In the sixties rock music comes of age and dominates the popular music charts. Elvis Presley continues to score hits in the early part of the decade, but the music continues to diversify with the folk revival, the Brill Building sound, Phil Spector's wall of sound, girl groups and surf music, all impacting the early part of the decade. The Motown, Stax and Atlantic labels bring more african-american artists back to the forefront of the pop charts. By 1964 American artists are sharing the top of the charts with U.K. bands led by the Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In the U.S. garage bands emerge, inspired by the British Invasion sound.
Sixties songwriting moves beyond pop love songs and begins to include social consciousness and political statements. In the latter half of the decade psychedelic music reflects the growing hippie culture. Bubblegum music is created to generate radio friendly pop singles. Album sales begin to gain importance, as a harder rock sound emerges and sows the seeds for heavy metal.
In the sixties, television becomes a major force in rock music as networks try to attract a younger audience. American Bandstand continues with it's afternoon, clean-cut, teen idol format, while the Ed Sullivan Show and other TV variety shows begin showcasing rock bands in prime time. The networks also add the weekly prime time shows Shindig and Hullabaloo featuring dancers and new music for teenage fans.
In the late sixties outdoor rock music festivals begin. First with 1967's Monterey Pop Festival which attracts 55,000 fans per day to a three day concert. In the summer of 1969 the Woodstock Music and Art Fair draws 500,000 people to a three day concert in Bethel, New York.
The Beatles dominate the sixties record charts with 6 of the top 10 albums of the decade and 21 of the decades' top 100 singles. Their nearest competitor is Elvis Presley with 9 of the decades' top 100 singles and 4 of the decades' top 100 albums.