The only time I get to experience the 60s is whenever I watch Mad Men. It seemed like a magical era as the world decided to move forward after two grand wars; sexism and racism started getting challenged;  social taboos were discarded and individual freedom became of utmost importance.

It was the era of civil rights, flower power, LSD, Woodstock, Che Guevara and Martin Luther King Jr. Not surprisingly, most of the music I enjoy is also from that era. In fact, it saddens me deeply to see what passes for music in this generation! But let’s not talk about bad things, here are five music artists who ruled in the 60s and made music so beautiful that words really can’t capture their greatness.

PS –Bands like The Doors, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Black Sabbath fail to make the cut because despite forming in the sixties, they achieved their success in the next two decades.

Bob Dylan

Perhaps the greatest artist on this list, Dylan has been redefining music from the 60s, transcending a variety of genres to create his own identity. Starting off as a counterculture icon who wrote protest songs to someone who transcended and fused genres like country, rock and roll, gospel and even jazz. While he still continues to perform, there is no denying that best work was in the 60s.

Top Songs: Don’t think twice, it’s all right, Blowing in the Wind, The Times they are a changin’

The Beatles

The most popular band of all time, The Fab Four redefined culture and became the first global music icons. John Lennon wasn’t wrong when he said they were bigger than Jesus (even though it caused a PK-like reaction in the States. Isn’t it nice how similar the offended are everywhere?). No other band ever has come close to their popularity.

Top Songs: Let it be, Lucy in the sky with diamonds, While my guitar gently weeps

The Rolling Stones

If The Beatles were the good boys of classic, then The Rolling Stones were their edgier counterparts. They’re the only band in this list that is still together, alive and active, which’s a miracle if you consider the amount of drugs they abused! The band members, particularly Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, became indelibly part of counterculture. Ironically, Mick Jagger went on to get knighted. But Keith Richards got an even greater accolade when Johnny Depp based Captain Jack Sparrow’s mannerisms on him!

Top Songs: I can’t get no satisfaction, Sympathy for the devil, You can’t always get what you want

Simon and Garfunkel

It wasn’t just about the British bands in the 60s, the American duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel gave us some of the most melodious tracks known in folk rock. The use of their song Mrs Robinson in Dustin Hoffman’s The Graduate would go on to earn them widespread acclaim!

Top Songs: The Sound of Silence, The Boxer, Scarborough Fair Canticle

Jimi Hendrix

And any list about the sixties is incomplete without the greatest guitarist of them all – Jimi Hendrix!  He might have just lived for just 27 years and released three albums, but Hendrix created a new era of music. He was the pioneer of the electric guitar and also set the bar for onstage showmanship!

Top Songs: All along the watchtower (Bob Dylan Cover), Purple Haze, The Wind Cries Mary