13 Incredible Bands Like The Byrds: Similar Artists

Written by Dan Farrant

The year 1964 saw the emergence of The Byrds. This American rock band had a distinctive sound that blended folk, rock, and country. Their jangly guitars and harmonious vocals became well-known and inspired many fans and music artists.

In the rich tapestry of modern music, several bands have mirrored The Byrds’ distinctive sound and style. Thus, in this article, we bring you 13 incredible bands similar to The Byrds, whose music echoes the unique sound and style that made The Byrds so memorable. Let’s get started!

The Byrds by KRLA Beat/Beat Publications, Inc. (Public Domain)

1. Buffalo Springfield

Our first band is Buffalo Springfield. This group was a notable folk-rock band that emerged from the Los Angeles music scene of the mid-1960s. They quickly gained recognition for their innovative songwriting, harmonious vocals, and skilled instrumental performances.

Their sound often intertwined elements of rock, folk, and country, much like The Byrds. In particular, Buffalo Springfield’s fusion of these genres played a significant role in shaping the folk-rock scene, an impact that continues to resonate today.

Despite a short career, Buffalo Springfield left a lasting legacy with their impactful discography. Their most renowned track, “For What It’s Worth,” remains a widely recognized anthem for social change.

2. The Hollies

The English pop-rock band The Hollies was formed in Manchester in 1962. With their distinctive three-part vocal harmonies and melodic, upbeat pop hits, they became one of the leading British groups of the era.

The Hollies and The Byrds shared many similarities. Both bands were innovative in using harmonies, which became a defining feature of their respective sounds. Additionally, like The Byrds, The Hollies successfully merged elements of rock with other genres.

Both bands were also talented in creating catchy, memorable melodies that fans loved. The Hollies’ “Bus Stop,” for example, has become an enduring classic, testifying to the band’s timeless appeal and influence on subsequent generations of musicians.

3. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Up next is the folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, often referred to as CSNY. The band was formed by David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young in 1968.

Crosby was a founding member of The Byrds, and his time with the group significantly influenced the formation and sound of CSNY. The band’s sound was characterized by intricate vocal harmonies, socially conscious lyrics, and a blend of folk, rock, and country influences.

Over the years, CSNY created a number of great hits. “Teach Your Children”, “Woodstock”, and “Our House” are just some of their standout tracks. For their amazing contribution, the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

4. The Beach Boys

Music fans will know the name of The Beach Boys. Like The Byrds, The Beach Boys emerged in the 1960s and played integral roles in shaping the sound of the era.

Their songs led to multiple #1 hits and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Some of their most popular tracks include “Good Vibrations,” “Surfin’ USA,” and “California Girls,” which helped define the California Sound.

With an influence as great as theirs, it is not surprising that The Beach Boys was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and in 2001, they received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

5. The Mamas & The Papas

The folk-rock vocal group The Mamas & the Papas was formed in New York City in 1965. Like The Byrds, the band was part of the folk-rock movement that swept the music scene in the 1960s.

The Mamas & the Papas released a total of five studio albums and 17 singles over four years, six of which made the Billboard Top 10 and have sold nearly 40 million records worldwide.

Some of their most popular songs include “California Dreamin’,” “Monday, Monday,” and “Dedicated to the One I Love”. The first song became an instant hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Monday, Monday” also topped the charts and won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

6. The Flying Burrito Brothers

Considering that The Flying Burrito Brothers was formed by two ex-members of The Byrds, Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, it’s no surprise that their sound is similar, though the Flying Burrito Brothers’ music leaned toward country rock.

Their debut album, The Gilded Palace of Sin, released in 1969, was a masterpiece. While it wasn’t a commercial success at the time, it’s now considered a classic of the genre with standout tracks like “Sin City” and “Hot Burrito #1.”

Personnel changes were frequent in the band. Gram Parsons departed in 1970, replaced by Rick Roberts. They continued to tour and record into the early 1980s, but their later work didn’t achieve the same critical acclaim as their early albums.

7. The Lovin’ Spoonful

From the New York City music scene, we have next The Lovin’ Spoonful. Their infectious folk-rock melodies and jubilant jug-band style became their trademark, making them a standout during the American response to the British Invasion.

Like The Byrds, The Lovin’ Spoonful came to be in 1964, and together, they brought their unique sound and style to the fore, forever shaping the musical landscape of the era.

The mid to late 1960s saw The Lovin’ Spoonful ascend to considerable success with chart-topping hits such as “Do You Believe in Magic,” “Daydream,” and “Summer in the City.” The latter even clinched the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1966.

8. The Animals

Like The Byrds, British rock band The Animals left a lasting legacy on the music scene during the 1960s. However, their sound was quite different; the Animals leaned towards blended gritty blues and rock, though some of their songs did have folk influences.

A great example of this is their “House of the Rising Sun” in 1964. This rendition of a traditional folk song, with its powerful vocals and instantly recognizable guitar riff, topped the charts in both the UK and the US. It’s still one of the most iconic songs of the decade.

Throughout their career, The Animals experienced several lineup changes, with vocalist Eric Burdon being the only constant member. The band broke up in 1969 but have reunited occasionally for tours and album releases.

9. Simon & Garfunkel

Our next band is similar to The Byrds in that they are also a folk-rock group. Simon & Garfunkel rose to fame in the 1960s and is considered one of the best-selling music acts of the decade.

Their breakout hit was “The Sound of Silence,” released in 1965. This haunting song topped the charts in the United States and solidified their position in the music industry. Other notable songs that reached #1 are “Mrs. Robinson,” featured in the movie The Graduate, and the beautifully crafted “Bridge over Troubled Water.”

Despite their success, Simon & Garfunkel eventually went their separate ways, with both members embarking on solo careers. However, their legacy continues to endure, with their music remaining popular among fans of all ages.

10. The Band

Another influential band of the 1960s like The Byrds is the Canadian-American rock group The Band. They initially gained recognition as Bob Dylan’s backing band before stepping into the limelight.

Though The Band mostly brought a unique blend of rock and Americana to the table, they sometimes fused folk into their sound, similar to The Byrds did with their music.

One of The Band’s most famous songs is “The Weight,” a classic track that showcases their roots-rock style and poetic storytelling. Other notable tracks worth exploring are “Up on Cripple Creek,” “The Shape I’m In,” and “Life Is a Carnival.”

11. The Eagles

The rock band The Eagles was heavily influenced by The Byrds and their style of cosmic American music. One notable connection between these two bands is Gram Parsons — a member of both bands who went on to be associated with alt-country.

The Eagles, like The Byrds, blended elements of country, pop, folk, and rock. They released their self-titled debut album in 1972; however, it was their follow-up album, Desperado (1973), that solidified their reputation as masterful songwriters. 

Over the years, The Eagles’ music has become a soundtrack to countless lives, whether it’s the wistful nostalgia of “Take It Easy,” the epic storytelling of “Hotel California,” or the infectious energy of “Life in the Fast Lane.”

12. The Monkees

Up next is The Monkees, a four-piece pop rock band that formed in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s like The Byrds. The group consisted of Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones.

Their music is often compared to that of The Beatles, and they rose to fame for their hit songs, including “I’m a Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” and “Daydream Believer.”

Though The Monkees disbanded in 1971, they have reunited for various tours and recordings since then. Today, their impact can still be felt, with many contemporary artists citing them as musical influences.

13. Jefferson Airplane

We close this list with Jefferson Airplane, a rock band that gained popularity during the counterculture movement of the 1960s. The group was originally formed in San Francisco, California, and drew inspiration from bands such as The Beatles and The Byrds.

Jefferson Airplane gained national fame with their 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow, which is considered one of the definitive records of the psychedelic era. The album featured two of their biggest hits: “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.”

Over the years, Jefferson Airplane went through several lineup changes and evolved its sound, exploring different musical styles from folk and country to hard rock and avant-garde. Yet they always maintained a strong emphasis on harmonious vocals and creative songwriting.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Similar To The Byrds

There you have it; we’ve discovered bands that share a kinship with The Byrds, each bringing their own uniqueness to the sonic banquet — whether it’s their sound, style, or even the decade formed.

We hope that this article has not only been informative but has also helped you discover some new tunes to add to your playlist.

We’d love to hear from you! If there are any bands that you feel should be on this list, let us know. We’ll add them for you!

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.