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.
Sly & The Family Stone
Sylvester Stewart assembled a band of musicians that were of mixed genders and skin colour. Sly & The Family Stone scored a US R&B and Pop #1 with the aptly titled "Everyday People" in 1968. It was funk, pop and soul wrapped around a positive message.
REACH OUT, I'LL BE THERE
The Four Tops
A song from the pen of brothers Brian & Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier, driven by the musicianship of The Funk Brothers and an energetic lead vocal from Levi Stubbs produced another gem for the Motown catalogue of classics. It topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic in 1966 for The Four Tops.
Ray Davies' lyrics for The Kinks' hit "Waterloo Sunset" made London sound like the hippest location on the planet. In 1967, the British Invasion was still dominating the charts as Flower Power was beginning to focus attention on California and San Francisco in particular.
In 1966, Paul McCartney raised the bar even higher with "Eleanor Rigby". The Beatles had never covered such dark lyrical territory. Also unusual for its time was the prominence of a string quartet on a Top 40 song. As half of a double A-sided single with "Yellow Submarine", the track reached #1 in the UK.
DANCING IN THE STREET
Martha & The Vandellas
As the struggle for civil rights raged on in 1964, the Motown perennial "Dancing In The Street" urged American youths to party, taking Martha Reeves and her Vandellas to #2 in the US and #4 in Britain.
RING OF FIRE
In 1963, Johnny Cash defied the rules with "Ring Of Fire". His version was a remake but it extended the parameters of country music with the inclusion of mariachi horns. The groundbreaking cover version topped the US Country Chart for 7 weeks.
The Four Seasons
With "Sherry", The Four Seasons finally broke through, reaching #1 in America and going Top 10 in Britain in 1962. It references the doo wop style of its time but features production that hinted at the future of soul and pop music. Frankie Valli is centre stage with his measured vocal.
GEORGIA ON MY MIND
Uncle Ray made "Georgia On My Mind" his own, cutting the definitive version which became a US #1 hit single in 1960.
The Everly Brothers
The Everly Brothers released a string of songs that shaped rock music during the 1950s. With 1960's "Cathy's Clown", the duo continued influencing other musicians. Phil and Don scored yet another American #1 with the single.
In 1963, "Louie, Louie" was unleashed. The version by The Kingsmen was a remake of a song first written by and performed in 1957 by Richard Berry. The cover is raucous with no frills but simple enough to be irresistible. It remains a frat perennial and a defining moment in garage rock. The Kingsmen's version climbed all the way to #2.