Ah, the 1960s — it gave us a lot of memorable moments — Woodstock, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the Civil Rights Movement, and the moon landings to name just a few. Of course, it also gave us plenty of good music — the British Invasion, Motown and R&B, and every type of rock, from psychedelic to surf and more!
While most bands on this list started off small (and hardly able to pay rent), very few could imagine the fame and fortune they would eventually achieve. In this quiz, put your knowledge of ’60s music to the test and see if you can guess each band correctly!
Q: Formed in California in 1961, this band released albums such as “Surfer Girl” (1963) and “Pet Sounds” (1966). Who are they?
A: The Beach Boys
Formed in Hawthorne, California, The Beach Boys were the surf-rock band of the decade — and they have an interesting origin story. The band started as a side hustle while member Brian Wilson’s parents were on a trip to Mexico. His parents left Brian some allowance money, which he used to buy instruments, eventually recruiting the members of The Beach Boys as we know them today.
Q: This vocal group formed in 1960 and produced an impressive number of studio albums including “Gettin’ Ready” (1966) and “Cloud Nine” (1969). Do you know who they are?
A: The Temptations
This Motown classic got their first big break with their top 10 hit single “Cloud Nine” in 1968. The group was well-known for its smooth harmonization, killer choreography, and a massive influence on the R&B and soul scene of the time.
Q: This rock band formed in Palo Alto, California, in 1965 and are remembered for albums such as “Anthem of the Sun” (1968) and “Aoxomoxoa” (1969). Any idea who they might be?
A: The Grateful Dead
This psychedelic rock group from San Francisco was one of the most successful touring musical groups in the history of rock and roll, despite having very few radio hits. Unfortunately, they made some huge money mistakes, hiring a band member’s father to manage their finances. He was caught embezzling money from the band and took off. Regardless, the group amassed quite a devoted following — their biggest fans call themselves “Deadheads.”
Q: This band was formed in Los Angeles in 1965 and their hit albums include the likes of “Strange Days” (1967) and “Waiting for the Sun” (1968). Who are they?
A: The Doors
Formed by two UCLA film students, The Doors were well known for their unrelenting commitment to the music they wrote and performed. Jim Morrison, The Doors frontman, chose the band’s name after reading Aldous Huxley’s novel, The Doors of Perception.
Q: This band was formed in San Francisco in 1965 and is remembered for albums such as “Surrealistic Pillow” (1967) and “Crown of Creation” (1968). Do you recall what they called themselves?
A: Jefferson Airplane.
They were known as one of the pioneering bands of the psychedelic era and performed at a number of famous concerts of time, including Woodstock. Their psychedelic sound was bolstered by wild stage design and album art. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Q: Formed in New York City in 1964, this band put out albums like “White Light/White Heat” (1968) and were famously managed by Andy Warhol for a time. Can you name them?
A: The Velvet Underground.
This New York City band was well known for exploring topics that many considered taboo, including drugs, and sexuality. The band even gave Andy Warhol the famous nickname “Drella,” a portmanteau of Dracula and Cinderella. Singer Lou Reed started building his fortune with a gig at a high school for $75. He eventually achieved major financial freedom, amassing a fortune of $15 million.
Q: This band started their lengthy career in 1966 and put out such albums as “A Whole New Thing” (1967) and “Dance to the Music” (1968). Any guesses as to who they are?
A: Sly and the Family Stone
This group was heralded for their work in the rock and funk genres. But, they were also known for something else: they were one of the first mainstream bands to have male and female members, as well as members who were white and members who were black in the same group — a huge deal at the time.
Q: This band made it big when they released their first album in 1968, which they followed up by even more popular releases like “Bayou Country” (1969) and “Green River” (1969). Can you identify them?
A: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Commonly referred to as “CCR,” they had five singles which all peaked at number two on the charts, but never hit the coveted number one spot. Their style was a fusion of roots, swamp, and blues, and they even performed at Woodstock at three in the morning (right after the Grateful Dead.)
Q: This band was originally active between 1966 and 1971, during which time they released albums such as “Headquarters” (1967) and “Instant Replay” (1969). They are none other than …
A: The Monkees
Both a band and a musical television series, this group, often referred to as the “Prefab Four” were massively influential. Even Star Trek was influenced by the group, with one of the main characters, Pavel Chekov, modeled after group member Davy Jones. Another fun fact: group member Micahel Nesmith’s mother was a true side-hustler. She avoided these 8 common money mistakes and amassed a fortune as the creator of Liquid Paper. She eventually sold the business to Gillette for $48 million!
Q: This rock band formed in 1964 and quickly went to work releasing memorable albums like “Mr. Tambourine Man” (1965) and “Fifth Dimension” (1966). Identify them if you can.
A: The Byrds. Hailing from sunny California, The Byrds were the original pioneers of folk-rock. Their popularity at the time rivaled none other than The Beatles, and their misspelling of “Bird” is a nod to the Brits as well. Eventually, member David Crosby went on to form Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
How’d You Do?
1-3: Maybe the 1960s just isn’t your decade. That’s OK!
4-7: Not too shabby, but you won’t be winning any Grammy awards.
8-10: You’re a rock and roll legend! Hall of Fame, here we come!
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