Rock, pop and R&B came into their own as forces for change in the '60s, whether that meant protesting a war, putting social ills into perspective, or celebrating free love. Suddenly, the sounds coming out of the radio were at the center of the culture.

It's no surprise, then, that there are books titled When the Music Mattered: Rock in the 1960s as well as '60s Rock: When the Music Mattered ... and also When Music Mattered: American Music in the Sixties.

The '60s were marked by political and societal change, even as the drawn-out conflict in Vietnam began to sharply escalate. A president was murdered. Woodstock arrived with great promise then Altamont simply snuffed it out. The Civil Rights movement found its voice, even as women began their own march toward greater liberation. Sexual attitudes changed. Haircuts, too. As a result, the generation gap never felt wider.

READ MORE: Top 100 '60s Albums

These songs reflect all of that – as do the sometimes complicated stories surrounding the bands who made them. Whatever their internal issues, all of these groups left their marks in memorable, often ruggedly individualistic ways.

But then what happened? Of course, some of the bestselling bands of the '60s were short-lived, indeed. Almost all of them went their separate ways. The ones that remain, including the Who, Chicago and the Beach Boys, have moved forward with much-changed lineups – primarily due to tragic losses.

Stacker used data from the Recording Industry Association of America to determine the biggest groups based on diamond, platinum, or gold ratings. Solo artists were not included. Check out Bestselling Bands of the '60s: Then and Now, with details on how they started out and where they are today:

25 Bestselling Bands of the ’60s: Then and Now

Stacker used data from the Recording Industry Association of America to spotlight 25 of the bestselling bands of the '60s. Here's how got together – and what happened next.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

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