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1960s Music - My Top Ten Albums

Updated on September 27, 2019
GayleO profile image

Ever since I received my first portable record player for my seventh birthday enjoying music remains an important part of my life.

Sounds of the Sixties

The Beatles
The Beatles | Source

Walt Disney's Mary Poppins Soundtrack

This was the very first album that I owned. I received it for my 7th birthday and probably wore the album out as I remember being quite a fan of the feature film. The film was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and the album sat on Billboard’s top spot for 14 weeks. No Grammy Awards, however.

A Spoonful of Sugar

The Beatles - Abbey Road

The Beatles dominated the 1960s and Abbey Road closed out the decade with a true masterpiece. Divided into two distinct sections, the album’s first side was made up of stand-alone tracks like Come Together, while the second side featured a suite of songs. Abbey Road won the Grammy for the Best engineered non-classical recording.

The album enjoyed eleven weeks at Number One on the charts, with the single Something sitting at Number Three in then US and Number Four in the UK.

Come Together - Live

Tommy - The Who

A classic from the age of the rock opera. While The Who was a hot property much earlier in the UK it was not until the release of Tommy in May of 1969 that the band was recognized as a super act in the USA.

Tommy climbed to Number Five and remained on Billboard's album chart for more than two years. Hit singles included Pinball Wizard and I'm Free. The film version of Tommy was directed by Ken Russel, starring Roger Daltry with a collection of supporting actors including Jack Nicholson, Tina Turner, Oliver Reed and Elton John. No Grammy Award.

The Who Live At Woodstock - See Me, Feel Me

Elvis - Blue Hawaii

I am a Hawaiian by heart, and Elvis Presley brings together the best musical postcard from the Islands in the 1960s. From Rock-A-Hula to The Hawaiian Wedding Song the album is pure tropical sunshine throughout. The title track Blue Hawaii was originally written by crooner, Bing Crosby.

The album features the sound track for the 1961 movie Blue Hawaii, the film itself grossed more than $31 million and was followed by a second Hawaii film, Paradise, Hawaiian Style, released in 1966. No Grammy for Elvis.

The Beatles - White Album

The best-selling album of the decade was released in November of 1968. Much of the material came from the band’s India experience. The double-album wasn’t as cohesive as some earlier recordings and you can notice that band members seem to be heading in different directions.

The band could not decide of a visual for the album, resulting in the plain white cover with the blind-embossed title. The Beatles White Album sold more than 19 million copies and didn’t earn a single Grammy.

1960s #1 Hit Album

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

This classic rock album closed down the decade with its release in October of 1969, leading the way for a new decade of classic. The album sold more than 12 million copies and landed on top of the charts for both America and the UK at 98 and 138 weeks, respectively. Led Zeppelin recorded the album during their American tour. These live performances likely influenced the popularity of the bands second album.

The hit single Whole Lotta Love received much airplay on the radio, resulting in the Number Four position in the USA charts. No Grammy Award.

Whole Lotta Love

The Monkees - The Monkees

By the time I was ten years old I was listening to the new “pop” sound of the Monkees. The appeal of the album no doubt was connected to the pre-fab bands popular television show.

The Monkees debut album was the first of four albums from the band reaching Number One. The song Last Train to Clarksville was a Number One single in the US. This album held the top spot in America for 13 weeks but didn’t win a single Grammy.

Hey Hey We're The Monkees!

The Doors - The Doors

It wouldn’t be the 1960s without The Doors Light My Fire, which I consider the anthem for 1967s summer of love. The song remained at Number One for three weeks.

The debut album for The Doors was true west-coast, recorded at California’s Sunset Sound Recorders. while selling 2 million copies, although it received no Grammy award.


The Doors Live - Hollywood Bowl

Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

My introduction to popular music in high school began with a study of this album and to psychedelic heavy metal.

Iron Butterfly could very well be one of the earliest heavy metal bands and the 17-minute title track could be considered it’s anthem. When the track was edited down to 3 minutes for radio play it landed on the Billboard chart for 140 weeks. For 81 weeks the album was in the Top Ten. No Grammy Awards.

Iron Butterfly Live - In A Gadda Da Vida

Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison

Johnny Cash attained icon status as he performed live in front of 2,000 inmates at California’s Folsom Penitentiary. The album remained on Billboard's album chart for more than two years.

While the album only sold 3 million copies, the album was Grammy worthy winning Best Album Notes; Best Male Country Vocal Performance; Best Country & Western Performance for a Duo, Trio or Group.

"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash"

What do you think?

Which of my favorite albums of the 1960s do you enjoy most?

See results

Resources Consulted

100 Best-Selling Albums of the 60s

Amber Books, London, UK

2004

© 2019 Gayle Olson

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