Music of the Sixties

Now this is the sixties!
Now this is the sixties! | Source

Beach Boys

The Beach Boys on the Ed Sullivan Show
The Beach Boys on the Ed Sullivan Show | Source

Introduction

Freedom! There was no greater time than the sixties for young people so aware of and defensive of their "Freedom". Rock n roll music, civil rights, a man on the moon, a presidential assassination, Vietnam, Cuban missile crisis, Martin Luther King, the "counter-culture" revolution, the anti-war movement, gay rights, these things made the music of the sixties. Anyone who lived through the sixties has visions of Haight Ashbury, California in their heads along with flowers in girls' hair and guys and gals doing the twist. There is no other music like music in the sixties! Just like there was no other time like the sixties!

A blend of rock n roll, ballads, folk, protest, all popular in the sixties. The decade when youth found their voice and they weren't afraid to use it. Even Ed Sullivan (TV host) brought the best music to TV. Concerts, sing-a-longs, sit ins, records, TV, songs were everywhere. Not to mention sit ins and protests, ah, the sixties.

Source

Sixties Music Hits (A partial list)

Respect
Louie Louie
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Like a Rolling Stone
You've Lost That Lovin Feelin
My Girl
Light My Fire
She Loves You
Whole Lotta Love
Proud Mary
Yesterday
Be My Baby
The Sounds of Silence
Soul Man
Pretty Woman
Ticket to Ride
Tracks of My Tears
California Dreamin
Mony Mony
Bad Moon Risin
Surfin USA
Glad All Over
Crazy
I'm Believer
The Wanderer
In My Life
I Can See For Miles
Hit The Road Jack
Get Off My Cloud
Good Lovin
Unchained Melody
Turn, Turn, Turn
A Natural Woman
Hang on Sloopy

Sixties Rock Songs

Some of the best rock n roll came from Mowtown! Founded in 1960, Mowtown Records provided the world with a new sound. Mowtown was the first record label owned by an African American and included artists like Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. The first hit for Mowton Records was "Shop Around" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

At the same time, Elvis got out of the Army and started singing again. His first album was "Elvis is Back". Songs like "Are You Lonesome Tonight", "Return to Sender", "Good Luck Charm" and "Blue Hawaii" were all hits. Twenty-two movies and a marriage to Priscilla made the sixties a busy time for Elvis.

Hips were moving to "The Twist" by Chubby Checker and "Twist and Shout" by the Isley Brothers. Johnny Cash sang "Ring of Fire" and the Bee Gees sang "To Love Somebody".

Oh and I have to mention the Beach Boys. I'm from New York but I loved their California sound! They started in 1961 and took over the music scene. They had thirty six top forty hits including; "I Get Around", "409", "Surf City", "Surfin' Safari", "Don't Worry Baby", to name a few, and everyone loves "Good Vibrations". There were lots of issues after Carl Wilson died in 1998, however, the group has performed together several times in 2012 though there are currently no official reunion plans.

No one can forget the rise of the Beatles! In 1964 they came to America and brought their own sound and music. The four mop tops from across the pond took America by storm. Everyone was singing "She Loves You". The Beatles were so successful they were quickly followed by other British groups like The Rolling Stones, Dave Clark Five, Dusty Springfield, Peter and Gordon, Petula Clark, Donovan, The Who and The Moody Blues. British voices rocked the airwaves.

Good Vibrations

Source

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan performing at St. Lawrence University, New York, November 1963.
Bob Dylan performing at St. Lawrence University, New York, November 1963. | Source
Songs Of Protest
Songs Of Protest

Protest songs from artists like the Kingston Trio, Barry McGuire, Donovan and more.

 

Protest Music

While the Ronettes and Marveletts were singing, a new talent hit the radio airwaves, one Joan Baez who used her folk music for political activism. She was more or less the beginning of folk and "social enlightenment" songs. "I went to jail for 11 days for disturbing the peace; I was trying to disturb the war." Joan Baez. She teamed up with Bob Dylan, musically and romantically, and the movement was on it's way. Protest and activism where now a part of the music scene.

We have always had "patriotic" music in this County, and there has always been protest music in the world but this protest music took patriotism to a new level. Hippies and "Flower Power" led the way. Even though rock n roll was new on the scene, it's artists recognized the influence their music had over their listeners.

Since I've already mentioned Bob Dylan, why not look at his "Blowin in the Wind"? "The answer my friend is blowin in the wind." Dylan was telling the world, the answer is right in front of us but we can't see it! Stop looking and do something! Guess that applied then and it applies now, "the answer my friend is blowin in the wind". Many of these singers were geniuses in their own right, trying to set the world straight. Modern day troubadours that took up where medieval ones left off.

We know from experience, Baez and Dylan were far from our only protest singers. Even everyday rock n roll singers jumped on the bandwagon and sang protest songs. To name a few:

  • Turn, Turn,, Turn - the Byrds
  • He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother - Kelly Gordon
  • Coming Home Soldier - Bobby Vinton
  • Daddy's Home - Shep & the Limelights
  • In the Year 2525 - Zager and Evans
  • Give Peace a Chance - John Lennon

John Lennon became well known for his protest to the Vietnam war and then, any war. He constantly promoted peace and love.

Pete Seeger joined the 1960s movement and brought his past experiences with him. Seeger always stood up for the working man and believed in his country.

Have you listened to the words of Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence"? Yet another protest song, but done gently; "in restless dreams I walk alone.... People talking without speaking, People hearing without listening, People writing songs that voices never share And no one dared, Disturb the sound of silence."


In The Year 2525

Peter Paul and Mary

Promotional picture of Peter Paul and Mary
Promotional picture of Peter Paul and Mary | Source
Very Best of Peter Paul & Mary
Very Best of Peter Paul & Mary

This album includes some of the best known and most loved songs given to us by the trio of Peter, Paul, and Mary. A free MP3 version of the album is included.

 
Kingston Trio  Greatest Hits
Kingston Trio Greatest Hits

These are some of the Kingston Trio's very best including Tom Dooley, MTA, and Bad Man's Blunder...a great collection.

 

Folk Music

The folk music revival paralleled the protest music, even included it in some instances. Often referred to as the 'counter-culture', folk music represented the feelings of the sixties. More than half of the population was under thirty years old in the sixties. Hippies appeared on the scene believing in peace and free love. Of course when one thinks of hippies, Woodstock comes to mind. Woodstock, a rock music festival promoting that belief in peace and free love.

It has been said that folk music didn't last because you couldn't dance to it. I don't know if that's true or not but I do know it lost it's place in popular music after the early seventies. While it was popular, however, there were great artists and great songs.

The Kingston Trio was one of the most well known folk groups of the sixties, though they started in the late fifties. Songs like "Scotch and Soda" had that old folksy sound. Probably one of their most well known songs is "Tom Dooley", the song based on the 1886 murder of Laura Foster by Confederate Tom Dula (pronounced Dooley). He was Laura's lover and fiance. The murder and trial were widely covered in the newspapers at the time.

"Hang down your head Tom Dooley, hang down your head and cry,
Hand down your head Tom Dooley, poor boy you're gonna die."

Another famous group, or rather trio, were Peter, Paul and Mary. Let me correct that statement, they are probably the most famous folk group to come out of the sixties. They would be Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers. They recorded their first album in 1962. Their recording of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" was a big hit. Just for your information, Pete Seeger wrote the first three verses of that song.

"Puff the Magic Dragon" was probably their biggest hit and is still used as a children's song today. It was written from a poem written by a college student, and is about the loss of childhood innocence, not drug use as is often implied. Peter, Paul and Mary liked to include children's songs in each of their albums.

Source

Puff the Magic Dragon

Conclusion

The music of the sixties encompasses a world of talent, types and songs. The artists that emerged in the sixties are among the best loved ever! The top songs of the sixties are hard to pick. Ask different people, go to different sites on the Internet, and you'll get different results. Where you were and what you were doing will most likely influence your choice.

Those not around in the sixties will have a totally different perspective and may not appreciate the songs we do.

I hope you've enjoyed this little trip down memory lane and this glimpse at music in the sixties.

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Comments 37 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I did indeed enjoy this trip down memory lane. Thanks for bringing back the classics. There will never be another time like it. Wish I still had my '69 Camaro. :) Fun hub, Mary!


Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

This is more my parents generation Mary, but I grew up listening to so many that I feel like it is mine too by extension. You captured so many of the greats in one place and like so many of them. So thank you for sharing them all here. Have of course voted way up and shared, too!!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

The tunes of the sixties take me way back to a time when one of the things my best friend and I did was listen to records. And we would walk around outside singing them too. When the Big Bopper died, we cried together.

thanks for the memories...

Sending Angels your way :) ps


Jackwms profile image

Jackwms 3 years ago

I absolutely loved this. I was born in 1936 and some of my more memorable year were the 196o's with the music you have introduced here. Peter, Paul and Mary were one of my favorites, as was The Everly's, Kingston Trio and all the others . Hippies were , by and large, idealistic young people, that I admired at the time, although I had to keep my nose to the grindstone to support a family. The "protest movement" really did a lot to educate the country about the necessity of wars. Unfortunately, this was lost in the next generation.

Thanks for posting.


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 3 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I love 1960s music. I'm an 80s baby and a 90s kid but my parents are boomers so I heard Motown, the Beatles, and Janice Joplin to name a few. Even though I wasn't around in that time, I completely understand the sentiment and the passion behind it. It is an era of music that will never cease to capture the imagination. Great hub!


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

I grew up with these, Mary! Because my dad is a singer and guitarist who works as a full time musician in pubs, restaurants as well. I grew up listening to it. Thanks for sharing, and am definitely voting up and passing it on.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Mary. What memories. I still listen to 60's stations on the radio. You hit on some of my all-time favorite; the Byrds, Elvis, Beatles, The Temptations, Beach Boys, etc. A great time for music. Love the video's. Really enjoyed this. Voting up and sharing. Great job.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Another fun and wonderful walk down Memory Lane...oh how I love them.

The times.....what an era. The music that is so cemented into our brains....that all these years later, we can still sing along and not miss a beat or a word. Perhaps it's because we could actually hear and understand the words, in the 60's?

My hubby had the most beautiful black,'67 Chevy Malibu....standard, on the floor...red interior.

I think I'm about to cry....Bye bye.............UP+++


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 3 years ago from Michigan

Hi Mary. I like some of the music from the 60s. Motown will last forever with their classic sound. Maybe one day we will return to musical days like that again. This current generation doesn't produce anything of note. I turn on the radio in the car and they play the same songs that they played 10-20 years ago.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this. I didn't get into 60's music until really late. If you like 60's music stop by my FB wall. You might run into a favorite or two.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

I love the 60s music...And it was a trip down memory lane for sure. You did a great job in reviving this great music period.


Gypsy48 profile image

Gypsy48 3 years ago

This hub took me back to my teenage years. So many great songs and artists! Well done:)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Wouldn't it be grand if you still had your '69 Camaro Billy my friend? Glad you found this hub fun to read, it was definitely fun to write!

Janine, I know my generation kept singing these songs...we still do! Glad you enjoyed them and this hub.

pstraubie, I did the same thing. We spent all our spare time listening to 'records'! We used to try to find places to sing where the echo would be good! Hope the angels are watching you too!

How right you are Jack. Seems the strides made in the sixties were lost in the seventies. Elvis, the Beach Boys, the Kingston Trio and the Everly's were among my favorites as well.

Alecia its good to know you understood our songs because it shows you understood our generation as well. I bet your parents were happy about that ;)

How wonderful for you Michelle, to have such a talented Dad. This music can surely stick in your head. Thanks for the votes and share.

bdegiulio, my husband was thrilled when we got satellite radio in the car. I think the radio is glued to one station ;) It was hard picking videos so I'm glad you like the ones I did.

Effer, you've almost quoted Simon & Garfunkel, "..and the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains..." NO crying! Laughing, remember? Thanks my friend.

Michiganman, with a few exceptions, the songs of the sixties did have melodies you could understand. Thank you for stopping by!

Thanks for the tip Mhatter. I'll have to check out your FB page.

Carol, I really love memory lane...I don't want to live in the past, but I don't want to forget it either.

Thanks Gypsy. It sure was a fun, easy going time.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

Great hub Mary with some wonderful examples shared. I loved The Byrds and we used to sing Puff The Magic Dragon at primary school. My favourite protest song is 'For What It's Worth' by Buffalo Springfiend, written by Stephen Stills.


cleaner3 profile image

cleaner3 3 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

Mary this is a great remeinder of the divesity of people and music in that fabulous time called the sixties. a lot of memories here I was on a young man then but it was a turbulent time and a wonderful time . great hub.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

The writer of Puff was right Jools, dragons live forever! Generations to come will still be singing about Puff. That particular Springfield song is great! Perfect example of the times..."everybody look what's going down"...good advice!

Thanks Michael, you're so right, turbulent and wonderful. Glad you enjoyed it.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Yes I did enjoy this, Mary. You touched on all the greats of that era. I loved the song "Good Vibrations" and remember putting a quarter in the juke box at a diner and choosing some of these wonderful numbers when my family traveled. We sang along to the Peter, Paul and Mary folk ballads and even sang "If I Had a Hammer" for concert chorus in high school. Thanks for the memories. Peg


kohuether profile image

kohuether 3 years ago from New Hampshire

I like a lot of the music from the 60's but I can't seem to get into Folk Music. The closest I come to that genre is Bob Dylan, and I like him more for the music he provided others (Mr. Tambourine Man, Watchtower) than for the music that he sings himself. I find his voice to be grating.


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

What a sweet stroll down memory lane. I love the 60's music.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Oh Peg, now you walked me down memory lane. I can remember quarter after quarter to hear our favorite songs playing! Pete Seeger wrote and sang "If I Had a Hammer", PP&M sang it and later Trini Lopez...it was a great song.

Katherine, funny you should say that about Dylan. The first time I heard him singing I thought he was terrible! His message and laid back manner changed my mind.

So glad you love the music and liked my hub WND.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

You have mentioned many old favorites of mine: Turn, Turn, Turn was such a hit with everyone back then. Loved the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary are still loved today. Thanks for the memories.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 3 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

With all that was going on at the time, it is not surprising that the music is powerful. The situations and changes inspired strong feelings, both good and bad, which shine through in the music of the era.

Shared, pinned, tweeted, up, awesome and interesting.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

It seems everybody's got favorites from the sixties Teaches. Glad I could bring back memories.

You are so right Brett, I never thought of it that way. The strong feelings made for great music and strong memories. I am truly grateful for all your sharing and votes.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

You took on quite the challenge here, Mary, and did an excellent job. This was more than a glimpse...it was a panoramic, psychedelic, and paisley print production! : )


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Not only do I love your comment HawaiiO, but your choice of words transcends my hub! Love it. Thank you so much for reading and leaving such wonderful thoughts. (God I remember paisley print!)


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

tillsontitan,

This is a great hub and it certainly brings back fond memories. I loved the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and especially the Motown sound. The Four Tops is one of my most favorite groups. Please don't overlook Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Before the Beatles music caught on America, I think the Four Seasons was one of America's most popular groups. After I heard "Dawn" in the fall of 1963, I was hooked on the Four Seasons with their beat, crooning, and the falsetto of Franki Valli. Voted up and sharing on Facebook and with followers.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Oh Paul, I don't know how I left out the Four Seasons, they were my husband's favorite group! Thanks so much for the votes and share. Its always nice to see you here.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

Boy have you hit the memory box with this one, Mary! I enjoyed the walk down memory lane. :) UP/A


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Denise. It sure was an easy and fun one to write.


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

Now this is it... a hub for our beloved sixties!! Love the era, thanks for the presentation and the good vibrations we received after reading it :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Oh Mike, thank you for the lovely comment!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

I'm a great rock music, especially of the late sixties and seventies. Thanks for introducing other genre of the music.

Cheers


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

There's certainly lots of rock music available. I know the seventies and eighties from my kids!


CJ Sledgehammer 3 years ago

Nicely done, Mary. Reminds me of a hub I wrote a couple weeks ago. As they say, "Brilliant minds think alike." :0)

Although I was a young lad back in the '60's, I still remember a great deal. In many ways, I wish I could go back in time, but it's pointless.

Even though my top ten favorite songs are dominated by the 60's, I still claim the 70's as the best decade for music overall.

It seems we reached our peak as a nation in the 70's and it's been all downhill since.

Best wishes and be well - C.J. Sledgehammer


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

CJ, I think the music we relate most to is the music from our teens. As we are starting to "come into our own" we are paying more attention to the music and tend to remember it fondly. Thanks for the wishes and may I return them to you!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 20 months ago from North Texas

Love all this music you've mentioned. Seems like I appreciate the Beatles more as time goes on and I think they may even outshine Elvis one day. Yes, they took some of their inspiration from him but they are so versatile. I've only begun to realize that so many songs I love were written and performed by the Beatles.

Wonderful article and it sure brings back memories. I listen to all this music practically everyday. I like our classic rock station, KLUV out of Dallas, and they specifically play 60s, 70s, and have just added 80s to their repertoire.

Voted up and BAUI.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York Author

I grew up with fifties and sixties movies Au Fait so I guess it's in my blood. I still love to listen to it. Thanks for reading and for the votes.

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