Top Music Hits - the 60's
Top Music Hits of the 60's was easily the most recognizable and downloaded segment of music in modern times. When the decade of the 50's came to a close there was a great change in popular music. Some of the "Doo Wop" tunes continued, but we began to see more female groups. Many of them, like the Ronettes used Phil Spector's unique "Wall of Sound" in the recording studio. Surf music hit the airwaves, Chubby Checkers taught us how to do the twist and Elvis was still riding high, but he saw some huge competition when the Beatles came to the United States and the British Invasion began.
The Early 60's had some colorful songs like "Alley Oop" (from the weekly comic strip), and unforgettable tunes like "Cathy's Clown" by the Everly Brothers and "Georgia On My Mind" by a young Ray Charles.
I was a very young child but I remember the DJ's from WABC, Cousin Brucie, Dan Ingram and Harry Harrison introducing many great pop tunes from that early pre-Beatle era. Some of these tunes were "Traveling Man" in 1961 by Ricky Nelson, who was the son of two famous TV parents "Ozzie and Harriet". That year, another beautiful tune "Runaway" was performed by Del Shannon.
Many of my favorite tunes from the early 60's were performed by female artists. Little Peggy March had a number 1 hit at the age of 15 with "I Will Follow Him", and Lesley Gore was 16 when she sang "It's my Party". Both of these songs had memorable choruses and melodies. The Angels sang "My Boyfriends Back" and The Shirelles performed "Soldier Boy" and "Will you Still Love Me Tomorrow" flawlessly. The Crystals sang "He's A Rebel" and he'll never ever be any good and Little Eva did the very first version of "Loco-Motion". The Shangri-Las did "Leader of the Pack". The Ronette's (featuring the unforgettable voice of Ronnie Spector) performed "Be My Baby". We all have songs that bring back the memories from our childhood more clearly than others. The single song that pulls on my heartstrings and transports me back to this early sound on the radio was "He's So Fine" by the Chiffons in 1963. It is very amusing to me that I originally thought the name of the song was "Doo Lang" until about 5 years later. That song was the first number one hit I can remember enjoying thoroughly and it was mainly due to the wonderful combination of vocal talent by the ladies in the group. The Chiffons were Judy Craig (lead singer), Patricia Bennett, Barbara Lee, and Rita Haynes. Sylvia Peterson was added to the group in 1963 To this day, "He's So Fine or "Doo Lang Doo lang Doo lang" (LOL), reminds me of everything I loved about 1963: Being at summer camp in New Hamshire, watching baseball and visiting Jones Beach.
Before Beatlemania and the British Invasion arrived there were 4 lads from New Jersey who made the early 60's one of the most harmonious eras in the history of music. Franki Valli and the Four Seasons had an effect on me that the Chiffons did a year earlier. They increased my love for this early pop music, and kept me glued to the radio. The Four Seasons had the most wonderful collection of melodies and harmonies played on the airwaves. I enjoyed so many tunes by them that I'll try to keep the list short. My favorites are "Rag Doll", "Walk Like a Man", "Let's Hang On", "Dawn", "Tell it To the Rain", "Opus 17", "Bye Bye Baby", "Workin' My Way Back to You" and an earlier tune performed by Frank Sinatra, "I've Got You Under My Skin".
Another great wave of popular music that originated in Detroit was the Motown sound. It was a style of soul music with a distinct pop influence. Berry Gordy was the founder, and this period spanned 1959-1972. In the 1960s (from 1961 to 1970), Motown had 110 Top Ten hits, performed by artists such as Stevie Wonder , Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Jackson 5, the Temptations Martha and the Vandellas, the Spinners, Jr. Walker & the All Stars and Gladys Knight & the Pips.
Once Again it is very difficult to include all of my favorite Motown hits but I will give a shortened list here. "My World is Empty Without You", "Stop! In The Name of Love" and "Reflections" by Diana Ross and the Supremes. "Bernadette", "Reach Out - I'll Be There", "Standing in the Shadows of Love" by the Four Tops and "The Way You Do the Things You Do", "Ball Of Confusion" and "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" by the Temptations are some of the top hits from this enormous influx of music.
Finally, 1964 arrived, with the Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show and the wave of British talent coming to the U.S shores, which was known as the British Invasion commenced.
The classic British Invasion period was 1964 to 1967 (roughly bracketed by The Beatles' appearance on Ed Sullivan and the emergence of Jimi Hendrix as a U.S.-born superstar who had his first success in the UK), but the term has also been applied to later "waves" of UK artists that had significant impact on the North American entertainment market.
Though generally not credited with starting the "British Invasion," Dusty Springfield was one of the first British artists to have significant success in the U.S., with her hit single "I Only Want To Be With You," released in November 1963. She appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in early 1964 singing the popular hit, and continued to have several U.S. hits through the rest of the decade. A number of songs by British artists reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Beatles' breakthrough in America (starting with the success of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in early January 1964) triggered a large wave of British artists who succeeded in the U.S. in their wake.
A list of these artists included:
From London The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Who, The Pretty Things, Dusty Springfield, Cream, Petula Clark, The Dave Clark Five, Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, and Manfred Mann. Manchester had The Hollies, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Freddie and the Dreamers, Davy Jones of The Monkees, and Herman's Hermits; Newcastle was home to The Animals; and Birmingham had The Spencer Davis Group (featuring Steve Winwood) and The Moody Blues. Bands sprang up from Belfast (Them, with frontman Van Morrison), to St Albans (The Zombies), to Essex (The Tremeloes). One other group worthy of particular note is the Liverpool Five,originally from London.
I give a more complete list of my favorite tunes from this era in Best Classic Rock Songs
The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean had a monopoly on the fast car and surfing music of the 60s with songs like "409", "Surfin Safari", "I Get Around", "Good Vibrations", "Surf City" and "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena".
Other popular groups and solo artists during this period that sprouted up in the middle and towards the end of the 60s were:
The Turtles - "Happy Together" and "She'd Rather Be With Me"
Tommy James and the Shondells - "Crimson and Clover", "Hanky Panky"
Gary Lewis and the Playboys (son of Jerry Lewis) - "This Diamond Ring"
Sonny and Cher - "I Got You Babe"
The Troggs - "Wild Thing" ( made famous in the movie "Major League")
The Righteous Brothers - "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling" (later on performed by another blue eyed soul combo - Hall and Oates) and "Soul and Inspiration"
The Mamas and the Papas - "Monday Monday"
Simon and Garfunkel - "the Sounds of Silence" and "Mrs. Robinson"
The Young Rascals - "Groovin'" and "People Got to Be Free"
Aretha Franklin - "Respect"
The Box Tops - "the Letter"
Lulu - "To Sir With Love (title song of the Sidney Poitier movie by the same name)
The Association - "Windy" and "Cherish"
Otis Redding - "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"
The Fifth Dimension (with the distinct vocals of Marilyn McCoo) - "Aquarius"
Tommy Roe - "Dizzy"
Sly and the Family Stone - "Everyday People"
This is the tip of the iceberg of the vast collection of Top Music Hits of the 60s which consisted of Doo Wop, pop, soul and the early stages of Classic Rock Music.
The Four Seasons (Rag Doll)
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