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.
Even naysayers had to admit The Beatles had created a pop masterpiece in "Yesterday". Released in 1965, the ballad reached #1 in America and parts of Europe. It is one of the most covered songs in the history of recorded popular music.
When producer / songwriter Norman Whitfield took control of The Temptations' recorded output, he led the Motown vocal group towards a grittier and psychedelic soul direction. "Cloud Nine" even suggested drug references. The 1968 single resulted in the first Grammy Award for The Temptations and reached #6 in the US and #15 in Britain.
TWIST AND SHOUT
The Isley Brothers
The Isley Brothers' remake of "Twist And Shout" transformed the 1961 single by The Top Notes into an R&B classic in the following year. The re-energized makeover shot the song to #2 on the Soul Chart and #17 Pop.
Creedence Clearwater Revival
This single materialized in late 1969 and reflected the mood of the times. Fogerty sharpened his pen for this CCR hit's lyrics. The single peaked at #14 on the American chart and was on the flip for "Down On The Corner" which rose to #3.
PAINT IT BLACK
The Rolling Stones
The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones were the key rock groups of the 1960s and their members competed with each other's latest releases to outdo the other. This resulted in a number of watershed recordings. On "Paint It Black", the latter band effectively demonstrated musical prowess. The 1966 single features Brian Jones rocking out with his sitar in an unprecedented manner. Lyrically, the mood is dark. On the charts, The Stones' musical progression was embraced, giving the group a new #1 single in America and the UK.
SAVE THE LAST DANCE FOR ME
Unleashed in 1960, "Save The Last Dance For Me" helped R&B attract a mainstream audience. With Ben E. King on lead vocals, augmented by the production techniques of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the single could not fail. It sold millions of copies, reaching #1 on the US Soul & Pop charts and climbing to #2 in Britain.
OH, PRETTY WOMAN
Sporting one of the most identifiable riffs, "Oh Pretty Woman" has lost none of its drive over the decades. Inspired by Roy Orbison's wife, the song was issued in 1964. It flew to the top in America, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many European nations.
IT'S NOW OR NEVER
By the end of the 1950s, Elvis Presley was mastering an array of genres, scoring hits in the process. He continued adding to his musical palette in the 1960s. Presley had shown he could switch from blues, country, rhythm & blues, gospel, rockabilly and rock 'n roll with ease. With "It's Now Or Never", Elvis turned a folk song from Naples entitled "O Sole Mio" into an international pop smash. With new English lyrics and a rock / pop arrangement, the 1960 single was soon at the top in the USA, Britain, Canada, Australia and many European countries.
Dick Dale is remembered as the "King of the Surf Guitar". In 1962, he released a surf rock remake of "Miserlou" that was an influential instrumental recording.
BE MY BABY
There had been earlier singles by The Ronettes and other girl groups, but none sizzled like "Be My Baby". In 1963, the disc showcased the celestial power of producer Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound. The key ingredient is the simmering build up delivered by Veronica Bennett. She is simultaneously innocent and flirtatious. Countless female vocalists have tried to emulate her style. The disc raced to the Top 5 on both sides of the Atlantic.