Two Grammys and countless covers later and it’s entered our musical lexicon as shorthand for girl power, soul power and, well, respect. Still a teenager, this was another 60s smash written by future 10cc-er Graham Gouldman in his downtime. I was an unknown songwriter at the time and it was just an idea I had. And yet, in 1969, when bands such as Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones were playing stadiums with electric guitars, he got his band of violins and horns together to record this emotional song in his unique style that endures to this day. As such, its attitude and subject matter aren’t the song’s most progressive aspect. Who’s your daddy?” gives the song an added risqué allure. This mysterious, mariachi horn-drenched kickstarter from fantastic 1967 album ‘Forever Changes’ was almost not on it at all. 1 single. A maudlin French horn heralds the start before those timeless words “I may not always love you” pin you to the wall. — Zach Blumenfeld, Jazz has a supernatural presence when crafted correctly. Rank Song Title Song Artist Year Genre; Top songs of the 1950's is updated by the minute by Gigbuilder - The world's most popular Event Management System. —Matt Fink, Probably the song that Redding is still the most well-known for, “Sitting On A Dock Of The Bay” was co-written by legendary soul man Steve Cropper and recorded mere days before Redding’s death, released posthumously. “”Some things we fudged on slightly to make it rhyme, but the majority of it’s pretty accurate, I guess,” Haggard told NPR of the song in 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hugY9CwhfzE. Covered in 1988 by Red Hot Chili Peppers, who could hardly have resisted. This is a ... 100 Best Seasons of TV in the 21st Century. Bryan MacLean worked it up for Love’s 1966 debut album, but didn’t get around to completing it for another year or so – and this time he barely appeared on it, finding his vocal wiped in favour of Arthur Lee’s harmony lines. It’s those first few moments after a bad breakup or the beginnings of a long distance relationship with an uncertain future. The song ratchets up with intensity and emotion in much the same way that their ‘64 hit “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” did, but for much different aims. It’s since been covered by The Vines and speed-metallers Helloween. Back in 2008, Diamond told us the history of the song, written for John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline: “It was her birthday and her husband [Edwin Schlossberg] called up and said, “Neil, could you sing happy birthday to Caroline?” I agreed to do it so we set up a cross-country satellite thing in my little studio here in LA. before laying waste to their output including this seminal tune. Inspired by Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ and the very real Summer Of Love, it was anchored by Colin Blunstone’s coolly soulful vocals and Rod Argent’s galloping keyboard solo. —Max Blau, Etta James was one of those rare singers who absolutely defied genre. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9PYPvMz-Wc. Priority's Chart Toppers series is an excellent budget-line collection, offering a strong selection of 15 original hits, grouped by a specific theme and decade, on each disc. But even if this 1963 single should actually just be taken at face value, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” exemplifies the era’s joyful pop rock, noted by kitschy handclaps, a swinging backbeat and perfect Fab Four harmonies. No less than on the mythology referencing ‘Some Velvet Morning’ which has gone on to become a much covered alternative duet (perhaps most famously by Primal Scream and Kate Moss). A UK No.1 single in 1968, ‘What A Wonderful World’ found a new, memorable lease of life in the 1987 Robin Williams movie vehicle Good Morning, Vietnam – but it so nearly never fell into Louis Armstrong’s hands. —Kyle McKenney, As the American public and mass media learned in the ‘60s, one of the best ways to protest unsavory governmental decisions was through song. Its strings and sentiment, laid on thick with Charles’ cooing and piano plinking, make it irrelevant whether the lyrics are about a state or the sister of the original songwriter Hoagy Carmichael. Written in honor of Simone’s friend Lorraine Hansberry, author of the play A Raisin in the Sun (which, consequently, takes its name from Langston Hughes’ poem “Harlem”), the song became an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. —Nick Marino, The magic of The Beatles is that two men with very different aesthetics, Lennon and McCartney somehow formed one of the most dynamic combinations in the history of rock and roll. Although songs like “Sunshine of Your Love” deliver a distinctly late-’60s psych sound, the band went on to become influential in the forming of metal, prog and jam bands. Divested of any visual accompaniment, “Born” still sounds as fierce as ever with a searing guitar hook and growling vocal performance by John Kay that laid the template for hard rock and heavy metal. And if there’s one, prolonged moment that epitomises the spirit and feeling of the decade, it’s the summer of ’67. “I turned 21 in prison doing life without parole / No one could steer me right, but mama tried—mama tried” may not have been strictly autobiographical—Haggard never served a life sentence, after all—but he did his share of hard time for offenses beginning in his teenage years. — Bonnie Stiernberg, Originally titled “Brown Skinned Girl,” this Calypso-kissed AOR staple about an alleged interracial tryst and deemed too hot for pop radio upon its release was without question the biggest hit from Morrison’s ill-fated tenure with groundbreaking producer/songwriter Bert Berns and his Bang Records label. —Bonnie Stiernberg, This legendary duet ranks among the best of all time—Motown or otherwise—and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of songwriter Nick Ashford. Dylan’s backing band charmed generations of drifters with this future country-rock classic. An apt follow-up No. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAdtUDaBfRA. Over the course of several weeks, thousands of SoulTrackers nominated and then voted on the Greatest Soul Songs of the 1960s. Gothic before “goth” existed. We’ve never met a human being who will admit to disliking this song (that’s your cue to take to the comments section if you exist, you poor, misguided souls), and for good reason; no matter how many times we hear this one, it simply doesn’t get old. The fact that you are married only proves you’re my best friend.” Anyone who has ever been friend-zoned can relate to the aching sadness oozing from this track. Many musicologists trace them to the red raw chords of this track, the ludicrously heavy third single from The Kinks and the one that sent them stratospheric. Even if its demarcation of “soft rock” is a bit belittling, this sing-along has endured over the decades. The result was spine-tingling and urgent, it would later feature on the ‘Nuggets’ compilation and with its dizzying energy was way ahead of its time. —Hilary Saunders, Bob Dylan’s second album, Freewheelin’ came out in 1963 right at the beginning of his career. Bands and artists in these awe-inspiring decades mesmerized audiences with their free flow form of music. These songs are ranked based upon their intitial and lasting popularity, as well as their influence and impact on the evolution of Rock and Roll and its sub-genres. Like an American version of Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot, Nancy and Lee were a sultry pairing who radiated with danger and mysterious sexual allure. The sultry song, released as a single that year, went on to become one of the Los Angeles band’s most recognizable and best-selling hits. Pickett’s version, which appeared on his 1966 album The Wicket Pickett is the most recognized, even getting adapted again in the early ‘90s in the music film The Commitments. For a hopeful and everlasting sentiment, the song’s final line reads, “I am leaving, I am leaving / But the fighter still remains.” —Laura Stanley, Has there been any song from the ‘60s that has been more watered down and neutered by its continued use in commercials, TV shows, and films than “Born To Be Wild?” There are likely arguments to be made for a lot of tunes from that decade, but the unbound spirit and thudding oomph of this song has lost all its meaning as a result. A scrambling epic, the truth of “Emily”’s existence ( was she real or just a hallucination?) Classic Pop Music Hits from Sixties & Seventies. —Mark Lore, This song is poignant as a longing, even desperate, appeal to his real-life lover Marianne Jensen but, like much of Cohen’s work, it’s so much more than autobiography because of a soaring refrain that gains meanings with each of its many repetitions. Up until that point, the song had been bouncing along the runway, fueled by handclaps and those tightly wound harmonies of the backing vocals. — Bonnie Stiernberg, This 1964 single maybe have been the last time Roy Orbison reached the top of the charts in the U.S., but the impact it had on the pop music world was marked. The electric guitar’s role in rock music would never be quite the same. Otis Redding, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”, 17. Not bad for a song reportedly written after Hendrix wanted to sit by a fireplace on a cold English day. (“This album is eclectic?) ‘Cinnamon Girl’ was later covered by Smashing Pumpkins and Motörhead. The Marvelettes, “Please Mr. Postman”, 94. —Hilary Saunders, Girl-group perfection, this song took The Marvelettes to the top of the charts right out of the gate. The Flirtations started life as The Gypsies before switching coquettishly in the mid-60s and trading the US for the UK in search of hits. —Robert Ham, Just as “Umbrella” was kicked down to Rihanna after being rejected by Britney’s label, so too did a dozen or so other bands refuse to record “Happy Together” before it was offered to The Turtles in 1967. In the meantime he hepped up his riff with a fuzzbox to keep it warm until the real players came along. Though Simon admitted later to being inspired to write that lyric after turning off the bathroom light during a songwriting session (for the bathroom often has the best acoustics), the song is a perceptive commentary on people’s inability to communicate. ‘The House Of The Rising Sun’ was only The Animals’ second single but it made their name, topping the charts at home and in the US. 1. Here, the plea for reconciliation feels more agonized and terrified. Of course the six minute monster went on to become a worldwide hit and one of the most influential pieces of music of all time. She sings, “You been making your brags about town/ That you been lovin’ my man/ But the man I love, when he picks up trash/ He puts it in a garbage can.”, Owning her man “ain’t” a “saint,” Lynn has no trouble suggesting to the brazen gal stay clear. In Memory of Kitty , some of her favs from the 60s & 70 & a few from the 50s Penned by Motown dream-team of Holland/Dozier/Holland, Levi Stubbs sang this track with an urgency which was said to mimic Bob Dylan. Although its chart performance was modest, the song has deservedly been covered on countless occasions by everyone from Jimmy Somerville to Leonard Cohen. Written by future 10cc member Graham Gouldman, the song still works in the way that romantic movies still capture our attention. Rather, the glinting harpsichord and lightly Eastern-influenced percussion simply nudged the door open for the group to embrace more psychedelic sounds. Such a great cover of the Dylan classic that Bob himself tweaked his own version upon hearing it, Jimi’s guitar epic had a slow and painful gestation period. —Robert Ham, California, land of Ronald Reagan and P. F. Sloan, deserves the credit for latching on to these four wanderers long enough to record them and turn them into superstars. Her performance embodies joy, romance and triumph. Sam Cooke said ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ came to him in a dream, but it was a natural product of the times too – in particular Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, delivered just a few months before Cooke recorded the song. James Brown, “I Got You (I Feel Good)”, 16. Home state radio backing made ‘The Witch’ a major local success and allowed the band to chuck out a few more grimy garage rock sides before a split in 1968 and a place in grunge folklore. Although we at Paste had previously compiled the 60 Best Albums of the 1960s, we felt that a number of songs were missing. “Please allow me to introduce myself / I’m a man of wealth and taste”. Producer Mickie Most had selected this traditional New Orleans folk song – an unusual choice for a consolidating hit, but one which was handled in style by the weathered howl of Eric Burdon and Alan Price’s ebbing and flowing Hammond organ. By NME. —Katie King, No single song captures The Velvet Underground’s ethos more perfectly than “Heroin.” Contrary to popular belief, it’s not an endorsement of the drug (you only need to listen to Reed’s wry, self-deprecating laugh after he sings “it’s my wife, and it’s my life” to glean that much), but it’s also not an after-school special. It’s been covered by sometime Go-Go Belinda Carlisle and sampled by Kylie Minogue. —Max Blau, Up there with “Sweet Caroline” when it comes to most memorable horn licks of all time. Is it… actually, yes, it’s a half-speed electric piano. The Righteous Brothers, “Unchained Melody”, 97. The Troggs’ version quickly eclipsed it the following year. It’s hard to believe that this perfect soul pop nugget was turned down by no less than Aretha herself, but following Dusty’s sultry take on the track she was quick to correct the error of her ways. As the ultimate stamp of grungy approval it would later be squished into submission by Iggy Pop. Enjoy the best music of the '60s for free. But, the Godfather of Soul’s performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1966 helped secure this song’s importance simply because of the fancy footwork he showcases here. From that very first “WHAT you want…” it’s clear this is an anthem, one that timed out perfectly with the civil rights era and the feminist movement, but it can be applied to pretty much anyone who’s looking for a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Aretha demanded her propers, and nearly half a century later, she still reigns as the Queen of Soul, thanks in no small part to this undeniable track. They may have been beaten to the punch by Nina Simone and Bob Dylan, who both recorded versions of the song earlier, but it’s The Animals whose rendition dominated the hearts of listeners for decades to come. Find album reviews, stream songs, credits and award information for 100 Huge Hits of the 60s & 70s - Various Artists on AllMusic - 2007 Marvin’s is The One, though. It’s become a virtue. Since covered by everyone from Megadeth to Jessica Simpson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykU8iSKkJR0. That’s some vocal range. Color me raised by a boomer, but this song contains one of the most important pieces of information to come out of the 1960s: Despite all the shit you go through to … Top 20 1960s Love Songs, 60s Music . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNcXFy8QTC4. Here on his debut album ‘Songs Of Leonard Cohen’ he bids farewell to Marianne, his love and muse throughout the 60s, with a pristine bit of poetry and a typically stately and swinging folk-pop arrangement. Hendrix exudes soulful swagger, dripping with leering bravado and uncoiled sexuality. With 50 years of study, it’s easy today to see the song’s surrealistic lyrics for what they were—a knowing retort, but empathetic, to a privileged woman who has had her comeuppance. Though seemingly saccharine thanks to Bobbie Gentry’s sweet soprano and the song’s repetitive structure, the lyrics actually detail a violent scene, as “Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.” Even still, the song spent four weeks at No.1 in 1967. It also gave the world one of the catchiest love songs in the world that’s capable of turning a small group of people into a rousing choir once the chorus kicks in. When creating a list of the best love songs of the 1960s, we also wanted to consider which songs are still prevalent in today’s era – timeless. Some great 1960s music went missing in action in a decade when tens of thousands of singles were released each year, we've picked the best 60s singles below Fifty years later, the chemistry between organist Booker T. Jones and guitarist Steve Cropper still feels like it’s happening live. It stands alone as a nostalgic ode to home, one of his truly universal themes. It’s “Born in the U.S.A.” without the irony and misinterpretation. The debut single from Tacoma, Washington’s The Sonics is creepy as its title suggests, romping along on a honking riff intercut with frenzied surf guitar freakouts. — Bonnie Stiernberg, This song is the consummate piece of early ‘60s pop. And if you had to distill the entire ten years’ worth of musical endeavour into one album, it would be The Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The opening lick over the quick bass/snare drum combo is instantly recognizable. While the charms of this track are obvious upon exposure, its studio legacy is just as important. —Hilary Saunders, Although the album version of this significant song appeared on Nina Simone’s 1970 album Black Gold, the single was actually released in 1969, thus making it eligible for this list. — Zach Blumenfeld, This platinum-selling 1969 single was one of Neil Diamond’s biggest hits. It’s a simple idea, really. The marriage—not so much. The Animals, “House of the Rising Sun”, 26. —Beca Grimm, One of the leading groups of the early ‘60s, Peter, Paul and Mary took inspiration from old-timey folk groups and reinvigorated it with pop harmonies fitting for the day. We hope you like it! The opening track on Lenny Kaye’s ‘Nuggets’, his essential compilation of late-60s garage and psych rock, ‘I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)’ was written by professional songwriting team Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz but musses up its classic structure with needling, distorted guitar from Ken Williams – recorded backwards – and a growling lead vocal from James Lowe. James Brown, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, 71. Including rock ‘n’ roll, itself. Featuring Curtis Mayfield on glorious lead vocals and sparing, funky guitar, ‘People Get Ready’ is a calm and spiritual call to join the fight – be it for civil rights or simple religious salvation. 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