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The Zombies
I was drawn to this band in part because it was one of few with a real musician integrating the keyboard work into the music (Rod Argent).  The sounds was a bluesy, often  minor or major 7th chord laced sound that appealed, and made She’s Not There and Time of the Season big top 40 hits.  Often the album tracks are better than the singles and their album work is first rate.  Their Odyssey & Oracle is the famous album, but all carry quality sounds and lyrics that say something.  Here are some links to the present members and to past successes.  Only together for a few years, there is not a lot of music, but for me the single best rock band ever.

THE Kinks
The Kinks are in the Rock Hall of Fame, and deservedly so. Ray and Dave Davies combined for some great songwriting and guitar work, and the songs are sometimes funny, sometimes social commentaries, sometimes good time music, and always worth a listen.   The Davies’ are credited with influencing future music and styles.  My early favorite of theirs was “Well Respected Man” but “Sunny Afternoon”, “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night” still hold up as classics.

The Yard birds
These guys got my attention with “For Your Love” which was an easy 4 chords on keyboard or guitar.  “Shape of Things” and “I’m a Man” were solid hits too.  Most notably, guitar icons Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page all cycled through the group at various times.

The Dave Clark Five
In my high school crowd the Beatles were seen as kind of “girl’s band”.  A somewhat similar group that we liked was the DC5, who hit us with “Bits and Pieces”, “Glad All Over”, “Do You Love Me” and “Catch Us if You Can”  among others.    The Beatles of course left some songs that are still covered today by artists; the DC5 did not.  But their sax guy brought back a 50s rock sound, Mike’s keyboards held things together and his voice is under-appreciated.  Dave Clark was an enormously creative guy but the band’s legacy is not today, it is from its long run in the 60s. They quit on top

The Jefferson Airplane
The whole hippie, psychedelic, Summer of Love thing did not hit with much force in central Iowa,  and I never was a large fan of this group or the succeeding bands of this type (except for the Doors).   But the guitar opening on “White Rabbit” and the force of “Somebody to Love” are iconic.  And women as lead singers were rare at that time.  I saw Grace Slick do a VH1 interview and  she was asked why she and/or the surviving Airplane members did not tour like so many 60s rock groups are doing to this day.  “Old people on stage are pathetic” replied Grace.   I would not buy that 100%, but it is very often true.  Leave it where it belongs.

The Doors
“Light My Fire” will be played a century from now.  Like the Zombies, I liked these guys because of the keyboard prominence from Ray.  And like the Zombies some lesser hits or album tracks resonated with me such as “People Are Strange”,  “Crystal Ship”,  and “Moonlight Drive”    Jim of course was among those who died young, and among the few who sang lyrics on Ed Sullivan that Ed had told them not to sing.  My friends and I did not aspire to be rebels or druggers or any of that, but this band got past that with epic vocals and keyboards and guitar where it was needed.

The Hollies
Probably the best vocal band of the 60s era, these guys gave us a gem in “Bus Stop” and some cool ideas in”Look Through Any Window”  and  “I’m Alive”.  Graham Naish of course went on to greater fame  with Crosby and Stills and so on.  The  instrumental  work was good and always had some catchy thing from Tony, but it was the vocal sound that set these guys apart.

The Association
I’ve long been attracted to a softer sound and The Association, like the Hollies, was a top vocal band who did more with voices than most any other group.  “Cherish” put them on the map, and then “Windy” and “Along Comes Mary”.  There’s a fun album track called “Dubuque Blues” and while their albums are not especially memorable they had lots of greatest hits that contained solid musicianship.

Carole King
Rarely does a day go by without my sitting down at the piano for “I Feel the Earth Move”, “Been to Canaan”, and “Been So Long”.  No better songwriter than Carole King and an awesome performer as well.  Tapestry is of course one of those legendary albums.

Carly Simon
“These are the good old days”.  Simon’s “Anticipation” reminds us all of that.   I play “That’s the Way it Should Be” a lot on the keyboard.  “You’re So Vain” has probably been sung to lots of ex-romantic partners since Carly Simon had that hit.   Likewise for “Haven’t Got Time for the Pain”.   Along with Carole King, another legendary songwriter.