6 rock bands huge in the '60s but largely forgotten today

You just don't hear "Over and Over" and "Kicks" much these days.

Despite what some say, classic rock will never die. The Rolling Stones are heading out on another tour of football stadiums. A biopic about Queen was one of the cinematic crazes of 2018. Heck, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is currently the No. 2 rock song in America right now as this sentence is being typed (and many of Queen's greatest hits are just below it). On the retail front, Target sells Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd T-shirts. There's big money is decades-old rock.

What's interesting is that Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead were hardly best-selling acts in America in the 1960s. Their critically acclaimed albums peaked at chart positions like No. 87, No. 73, No. 131. Meanwhile, the Monkees, Herman's Hermits and the Lovin' Spoonful were sitting pretty at the top of the charts.

Herman's Hermits and the Lovin' Spoonful no longer have the same clout as, say, the Doors. This is quantifiable thanks to streaming numbers. Spotify tracks the number of monthly listeners for every act. Icons like the Beatles rake in 17.5 million listeners per month. But the Fab Four are deified. So let's move down to groups like the Doors (6.7 million), the Kinks (4.8 million) and the Monkees (3 million). Then there are influential bands like the Velvet Underground (2.3 million) and the Yardbirds (1 million) who have only grown in stature since their days as Sixties cult acts.

That brings us to the following six groups. Back in the day, they had numerous Top 10 hits and multiple best-selling albums. They appeared on television shows. Some of them even had their own movies. Heck, a few even saw their likenesses turned into toys and dolls. Today, however, they scrape up a meager 100,000 or 200,000 Spotify spins per month. 

To put that in perspective, Eighties one-hit wonders like Kajagoogoo (317,000) and Tommy Tutone (348,000) perform better than these wonderful acts.

We'll try to figure out why. Let's take a look.

1. The Dave Clark Five


There are two basic, obvious means of staying relevant. Musicians need to 1) license their music and 2) make it available. Simple, right? Well, the Dave Clark Five is the case study of what happens when a band tightly locks up its tunes and rights. You just do not hear the group's songs anymore, nor are they available on streaming. Go ahead, search. The Dave Clark Five, named for its drummer and featuring singer Mike Smith, are downright obscure. And we want to stress how HUGE this band was from 1964–67. It churned out 14 Top 20 hits. The Tottenham quintet appeared a whopping 18 times on The Ed Sullivan Show, more than any other British Invasion act. Warner Bros. released a movie starring the boys, titled Having a Wild Weekend in the States, directed by the guy who eventually did Deliverance. The Remco toy company even churned out Dave Clark Five action figures. And yet… if a Millennial can name one of their songs, it's a miracle.

Image: The Everett Collection

2. Paul Revere & The Raiders


In the span of months, in that 1966-67 sweet spot, the Raiders knocked out four Top 10 hits. Dozens of their songs charted, as the Boise-born band finally landed a No. 1 in 1971 with "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)." Sporting colorful Revolutionary War outfits, the Raiders seemed to appear straight out of a cartoon. No wonder they were the rockers performing at the Penguin's election party in the campy Batman episode "Hizzoner the Penguin." If anything, the colorful wardrobe is perhaps what kept Paul Revere & The Raiders (202,000 Spotify listeners per month) trapped in its era. The band is just so of its era. Rock stars still aspire to look and sound like Jim Morrison. Nobody is out there dressing like George Washington while singing "Ooh Poo Pah Doo." Alas.

Image: The Everett Collection

3. Chad & Jeremy


Like Paul Revere & The Raiders, Chad & Jeremy popped up on Batman. Catwoman attempted to steal the duo's voices in "The Cat's Meow." The Caped Crusader spoiled her plans, naturally, and the band sang "Distant Shores" and "Teenage Failure." The two turned up on other sitcoms, too. The English folk-rocker appeared on both The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Patty Duke Show in a one-week span. Jeremy Clyde guest starred on My Three Sons, as well. All that screen time helped send ditties like "A Summer Song" and "Willow Weep for Me" high up the charts. Hipster filmmaker Wes Anderson helped bring "A Summer Song" back into the pop consciousness when he included it on the 1998 Rushmore soundtrack. But two decades later, the easy, breezy twosome is drawing a mere 104,000 listeners on Spotify.

4. The Cowsills


This family band from Rhode Island thrived through television and died by television. Led by their mom, Barbara, the six siblings appeared all over television, on everything from game shows (To Tell The Truth) to Ed Sullivan. In 1968, NBC cast booked Buddy Ebsen to feature in a TV special about the Cowsills, A Family Thing. Their name recognition helped the Cowsills (111,000 monthly listeners) send two tunes, "The Rain, The Park & Other Things" and "Hair," to No. 2 on the Billboard charts. At the end of the decade, Screen Gems approached the Cowsills about starring in TV series. There was one catch — the studio wanted to recast their mom with Shirley Jones. The kids said no, so a fictional band modeled after the Cowsills was whipped up from scratch. It was called The Partridge Family. The facsimile erased the need for the original and quickly superseded it.

Image: The Everett Collection

5. The Young Rascals


This New Jersey quarter scored three still-familiar No. 1 hits with "Good Lovin'," "Groovin'," and "Got to Be Free," one per year from 1966–68. That was enough to earn the band a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. But over the last two decades, the group has fallen into relative obscurity (226,000 listens per month), perhaps because people are unsure whether to call 'em the Rascals or the Young Rascals. (And maybe, just maybe, younger generations confuse them for the Little Rascals?) Again, clothing might be an issue. Dressing up like 19th-century schoolboys might have been cool at the time, but the Little Jack Horner look has fallen out of style.

6. Jan and Dean


Jan and Dean rode the wave of the surf craze in the early 1960s. Heck, the tall and handsome Los Angeles boys helped kickstart the trend. In 1963, "Surf City" became the first surf tune to top the charts. They were the Beach Boys before the Beach Boys, singing odes to sand and hot rods. But the Beach Boys evolved, dramatically and psychedelically, while Jan and Dean (219,000 monthly listeners) could never shake the Archie Andrews vibe, sounding like a relic of a bygone era of doo-wop and soda fountains.

Image: The Everett Collection

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GordARebelato 48 months ago
Other artists like the Dave Clarke Five that are overly protective of their material have also found themselves irrelevant. I know Elvis Enterprise had to lighten up on their copyright as they realise if they are too protective of his music, they won't bring in the younger audience and that soon his music will die out.
MarquitaMartin 48 months ago
These were some of my favorite bands. I had posters of Mark Lindsay plastered all over my bedroom walls when I was a young teen-ager. Jan and Dean was the duo that got me listening to pop music. Before I had been more a folk music and blues listener or classical music.
HTA 58 months ago
I did search. You can find the Dave Clark Five on Spotify. A little fact checking would be nice.
MikeBugal HTA 58 months ago
They are on YouTube too
You might like this:
60s,70s,80s music free
LauraUrbikKern 63 months ago
Proud to say I have the albums for most of these guys! want to borrow them Rick?
EdCaf 63 months ago
I completely disagree they're "largely forgotten" today. Come on. If you listen to classic rock or pop, they're still pretty significant. One thing I did learn however, I always thought the Rascals were a Long Island band, not New Jersy.
Lacey 63 months ago
No fame is as fleeting as Rock fame.
TImes change and each new generation of "Record Execs" is out to find the next new thing.
The past be damned. You adapt or you die.
Paul 63 months ago
Strange they'd mention Chad and Jeremy and not Peter and Gordon.
RedSamRackham 63 months ago
Cowsills kids were wanted for Partridge Family cast but turned it down when told Shirley Jones would be their TV mom instead of their real mom. ♣
RedSamRackham 63 months ago
Zombies should be on the list. They had a sound ahead of their tme when Beatles were still doing I Wanna Hold Your Hand ☺

LadyJ230 64 months ago
Ok, I will search. The Dave Clark 5 is on iTunes. I just checked (3/14/19) and their full catalogue is available for sale on the site. Very embarrassing article. So many factual errors that could have easily been fact checked.
RedSamRackham Jeff 63 months ago
* While DC5 had Mike Smith as great lead singer & Lenny Davidson as capable lead guitar Dave never played droum on recordings and studio musicians enhanced their sound. On TV appearqnces they lip synched their songs and never did live concerts. Great songs but not a great band. When Beatles changed dirtection of rock with Sgt Pepper DC5 fizzled.
GordARebelato Jeff 48 months ago
Maybe now but I heard that years ago before the internet that they were very protective of the material.
Kevin 64 months ago
Its ironic that I'm reading an article about "obscure groups" when there is an ad on the same page for a radio station which plays this exact music.
jamesreyes65549 64 months ago
I listened to all the groups and they're so memorable to remember.
You might like this > https://live365.com/station/SongsInTime-Online-a26770
60s,70s,80s music free
Emma 64 months ago
These groups are hardly obscure. It just seems that way to millennials since they and the author of this article base it on streaming numbers.
ETristanBooth Emma 64 months ago
Exactly. The article says, "Spotify tracks the number of monthly listeners." Well, I've heard of Spotify, but I'm not sure exactly what it is. Meanwhile, some of us still purchase CDs (I love Chad & Jeremy, and I'm collecting their old albums on CD). I don't want to simply download music because I want the printed sleeves, and I still have a car with a CD player in it.
cperrynaples ETristanBooth 64 months ago
Well, I'm 60 and I know what Spotify is! I also know Pandora [wasn't that the "actress" who played Serrina on Bewitched?...LOL] and iTunes, but my source is Amazon!!
The "actress" who played Serena on Bewitched was named Pandora Spocks. A.K.A Elizabeth Montgomery. There was no separate actress that played Serena. In fact her name is a play on the woman/container from Greek Mythology: Pandora's Box.
HowardSimmons 64 months ago
The Dave Clark 5 were the counterpart to the Beatles. When I was growing up more parents liked the DC5 rather than the Beatles because they were clean cut and didn't have mop tops. I was more of a DC5 fan than a Beatles fan. I think I read that when Dave Clark dies that the bands music will be distributed.
cperrynaples HowardSimmons 64 months ago
Actually, the Stones were the other Beatles and the Monkees were the American Beatles! DC5 were more like the other Herman's Hermits. Am I right, Stephanie?
Whatever you say cperrynaples; seeing as I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. All I know, is that over the years there were three "main" bands to come out of England: RS TB and TW {The Who.} I chose TW to be the best of the "triumvirate." Is this what you are talking about?
Tampammm 64 months ago
Largely forgotten? The Cowsills have been touring the last couple of years with the "Happy Together" tour. Also Mark Lindsey, lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders with the tour also.

Had the pleasure of attending a couple of their shows. They still sound fantastic!
cperrynaples Tampammm 64 months ago
RIP Paul Revere! Stephanie, what was his real name?
His real name was Paul Revere Dick. For [an] obvious reason, he dropped his last name! {There are folks who just can't help themselves from having dirty minds!} This reminds me of Eric Clapton. HIs real last name is Clapp, so I think you know why he added those final three letters! {For those who don't know, "Clapp" is the slang term for VD/Syphilis. }
daDoctah 64 months ago
One of my best sixties "stations" on Pandora began with me asking to hear things that sounded like Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Wouldn't you have loved to see them on a bill with that other "kids of actors" group Dino, Desi and Billy?
cperrynaples daDoctah 64 months ago
"This diamond ring doesn't shine for me anymore..." Didn't Gary hate his father for not getting him a deferment? We know all the money went to his stepsister and stepmother!
RedSamRackham cperrynaples 58 months ago
* Gary Lewis allegedly suffered PTSD after returning from army & Jerry said if govt tried to draft any of his other sons he'd move his family to Canada. So what happened years later to make Jerry disinherit all sons? ♣
stagebandman 64 months ago
Maybe you don't here from The Rascals because they broke up in 1972! Felix Caveliere has had a decent solo career, playing and singing on hundreds of recordings. As for Jan And Dean, well, doesn't anyone there have Google? In 1966, Jan Barry had a major car accident, spent a long time in a coma, and came out with brain damage and partial paralysis. They did some appearances, but he couldn't really sing anymore. Of course, since he DIED in 2004, they haven't been performing lately. BTW, the Beach Boys formed in 1958, the same year Jan And Dean first recorded. And not a word about Mark Lindsay, who had a successful solo career after leaving The Raiders? You people are either lazy, stupid or both.
pw stagebandman 64 months ago
Wow. Kinda harsh don't cha think?
cperrynaples pw 64 months ago
No, it's not! Don't write a post without proper research!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 64 months ago
PS Ask a millennial to find Where Is The Love and he'll come back with Justin Timberlake...LOL!!
pw cperrynaples 63 months ago
I don't need to do research to find out if someone is unnecessarily being mean. P.S. I'm not a millennial (not even close), so if that last comment was meant to hurt my feelings, I'm gonna have to call it "a swing and a miss".
cperrynaples pw 63 months ago
You misunderstood me! I wasn't attacking you, I was attacking MeTV!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 63 months ago
PS so was stagebandman!!!
NormMailer 64 months ago
Find The Underground Garage on your radio or Sirius
Dario 64 months ago
As an oldies fans from the '70s, I find it strange that these acts are considered "obscure." The staff at MeTV must not listen to oldies all that much.
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