Caffé Latté looks back at…
THE 200 MOST ESSENTIAL
SONGS OF THE
No decade was as turbulent as the 1960s. Politically and socially, there was turmoil. Musically too, the rules were changing at breakneck speed. This was the decade of Flower Power, Motown, Woodstock, girl groups, Beatlemania, psychedelia and The British Invasion. Here are 200 songs that matter most from the period. These recordings had an impact on music and provided the soundtrack to the 10 years that made up the Sixties.
PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY
In 1967, the normally less serious Monkees recorded "Pleasant Valley Sunday", a stinging commentary on middle-class America from the pen of Carole King and Gerry Goffin. The single reached #3 in the U.S.
Nina Simone wrote "Mississippi Goddam", a protest song that doesn't mince words. It was soon elevated to a civil rights anthem upon its release in 1964.
COLOR HIM FATHER
"Color Him Father" borrows from The Impressions but took R&B down a different route. The 1969 song's lyrics are moving and bear a rare authenticity.
Unleashed in 1966, Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" has grown into an R&B staple that allowed the Stax horn section to shine.
I GOT YOU BABE
Sonny & Cher
Drawing inspiration from the Bob Dylan song "It Ain't Me Babe", Sonny Bono took the counter view and wrote "I Got You Babe". He was 30 years of age at the time, but the song was recorded with his 19 year old wife Cher. Bono produced it. The 1965 single topped the charts in America, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.
Booker T & The MGs
Booker T & The MGs was the house band at the Stax studios. The musicians played on countless R&B tracks, shaping the sound of Memphis Soul. "Green Onions" was an instrumental cut by the band. In 1962, the disc reached #3 Pop and topped the R&B Chart. The group was significant in that it featured a line-up of both white and black musicians: a rarity at the time.
Etta James' interpretation of "At Last" was issued in 1960. Though she is still underrated, her influence on R&B female vocalists cannot be denied and continues to this day. This ballad highlights her softer side.
Roy Orbison was an astute songwriter. His craft has been studied and inspired subsequent musicians. "Crying" is a powerful track issued by The Big O in 1961. It reached #2 in the U.S.
While John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the bulk of The Beatles' recorded output, George Harrison evolved into a gifted source of songs. His most beautiful contribution remains "Something". In 1969, the single reached #1 in America and went Top 5 in Britain.
Robbie Robertson penned "THe Weight", a single released by his group The Band in 1968. It helped define the sound of American rock while drawing on roots such as gospel. folk and country.