I said “hi” to Caroline, said a few words, and then I told her the story about how the song title came from a photo I’d seen of her and her little pony. “Travelin’ Man” was written by Jerry Fuller and Sam Cooke. That version was never released. Pete Townshend was pulling out all the stops. Ross reluctantly sang in a lower register at the direction of producers Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier. It’s also one of Young’s greatest guitar showcases. That means no “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen or “A White Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum. Led Zeppelin gets all its due credit for being the pioneer of hard rock. The song, which was dressed up with over-distorted guitars, finger-flying note runs and radio-filtered hooks, brought a new focus to rock music by leaning on jazz and classical influence over the English love of blues music. With the Civil Rights Movement in full swing and riots breaking out in inner cities across the country, “Dancing in the Street” became a rallying cry that pushed the song to new cultural heights. 1 hits for The Supremes. 9. The Doors’ epic masterpiece began as a simple love song written by Jim Morrison. Through all its agitation—the off-kilter drum fills, furious horn solos, and rolling bass lines—there’s an underlying heartbeat centering the rhythm when it almost falters. The romantic swoon and playful swing of those earlier singles was replaced with a Sinatra-like cool as he looks to the ocean and wonders what his lover is doing on the other side of that body of water other than “watching the ships that go sailing.” Would that he could split it in half like Moses and reunite with his lady love. — Bonnie Stiernberg, The passion in frontman Levi Stubbs’ vocals is palpable, but in case you didn’t pick up on it, he drives it home with the line “You mean more to me than a woman was ever meant to be.” — Bonnie Stiernberg, If this song sounds suspiciously like a Motown rip-off, fear not. While Mick Jagger and Keith Richards weren’t fans of the original guitar recording, they were overruled by the rest of the band and their record label. If it was a balm, it failed, but if it was just another gentle song and career highlight for jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong, the tune was still a huge success. It remains one of the most blissful sounding songs in pop music history. Those unforgettable power chords laid the groundwork for generations of hard rock bands to come. The song is about a platonic relationship, but it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the love buried with in its delicate nature. It’s a song that serves as a portrait of a specific scene, expertly reflecting a certain time and place when hedonistic socialites, intellectuals and bohemians converged on The Factory to challenge social norms, demand acceptance and be codependent—and it does it all with only two chords. —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. Co-written by the artist with his longtime collaborator Bill Dees, the tune remains iconic thanks to its perfect structure, the range of emotions it hits on (joy, sadness, lust, envy, and more) in just under three minutes, and that opening guitar hook that will remain part of the rock canon until this planet disintegrates. The song peaked at #41 on the Swedish Singles Chart . But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have landmark recordings. The structure is impeccable and the hook infectious, which is why, to this day, “Sweet Caroline” is as celebrated as any song on this list. It became his only No. —Shane Ryan, Nearly 50 years after its release, “Respect” is still ubiquitous. In this performance from 1973—the first time the trio had performed together in years—their harmonies are ragged and the delivery unrehearsed, but regardless, just having these musicians playing together again, and more importantly, obviously enjoying it, was a cause for celebration. Founded by legendary leader Clyde McPhatter, The Drifters were one of the most important soul groups of the 1950s. The album also features Redding’s recording of the Sam & Dave hit “Knock On Wood,” which is also featured on this list. Dusty Springfield, “Son of a Preacher Man”, 76. 2 and No. It borrowed the choir style The Beatles had utilized on “Hey Jude," making “You can’t Always Get What You Want” one of the most infectious choruses any Stones song ever produced. The Kinks’ most beautiful song came at a time when Ray Davies was reaching his peak as a songwriter. —Hilary Saunders, As a song about endurance, it is fitting that “The Boxer” remains a powerful and lasting anthem. —Bryan C. Reed, Condense everything that made the Stax sound so gritty into one three-minute capsule, and you’ll get “Green Onions.” The label’s most recognizable melody—inspired, allegedly, by Ray Charles—came from Booker T. and the MG’s, Stax’s long-time house band and one of the most racially integrated soul groups of all time. An African American spiritual song reworked by Nina Simone with the help of producer Hal Mooney, the song’s jazz arrangement is the first thing that jumps out. —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. —Adam Vitcavage, The Byrds—a ‘60s group including the folks who went on to become Crosby, Stills, and Nash—are eclectic. It has an edm sort of feel to it. Paste compiled the 100 best songs of the 1960s by whittling down a list of more than 500 songs. © 2021 Advance Local Media LLC. From there it’s the Diana Ross show, backed brilliantly by Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson. The result is a massive hit that ranks among The Rolling Stones’ signature tunes. —Robert Ham, The 1965 single cut of “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” became a smash because of James Brown’s introduction of funk elements. Many were preparing to seek radical change in so many ways, and that idea was both scary and liberating. 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. 12—respectively. You’re probably wondering where “Mr. Fogerty gave the people a voice so unique and honest that you couldn’t ignore it. 25. You can have debates all day about which artist created which genre. But Curtis Mayfield’s songwriting was growing beyond that during the decade. The Beach Boys – “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”. It’s a blistering piece of proto-punk, one that set the stage for any outlandish, fuzzed-out guitar line that would follow in a garage, and Iggy Pop’s unforgettable wails—“Now I wanna be your dog!”—can’t be unheard. The Mamas & the Papas, “California Dreamin’”, 51. The Marvelettes, “Please Mr. Postman”, 94. Brian Wilson put the song together from various recording sessions, combining its unique parts into a pop masterpiece. Turn! As for the central metaphor, comparing love to a burning ring of fire was a creative, almost counterintuitive step that successfully brought together both the joy and the pain of falling hard for someone. When singer Colin Blunstone says, “And I won’t forget the way you said/‘Darling I love you’/You gave me faith to go on,” he creates a smeared palimpsest that tugs my heart every time. But the hits were massive, none more so than “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” a track that proves singer Levi Stubbs was among the label’s greatest voices. And the vocal is framed with precision and love by the instrumental solos: guitar at the opening, electric violin and flute in the middle of the song. The song starts with Lennon’s reflections on the news of the day, tinged with his usual dark outlook. Yet, while much of that gets attributed to what the band did for heavy metal, Zeppelin also pushed the world towards punk rock, which is evident by the opening chords of “Communication Breakdown.” Jimmy Page’s downstroke guitar playing style would go on to serve as a major influence on Johnny Ramone. The Rolling Stones – “Sympathy for the Devil”, Perhaps no Rolling Stones song has with a better opening than the drum heavy start of “Sympathy For the Devil," which is saying something. That’s hard to argue with. As far as generation-defining songs go, it doesn’t get much better than this. The opening track to Zeppelin’s second album is a defining moment for a band that was conquering the world. And yet the sing-along chorus – a rarity in Hendrix’s catalog — outshines everything. — Bonnie Stiernberg, The MC5 group was known for their aggressive, political-fueled live shows that, along with fellow Michiganders the Stooges, set the stage for punk rock acts for years to come. The English rockers hit No. An archetypal “splatter platter,” “Leader of The Pack” was just one of many teenage tragedy sides the Shangri-Las would cut, making them something of icons in macabre sub-genre. Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” is the ultimate look at what was going on in the world during the 1960s. Love is right when it’s simple, and it is in the simplicity of “Be My Baby” that makes it so ingenious. What sometimes gets overlooked about the song’s wide-reaching appeal is how amazing Jimmy Cliff’s voice is. —Hilary Saunders, Haggard had already landed four No. — Bonnie Stiernberg, SNAP! More than the specifics of what he did, it’s important to him that he stayed true to himself. And while he had bigger hits, “Catch The Wind” is Donovan’s full-on Dylan moment, a folk masterpiece with universal appeal that has been covered dozens of times by some of the greatest artists of all time. Prior to “My Girl,” Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams sang lead on The Temptations’ songs. 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. The Sonics were uglier, louder and scarier than anything that had floated this way during the British Invasion. The Allman Brothers Band – “Whipping Post”. —Nate Logsdon, The debut single from The Zombies put them on the charts in both the U.K. and the U.S. Songwriter Rod Argent’s keyboard and a choppy jazz beat open things up before the band’s familiar harmonies come in on the driving chorus. But with “Gimme Shelter,” the Stones—those Satanic majesties—go full-tilt to the dark side, reflecting all the apocalyptic anxiety of the Vietnam era without ever directly referencing the conflict that defined their generation. The game of life is hard to play I’m gonna lose it anyway The losing card I’ll someday lay So this is all I have to say. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”, 82. In other words, it’s a perfect approximation of the rapid heartbeat and soaring emotions of someone in love. Crosby, Stills & Nash opened their amazing debut album with its longest track. “The Weight” is a song that’s taken on mythological status for two reasons. Soul music of the 1960s was mostly light fare in terms of subject matter. Rather, Like a Rolling Stone”’s intended audience saw themselves as the subject, the “you,” at the same time they were being shaken by their country’s violence in the mid- to late-1960s. Ultimately, the song would prove an influential force in the development of Americana. We also limited it to acts that have been voted into the museum as “Performers," excluding early influencers, non-performers and the songs that have been honored in the divisive “Singles” category. —Max Blau, Etta James was one of those rare singers who absolutely defied genre. 15. — Zach Blumenfeld, This platinum-selling 1969 single was one of Neil Diamond’s biggest hits. 1 to the equally conjugal boundary setting “Don’t Come Home A’Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind),” it cemented her no-mess reputation with a song that’s been covered by Pistol Annies, Johnny Paycheck, Nanci Griffith/Eilen Jewell/Kelly Willis* and the Little Willies. But its titular song stands today as an immortal girl-group pop hit, a nuanced juxtaposition of little-girl sweetness and adult tragedy. — Zach Blumenfeld, Jazz has a supernatural presence when crafted correctly. “In the Midnight Hour” was Wilson Pickett’s first major hit on Atlantic Records. — Bonnie Stiernberg, One of the first supergroups, Cream—composed of Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton—moved from blues to psychedelic rock with their second album Disraeli Gears. Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Wooden Ships”, 49. By itself, it’s no more than a melancholic mood piece, but then, after a sudden transition made from harsh glissandos, it changes into what sounds like a separate song—McCartney, churning out one of the light, gorgeous melodies he seemed to summon at will. Buffalo Springfield, “For What It’s Worth”, 14. Nina Simone, “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black”, 40. 1 on the charts. Mitch Mitchell’s drums go off like funky firecrackers. Even if its demarcation of “soft rock” is a bit belittling, this sing-along has endured over the decades. —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. All rights reserved (About Us). View (or listen) to the best hits from the '60s here! Their vision became the first of five consecutive No. One of our favorite performances of this song actually came almost 20 years later, though, after divorce and solo careers. —Marcus J. Moore, If you were to round up a team of the world’s finest scientists, mathematicians and pollsters to determine the most instantly recognizable guitar riff of all time and came back with anything other than the pure bliss of Keith Richards’ fuzzed-out “Satisfaction” intro, we’d tell you to throw out all your data and go back to the drawing board. The romantic image is that of a tortured being, hunched over an acoustic guitar, lamenting a doomed love affair or the state of the world. The result was a punishing sound that every hard rock act that followed would reach for. Robinson remarked that it “sounded like a circus,” and the rest, as they say, is history. Turn! What started out as a folk-rock style on the first album has been turned, via repetition, into a form. Plus, it helped those boys in Remember The Titans work out their differences. “Heroin” isn’t a pro-drug song. The blues icon hijacks the song with, arguably, his greatest vocal performance ever, backed by the most elaborate production of his career up until that point. — Bonnie Stiernberg, No one wonders why bands still love to cover “I Wanna be Your Dog” in 2014. That voice—sounding pissed and possessed—lit up the band’s two releases, 1965’s Here Are The Sonics and Boom, released the following year. But the duo still had some hits left for the following decade, the best of the bunch being “Cathy’s Clown,” a uniquely structured slice of pop that would serve as a major influence on The Beatles. 49. “A Day In The Life” is absolutely mesmerizing with its impact and influence felt on the futures of progressive and art rock. It marked a defining moment in the history of southern rock. “Down by the River” is the best of both worlds when it comes to Neil Young. Inspired by “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Space Oddity” is a science fiction triumph that was unlike all other pop music. 57. —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. Pop song wasn ’ t Get No ) Satisfaction ” although we at had. 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