into the national spotlight. The colossal rise of the band would be down to the smash hit singles “Light My Fire” and “Break On Through (To The Other Side).”  But the album doesn't end there - it is stuffed full of gems from start to finish, culminating with “The End,” a chilling 11-minute, 43-second Oedipal examination that was as much a performance piece as it was a song. 
Morrison and The Doors would grow beards and foray into more blues-based material in the ‘70s, but The Doors will always be the album they are most remembered for, and rightly so.

Johnny Cash, 'At Folsom Prison'

Johnny Cash had been arrested twice in 1965—for smuggling Dexedrine capsules across the Mexican border and trespassing in Starkville to pick flowers. But his interest in prisons dated back to 1953, when he saw Crane Wilbur’s drama Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison.  The 1955 hit “Folsom Prison Blues” resulted in invitations from inmates around the country to come play their prisons, something he did fairly regularly early in his career. But it wasn’t until 1968, when drug abuse had led to career struggles that the singer approached Columbia Records with the idea for a live album from a penitentiary. 
He played two 24-song sets at Folsom with Carl Perkins, the Tennessee Three and his future wife June Carter, whittling the album down to 16 tracks. The venue is a perfect fit for a man who’d struggled with his own demons and could sing about them honestly without losing sight of his own redemption.—Josh Jackson

John Coltrane, ‘A Love Supreme’

Jazz played a rather significant role in the 1960s, and John Coltrane was instantly one of the genre's leaders. Through all its agitation—the off-kilter drum fills, furious horn solos, and rolling bass lines—there’s an underlying heartbeat centring the rhythm when it almost falters. 
Released in 1965, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme was certainly a jazz classic. This album was a shining example of cohesion, with Coltrane at the helm. It is regarded as one of the most important jazz albums ever created, and with its legacy firmly intact, there's no chance of that changing.

The Beatles, ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’

Forget everything else, because in a decade packed with popular culture, and finding its way through so many intersting musical genres, the biggest and most significant album of them all came crashing onto the scene in 1967. The Fab Four’s golden years took place from approximately 1965-1969, during which they transformed themselves and continually progressed on the grandest of scales.

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr took The Beatles to new and incredible heights with the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Anyone could argue that this album is the greatest Beatles release, from their personal taste, but no one can argue its impact and significance - it was and still is the most game-changing album ever made.

Falling in the middle of their fruitful, mid-’60s run, The Beatles continued Revolver’s experimental production techniques, sprinkled in lyrics that ranged from everyday life to drug usage, and combined genres including infectious pop, traditional Indian music and straightforward rock ‘n’ roll. Like the album’s iconic artwork, the group’s music offers a brilliant and spontaneous sonic hodgepodge, cohesively sewn together and perfectly sound-tracking the ever-changing times of the 1960s.
Max Blau

The Jimi Hendrix Experience ‘Are you Experienced’

Are You Experienced was more than just a damn good rock album - it defined Jimi Hendrix as a great music artist, and also helped him grow into his role as a recording studio visionary, helping change perceptions of what a rock song could sound like. 
Released in 1967, this amazing blend of psychedelic songwriting and wizard-like electric guitar, sounded raw, and more thrilling and powerful than anything on the scene at the time. “Foxy Lady” has one of the downright nastiest riffs ever recorded, and “Fire” is the most appropriately titled song in rock historyAll in all, this album is a masterful rock classic!

The Velvet Underground & Nico, ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ 

The Velvet Underground & Nico's debut album was released in March 1967, after being recorded in 1966. The band were featured on Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable tour, which gained attention for its experimental performance sensibilities and controversial lyrical topics, including drug abuse, prostitution, sadomasochism and sexual deviancy. 
The Velvet Underground & Nico actually sold poorly and was mostly ignored by contemporary critics, but later became regarded as one of the most influential albums in the history of popular music. In 2003, it ranked 13th on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time", and in 2006, it was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.

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