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10 Underrated but Influential British Rock Bands of the 1960s, that changed music FOREVER

Updated: Nov 7, 2023



The 1960s were a golden era for British rock music, with a wide range of influential bands emerging on the scene. While some of these bands have gone on to become household names, others have been somewhat overlooked and underrated. Here are 10 of the most influential but underrated British bands of the 1960s.


The Move - This band was formed in Birmingham in 1966 and were known for their complex arrangements and eclectic influences. The Move's music was a mix of rock, pop, and psychedelia, and they were a major influence on the glam rock movement of the 1970s. The band released several hit singles in the 1960s, including "Flowers in the Rain," "Fire Brigade," and "Blackberry Way," and they were known for their energetic live performances. Their lead singer, Carl Wayne, was once bitten by a venomous snake while performing on stage.



The Nice - formed in 1967 in London and known for their innovative use of classical music elements and experimental approach to rock music. The Nice released several critically acclaimed albums in the 1960s, including "The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack" and "Ars Longa Vita Brevis," and they had a devoted fan base. The band's keyboardist, Keith Emerson, went on to become a key figure in the progressive rock movement of the 1970s. The Nice were the first rock band to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London.


The Kinks - Formed in Muswell Hill, North London in 1963, The Kinks were a pioneering force in the development of rock music. Led by brothers Ray and Dave Davies, the band's music was characterized by its catchy melodies, clever lyrics, and innovative use of guitar effects. The Kinks released a string of hit singles in the 1960s, including "You Really Got Me," "All Day and All of the Night," and "Lola," and they went on to influence a wide range of artists including The Smiths, The Jam, and The Bollandistes. Their hit single "Lola" was inspired by a real-life encounter that lead singer Ray Davies had with a transvestite in a bar in France.



The Creation - This band was formed in 1966 in London and was at the forefront of the psychedelic rock movement in the 1960s. The Creation's music was characterized by its use of distorted guitar sounds and experimental song structures, and they were a major influence on a wide range of artists. The band released several hit singles in the 1960s, including "Making Time" and "Painter Man." Lead singer, Kenny Pickett, once got into a scrap with Jimi Hendrix at a party.


The Small Faces - This band formed in 1965 in East London and was at the forefront of the mod movement in the 1960s. The Small Faces were known for their energetic live performances and their eclectic blend of rock, soul, and British beat. The band released several critically acclaimed albums in the 1960s, including "Small Faces," "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake," and "The Autumn Stone," and they had a major influence on the Britpop scene of the 1990s. Their most memorable hit was "Itchycoo Park," which is known for its catchy hook and surreal lyrics. An interesting fact about The Small Faces is that their drummer, Kenney Jones, went on to become the drummer for The Who after the death of Keith Moon.



The Zombies - This band was formed in 1961 in St Albans and was known for their innovative blend of pop, rock, and jazz. The Zombies released several hit singles in the 1960s, including "She's Not There," "Tell Her No," and "Time of the Season," and they went on to influence a wide range of artists. The band's frontman, Colin Blunstone, has continued to enjoy a successful solo career. The Zombies were one of the first bands to use a Moog synthesizer on a rock record.



The Pretty Things - This band was formed in London in 1963 and was known for their raw and energetic sound. The Pretty Things released several critically acclaimed albums in the 1960s, including "The Pretty Things" and "SF Sorrow," and they had a devoted fan base. The band's lead singer, Phil May, was known for his powerful vocals and their music continues to be celebrated by fans and critics alike. The Pretty Things were once banned from performing on the BBC due to their controversial stage antics.


The Action - This band was formed in London in 1964 and was known for their energetic and influential music. The Action released several hit singles in the 1960s, including "I Love You," "Shadows and Reflections," and "Something Has Hit Me," and they were a major influence on a wide range of artists. The band's guitarist, Pete Watson, went on to become a key figure in the punk and new wave movements of the 1970s and 1980s. The Action were the first band to record at the famous Abbey Road Studios.


The Attack - This band was formed in 1966 in Bromley and was known for their innovative and influential music. The Attack released several hit singles in the 1960s, including "Anymore Than I Do" and "Try It," and they were a major influence on a wide range of artists. The band's lead singer, Dave Cairns, went on to enjoy a successful solo career.



The Gods - This band was formed in London in 1966 and was known for their innovative and influential music. The Gods released several hit singles in the 1960s, including "Hi Ho Silver Lining," "Let Me Love You," and "I Can't Help Myself," and they were a major influence on a wide range of artists. The band's lead singer, Ken Hensley, went on to become a key figure in the hard rock and heavy metal movements of the 1970s and 1980s.


These 10 bands may not be as well-known as some of their contemporaries, but they were all influential and innovative forces in the development of rock music in the 1960s. Their music formed the foundations of a musical legacy that continues to this day and although they may not share the fame and recognition of some of their contemporaries, their contributions were and are undeniably valuable. Which other bands do you think deserve a mention as a forgotten influence?




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