Top Songs of 1962
1962 was an exciting year in music, pop music and rock and roll was staking a firm place on radio. While standards and easy listening music also made it to the charts, it was slowly being taken over. It was before the British Invasion, the charts were a healthy mix of pop music, ballads and what were to become easy listening classics. Women were making more and more strides in popular music and were reaching the charts more often.
I was 6 during that year and had just discovered the joys of pop music. In my first year at school the year before I had a wonderful teacher who introduced me to classical music (in the form of Peter and the Wolf) and to classical English folk songs. I joined the school choir in 1962.
I had two older sisters who were very much into the popular music of the day so I was always exposed to the latest songs. Also, on our television I was exposed to The Ed Sullivan Show and other musical shows.
A Mixed Bag
I have chosen 10 songs for this article which are a mixture of the songs that were being played on the radio and that were making history on the Billboard charts.They range from smokey ballads, to pop classics, to history making sound and to one song that became a pop culture classic.
Turn Turn Turn – Judy Collins and Pete Seeger
I didn’t realize that this song had been written (the music anyway, the lyrics are from the Bible) by Pete Seeger in the 1950s. It was a huge hit for the Byrds in the mid-60s. Pete Seeger released his version in 1962 and it made the charts.
Sherry – Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons
Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons had so many great songs. Their harmonies were soaring and Frankie Valle had one of the best falsetto's ever. The band is now the subject of a very successful Broadway show called Jersey Boys.
The Twist – Chubby Checker
It seems that everyone was doing The Twist in 1962, even the President and First Lady were doing it at the White House. I remember attempting it as a child; it always showed up at parties and dances. Chubby Checker later released Let’s Twist Again.
He’s a Rebel – The Crystals
Before Phil Spector was crazy, or maybe he was then but hid it better, he was an amazing record producer who created the “wall of sound”. This was one of the first hits he produced.
It’s My Party - Lesley Gore
I have always loved this song, it is just so upbeat and poppy. Of course, it is about a not so great subject (a girl being cheated on by her boyfriend). Lesley Gore had such a perfect voice for pop music.
Rainy Night in Georgia - Brooke Benton
This song actually makes you feel like you are experiencing a rainy night in Georgia. He had one of the best voices of the 60s.
Girl from Impenema - Astrud Gilberto
You could not go anywhere in the 1960s without hearing this song. It seemed to always be on the radio or on television. It is a very compelling song.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do - Neil Sedaka
Neil Sedaka was one of the most prolific songwriters of the 1960s who decided to record his own songs. He had success with a number of hit songs.
Sheila - Tommy Roe
I had a little bit of a crush on Tommy Roe in the late 60s. His songs were part of the soundtrack of my life.