If you grew up during the ‘60s, you’ll know that the decade was full of incredible individuals whose legacy continues to live on today. Let’s take a look at 18 amazing icons who made the 1960s an unforgettable time to be alive.
Let’s kick things off with a bang. The Beatles sprang into the limelight of the U.S. music scene during the ‘60s and have remained an iconic classic ever since. In fact, according to Statista, they are the best-selling band of all time. Many of their hits, such as “Hey Jude” and “Let It Be,” remain incredibly popular to this day.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. spearheaded the Civil Rights Movement and delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. His huge influence on American society contributed to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Despite being assassinated in 1968, his legacy will never be forgotten.
This list would not be complete without the sixties’ most famous female sex symbol and pop icon. She played a starring role in classics such as Some Like It Hot and The Seven Year Itch, which remain popular to this day. Monroe sadly passed away under mysterious circumstances in 1962, leaving an enduring legacy of intrigue.
Muhammed Ali was an unrivaled boxer in his heyday, claiming the world heavyweight championship in 1964. He was also famous for his charming personality, playful banter, and firm stance against the Vietnam War. “The Rumble in the Jungle” is just one of his fights that will likely live on in public memory for centuries.
Even our younger generations are familiar with Bob Dylan’s incredible music, with hit songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind” becoming classic anthems for anti-war and civil rights movements. As a testament to his enduring legacy, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016.
Jimi Hendrix is one of the most famous electric guitar players of all time, revolutionizing the instrument with his use of feedback and distortion. His 1969 performance at Woodstock went down as one of the most iconic moments in music history.
Janis Joplin is famous for her powerful and bluesy vocals and awe-inspiringly emotional performances. She initially came into the limelight thanks to her role as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company before taking the admirable risk of going solo.
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy served as the 35th President of the United States until his infamous assassination in 1963. However, his public death is not the only thing Kennedy is remembered for. The former president launched several admirable initiatives, including the Peace Corps, and was a firm supporter of the Civil Rights Movement.
If there’s one ‘60s artist whose work made a lasting impact on American culture, it’s Andy Warhol. Warhol is remembered for many of his iconic pieces, including “Marilyn Diptych” and “Campbell’s Soup Cans,” and famously survived Valerie Solanas attempting to take his life in 1968.
Audrey Hepburn remains famous for her starring role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as well as numerous other movies. She became known as a fashion icon who exuded style and grace, but her dedication to humanitarian efforts was equally inspiring.
Neil Armstrong is a name that will undoubtedly be remembered for centuries to come. As the man who first set foot on the moon during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong was both an incredible astronaut and a ‘60s icon who defined an era.
The Rolling Stones
I Can’t Get No Satisfaction without The Rolling Stones making an appearance on this list. This British band became known as the bluesy, rock and roll counterpart of The Beatles. But their rebellious vibe and incredible live performances made them a clear icon in their own right.
Unlike Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X believed in securing the rights of African Americans using any means necessary. He also had a controversial past, being arrested in 1946 for grand larceny, according to PBS. This led to his inspiring story of transforming from a criminal to an iconic civil rights activist whose legacy continues to live on today.
Twiggy was undeniably a fashion icon who became famous around the world for her distinctive thin figure, short hair, and long eyelashes. She appeared on numerous magazine covers and continues to shape fashion trends to this day.
Elizabeth Taylor is famous for her starring role in Cleopatra, which is still known as one of the world’s most iconic films to date. Taylor was equally beautiful, talented, and humanitarian, supporting causes such as AIDS research. She also became known for her rocky relationships, which included several marriages and divorces.
The Supremes have gone down in music history for their numerous chart-toppers, including “Where Did Our Love Go” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.” They also became Motown’s most successful act, helping to break racial barriers in the music scene.
Che Guevara is an iconic figure of revolutionary socialism and rebellion, spearheading the Cuban Revolution with Fidel Castro. Although he is a somewhat controversial individual, his impact on culture will never be forgotten.
Do you know who really deserves some R-E-S-P-E-C-T? Aretha Franklin. Her classic hits, such as “Respect” and “Chain of Fools,” made waves on the music scene and helped push forward the feminist and Civil Rights movements. She also became the first woman to make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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