11 Rock Songs You Must Learn To Play 1960s


A rock concert is one of the most powerful experiences any person can go through and enjoy. Due to thousands of voices chanting the lyrics of angry, nostalgic or empowering songs coupled with energizing guitars and mighty drums at the same time, the lights flashing identically, the heads banging. Rock concerts are definitely one of the few things in the world that can bring millions of people and feelings together in just a couple of minutes.

In the 1960s, the entire situation was even better. Rock was only in the diapers as it has evolved from several popular genres combined with innovative techniques, and colorful and rebellious legends alike were setting the grounds for what we know now as the rock. When giants walked the earth with their guitars strapped to their backs and drumsticks clenched in their fists, it was not only possible but also frequent that music festivals gathered young and old people alike when rock was only being born.

Teenage boys, as well as girls, use rock songs as anthems, grown men cry at concerts, women name their babies after rock legends and also the whole world convulses when an idol from the golden days dies. We could say that rock is a feeling like nothing else. And here you will learn everything you need to know about the iconic songs from the ’60s that shaped rock decades ago, but still are classics even today, from the information about the artist and the particular song, to how tabs and technical information to rock hard.

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Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower

Year: 1967
Album: Electric Ladyland
Genre: Rock
Difficulty: Hard

Johnny Allen Hendrix, also known as Jimi Hendrix, was a guitarist, singer, and songwriter widely regarded as one of the most iconic figures in music to ever live and a true cultural icon. While his career only lasted 4 years, it was more than enough for him to rise to legend status, and several influential artists, magazines and musical organizations view him as one of the most influential electric guitarists and general instrumentalists in history. Music-halls of fame and musical organizations as well inducted Jimi Hendrix over the years and the Rolling Stone magazine declared him Performer of the Year in 1968. Also, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has described him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music”.

Even if Bob Dylan originally wrote the All Along The Watchtower in a folk-rock version, one of the most popular versions is the one that Jimi Hendrix made for the album Electric Ladyland, and it is frequently more associated to him than to Bob Dylan for his particular style and technical novelties likewise. Also, it reached number five on the British charts being the first UK stereo only single to do so. In addition, it reached number twenty on the Billboard chart. It also appears as number 47 on the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list by Rolling Stone magazine.

Technical Information:

  • Tuning: D# G# C# F# A# D#
  • Tempo: 113 bpm
  • Played by: Lead and two rhythm guitars
  • Chords used: Cm, A#, G#,
  • Special accessories: No
  • Scales used (key): Ab
  • Played with: Pick
  • Amp settings: Moderate distortion and overdrive (lead guitar), Clean (rhythm guitar)
  • Right-hand techniques: Palm mute and Whammy bar
  • Left-hand techniques: Hammer-on, pull-off, vibrato, slide up, slide down and dead notes.
  • All Along The Watchtower guitar tabs

Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze

Year: 1967
Album: Are You Experienced (Original North American Edition), first released as a Single.
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Difficulty:  Intermediate

Jimi Hendrix’s second consecutive appearance on this list should be enough to understand how incredibly iconic and legendary a figure he was not only in rock music but in culture and general music alike.

Jimi Hendrix wrote Purple Haze for his band The Jimi Hendrix Experience and then released it as a single in 1967. The song uses the signature so-called “Hendrix chord” and a mix of blues and Eastern modalities, and some people regard it as one of the first psychedelic rock pieces and one of the best. Later, the Grammy Hall of Fame inducted Purple Haze, and also many “greatest guitar songs” lists include the song, such as #1 on Q magazine and #2 on Rolling Stone magazine.

Technical Information:

  • Tuning: E Standard
  • Tempo: 109 bpm
  • Played by: Lead and rhythm guitar
  • Chords used: E7#9, G, A, E5, F#5, D5, A(sus2), B, D, D# (lead); E, G, A, B, Bb (rhythm)
  • Special accessories: No
  • Scales used (key): D
  • Played with: Pick
  • Amp settings: Mild distortion
  • Right-hand techniques: Palm mute and Whammy bar
  • Left-hand techniques: Bend, vibrato, hammer-on, pull-off, slide up, slide down and dead notes.
  • Tab links for the song:

Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love

Year: 1969
Album: Led Zeppelin II
Genre: Hard rock and Blues-rock
Difficulty: Intermediate

Led Zeppelin was a legendary British rock band, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, and John Bonham formed it in 1968. They combined several different styles into what would become the foundations of rock music, thus gaining incredible fame and recognition worldwide and also becoming widely recognized as one of the most successful and influential rock bands in history. While six of their albums reached the number one spot at the Billboard chart, they also are the second-best-selling band in the history of the US and also the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted them in 1995.

All the members of Led Zeppelin composed Whole Lotta Love for their second album, “Led Zeppelin II”. It is not only one of their best-known songs, but also a legendary and worldwide-famous rock song that has transcended history and generations alike. Because of this, later in 2014, voters at the BBC Radio 2 chose the opening riff for Whole Lotta Love as “the greatest guitar riff of all time”, and it also ranked number 75 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s “The 500 greatest songs of all time” later.

Technical Information:

  • Tuning: E Standard
  • Tempo: 88 bpm
  • Played by: Lead guitar
  • Chords used: D, E, A
  • Special accessories: No
  • Scales used (key): A
  • Played with: Pick
  • Amp settings: Heavy distortion and overdrive
  • Right-hand techniques: Palm mute
  • Left hand: Bend, slide down, pull-off and vibrato
  • Whole Lotta Love guitar tabs

The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Year: 1965
Album: Out of Our Heads
Genre: Blues Rock and Hard rock
Difficulty: Easy

The Rolling Stones are one of the most influential rock bands of history, and they are still performing after more than fifty years of career. The band was formerly composed of Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, and Ian Stewart, but has undergone several line-up changes over the years, with Jagger, Richards, Watts and also Ronnie Wood being the current members. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted them in 1989 and they also ranked four on the Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list later.

The Rolling Stones wrote and also released (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction in 1965 as a single. It is one of the most popular songs by the band and also in general rock history. It ranked number two in the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list by Rolling Stone Magazine, and also the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress of the US later added it to its collection in 2006.

Technical Information:

  • Tuning: E Standard
  • Tempo: 136 bpm
  • Played by: Lead and rhythm guitar
  • Chords used: E, A, E6, Asus4, B
  • Special accessories: No
  • Scales used (key): D
  • Played with: Pick
  • Amp settings: Mild distortion and overdrive
  • Right-hand techniques: Palm mute
  • Left-hand techniques: Pull-off
  • (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction guitar tabs

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun

Year: 1964
Album: The Animals
Genre: R&B/Soul, Rock
Difficulty: Easy

The Animals are an English rock and rhythm & blues band formerly composed by Eric Burden, Alan Price, Chas Chandler, Hilton Valentine and John Steel in the early 1960s. While they have changed styles, management and also line-up several times over more than fifty years of career, their initial style and hit songs are the most iconic and remembered features of the band. The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inducted them in 1994.

The House of the Rising Sun was formerly a traditional folk song before The Animals did their version in 1964, and this version has become one of the most popular because of its iconic beginning with an arpeggio and also Eric Burden’s particular style of singing it with a gritty and also bluesy voice. Also, the song later ranked number 122 in Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and also received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.

Important information:

  • Tuning: E Standard
  • Tempo: 117 bpm
  • Played by: Rhythm guitar
  • Chords used: Am, C, D, F, E,
  • Special accessories: No
  • Scales used (key): Am
  • Played with: Pick
  • Amp settings: Light distortion
  • Right-hand techniques: Arpeggio
  • Left-hand techniques: None
  • House Of The Rising Sun guitar tabs

The Who – My Generation

Year: 1965
Album: My Generation
Genre: Rock and Hard rock
Difficulty: Easy

The Who is a legendary English rock band formed in 1964 by Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon. They are widely recognized as one of the most successful and also influential bands in rock history, and also several halls of fame have inducted them later, such as the Rock and roll Hall of Fame in 1990, where their display describes them as “Prime contenders, in the minds of many, for the title of World’s Greatest Rock Band”.

The Who originally wrote and also later released My Generation as a single in 1965. It ranked number eleven in the Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of all Time” list, and it is also part of “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”.

Technical Information:

  • Tuning: E Standard
  • Tempo: 96 bpm
  • Played by: Lead and rhythm guitar
  • Chords used: G, F
  • Special accessories: No
  • Scales used (key): Cm
  • Played with: Pick
  • Amp settings: mild distortion and overdrive
  • Right-hand techniques: None
  • Left-hand techniques: Bend, slide up, hammer-on and pull-off
  • My Generation guitar tabs

Chubby Checker – The Twist

Year: 1960
Album: Twist With Chubby Checker
Genre: Rock and roll, pop
Difficulty: Easy

Chubby Checker is an American rock and roll singer and dancer. Many regard him as the inventor of the “twist” dance style, which he popularized with his 1960’s hit cover of the song “The Twist” in the television show American Bandstand. He also popularized the limbo dance music and style later.

Hank Ballard and the Midnighters originally wrote and also released The Twist, but when the host of the television show American Bandstand tried to get Ballard to perform it live he was busy, so Chubby Checker accepted and then rose to international fame with his rendition, while at the same time inventing and also popularizing the twist dance style.

Technical Information:

  • Tuning: E Standard
  • Tempo: 156 bpm
  • Played by: Rhythm guitar
  • Chords used: B7, A, E,
  • Special accessories: No
  • Scales used (key): E
  • Played with: Bare fingers or fingerpick
  • Amp settings: Mild distortion
  • Right-hand techniques: None
  • Left-hand techniques: None
  • The Twist guitar tabs

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence

Year: 1964
Album: Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
Genre: Folk Rock
Difficulty: Easy

Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk-rock duo formed in 1956 by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. As one of the most influential duos in rock history, they rose to international fame in the mid-1960s. Also, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted them later in 1990 and their album Bridged Over Troubled Water reached number 51 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” as well.

Simon & Garfunkel composed and also released The Sound of Silence as a single in 1964. Many modern influential artists, such as Disturbed and Passenger, have later covered the song as well. Also, The National Record Registry of the Library of Congress added the song to its collection in 2012 and it also reached number one of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966.

Technical Information:

  • Tuning: E Standard
  • Tempo: 108 bpm
  • Played by: Lead guitar (intro) and rhythm guitar (rest of the song)
  • Chords used: Am, G, F, C, C/B
  • Special accessories: Capo (6th fret)
  • Scales used (key): F#
  • Played with: Bare fingers or fingerpick
  • Amp settings: Clean acoustic
  • Right-hand techniques: Arpeggio
  • Left-hand techniques: None
  • Tab links for the song:

The Kinks – You Really Got Me

Year: 1964
Album: Single
Genre: Hard rock and Garage rock
Difficulty: Easy

The Kinks are an English rock band formed in 1964 by Ray and Dave Davies. They are widely recognized as one of the most influential and also important rock bands from the ’60s. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later inducted them in 1990 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 as well. In the early stages of their careers, they gained a reputation for reflecting on English culture and also lifestyle.

Ray Davies, of The Kinks, wrote You Really Got Me for the band, which then released it as a single in 1964. It also later reached number one on the UK singles charts and then remained there for two weeks. It was also famously covered by Van Halen later in 1978 and reached number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well.

Technical Information:

  • Tuning: E Standard
  • Tempo: 137 bpm
  • Played by: Lead and rhythm guitar
  • Chords used: F5, G5, A5, C5, D5, D, D7
  • Special accessories: No
  • Scales used (key): Ab
  • Played with: Pick
  • Amp settings: Heavy distortion and overdrive
  • Right-hand techniques: None
  • Left-hand techniques: Bend, pull-off, and release
  • You Really Got Me guitar tabs

The Beatles – I Want To Hold Your Hand

Year: 1963
Album: Meet The Beatles!
Genre: Pop Rock
Difficulty: Easy

The Beatles have a special place in any list, as they are widely regarded as the most commercially successful and relevant band of all time. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison in Liverpool formed The Beatles in 1960, and, later, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted them in 1988. Also, the Time magazine’s compilation of the 20th century 100 most influential people list included them collectively.

The Beatles wrote I Want To Hold Your Hand in 1963. While it is impossible to pin one Beatle’s song as the most popular since practically all of their discography and LPs included several frenzies causing songs, it is among the most popular and treasured songs by the band. It also later reached number 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 and it ranked the 44th biggest hit of all time ever to be on the Billboard Hot 100 as well.

Important information:

  • Tuning: E Standard
  • Tempo: 131 bpm
  • Played by: Lead and rhythm guitar
  • Chords used: C, D, G, Em, B7, Dm7, Am,
  • Special accessories: No
  • Scales used (key): G
  • Played with: Pick
  • Amp settings: Very light distortion
  • Right-hand techniques: Palm mute
  • Left-hand techniques: Slide up, slide down, bend and release
  • I Want To Hold Your Hand guitar tabs

Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman

Year: 1964
Album: Single
Genre: Rock and Roll
Difficulty: Easy

Roy Kelton Orbison was a singer and songwriter known for his complex song structures, impassioned singing style and also his darkly emotional ballads. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted him later in 1987. Likewise, The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame inducted him later as well. Also, he later ranked number 37 in the “The 500 Greatest Artists of All Time” list by Rolling Stone magazine.

Roy Orbison and Bill Dees wrote Oh, Pretty Woman, and Roy Orbison released it later as a single in 1964. Billboard also ranked it the number 4 song of 1964. Furthermore, Orbison’s live recording of the song on a television special later earned him a posthumous Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1991 as well.

Important information:

  • Tuning:  E Standard
  • Tempo: 127 bpm
  • Played by: Lead and rhythm guitar
  • Chords used: A, F#m, D, E, Dm, G7, Am, C, C7,
  • Special accessories: No
  • Scales used (key): A
  • Played with: Pick
  • Amp settings: Mild distortion/overdrive
  • Right-hand techniques: Palm mute
  • Left-hand techniques: None
  • Oh, Pretty Woman guitar tabs

Conclusion

It is undeniable that rock music has shaped entire generations, and still today is one of the most popular music genres and movements as well. Thus, legendary rock bands have transcended history, and also many rock songs are among the most popular and also celebrated songs of all time, and it is hard to fathom how important were the 1960’s to help rock be what it is today since the bands laid the foundations and developed novel techniques, technologies and playing styles during this period. These eleven iconic rock songs from the ’60s are a must-have in your guitar repertoire.

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Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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