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.
Possibly the best executed psychedelic rock track, "White Rabbit" has it all: from Grace Slick's mesmerizing lead vocal and references to Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland" in her lyrics, to the thundering music contributed from the other members of Jefferson Airplane. In 1967, this track lifted off the band's 'Surrealistic Pillow' album reached the American Top 10.
A CHANGE IS GONNA COME
Inspired by the power and popularity of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind", Sam Cooke penned "A Change Is Gonna Come". His vocal serves a mighty impact. There's despair and optimism, a hope that the future will be better than the present. Cooke injects the attitude of protest music with gospel and soul. This powerful track was issued posthumously, as the singer died the same year that he recorded this civil rights anthem.
Jimi Hendrix Experience
The UK was the first territory to fall under the spell of legendary axe-man Jimi Hendrix, before the Americans caught up. "Hey Joe" had paved the way, scorching the chart in 1966 and reaching #6. "Purple Haze" followed in 1967 and became his highest charting single when it made #3 in Britain. This was also the Jimi Hendrix Experience's first US chart entry. The song remains a defining moment of acid rock and hard rock.
Patsy Cline released "Crazy" in 1961. It was written by Willie Nelson. Cline injected an authenticity to her interpretation. It reached #2 on the Country and Easy Listening charts as well as making the Pop chart. Her reading has influenced countless country artists since.
LIGHT MY FIRE
Lead vocalist Jim Morrison is seductive, thrilling and menacing all at once on this breathtaking classic from 1967. Ray Manzarek unleashes magic from his keyboard. Robbie Krieger and John Densmore inject exotic twists into the sonic experience. The single broke the group internationally, climbing to #1 in America.
MASTERS OF WAR
In 1963, the Cold War was raging. American President John F. Kennedy and The Soviet Union's Nikita Khrushchev held the fate of the planet in their hands during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Bob Dylan penned this stinging protest song that was included on his 1963 album 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan' LP. His potent lyrics cemented the folk musician's place as a spokesman for the times.
I WANT YOU BACK
The Jackson 5
Motown had already developed an impressive roster throughout the 1960s that boasted Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & The Pips and The Miracles. Just as 1969 was nearing its final weeks, the label launched a new group consisting of 5 brothers. "I Want You Back" propelled The Jackson 5 straight to the top in America and #2 in the UK. Audiences were already wowed by the talented youngster out front: the 11 year old Michael Jackson. The public was to be in awe of him for decades to come.
I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE
Once Berry Gordy Jr. loosened the reigns that restricted Marvin Gaye's growth, he developed into one of the key influences on soul vocalists. "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" had to struggle before the label relented and issued the single in late 1968. Vindicated, Gaye watched as the disc not only topped the US and British charts, but became Motown's best selling single to date.
It may have seemed just a fad initially, but "The Twist" soon made history. No dance has ever had such a powerful anthem. The single was so popular, it sparked countless imitations - either mentioning the twist in lyrics or hatching other dance moves in its wake. It is still the only single to reach #1 in America on 2 separate chart runs: in 1960 and again in 1962. Chubby Checker's version was actually a remake of a 1959 single by Hank Ballard & The Midnighters. In 1961, Checker also reached the Top 10 with "Let's Twist Again".
TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS
"Tomorrow Never Knows" finds The Beatles once again defying the rules to create a unique aural experience. John Lennon aimed at recreating an acid trip. The track was included on the band's lauded 'Revolver' album. Intricate and adventurous, The Beatles and George Martin further established themselves as leaders in pop / rock music. It continues to draw praise to this day and influenced numerous other musicians.