Jump to content

Top 10 Songs of Every Year Since 1960


Recommended Posts

So I just finished posting the Top 10 Albums of Every Year Since 1960 and I thought... why not roll out the top 10 songs of every year since 1960?


This should be an infinitely more difficult project because of the number of great songs by musicians who necessarily didn't release a great album (e.g. one-hit wonders). It will be interesting to see the evolution of music styles throughout the years, how music has changed and transformed in the last 50 years or so.


I'll be (theoretically) posting a year every day starting with 1960. Let's get this started!







Top Songs From 1960s:














Top Songs From 1970s:














Top Songs From 1980s:














Top Songs From 1990s:














Top Songs From 2000s:














Top Songs From 2010s:






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before we start with the 1960s, it would be remiss of me if I didn't lead off with one of the best songs of the 1950s:




The Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes For You (1959)

Universally hailed as one of the finest and most influential vocal groups in pop music history, the Flamingos defined doo wop at its most elegant and sophisticated, their matchless harmonies profoundly impacting the Motown Sound of the 1960s and the Philly soul of the following decade. Dubbed "The Sultans of Smooth," this Chicago quintet honed its harmonies singing in a black Jewish church choir. One of the greatest vocal groups of the doo-wop era, it's best known for "I Only Have Eyes for You," originally a hit for crooner Ben Selvin in 1934. The Flamingos take the song all the way to Venus with elegant vocalizations and the otherworldly doo-bop-sh-bop.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn8SFdyOA_M]I Only Have Eyes For You - The Flamingos - HD SOUND. - YouTube[/ame]

Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. Chubby Checker – The Twist


"The Twist" began as a B side for Ballard and the Midnighters in 1958, a throwaway dance-instruction song. But in 1960, former chicken plucker Checker covered it at Dick Clark's suggestion. It became so wildly popular that it hit Number One twice, first in '60, then again in '62 -- the only single in history to accomplish that feat. "Going crazy is what I was looking for -- where the music is so good you lose control," Checker said. " 'The Twist' did that."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqVFJNcQ4X0]Chubby Checker - The Twist - YouTube[/ame]





9. Ben E. King – Spanish Harlem


King grew up mere blocks from the New York hood that provided this song's setting. The singer had just split from doo-wop superstars the Drifters and was eager to make an auspicious solo debut. He insisted on cutting "Spanish Harlem," a rare collaboration between Spector and Leiber, two titans of teen pop. Spector later claimed that this was Lenny Bruce's favorite song.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGd6CdtOqEE]Ben E King - Spanish Harlem - YouTube[/ame]





8. Sam Cooke – Chain Gang


"Chain Gang" is a song written and recorded by Sam Cooke. When released as a single in 1960, the song performed very well, reaching #2 in the United States pop and R&B charts, and #9 in the United Kingdom. This was Cooke's second-biggest American hit, his first single for RCA Victor after leaving Keen Records earlier in 1959, and was also his first top 10 hit since "You Send Me" from 1957, and his second-biggest Pop single. The song was inspired after a chance meeting with an actual chain-gang of prisoners on a highway, seen while Sam was on tour. According to legend, Cooke and his brother Charles felt sorry for the men and gave them several cartons of cigarettes. Cooke was reportedly unsatisfied with the initial recording sessions of this song at RCA Studios in New York in January 1960, and came back three months later to redo some of the vocals to get the effect he wanted.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce_HNyUQMGc]Sam Cooke | Chain Gang | 1960 - YouTube[/ame]





7. The Drifters – Save the Last Dance For Me


This single was produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, two noted American music producers who at the time had an apprentice relationship with a then-unknown Phil Spector. In the song, the narrator tells his lover she is free to mingle and socialize throughout the evening, but to make sure to save him the dance at the end of the night. Billy Joel said it best: Before the Drifters, the last dance was the one nobody stuck around for. But this elegant R&B ballad made the end of the party sound like the essence of true romance. Lead vocalist Ben E. King later sang the solo hit "Stand By Me."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-XQ26KePUQ]Save the last dance for me - The Drifters - YouTube[/ame]





6. The Shadows – Apache


The recording was done at the EMI Abbey Road Studio in London. Singer-guitarist Joe Brown had bought an Italian-built guitar echo chamber that he didn't like and gave it to Hank Marvin who developed a distinctive sound using it and the tremolo arm of his Fender Stratocaster. Bruce Welch borrowed an acoustic Gibson J200 guitar from Cliff Richard, the heavy melodic bass was by Jet Harris, percussion was by Tony Meehan and Cliff Richard, who played a Chinese drum at the beginning and end to provide an atmosphere of stereotypically Native American music. In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Apache" at No.96 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhIs1k8yuPU]Apache - The Shadows (Original 1960 HD) - YouTube[/ame]





5. Roy Orbison – Only the Lonely


Recorded by Orbison, it became his first major hit. As an operatic rock ballad, it was a sound unheard of at the time, described by the New York Times as expressing "a clenched, driven urgency". It is seen as a seminal event in the evolution of Rock and Roll. Orbison intended to offer this song to either Elvis Presley (also a Sun Records alumni) or the Everly Brothers, who had cut the Orbison song "Claudette." But Orbison's falsetto made the loneliness real. "For a baritone to sing as high as I do," he said, "is ridiculous."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjq4wYuwgxs]Roy Orbison - Only The Lonely - YouTube[/ame]





4. Sam Cooke – Wonderful World


Cooke was rooming with Adler, who had already finished this song when Cooke fiddled with the lyrics and came up with the academic conceit that made it work. Cut while Cooke was still signed to Keen, it sat around until he'd moved to RCA -- then sold a million. Before it came out, Cooke liked to sing it for women he met, telling them he'd made it up on the spot just for them. A bouncy love song, the lyrics have the singer disavowing knowledge of academic subjects (the song is often referred to informally by its first line, "Don't know much about history"), but affirming the object of his affection "but I do know that I love you".


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNO72aCnVr0]Sam Cooke - Wonderful World (lyrics) - YouTube[/ame]





3. Ray Charles – Georgia On My Mind


Charles' driver had heard him singing "Georgia on My Mind" in the car and suggested he add that to the record he was working on, an LP consisting of songs with place names in their titles. Once he recorded it, though, Charles said he thought of many ways the rendition could have been better. Heading out on the road as the single was about to enter the charts, Charles sang "Georgia" for his TV debut on Hugh Hefner's Playboy Penthouse, a syndicated show out of Chicago, with David "Fathead" Newman handling the string parts on flute.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZceOIAh1i0]Georgia On My Mind Ray Charles - YouTube[/ame]





2. Etta James – At Last


The song became Etta James' signature song and was the third in a string of successful songs from her Chess Records debut album At Last!. In April 1961, it became her second number 2 R&B hit and crossed over to pop radio, reaching number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite its modest pop chart standing, the song is well-known and is still played regularly on oldies radio stations.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5dpYDTEMRU]Etta James - At Last - YouTube[/ame]





1. The Shirelles – Will You Love Me Tomorrow


After a few minor Shirelles hits, scepter Records founder Florence Greenberg asked King and Goffin to write the group a song. On the piano in Greenberg's office, King finished a song the team had been working on: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow." "I remember giving her baby a bottle while Carole was writing the song," Greenberg said. Lead singer Shirley Owens initially found the song too countryish for the group, but Dixon's production changed her mind and made it the first Number One for a girl group.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbxxkwBQk_o]THE SHIRELLES-WILL U STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




Bobby Darin – Beyond the Sea


"Beyond the Sea" is a 1946 contemporary pop romantic love song by Charles Trenet with music taken from his song "La Mer" and lyrics by Jack Lawrence. Trenet had composed "La Mer" (which means "the Sea") with French lyrics completely different and unrelated to the English language version that Lawrence composed. Trenet's French version was a homage and ode to the changing moods of the sea, while Lawrence, by just adding one word "Beyond" to the title, gave him the start whereby he made the song into one of a dear lover mourning for a lost love, boyfriend/girlfriend, or beloved sweetheart.The aural definition of "wistful," the lyrics to "Beyond the Sea" scan as if there should be doubt that the song's distant lovers will meet again. In his reading of the song, Darin doesn't sound so sure; even when his band gets raucous, he sits it out and comes back as melancholy as ever.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8OlDPqYBLw]Bobby Darin - Beyond the sea - YouTube[/ame]





Elvis Presley – It’s Now or Never


The melody of the song is adapted from the Italian standard, "'O Sole Mio", but the inspiration for it came from the song, "There's No Tomorrow", recorded by U.S. singer, Tony Martin, in 1949. In the late 1950s, while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army, Presley heard Martin's recording. According to The New York Times, quoting from the 1986 book Behind The Hits, "he told the idea to his music publisher, Freddy Bienstock, who was visiting him in Germany...Mr. Bienstock, who many times found songwriters for Presley, returned to his New York office, where he found songwriters, Mr. [Aaron] Schroeder and Wally Gold, the only people in that day. The two wrote lyrics in half an hour. Selling more than 20 million records, the song became number one in countries all around and was Presley's best selling single ever...a song [they] finished in 20 minutes to a half hour was the biggest song of [their] career."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkMVscR5YOo]elvis presley - its now or never (1960) - YouTube[/ame]





The Everly Brothers – Cathy’s Clown


"Cathy's Clown" is a popular song, written and recorded by The Everly Brothers, in which an unnamed narrator informs Cathy that he "don't want your love anymore." It was their first single for Warner Bros., after spending three years on Archie Bleyer's Cadence label. Cathy's Clown sold eight million copies worldwide, spending five weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and one week on the R&B charts. It spent seven weeks at number one in the UK in May and June 1960. It would become the Everly Brothers' biggest hit single and their third and final US Number One.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXvKAWiU_cQ]The Everly Brothers - Cathy's Clown.wmv - YouTube[/ame]





The Miracles – Shop Around



The song, written by Robinson and Berry Gordy, depicts a mother giving her now-grown son advice about how to find a woman worthy of being a girlfriend or wife ("My mama told me/'you better shop around'"). The original recorded version of the song had a strong bluesinfluence, and was released in the local Detroit, Michigan area before Gordy decided that the song needed to be re-recorded in order to be more commercially viable outside of Detroit. So at 3 a.m. one morning, Robinson, Claudette Rogers, Bobby Rogers, Ronnie White, and Pete Moore recorded a new, poppier version of "Shop Around" that became a major national hit. The original record label credits Bill "Smokey" Robinson as the writer, with Berry Gordy as producer.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQGXa3FiXKM]The Miracles - Shop Around - YouTube[/ame]





The Ventures – Walk Don’t Run



The Seattle-based instrumental rock band The Ventures released their version of the tune as a surf rock single in autumn 1960 on Dolton Records, which quickly became a hit. In the UK, the tune was covered by the John Barry Seven, whose version, while only peaking at #11 on the Record Retailer chart, compared to the Ventures' #8, outcharted them to reach the Top 10 on other UK charts, such as that of the NME. The Ventures' version is believed to be one of the first surfing songs to make the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #2 and reaching #3 on the Cash Box magazine chart for five weeks in August and September 1960.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WW21rcHiVU0]The Ventures - Walk -- Don't Run (original) - [sTEREO] - YouTube[/ame]




Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to listen to the local "oldies" radio station every morning when I was in school, this is bringing back so many memories.



It appears you are a fan of Sam Cooke (2 of his songs in your top 10 just for that year)... it will be interesting to see if my favorite Sam Cooke song shows up on one of your upcoming lists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. The Marvelettes – Please Mr. Postman


Motown's first number one single, the Marvelettes' 1961 blockbuster "Please Mr. Postman" tailors the girl group sound to label specifications, rejecting the polished sweetness typical of the genre in favor of a tougher-minded, more urbanized approach. Gladys Horton's sandpaper vocal is equal parts attitude and anticipation, and while the song traffics in the kind of teenage melodrama so essential to the girl group idiom, it does so with a knowing irony; after all, for the unwarranted abuse the trio heaps on the poor mail carrier, they still preface all their entreaties with "please." Moreover, the beat (courtesy of drummer Marvin Gaye) is sublimely funky in ways no other girl group disc ever matched, and it all culminates in one of the single greatest line readings ("Delivah de lettah/De soonah de bettah") in rock & roll history.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=425GpjTSlS4]The Marvelettes - Please Mr. Postman (1961) - YouTube[/ame]





9. Dion – The Wanderer


"The Wanderer" was the immensely successful follow-up hit to Dion's "Runaround Sue," making #2 in 1962, and written by the same guy (Ernie Maresca) who had co-written "Runaround Sue" with Dion. Though it might not have been intended as such, and probably wasn't taken as such at the time, "The Wanderer" was almost like a sequel to "Runaround Sue." In "Runaround Sue," Dion had bitched about a promiscuous girlfriend who betrayed him by running around with every guy in town. In "The Wanderer," Dion seemed to be saying, two can play at that game, boasting about his own footloose wandering, romantic and otherwise. The tune of "The Wanderer" wasn't far different from "Runaround Sue" either, with its bluesy doo wop updated into early-1960s rock'n'roll with some pop. The studly postures of "The Wanderer" might, several decades later, strike some listeners as distasteful; a guy who boasts about loving and leaving women, to the point where many of them don't even know his name. Still, it's a pretty dynamic groove, rather similar to some of Elvis Presley's mid-tempo hits of the era, but with less showbizzy bluster in the vocals. There's actually an intriguing moment, whether conscious or not, in the lyric which indicates that the protagonist might not be as obliviousness to his shortcomings as it might seem. In the bridge, he notes how he wanders carefree from town to town, yet at the very end he breaks into a brief unaccompanied passage that switches ever-so-briefly into a more dissonant key, leaving him to exclaim that for all his wandering, he's going nowhere. Most listeners didn't (and don't) dig the song because of that slight undercurrent of self-doubt; they like it because it's a confident, swaggering rock'n'roll song, with a typically honking early-'60s rock sax solo.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FFtht9k87k]The Wanderer - Dion (FULL HD) - YouTube[/ame]





8. Ray Charles – Hit the Road Jack


"Hit the Road Jack" is one of Ray Charles's all-time classics, a song that magnificently combined rock, soul, pop, jazz, and gospel. And, in a too-unusual instance of such effortless musical brilliance, it was phenomenally successful as well, rising to #1 on the charts in 1961. Though strongly identified with Charles, "Hit the Road Jack" is not a Charles original but a composition by Percy Mayfield, the early 1950s R&B star who had faded from commercial prominence by the early 1960s. "Hit the Road Jack" grabs your attention from the very first bars, with their rushed clipped beats and foreboding descending horns, playing a riff not much different from the one that anchors the Ventures' "Walk Don't Run." The gospel element of the song is especially prevalent in the call-response banter between Ray Charles and a phalanx of female backup singers, who instruct him in no-nonsense terms to hit the road as he pleas against them with soulful anguish, though to no avail. The syncopation on the chorus is marvelous, with a burst of horns thunderously punctuating each command of the women to hit the road, jack. So's the syncopation on the verse, in which Charles largely takes over the vocals, the horn again punctuating the point home when he moans "I guess if you say so." After he finishes the couplet resignedly "I'll have to pack my bags and go," the backup girls are right on his tail, reiterating "that's right!" The finality of Ray's woman's (or women's?) decision to put him on the road is brought home by the fadeout, as the women sing the line "don't you come back no more" over and over while Charles continues to plead for reconsideration, in subdued tones that make it clear he knows his case is futile.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKvhxapM5zo]Ray Charles - Hit The Road Jack - YouTube[/ame]





7. Del Shannon – Runaway


Whenever anyone complains that rock and roll was dead before the Beatles revitalized it with "I Want To Hold Your Hand," the quickest way to end the argument is to play this masterful 1961 single. One of the all-time classic rock and roll singles, "Runaway" is brilliant in every sense of the word, from the haunted paranoia of Del Shannon's lyrics and the desperation of his vocals, particularly in the falsetto break of the chorus -- "Runaway" makes Roy Orbison's "Running Scared" and Gene Pitney's "Town Without Pity" sound like a walk in the park -- to the magnificently futuristic Clavioline solo in the break. One of those rare rock and roll classics that has never sounded dated in the least, "Runaway" is one of the most perfect chart debuts of all time.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziLagAgoPCE]Del Shannon - Runaway (Rare Stereo Version) - YouTube[/ame]





6. Sam Cooke – Cupid


Yet another perfect pop song from Sam Cooke, falling more in line with his earlier crossover smooth pop hits like "You Send Me" than his later return-to-his-roots gospel-based soul songs like "Bring It on Home to Me." In fact, "Cupid" has less to do with R&B and gospel music and is more similar to the classic songwriting of the American theater by the Gershwins and Cole Porter. As with Leiber & Stoller and Brill Building songwriters like Bert Berns, with songs like "Cupid," Cooke -- who had already achieved star status as a gospel performer -- helped usher in a new era of pop composition that combined Latin, R&B, jazz, and mainstream pop elements. "Cupid" touches on all of these genres. Cooke was influential not only as a performer, but as a composer as well. Beginning with the slightly melancholy sound of a French horn over slightly Afro-Cuban rhythms, Cooke croons in his smooth tenor a request to the diminutive Roman god with a sing-song melody: "Cupid, draw back your bow/And let your arrow go/Straight to my lover's heart for me/Cupid, please hear my cry and let your arrows fly." It is a clever, lighthearted lyric, bordering on being a novelty tune, with the onomatopoeic "ssssss-straight to my lover's heart." "Now, cupid if your arrow make a love storm for me/I promise I will love her until eternity/I know between the two of us her heart we can steal/Help me if you will," sings Cooke, charmingly implying a Southern-accented rhyme with "steal" and "will." High-register strings and R&B/doo wop backing vocals join the building arrangement.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S28tILqie1o]Sam Cooke - Cupid (Original Version with lyrics) - YouTube[/ame]





5. Elvis Presley – Can’t Help Falling in Love


This adaptation of Giovanni Martini's eighteenth-century song "Plaisir d'Amour" was given to Elvis for his movie Blue Hawaii -- hence the Hawaiian steel guitar. But this was no vacation for Presley: It took him twenty-nine takes to nail his exquisitely gentle vocals. The song became the closing number for most of his Seventies concerts.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V430M59Yn8]Can't Help Falling In Love - YouTube[/ame]





4. Patsy Cline – Crazy


"Crazy" started life as a simple Willie Nelson demo, bluesy and simply strummed by the singer/songwriter. But once it was covered by Patsy Cline, the tune was transformed into country's first truly elegant uptown ballad. It isn't just the Nashville production sheen that producer Owen Bradley put to it with the Jordanaires oohing and aahing in the background with Floyd Cramer's patented slip finger piano filling in the cracks. Cline's reading of the lyric is filled with an aching world weariness that transforms the tune into one of the first big crossover hits without even trying hard. The song is one of those indestructible classics, a song so simple in its construction that it could be sung by anyone from Reba McIntire to Elmer Fudd ("cwazy, cwazy fo' feewin' so wonely") and still sound recognizable as real country with a message that crosses both boundaries and demographics.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QEDb3xzdec]Patsy Cline - Crazy - YouTube[/ame]





3. John Coltrane – My Favorite Things


Jazz artist John Coltrane did an extended, close to fourteen-minute version on his 1961 album taken from the title of the song. It became a jazz classic and a signature for Coltrane in concert, also appearing on Newport '63 in 1963, Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up in 1965 and Live at the Village Vanguard Again! in 1966. Coltrane's version differs significantly from the song as originally conceived, using modal patterns and being much darker and more frenzied in feel.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWG2dsXV5HI]My Favorite Things - John Coltrane [FULL VERSION] HQ - YouTube[/ame]





2. Roy Orbison – Crying


Under no circumstances should Roy Orbison's "Crying" ever be listened to by anyone who's even remotely depressed. The grief, regret, and eternal damnation to an existence drenched in tears that Orbison vividly invests with typically breathtaking vocal bravado could be overwhelming enough to drive anyone so inclined to end it all. For more stable types, "Crying" is simply a beautiful albeit heart-wrenching ballad that opens with an innocuous rhythm carried by tom-tom and acoustic guitar (the latter likely the work of Orbison himself) and steadily builds via sweeping strings and a heavy dose of melodramatic intensity to a climax of utterly shattering proportions. Orbison nails a stunning high note at the end, his mighty pipes holding it for what seems like an eternity as the strings and drums throb with sheer dread.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNdBLBleO90]Roy Orbison - Crying - YouTube[/ame]





1. Ben E. King – Stand By Me


"Stand By Me" sounds like it wasn't written, that it just always existed — it wasn't heard until Ben E. King released it as a single in the spring of 1961. Of course, that isn't the case. King wrote the song with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and it was released as the follow-up to "Spanish Harlem," King's first big hit since leaving the Drifters. It had the same elegance as "Spanish Harlem," but there was a big difference. It was slower, statelier, anchored by one of the most memorable non- blues walking bass lines in history and King's warm, refined delivery. His performance is surrounded by a superb, subtle arrangement, where the majestic orchestra doesn't sweep in until the bridge where it cleverly disguises a key change. Best of all, "Stand By Me" played like a love song, but it wasn't. It was a testament to friendship, one of the best of its kind in pop history. Perhaps that's why it was also one of the most endearing songs of the rock era. King's peerless original was never matched and it won the hearts of many generations of listeners.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vbg7YoXiKn0]Ben E. King - Stand by me - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




Dion – Runaround Sue


"Runaround Sue" was a huge hit for Dion in 1961, and a song that helped define the overall mood of the early 1960s, musically speaking anyway. "Runaround Sue" is the ultimate rock'n'roll statement of hip-but-hurt male braggadocio. Looked back from a different perspective many year later, it can be viewed as insensitive toward women, all but accusing a woman of being a whore for being promiscuous (and particularly for dumping the singer). It sold in great quantities, though, mostly because of its great musical hook, one that updated doo wop-type harmonies into the early '60s pop-rock climate. The hook didn't actually appear immediately; the song starts with a melodramatic introduction in which Dion tells us not so much the story itself, but that he's going to tell us a story, accompanied by doo wop croons in the background. But then it's off to the races, with the circular "hey hey, womb-deh hey-de-hey-de-hey" doo wop harmonies in the background as Dion wails wordlessly. Combined with the incessantly snapping fingers that hold down the rhythm, this passage embodies early-'60s street toughness. You can almost see these young guys in leather jackets swaggering around the Bronx playground or street corner as they go through the harmonies. Those harmonies keep running underneath the verses, where Dion delivers the catchy tune with a blend of aggression and heartache. It's particularly effective how the harmonies swell upwards at the end of some verses, like football players raising their voices in unison when huddles break up. Dion also stutters doo wop syllables, deliberately and quite effectively, at some points, a device which came to be one of his trademarks. The way he delivers the song's punchline at the end of the bridge -- that Sue goes out with other guys -- might seem absurd except for the utter conviction that he brings to the proclamation, as if it's the worst blow he could have ever suffered to learn that information. A sax toots away throughout, taking more elaborate solos in the background on the fade.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uadF_CUIXzk]Runaround Sue - Dion and the belmonts - YouTube[/ame]





The Everly Brothers – Crying in the Rain


One of the most beloved Everly Brothers recordings, "Crying in the Rain" was the Brothers' first dip into the Brill Building stable of songwriters. Recorded just prior to the Everlys' stint in the marines, it went Top Ten in winter of 1961. The song has the literate feel of many of the Boudleaux and Felice Bryant songs from the Candence era, and this is perhaps what attracted them to the song. Speaks directly to the teen heart, without speaking down to the audience. It's no wonder that the Everlys were often considered the "soundtrack" to many teenagers' lives -- and here is another reason.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qox-X5zr0lM]The Everly Brothers - Crying In The Rain (The Definitive Everly Brothers) - YouTube[/ame]





Henry Mancini – Moon River


Henry Mancini has written some of the most compelling and memorable melodies in pop music. "Moon River" is nothing less than one of the most gorgeous and emotionally affecting tunes written. It exists as a cultural currency so well-known and instantly recognizable that it is internal to so many and can almost certainly be called to mind instantly. Undeniably nostalgic and unabashedly sentimental, "Moon River" speaks to most people, regardless of musical taste and background. The song just seems so elemental that despite the fact that it was only written as far back as 1961, it is hard to imagine that the melody has not always existed. Perhaps it has. The purest way to experience the melody might be in its mostly instrumental form as Mancini's original orchestral theme for the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. Over a quietly lush backing of strings, George Fields plays the distinctive tune on harmonica for the first verse, followed by strings in harmony for the second, finished by a pop, male-female vocal ensemble for the final verse. With this recording, the melody is well established on its own before Johnny Mercer's classic lyric has a chance to offer further emotional cues.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xGpam9_NpI]Henry Mancini & His Orchestra - Moon River (voices) - YouTube[/ame]





Patsy Cline – I Fall to Pieces



"I Fall to Pieces" was one of Patsy Cline's biggest hits, ascending to #12 in 1961, and is probably her most famous song. For a country song, or a country-pop song as it might be more properly classified, "I Fall to Pieces" had an uncommonly lively and bouncy melody, particularly in the rippling descending notes and key changes of the guitar line following her declaration of the title phrase in the verse. That descension mirrored the sense of helplessness of falling in love described by the lyric, one which might play into stereotypes of femininity, but which is effective nonetheless. (And, incidentally, written by two men, Harlan Howard and Hank Cochran.) Another plus to the recording is its brisk walk-run tempo, where many country singers and arrangers would have opted for the more habitual sluggish ballads attached to lyrics such as these. "I Fall to Pieces"'s catchy and wistful melody, as well as its delicately echoed guitar lines that introduce and punctuate the tune, might have been its strongest musical attributes. But Cline also gifted it with a vocal delivery that refused to milk the sentiment and heartache of the words, maintaining dignity but at the same time making her hurt plain.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuZTk1hdpMs]Patsy Cline -- I Fall To Pieces - YouTube[/ame]





The Shirelles – Baby It’s You



With its beautiful, minor-to-major key chord change on the verses, "Baby It's You" is one of the most soulful examples of the Bacharach/David songwriting team. Its dark, melancholy feeling was soon to become a trademark of the songwriting team's efforts. Not only was the song a huge hit for the Shirelles (Top Ten in the winter of 1961), it was also covered to great effect by the Beatles on their English LP debut, Please Please Me.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8clnxViHdp8]The Shirelles - Baby it's you (original 1961) - YouTube[/ame]




Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. Little Eva – The Loco-motion


How many songs are classics of the girl group, Brill Building, and rock'n'roll dance novelty genres, as well as reaching #1 in both the pop and R&B charts? Not many, you can be assured, even if it's doubtful many if any people have been keeping a list. A 1962 single that did all that was Little Eva's "The Loco-motion," written by the pre-eminent Brill Building songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. There's a Spectorian Wall-of-Sound flair to the production, right from the almost military drum roll that starts off the song, followed by droning saxes against a chugging rhythm. The melody of the verses of "The Loco-motion" is catchy and singable. But it's made much more soulful than the average "here's a dance and how to do it" rock song by teenager Little Eva's earthy vocal and, most crucially, the seductively wailing backup singers, particularly when they sing-chant "come on baby, do the loco-motion." The possibilities for lyrical expression in a song about how to do a dance are limited, and Goffin-King wisely vary the pace with a bridge that slows down the rhythm with a clap-along rhythm in which Little Eva sings the most instructive phrases of how to do the dance. All this is more intellectual analysis than it suitable for the song, perhaps; it's a rock classic because it's got an irresistible verve, easy to sing and dance along with even though the dance the loco-motion never itself became too popular or common. It's a well-known story that "The Loco-motion" originated when Goffin and King saw Little Eva, a babysitter for them, doing a dance at their house and devised a song to go with it. Originally Little Eva was intended only as the singer for the demo, but the demo worked out so well that it was released with a few overdubs as the single that went to the top of the charts.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNNW0SPkChI]Little Eva - The Locomotion - YouTube[/ame]





9. James Brown – Night Train


Before perfecting his own minimalist brand of funk on songs like "Cold Sweat," James Brown put his distinctive touch on a number of different soul music genres. "Night Train" was Brown's inspired entry into the soul instrumental subgenre that groups like Booker T. & the M.G.'s dominated in the early '60s. "Night Train" was an old standard, previously tackled by the likes of Louis Prima, that primarily devotes itself to an instrumental groove built on a circular musical motif designed to replicate the churning sound of a locomotive. Brown's recording of this tune expands on the train-inspired melody with a tight, clever arrangement that adds jazzy, train whistle-styled horn riffs over a rolling, insistent rhythm section groove. Saxophonist J.C. Davis adds a few wild solos into the mix and James Brown himself holds the whole thing by laying down a steady beat behind the drum kit. Unlike many instrumentals, "Night Train" adds intermittent vocals from Brown, who kicks off the song with a lively "All aboard the night train!" and interjects soulful wails of the night train's stops (including Atlanta and Miami) before closing the tune out with a rousing chant of "night train, carry me home." All these engaging elements add up to a fun, rousing instrumental that was perfect for dancing. Accordingly, "Night Train" became a Top Five hit on the R&B chart and made it into the pop chart's Top 40 listings. It also inspired scads of other interpretations by everyone from King Curtis to Paul Revere & the Raiders. However, James Brown's take on "Night Train" remains the top favorite with soul fans and it also made the soundtrack of the hit Ron Howard film Apollo 13.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9C5pcdunIk]JAMES BROWN Night Train MAR '62 - YouTube[/ame]





8. Françoise Hardy - Le Temps de l'Amour


Among Françoise Hardy's earliest (pre-1964) tracks, "Le Temps de l'Amour," first released on her second EP in 1962, is her best and hardest rocking. Though there's some early rock & roll influence in the song, it sounds much like a suitable tune for the soundtrack of a spy movie or a film noir, introduced by chase-scene drum rolls and snaky, devious minor-key guitar lines. That guitar sound continues to speckle the arrangement throughout the song, with Hardy crooning seductively in a haunting melody that sticks doggedly to minor keys. Hardy is singing about, in general terms, how it's now the time for love and adventure, though in a way that suggests there's more than a little danger and excitement on the way as well. You don't have to know any French, though, to know that's what the song is dealing with; it's implicit in the way her voice beckons, the up-tempo jazzy rhythm swings, and the guitar curls. It's the sound of dark wet streets and neon, with unpredictable good and bad surprises lurking around the corners. "Le Temps de l'Amour" was co-written by Jacques Dutronc, himself a French recording artist of note, and later to become the father of Hardy's son. Hardy also did an Italian version of the song, "Leta Dell Amore," with an entirely different backing track, with a drum sound so thin it sounded as if it was being played by a school boy with a snare hanging around his neck.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITYVXUvMtHI]Françoise Hardy - Le Temps de l'Amour - YouTube[/ame]





7. Booker T. & The M.G.’s – Green Onions


"Green Onions" is one of the most popular instrumental rock and soul songs ever, reaching #3 in 1962 and remaining oft-played on oldies radio and by bar bands ever since. Instrumentals were very big in rock music when "Green Onions" came out, and many stuck to conventional, even boring, major-keyed R&B-based riffs. "Green Onions" was immediately distinctive and different for its ominous three-note riffs and minor-colored, constant key changes. It was a sweet-sour blend akin to the "Green Onions" of the title, but very tough and creepy as well, like a hypnotic prelude to a night of prowling for action in dark alleys. Booker T. & the MGs' instrumental talents really asserted themselves on this recording as well, particularly in Booker T. Jones's distinctive choked organ textures and skittering, economic single-note solos. Also taking some of the solos were Steve Cropper's ruthlessly lean, devious, and reverbed guitar, squeezing out spurts of menace when not keeping a choppy rhythm with choked chords. Al Jackson, meanwhile, laid down a rock-solid drumbeat that looked forward to the MGs' work as the house band during Stax Records' glory days. "Green Onions" is an irresistible dance song, and one of the moodiest uptempo soul-rock instrumentals of its sort. "Green Onions" had an almost accidental birth, as it was cut by the group with time left over after they had served as the backing musicians on a session by rockabilly singer Billy Lee Riley.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bpS-cOBK6Q]Booker T & the M G 's - Green Onions (Original / HQ audio) - YouTube[/ame]





6. The Crystals – He’s a Rebel


Producer Phil Spector had had a fair amount of success already in the early '60s before the Crystals issued "He's a Rebel" in 1962. "He's a Rebel," though, was the record that elevated Spector from one of many middling hitmakers into an industry phenomenon, also blueprinting the "Wall of Sound" for which he's been lauded. The record, oddly enough for a girl-group classic that was (naturally) sung by women, was written by a male star, Gene Pitney, who himself was not noted as a prolific composer. Spector heard the song on a demo and went to town on the production, making an already-strong pop/rock song into an anthem. The track begins with a dramatic drum roll, the brief instrumental intro establishing an almost martial beat, embellished by layers of percussion and tinkling piano. As has since been revealed, as on many Crystals tracks, the vocalists were not the Crystals, and the lead singer was non-Crystal Darlene Love. On "He's a Rebel," Love sang a tough, soulful, streetwise lyric guaranteed for youth appeal: the guy who marches to his own beat, and the girl who loves him all the more for it. Her low vocals were seconded by strong, full soul backup vocals by the Blossoms. The arrangement was unusually dense for the period, with two bass players and two guitarists. The song really took off, though, when it dramatically jumped to a higher key for the chorus, remaining in that key, in fact, for the rest of the track. The chorus, with its loving defiance, was instantly memorable, particularly when the backup largely dropped out for Love to sing, largely on her own, stirring lines in which she asserted that just because he didn't do what everyone else did, that wasn't any reason why the couple couldn't share love. That was the cue for the band to re-enter full-on for a stirring ensemble vocal finish to the chorus, and then for Steve Douglas to take over with a sax solo. "He's a Rebel" actually doesn't have the strings that were found in many a Spector production, but the sound was rich and full, and the single an enormous success, reaching number one.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_SXJ18EkNw]The Crystals - He's a Rebel (1962) - YouTube[/ame]





5. The Contours – Do You Love Me


What makes the Contours' 1962 hit "Do You Love Me" one of the all-time Motown greats is how very atypical of the Motown sound the record actually is. Utterly devoid of the sophistication and polish which primarily define the label's output, the song's raucous groove is pure slash-and-burn; there's got to be a guitar and bass in there somewhere, but all you really hear are piano and drums (even Benny Benjamin's ragged vocals seem almost secondary). Written and produced by Berry Gordy Jr. himself, "Do You Love Me" seems so basic, so crude, that it's easy to miss just how cleverly constructed the record really is -- its lovelorn spoken introduction deceptively sets the stage for a tearjerker ballad instead of the celebratory stomp which really follows, and with its false ending, the song plays you for the fool once again. More than enough reason to play it again, of course.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcqfEca8kR4]The Contours - Do You Love Me - YouTube[/ame]





4. Dick Dale and the Del-Tones – Misirlou


“Misirlou” is a folk song dating back to 1927, originally as a Greek rebetiko composition influenced byMiddle Eastern music. The song then gained popularity among Middle Eastern audiences through Arabic (belly dancing), Jewish (klezmer), Armenian and Turkish versions.

The song was rearranged as a solo instrumental rock guitar piece by Dick Dale in 1962. During a performance, Dale was bet by a young fan that he could not play a song on only one string of his guitar. Dale's father and uncles were Lebanese-American musicians, and Dale remembered seeing his uncle play "Misirlou" on one string of the oud. He vastly increased the song's tempo to make it into rock and roll. It was Dale's surf rock version that introduced "Misirlou" to a wider audience in theUnited States.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y3h9p_c5-M]Dick Dale - Misirlou - YouTube[/ame]





3. The Drifters – Up on the Roof


The Drifters originally recorded the Gerry Goffin/Carole King composition "Up on the Roof" in 1962 -- included on the LP Save the Last Dance for Me (1962) -- reaching the Top Five in 1963. Theirs feels like a typically great Brill Building-type recording; Stan Applebaum's sweet pop arrangement shuffles with a vaguely Latin groove, lush strings, horn stabs, and street-corner backing vocals. Their version of the song offers a triumphant reading of the lyric; the listener feels that these fellows are city guys, and the recording, with its jaunty tempo, suggests that the narrator is part of -- and used to -- the whole bustling urban tableau, and has no problem rising above it, literally and figuratively, "up on the roof." Rudy Lewis sings the lead with just a tinge of the melody's melancholy peeking through. But he attacks the song with such bravura that his resilience in the face of the "rat race" never seems to be in question.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puM1k-S86nE]the drifters - up on the roof - YouTube[/ame]





2. Nina Simone – My Baby Just Cares for Me


My Baby Just Cares for Me is a jazz standard written by Walter Donaldson with lyrics by Gus Kahn. Written for the 1930 film version of the musical comedy Whoopee!, the song became a signature tune for Eddie Cantor who sang it in the movie. A stylized version of the song by Nina Simone, recorded in 1962, was a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom after it was used in a 1987 perfume commercial and resulted in a renaissance for Simone.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNdBLBleO90]Roy Orbison - Crying - YouTube[/ame]





1. Sam Cooke – Bring It on Home to Me


Sam Cooke could be as smooth as silk, popping out chart-topping hits with a light, sophisticated pop touch. But he could also return to his gospel roots -- where he was already a star singer with the legendary Soul Stirrers -- and churn out a slow-burning soul ballad like "Bring It on Home to Me." Sung as a duet/two-part harmony with then-relatively unknown Lou Rawls, the song is stripped-down and pretty raw by Cooke's secular pop standards -- even with the light string orchestration. The bulk of the 1961 recording is dominated by Ernie Freeman's piano, drums, a little sax riffing, and, above all, the vocal harmonies of Cooke and Rawls. The two compliment each other perfectly, with the baritone Rawls taking the low harmony to Cooke's tenor melody. The two men, singing the part of the narrator together, beseech a woman to come back, acknowledging a grievous error in letting her leave: "I know I laughed when you left/But now I know I only hurt myself/Baby, bring it to me/Bring your sweet loving/Bring it home to me." Still, the narrator can't help but get a dig in during the final verse, an explanation and justification of sorts: "You know I tried/To treat you right/But you stay out, stay out all night/But I forgive you, bring it to me/Bring your sweet loving/Bring it on home to me."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZB4jcPmFGo]Sam Cooke Bring It On Home to Me lyrics - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




The Cascades – Rhythm of the Rain


"Rhythm of the Rain" is a song performed by The Cascades, released in November 1962. It was written by Cascades band member John Claude Gummoe. It rose to number three on the US pop chart on March 9, 1963, and spent two weeks at number one on the US Easy Listening chart.[The song was also a top 5 hit in the United Kingdom and a number-one single in Ireland. In 1999, BMI listed the song as the ninth most performed song on radio/TV in the 20th century. The Cascades' recording was used in the soundtrack of the 1979 film Quadrophenia and included in its soundtrack album.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQstQST1GiM]The CASCADES-Rhythm Of the Rain - YouTube[/ame]





The Miracles – You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me


"You've Really Got a Hold on Me" was written by Smokey Robinson while in New York in 1962 on business for Motown; he heard Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home to Me", which was in the charts at the time, and - influenced by it - wrote the song in his hotel room. One of the Miracles' most covered tunes, this million-selling song received a 1998 Grammy Hall of Fame Award. It has also been selected as one of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It was covered by the Beatles on their second album, With The Beatles.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdDnqSFYXFs]Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - You Really Got A Hold On Me - YouTube[/ame]





Patsy Cline – She’s Got You


Written by Country Music Hall of Fame songwriter Hank Cochran, "She's Got You" is a classic countrypolitan tear-jerker. The song went to number one for Patsy Cline and almost cracked the Top Ten pop chart, a crossover hit that encompassed country as well as vocal jazz elements. The earliest album release of the song was on Sentimentally Yours in 1962. There are few voices more capable of expressing heartache than Cline's. She eases into "She's Got You" slyly, listing the material possessions she has to remind her of her ex, "I've got your picture that you gave to me/And it's signed with love, just like it used to be," winding herself up a little on "the only thing different, the only thing new," only to hit the listener softly again with the song's kicker, "I've got your picture, she's got you." Cline works it up again for the chorus, the climax of the song. The way she pauses between "it" and "got" on the line "I've got your memory, or has it got me?" alone demonstrates her stature as a masterful interpreter on par with the best in pop, Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin included. The underlying element of all these singers is the amount of soul each of them pours into the songs they sing; they inhabit their songs. And Cline seemed to live her art; her voice and her phrasing ache like Etta James. "She's Got You" is one of those classic songs -- of a certain formula, to be sure -- that could easily be a jazz, R&B, soul, or country song, depending on the interpretation and arrangement.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWCUh6tf7PA]Patsy Cline - She's Got You - YouTube[/ame]





Skeeter Davis – The End of the World



"The End of the World" was, in a way, the end of an era. It was one of the last of the way-sentimental huge hit pop records that projected a peculiarly kind of late-'50s/early-'60s melodrama, one in which it seemed the world was coming to an end not just for the singer, but for the whole world. Skeeter Davis might be thought of by many as a country singer, but actually she did cross over into pop and pop-rock in much of her early-'60s output, and "The End of the World" was easily her biggest such success, reaching #2 in early 1963. There is, perhaps, some country music in the song's bathos. But there's also pop-rock in the rolling, almost doo wop piano, and the almost teen idol pining of Davis's vocal -- multi-tracked at various points, as usual. At points she even sounds a little bit like Lesley Gore in her youthful naivete. And there's cinematic drama in the unabashedly weepy strings, though a pinch of country is heard in faint weeping steel guitar. The drama reaches its most melodramatic when there's an upward key change for the last verse, the first half of which is given over to a plaintive vocal recitation. "The End of the World" is a song that many listeners like to deride for its on-the-verge-of-sobbing sorrow, as if being left by someone is tantamount to the village getting massacred. Yet the melody is appealing, Davis's vocal suitably yearning, and the arrangement does indeed evoke a sad, barren landscape, of the sort where the sun is setting on an overcast day that has seen especially bad news.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sonLd-32ns4]Skeeter Davis - The end of the world (HQ) - YouTube[/ame]





Solomon Burke – Cry to Me



"Cry to Me" was a hit first for Solomon Burke, the towering (literally and figuratively) Philadelphia soul singer who recorded a swinging version of it for Atlantic Records in 1962. England's the Pretty Things did a slightly more sultry version of it three years later. But it is the version cut -- also in 1965 -- by the Rolling Stones that cuts to the core of the lyric. Bert Berns was a legendary figure, one of those music industry folks of the '60s that wore many hats: writer (in the Brill Building); producer; instrumentalist; record company owner -- he did it all. Perhaps he will best be remembered as the man who had Van Morrison's first American contract and released Morrison's first solo hit, "Brown Eyed Girl." Berns mostly wrote upbeat pop hits like "Twist and Shout" and "A Little Bit of Soap." "Cry to Me" is like those in terms of chord progression and melody and the Burke version is vaguely Caribbean in rhythmic feel, like "A Little Bit of Soap." But the lyric of the song is solemn in its deep study of loss and loneliness: "When you're all alone in your lonely room/And there's nothing but the smell of her perfume/Don't you feel like crying?" The upbeat tempo does not work with the words to create tension. Rather, it just seems at odds and distracts from the sharp, palatable images.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEu8DrO9PbY]Solomon Burke ~ Cry To Me - YouTube[/ame]




Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. The Beatles – She Loves You


"She Loves You" was the song that made Beatlemania a rage in England in late 1963, becoming the most popular single that had ever been issued in Britain up to that time. Although it initially (and inexplicably) flopped in the U.S., it was dusted off a few months later in the wake of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and topped the charts stateside, where it became just as linked to the early Beatles' image as it was in the U.K. From the opening drum roll, "She Loves You" takes no prisoners, immediately charging into its indelible "yeah, yeah, yeah" hook; it was George Martin's successful brainstorm to move the chorus to the very beginning of the song. Although lyrically it was, like most of Lennon-McCartney's early compositions, an elementary boy-girl situation heavy on the pronouns, there was a twist in that it was related in the third person, not the first or second. A small innovation, perhaps, but one that the Beatles were proud of. Instead of telling a girl how much they were in love, they were virtually scolding a friend for throwing away the love of a lifetime. What really won over listeners' hearts, though, were the usual block harmonies, clever alternation of major and minor chords, and particularly the ends of the verses, in which the group simultaneously let out with explosive "woo"s. Lennon and McCartney were also especially proud of ending the choruses (and the song itself) on a sixth chord, which they initially believed had never been done before. It fell to producer George Martin to inform them that others had used it, such as Glenn Miller, but that didn't take away from its freshness in a rock context. Those "yeah, yeah, yeah"s and "woo!"s would annoy many a commentator as infantile when the Beatles first broke big. The kids, of course, knew better and embraced them as positive affirmations of the boundless enthusiasm of youth. Today those commentators are forgotten, and the Beatles' "She Loves You" is still played regularly.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpvP4eHV4eA]The Beatles - She Loves You - 1963 - 45 RPM - YouTube[/ame]





9. The Beach Boys – In My Room


This sensitive pop gem was one of the first Beach Boys tracks to completely break out of the surf-and-drag mold. Indeed, the lyrics for "In My Room" tackle a subject that any teenager can relate to: the feelings of safety and comfort that can be found while relaxing in the sanctuary of one's bedroom. The melody that supports these thoughts has a lullaby quality to it, building its verse on ascending note patterns that rise higher with each stanza before the melody resolves itself with the comforting descending notes of the chorus. The Beach Boys recording brings this sense of musical ebb and flow to life in a vivid fashion thanks to an inventive Brian Wilson vocal arrangement that starts with a solo vocal at the beginning of each verse and adds on voices with each line to create a grand harmony by the time each chorus arrives. The instrumental portion of the recording achieves a similarly hypnotic effect via a backing track that layers its circular guitar riffs with the gentle strum of a harp and a steady drum beat that anchors the song. As a result, "In My Room" has a soothing and comforting feel that allows to transcend the label of "pop song."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l71pbhqnvNM]Beach Boys-In My Room - YouTube[/ame]





8. Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire


Johnny Cash had a hit with "Ring of Fire" -- a song co-written by his wife, June Carter, and Merle Kilgore -- in the summer of 1964. By that point, he had already become a country super star, but the early '60s had been a little bit of a fallow period for Cash. The Top Ten hits stopped flowing steadily in the spring of 1960, and while he was still charting, he hadn't had a huge smash in a few years. "Ring of Fire" changed all that. Spending seven weeks at number one and reaching the pop Top 20, the single ushered in the second great wave of hit singles from Cash. More importantly, it cemented the image of Johnny Cash, "the Man in Black" -- not necessarily an outlaw, but certainly an outsider. In light of that, the mariachi horns that grace the song seem a little incongruous, but even while those horns sound a little dated, the song still sounds tough, particularly because the chorus about "I fell down in a burning ring of fire" sounds so ominous. It's easy to forget that the "Ring of Fire" is just a metaphor for falling in love because a "Ring of Fire" sounds so intimidating and dangerous. Falling into a "Ring of Fire" is something an outlaw would do, or at least it sounded that way, so the song gave Cash a cool, outsider reputation. That's the reason why rockers -- from surf god Dick Dale and rockabilly cat Sleepy LaBeef to post-punkers Blondie and Social Distortion and old-school bad boy Eric Burdon -- chose to cover this song when they wanted to pay tribute to Johnny Cash. And, while certain lyrics are a little corny, it was such a strong song that it sounded good in this myriad of covers. Throughout it all, Cash's original stood strong, because it was a forceful blend of his image and musical attitude.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq4a2te0yhE]Johnny Cash- Ring of Fire - YouTube[/ame]





7. Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)


As Phil Spector pieced together his A Christmas Gift To You festive album in 1963, his initial intention was to have the Ronettes voice the one custom-written number on display, Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and Spector’ superlative ”Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”. According to Darlene Love, however, Ronnie Spector was never able to channel all the emotion and strength into the song that her producer (and beau) required, so Love was brought forward instead, to turn in what all the watching musicians expected would become a supercharged powerhouse performance. They were right, of course, and the Ronettes’ failure did the rest of the world a major favor. Though it would pass unnoticed upon its original release in 1963, Love’s so-heartfelt version of the positively shimmering “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” has since become one of the quintessential festive pop hits, an evergreen that still dominates the radio for a few weeks every year, while Love herself recalls that pianist Leon Russell, too, excelled at that session. He threw one line into the mix that so thrilled Spector that he leaped out of the control room and handed the stunned Russell a check for $100 on the spot.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNPpBMTeHUI]Darlene Love - CHRISTMAS (Baby, Please Come Home) (Gold Star Studio) (1963) - YouTube[/ame]





6. Bob Dylan – Blowin’ in the Wind


Inarguably the peak of modern protest songwriting, "Blowin' in the Wind" transformed Bob Dylan from hipster folky to cultural sensation and provided the growing protest community with an anthem equally applicable to every kind of injustice ever visited upon the Earth. As with most of his other classics, Dylan makes a complex song sound deceptively simple; in each of the three verses, he asks three rhetorical questions (i.e., "How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?"), and answers each time with the chorus: "The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind/The answer is blowin' in the wind." While the questions speak to the unending record of injustice in the long history of the world, the answers reflect the Taoist mantra that the solution is obvious to all who truly think about it, yet impossible to grasp with any type of standard (i.e., written or expressed) explanation. Though it's masked in naturalistic thinking, "Blowin' in the Wind" is an encapsulation of Eastern thinking within abstract songwriting that (surprisingly) made the charts and (not so surprisingly) became one of the most famous standards of the rock era.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB5XoBjSoP8]Bob Dylan - Blowin in the Wind by Memory Project - YouTube[/ame]





5. The Beatles – I Want to Hold Your Hand


"I Want to Hold Your Hand" was one of the most important songs in rock history. It was the first the Beatles song to become a hit in the United States, rocketing to number one in early 1964; it was the song most responsible for making the group an international phenomenon; and it was the song that launched the British Invasion. And, historical concerns aside, it was a great song. As with all of the classic Beatles singles, it went for the jugular right away, with stuttering opening chords that made a sudden dramatic leap upward. (These were inspired by, of all things, an album of experimental French music that John Lennon heard at the apartment of Robert Freeman, the Beatles' photographer that lived in the flat below him.) The verse hinged upon another one of those unexpected minor chords that Lennon and McCartney were so fond of deploying in their early work, ably complemented by a growling low guitar riff from George Harrison that was somewhat like an updated variation of Duane Eddy. At the end of each verse, the Beatles, in unison, jump a whole octave to almost shriek the word "hand." The softer, almost ballad-like bridge is an effective contrast to the more highly charged verses, particularly when the group revisits that opening stuttering guitar figure to deliver the exclamation "I can't hide," overflowing with giddy enthusiasm, impatience, and celebration. As usual, the Beatles threw in other unexpected surprises at the very end, with the second to last repetition of the title going to an odd minor chord before the song resolves itself on an elongated final "hand." The lyrics have been faintly ridiculed by some critics for the tame sexuality of the title phrase, but as is the case with many early Beatles tunes, the primness of the words is totally belied by the delivery: the song tingles with sexual longing, desire, and delirious anticipation of fulfillment. Few of the listeners who bought the single bothered to break the tune down with such analysis. What they knew only was that the song and record were irresistible, and sounded like nothing that had ever been heard before. It wasn't only teenagers that were affected; as Bob Dylan said about Beatles songs such as "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "They were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuSo60w0K_I]The Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand (Mono) - YouTube[/ame]





4. The Chiffons – One Fine Day


The big hook of the tune is its powerful staccato piano riff, played with a pounding finger-punishing force by the song's co-composer, Carole King. Like many a girl group goodie, the influence of doo wop could be felt, in the rapid "sho-be-doo-be-doo" harmonies, though these were updated and less coy than the average doo wop vocal arrangements of the 1950s. King was not a member of the Chiffons, true, but it's hard to underestimate the importance of her piano to the final recording, not only in the familiar opening riff (repeated again elsewhere in the song), but also in how she inserts ringing triplets in response to some of the lines in the verse. Though the lyrics are nothing exceptional, the melody's exceptionally catchy throughout, as you'd expect from a collaboration between Gerry Goffin and Carole King, perhaps the most successful pop-rock songwriting team of the period. John Lennon and Paul McCartney cited them as an inspiration, and if you want an A-B illustration of possible influences on their work, play the bridge of "One Fine Day" back-to-back with the bridge of, say, an early Beatles song like "It Won't Be Long"; the way they change keys and, particularly, the way the bridge rises to an exultant climax is similar. The Chiffons do the song proud with an extremely exuberant performance, and the sax break is quite similar to the instrumental breaks heard in several Phil Spector hits of the time, like the Crystals' "She's a Rebel." "One Fine Day," incidentally, was originally recorded by Little Eva (for whom Goffin-King had written several hits, like "The Locomotion"), but her vocals were erased and the Chiffons substituted in their place.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvyOqKhKWQ4]The Chiffons - One Fine Day - 1963 - YouTube[/ame]





3. The Crystals – Then He Kissed Me


One of the Crystals’ most impressive releases, ”Then He Kissed Me” was the follow-up to the already magnificent ”Da Doo Ron Ron”, an Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry/Phil Spector number that perfectly showcased La La Brooks’ fragile lead vocals. Prior to her arrival in the band, Spector had all but given up on the Crystals, preferring to let Darlene Love handle vocals on their records. Brooks’ arrival, however, completely revitalised the band and, had Spector not discovered and fallen so heavily for the Ronettes, the Crystals could easily have counted on any number of further, equally impressive releases. A dramatic teen love epic, ”Then He Kissed Me” was rendered even more impressive by what was later revealed to have been a complete mistake. As engineer Larry Levine battled to wring the maximum volume out of the finished take, he duplicated the tracks onto one channel. But when he then erased the duplicate, its echo bled over to the remaining track, creating a vast boom that impressed even Spector – a man who once asked in all seriousness, “too much echo? What does that mean?”


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE_jOD2Fxvs]Then He Kissed Me - The Crystals - YouTube[/ame]





2. Roy Orbison – In Dreams


A Top Ten hit for Roy Orbison in 1963, "In Dreams" was simultaneously one of his saddest and most enchanting classics. There were not many odder images in early-'60s pop/rock than the one of the opening section, in which Orbison, accompanied only by a folky guitar, sang of a candy-colored sandman who put him to sleep. Then Orbison closes his eyes and drifts away, and the song sweeps into a faster, more expansive orchestral mode, with a melody that matches the images of falling into dreamland. Like many of Orbison's songs, the arrangement adds layers as it progresses, the rattling drums getting complemented by soaring strings and then choir backup vocals. And like many of Orbison's songs, it has an unusual (for the time, certainly) structure in that it avoids the usual verse-chorus-bridge scheme, instead traveling through several different sections. After the initial verse, it goes into a somewhat more upbeat part in which Orbison relates how the girl he admires is his in dreams. But then, there's a somewhat more troubled part in which he wakens to reality, punctuated by several pauses after emphatic rapid-fire beats. That leads the way to a suitably grand finale in which the backup vocals, strings, and Orbison's high moans come together for a dramatic climax. Again like many of Orbison's songs, it appeals to fantasies of the downtrodden: the reality is that he doesn't have the girl he loves, but in dreams, he can hold her tight. The reality-fantasy dichotomies and undercurrents of sexual frustration were likely not issues that Orbison consciously dwelt upon when composing the song, but they made it a natural selection for the soundtrack to a key scene of David Lynch's Blue Velvet, making the tune popular among a whole new generation of listeners.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qdPOwfw2gQ]In Dreams -- Roy Orbison (in HD) - YouTube[/ame]





1. The Ronettes – Be My Baby


"Be My Baby" announces its arrival with arguably the most dramatic introduction in all of rock & roll -- Hal Blaine's drums are the Morse code of the gods -- and somehow just keeps getting better from there; the quintessential Phil Spector production, it begins as the Wall of Sound but ends up a full-blown Taj Mahal, a gleaming sonic temple erected in eternal tribute to Ronettes frontwoman (and the future Mrs. Spector) Veronica Bennett. Hot on the heels of the classic "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," "Be My Baby" unveils the complete scope of Spector's vision: a slow-burn pop symphony, it builds momentum with each passing verse, propelled by horse-gallop castanets and muted piano figures until it achieves maximum density in a majestic convergence of vocals, strings, horns, and thunderclap percussion. That Spector's most grandiose production to date would serve the least polished vocalist in his stable might seem like perverse irony, but in truth "Be My Baby" works because of Bennett, not in spite of her. While never a singer on par with, say, Darlene Love, her voice radiates pure baby-doll sexuality -- she somehow transforms the sweetly sappy sentiments of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich's song into a veritable siren's call (her "whoa-oh-oh-oh" exclamations, reprised on the brilliant follow-up "Baby, I Love You," say it all), and the plaintive longing of the lyrics aside, there's never a moment of doubt that it's she who is the real object of desire here. Although it's been regularly covered in the years since, the Ronettes' original recording has never really gone away -- a staple of oldies radio, it's also something of a fixture on film soundtracks, used most effectively by Martin Scorsese over the opening credits of his early masterpiece Mean Streets before resurfacing over a decade later in the smash Dirty Dancing. No less an authority than Brian Wilson has declared "Be My Baby" the greatest pop record ever made -- no arguments here.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g_FD_sYazk]The Ronettes - Be My Baby - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




The Angels – My Boyfriend’s Back


The Angels' "My Boyfriend's Back" epitomizes the innocence which makes the girl group era so utterly charming even decades after the fact. The sweetest threat ever issued, Peggy Santiglia's breathy lead vocal warns a head-over-heels suitor to watch his step now that her true love's returned to her side. Never mind that today they would call the poor sap's obsessive behavior "stalking" -- for all the melodrama inherent in the girl group genre, such dangers just didn't seem to exist back then. "My Boyfriend's Back" was originally intended for the Shirelles, and the Angels initially recorded it solely as a favor for their friends, the writing and production trio of Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer, and Bobby Feldman. The completed demo, with its infectious handclapping rhythm and chirpy harmonies, was instead issued as a single, and it topped the charts for three weeks in 1963.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeGSzTxF3UE]Angels - My Boyfriend's Back (1963) - YouTube[/ame]





The Beach Boys – Surfer Girl


This Beach Boys classic, a Top Ten hit in 1963, proved that the group's vocal skills were just as effective with ballads as they were with up-tempo pop. "Surfer Girl" instantly clicked with the Beach Boys' teen fan base because it undercut its fantasy tone with a sense of adolescent emotional awkwardness: the lyrics may present its title subject in an idealized way but the insistent repetition of "do you love me?/do you, surfer girl?" gives the lyric a tone of youthful self-doubt that gives it unexpected poignance. Brian Wilson further draws out the lyric's combination of romantic euphoria and innocent yearning with a lilting melody that reaches high on the verses but swirls down in a minor key for the doubtful chorus. Wilson adds the perfect final touch on his production of the song for the Beach Boys with a lush vocal arrangement that harnesses the choirboy purity of their vocal blend to wring every last drop of heart-tugging emotion from the song. The combination of lyrics, melody, and production gel to create a song so heartbreakingly beautiful that it has outlived its surf-song status to become a oft-covered favorite with musicians of all types.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lxf6pcGSwOs]Beach Boys - Surfer Girl (with lyrics) - YouTube[/ame]





Bobby Vinton – Blue Velvet


In August 1963, pop singer, Bobby Vinton, released a cover of the song "Blue Velvet" for his sixth studio album, Blue on Blue, which was alternately titled Blue Velvet. The song served as the album's lead single and is, arguably, the most popular recording of the song to exist. On September 21, 1963, it hit number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 and held the top spot for three weeks and also spent eight weeks atop the U.S. Middle-Road charts. Vinton's recording failed to make the British charts when originally released, but a re-release in 1990 went to #2 in the United Kingdom. Neo-noir filmmaker, David Lynch, was inspired by the song, eventually writing and directing a film of the same name. Lynch selected the song because it conceptually matched the mood of the film. Specifically, Lynch said of the song: "the mood that came with that song a mood, a time, and things that were of that time."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icfq_foa5Mo]BOBBY VINTON-BLUE VELVET - YouTube[/ame]





The Kingsmen – Louie Louie



By far and away the most well-known version is the one recorded by the Kingsmen in 1963, a monument to both the D.I.Y. spirit of rock & roll and crappy recording techniques. And as much and as often as this tune has been covered (with versions numbering well over 1,000, including everyone from Iggy and the Stooges to Mongo Santamaria), no one has ever successfully topped the groove of the Kingsmen's version. There are reasons for that, of course. One of them is the sound of the record itself. There are only three microphones used on the Kingsmen's recording: a ribbon mic on the bass drum, an overhead vocal mic that also picks up the majority of the band track as well, and a mic in front of Mike Mitchell's lead guitar amplifier, which is only switched on and off during his solo. The out of focus result makes for a mix that's of the one band-one noise mode, but also sports a power and wallop undeniably all its own. The second unique component of the Kingsmen is the bass line. While 99.9 percent of all bass players play the standard duh-duh-duh...duh-duh figure, give a very close listen to what Bob Nordby plays on the Kingsmen's version. Quite simply, the bass line never resolves the three-chord progression, playing a syncopated part that puts the push-pull of the ham-fisted beat into a perfect groove for dancing. This simple change in the bass line separates their version from everyone else's. Finally, there's Jack Ely's vocal. While much has been made over the years about whether or not Ely sang "dirty" lyrics on the record, he doesn't, although drummer Lynn Easton accidentally clicked his sticks together before the second verse and quite audibly yells "f*ck" in the background. But Ely's vocal, sung standing on tiptoe into the overhead boom mic, is one of the great mysteries about the record that is part of the record's charm, all sore-throat warbling that goes out of control in several places. Few records delineate rock & roll the way the Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie" does, and while the tune has become an anthem, no subsequent cover versions top the original.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvpLexbJQcs]The Kingsmen - Louie Louie - YouTube[/ame]





The Tammys – Egyptian Shumba



The Tammys were an American girl group made up of sisters Gretchen and Cathy Owens and their friend Linda Jones. They are best known for their song "Egyptian Shumba" with its faux Middle-Eastern instrumentals and sweet girlish vocals backed up by wild shrieks. The Tammys bop hard and bratty, but by the chorus they're literally growling, barking, and squealing like sexed-up hyenas; in the bridge you can hear them shudder and jerk their way into a frenzy. It's their party and they'll scream if they want to.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDRD9Yi7Thg]Egyptian Shumba (Original) - The Tammys - YouTube[/ame]




Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. The Beach Boys – The Warmth of the Sun



Along with "Don't Worry Baby," this Beach Boys song from the Shut Down, Vol. 2 album found the group stepping from the typical sun-and-fun pop song themes to create a song with a more mature, introspective feel. The sensitive lyrics, which deal with its narrator's struggle with, and ultimate acceptance of, the end of a romantic relationship, were inspired by the emotional shock Brian Wilson and Mike Love felt over the assassination of John Kennedy. As a result, the song carries a serious emotional gravity that gives it a genuine heart-tugging quality most lost-love laments lack. The melody behind the tearful lyrics is at once soothing and sad: the verse melodies swoop to all points high and low to capture the narrator's reeling emotions but resolve for a descending-note chorus that echoes the lyric's acceptance of the facts. The Beach Boys' recording ideally evokes the complex emotions of the song with a delivery that highlights Brian Wilson's delicate falsetto lead against a thickly layered bed of vocal harmonies that manage to be lush and pained all at once. The sublime balance of lush vocals and sensitive songwriting made "The Warmth of the Sun" one of the Beach Boys' finest and most moving ballads. It never became a single but has remained dear to the heart of Beach Boys fans over the years. It was also used to memorably poignant effect in the film Good Morning Vietnam (and provided a highlight of its soundtrack album, proving this lament remained as soothing as ever).


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP4KIrvfiJo]the beach boys - The Warmth of the Sun - The Platinum Collec - YouTube[/ame]





9. The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go


The Supremes had been releasing records and having some success on the R&B charts, though none were pop hits, which made them put them in the "low priority" category at Motown. The hitmaking/producing/songwriting trio Holland-Dozier-Holland were having both R&B and pop success with Martha & the Vandellas: "Come and Get These Memories," "Heat Wave," and "Quicksand." Motown founder Berry Gordy suggested that the trio work with them, which didn't immediately result in the pop hits that Gordy craved. When Holland-Dozier-Holland presented "Where Did Our Love Go" (which at first was offered to, but rejected by the Marvelettes) to the Supremes, some members objected to it because they thought it was too "kiddie-ish" and felt that they were getting inferior "hand me down" material. The song even caused some bickering within the songwriting/production trio with some wanting Mary Wilson to sing the lead and others wanting Diana Ross to do it. What would have happened if Wilson sang lead? In the end, they picked Ross because she had a unique, sensuous sound. Recorded on April 8, 1964, "Where Did Our Love Go" went to number one R&B and got considerable airplay on pop stations in the summer of 1964. The mid-tempo groover launched a career that included 12 number one pop hits and established a number one pop chart run that collectively totaled 22 weeks.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlgHudEv_VA]The Supremes: Where did Our Love Go w/ Lyrics - YouTube[/ame]





8. The Ronettes – Walking in the Rain


One of the last major chart hits for the Ronettes, "Walking in the Rain" is also a landmark record for another reason. Containing some authentic sound effects of thunder and lightning by engineer Larry Levine (which rightfully earned him a Grammy nomination) made this a very important record for the time. The overall elegance of this fine love song also was on a par with any record from 1965, even though it was released in 1964. This record sort of marked the end of Phil Spector's 1964-1965 period and opened the door for his more complex productions for Ike & Tina Turner and the Righteous Brothers.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBBys5TLxCI]The Ronettes - Walking In The Rain - 1964 - YouTube[/ame]





7. The Temptations – My Girl


"My Girl" is the Temptations' signature tune. Written and produced by two of their Motown labelmates, Smokey Robinson and Ronald White of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, it was the group's first number one pop hit. Robinson and White wrote "My Girl" when the Miracles were performing at New York's Apollo Theater. Returning to Detroit, Robinson began recording at Motown's in-house studio with the label's session band, the Funk Brothers. The track begins with James Jamerson's bass line, which mirrors a gentle heartbeat. Along with Robert White's sinewy guitar lines, it's one of pop music's most recognizable melody riffs. "My Girl" was a magnificent showcase for David Ruffin, who'd just been given the lead vocal spot previously occupied by Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams. Paul Riser wrote his superb arrangements after listening to Robinson singing the song while playing the piano. His skill made fine use of members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P1x7Yy9CXI]"My Girl" - The Temptations - YouTube[/ame]





6. The Shangri-Las – Leader of the Pack


"Leader of the Pack" is the quintessential girl group record, for better or worse. Teen melodrama at its most piquant, the song embraces so many hallmarks of the genre (rebel boyfriends, parental misdeeds, tearful goodbyes, even death) that it teeters on the verge of self-parody but pulls back from the brink on the strength of Shadow Morton's wonderfully cinematic production. Mary Weiss' tortured vocal relates the story of her ill-fated affair with bad-boy biker Jimmy, whom she first meets at the candy store; when her dad forces the teen lovers to break up, Jimmy speeds off into the rainy night, only to meet his maker moments later in a grisly highway wreck. In a stroke of shameless genius, Morton accentuates "Leader of the Pack"'s drama through a procession of revving engines, squealing tires, and crashing cars; clearly imagined as a vinyl counterpart to Rebel Without a Cause -- no coincidence that the misunderstood heartthrob's name is Jimmy -- it's star-crossed love at its most gloriously overwrought.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McvWodRXA7k]The Shangri-Las - Leader Of The Pack - YouTube[/ame]





5. The Animals – House of the Rising Sun


Few folk songs rank higher in the pantheon of traditional music than "House of the Rising Sun." The song's origins are believed to date back to the 17th century, and folk song collector Alan Lomax noted that part of the song's melody may have been borrowed from "Lord Barnard and Little Musgrove." "House of the Rising Sun" was widely known in the South, but spread more rapidly following recordings by singers like Alger "Texas" Alexander (1928) and Roy Acuff (1938). Leadbelly included the song in his repertoire, and a number of singers -- Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott -- recorded it during the early to mid-'60s. For most people at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, however, "House of the Rising Sun" was a big hit for the Animals in 1964 (and an early version of folk-rock). The meaning of the "rising sun" differed from version to version, from a house of prostitution to a prison. In either case, the singer warns that a miserable life awaits anyone who follows his or her example. Given its lurid story -- a drunken gambling father or husband, a misspent youth, and a train ride to the "rising sun" -- combined with an evocative chord pattern, "House of the Rising Sun" remains popular on oldies radio stations.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU3KELkd-zY]Animals - house of the rising sun (with lyrics) - YouTube[/ame]





4. The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night


"A Hard Day's Night" is immediately identifiable before the vocals even begin, thanks to George Harrison's unmistakable Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string guitar's "mighty opening chord". According to George Martin, "We knew it would open both the film and the soundtrack LP, so we wanted a particularly strong and effective beginning. The strident guitar chord was the perfect launch," having what Ian MacDonald calls, "a significance in Beatles lore matched only by the concluding E major of "A Day in the Life", the two opening and closing the group's middle period of peak creativity". "That sound you just associate with those early 1960s Beatles records."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSm0M-BbVdY]The Beatles - "A Hard Day's Night" - YouTube[/ame]





3. The Kinks – You Really Got Me


The Kinks originally recorded "You Really Got Me" in 1964, but elected to cut it again; the second version is the one we've come to know and love. To explain why and how this song works would be against its very nature; it operates on a purely visceral level. Those chords, the riff, and the sentiment "you really got me" are basically all you need to understand its essence. At the time, it was likened to a play on the ambiguous "Louie Louie," another classic from the era. But a few facts are in order: Dave Davies' fuzz-tone guitar was a groundbreaking sound at the time, achieved by him cutting the speaker of his amp with a razor blade and poking pins into it. The song was a million-seller. The band adapted and adopted its riff and phrasing throughout their career -- from the immediate follow-up, "All Day and All of the Night," on into the '80s on songs like "Destroyer." Naturally it was a live concert staple.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7ffgqjcH40]The Kinks - You Really Got Me (HQ) - YouTube[/ame]





2. The Beach Boys – Don’t Worry Baby


This song is renowned by Beach Boys fans as one of Brian Wilson's finest pre-Pet Sounds achievements. The narrative of "Don't Worry Baby" seems to be another hot-rod epic on the surface, but a closer look at the lyrics reveals a dual-layered narrative: the song's narrator is anxious about a race that he bragged his way into but his thoughts reveal that his deepest fear is losing the love of the girl he depends upon. However, these fears are dashed away by chorus time when she sweetly tells him "Don't worry, baby." The melody that Wilson wraps around the lyric is one of his most soothing: the verses pile on staccato notes that spiral ever higher to keep up with the frantic pace of the verses' lyrics but the melody resolves itself with a transcendentally gorgeous chorus that builds its complex vocal lines on soothing patterns of descending notes. The Beach Boys' recording perfectly captures the song's mixture of swooning emotions and heartfelt romance with a stylish Brian Wilson vocal arrangement: the group's multi-tracked harmonies blend choir-like purity with full-blooded emotion and Brian Wilson's falsetto lead gives the song just the right touch of vulnerability. The instrumentation is kept simple but does its job nicely: throbbing piano lines, insistent drumming, and plucked guitar notes quietly build a necessary tension beneath the deep-dish harmonies. Simply put, the sophistication that infuses every angle of "Don't Worry Baby" makes it one of the Beach Boys' towering achievements.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW0YGC68qP4]The Beach Boys - Don't Worry Baby (HQ Stereo) - YouTube[/ame]





1. Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come


Like everybody else in the early '60s, pop/gospel singer/songwriter Sam Cooke was affected by Bob Dylan's philosophical song about civil rights, "Blowin' in the Wind," which became a major hit in 1963. Cooke, according to his biographer, Daniel Wolff, marveled that a song on that subject could be written by a white man and that it could become a pop hit. He performed "Blowin' in the Wind" and he wrote his own "answer" song, the remarkable "A Change Is Gonna Come." The song melded gospel, blues, and protest elements into an emotional statement by a black man about where he had come from and where he and his people were going. Though openly skeptical of religion (one of the many amazing aspects of the lyrics), it makes an affirmation that answers Dylan's questions, while fully acknowledging the struggles Dylan pondered. For a man who had walked away from a gospel career and long veered between the early stirrings of soul music and harmless pop, "A Change Is Gonna Come" was a revelation. Cooke recorded the song for his Ain't That Good News album, released in the late winter of 1964. On December 11, 1964, he was shot to death in circumstances that have never been adequately explained. Eleven days later, his record label, RCA Victor, released his single "Shake" with "A Change Is Gonna Come" (which by now seemed disturbingly prophetic) on the B-side. "Shake" became a Top Ten hit, but "A Change Is Gonna Come" also scored, making the Top 40 of the pop charts and the Top Ten of the R&B charts, and with that it began to spread as an anthem of the civil rights movement, earning covers from prominent R&B performers like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaNzxniXxYE]Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come (THE REAL VERSION; CD QUALITY; LYRICS) - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




The Cookies – I Never Dreamed


From the opening bars to the soaring lead vocal by Margaret Ross´ it is just perfection. The group never got much attention during their time, although they are the ones that are singing most of Little Eva´s "Locomotion" and were the first group to record "I´m Into Something Good" which was later covered by Hermans Hermits and a million seller.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3wubPFy41w]The Cookies - I Never Dreamed - YouTube[/ame]





Dionne Warwick – Walk On By


With so many artists -- especially Dionne Warwick -- proving themselves as excellent interpreters of their music, Burt Bacharach and Hal David were working at white heat in 1964. "Walk on By" can truly be called a pop standard and is indeed one of the songwriters' finest moments. One of the greatest things about the song is the fact that although the writers use many of their current musical trademarks (major-seventh chords; literate, emotional lyrics), "Walk on By" also shows that the duo is more than willing to experiment. The unusual background vocal hook ("Don't. Stop/Don't. Stop.") is both strange and familiar at the same time, and was one of the most experimental hooks of the day. Added to that are the delicious flügelhorn and piano breaks that provide relief from the general tension of the composition. The song was a Top Ten hit for Warwick in the spring of 1964 -- right in the middle of the Beatles' U.S. invasion. This fact alone speaks volumes. Covered by dozens of artists, Warwick's version is undoubtedly the trademark.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijhL9Y7skQs]Dionne Warwick - Walk On By - YouTube[/ame]





The Drifters – Under the Boardwalk


"Under the Boardwalk" was the Drifters' last major hit, reaching #4 in mid-1964. That was right around the time the Drifters' heavily orchestrated New York pop-soul was started to pass out of fashion. But there are few better orchestrated New York pop-soul records than "Under the Boardwalk," a record where a great song, vocal, and production contributed about equally to the creation of a classic. Like many other 1960s Drifters songs, "Under the Boardwalk" adheres to a Latin American rhythm, one that puts more emphasis on the later beats of a measure than the earlier ones. The inventive instrumental introduction puts a perky, ascending bass against a scraping percussion noise and a triangle. That sets an upbeat mood for a pleasant tune that could almost be a calypso, or a Mexican ballad, with a cantina-like guitar trilling away in back of Johnny Moore's lead vocal. It's not the Caribbean or Mexico, however. It's America, and "Under the Boardwalk" has vivid images of coastal American beaches, with the boardwalk, hot sun, hot dogs, French fries, and carousels. These verses might have been enough alone to sell the song to radio and listeners. But they're outshone by the devastating chorus, in which the song suddenly goes into a vaguely ominous minor key. The way the backing Drifters sing-chant the title phrase is ominous too, almost threatening, as though something dangerous and momentous is going to happen under the boardwalk. Moore keeps serenading away about falling in love under the boardwalk as the backup singers counterpoint him in a moodier fashion. When Moore reaches the line about falling in love under the boardwalk, though, the backup vocal suddenly becomes a cappella and briefly changes rhythm, ending with an emphatic minor-keyed "boardwalk," as if a point of no return has suddenly been reached. In the best Drifters fashion, the orchestration becomes more elaborate as the song goes on, adding sumptuous strings, particularly in the instrumental break, punctuating the backup chants of the title with dramatic staccato strokes on the last chorus. The end of the song is most creative, too, ending cold on a final "under the boardwalk." It's an ending that takes listeners by total surprise the first couple of times they hear it, as they expect the song to go back into the verse, but it doesn't. Too, that lends an air of finality to the song's mini-operetta, and also implies that whatever's gone on under the boardwalk might be a little sinister, in addition to being romantic. And what exactly does go on, under the boardwalk, other than the couple falling in love? It's not spelled out, but you don't go under the boardwalk to soak up the sun, and they're probably enjoying a romantic interlude, whether it's kissing or going quite a bit further than that.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPEqRMVnZNU]Under the boardwalk - The drifters - YouTube[/ame]





The Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’



“You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” represented new pastures for producer Phil Spector, a towering edifice before he even switched on the studio lights. Bill Medley’s lead vocal itself would be the sonic selling-point, with the accompanying musicians merely adding flourishes around the masterstrokes. It was within those flourishes, however, that Spector worked his greatest magic, coaxing a performance that could not help but draw Medley’s vocal into ever-greater heights of passion and which, as Spector and arranger Gene Page worked on, quickly tore through the customary boundaries of a hit single. All involved recalled that the recording lasted for an eternity – and, when they played the song back, it too went on forever, a four minute epic that traveled well beyond the 180 seconds-or-so that restricted most pop singles of the day. Spector, however, would not edit “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”. What he was willing to do was reverse the last two digits of the song’s actual length, and give radio DJs the longest 3.05 of their lives. It was, apparently, some weeks before many program directors figured out why their tightly-programmed shows were suddenly over-running, but by then, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” was already ground into the consciousness. It was not cut, it could not be cut, and on February 6, 1965, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” officially became the longest record ever to top the Billboard chart.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEkB-VQviLI]THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS YOU`VE LOST THAT LOVIN` FEELIN` - YouTube[/ame]





The Zombies – She’s Not There


"She's Not There" is the kind of song that makes you think its composer is a major talent destined for a long and prolific career, which is not quite what happened. In 1964, Rod Argent, the keyboard player in the Zombies, was challenged by U.K. Decca Records producer Ken Jones to write a hit record for his group, which had just won a talent contest leading to a contract with the label. He came up with "She's Not There," a spooky minor-key tune with a lyric in which the singer takes out his frustration over a duplicitous (and, of course, absent) woman on a friend who failed to warn him about her in the first place. The Zombies gave the song a recording that mixed Argent's jazzy electric piano playing and Colin Blunstone's ethereal vocal with a turn toward Merseybeat rave-up on the choruses. It was a masterful effort that made the British Top 20 and crossed the Atlantic to hit number one on at least one U.S. singles chart.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpS7mpskf18]The Zombies - She's not There - YouTube[/ame]





Link to comment
Share on other sites

It appears you are a fan of Sam Cooke (2 of his songs in your top 10 just for that year)... it will be interesting to see if my favorite Sam Cooke song shows up on one of your upcoming lists.




1. Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come


Like everybody else in the early '60s, pop/gospel singer/songwriter Sam Cooke was affected by Bob Dylan's philosophical song about civil rights, "Blowin' in the Wind," which became a major hit in 1963. Cooke, according to his biographer, Daniel Wolff, marveled that a song on that subject could be written by a white man and that it could become a pop hit. He performed "Blowin' in the Wind" and he wrote his own "answer" song, the remarkable "A Change Is Gonna Come." The song melded gospel, blues, and protest elements into an emotional statement by a black man about where he had come from and where he and his people were going. Though openly skeptical of religion (one of the many amazing aspects of the lyrics), it makes an affirmation that answers Dylan's questions, while fully acknowledging the struggles Dylan pondered. For a man who had walked away from a gospel career and long veered between the early stirrings of soul music and harmless pop, "A Change Is Gonna Come" was a revelation. Cooke recorded the song for his Ain't That Good News album, released in the late winter of 1964. On December 11, 1964, he was shot to death in circumstances that have never been adequately explained. Eleven days later, his record label, RCA Victor, released his single "Shake" with "A Change Is Gonna Come" (which by now seemed disturbingly prophetic) on the B-side. "Shake" became a Top Ten hit, but "A Change Is Gonna Come" also scored, making the Top 40 of the pop charts and the Top Ten of the R&B charts, and with that it began to spread as an anthem of the civil rights movement, earning covers from prominent R&B performers like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin.



You nailed it. Thank you. :heart:

Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. The Beach Boys � California Girls



Critics and pop fans alike have recognized the Beach Boys hit "California Girls" as one of the most amazing and sublimely crafted pop songs to emerge from the 1960s. On paper, it seems like a simple fun-and-sun ode: The lyrics are a cheeky travelog that catalogs all the different "girls" of the world before declaring "I wish they all could be California girls," and the melody has the kind of gentle bounce one might associate with a vintage 1950s Frank Sinatra song. However, Brian Wilson's production of "California Girls" for the Beach Boys pushes it into another realm altogether. The key lies in the arrangement, which builds from a gorgeous instrumental intro that uses pop instruments like an orchestra into a surging wall-of-sound anchored by swirling organ lines and booming drums. The background vocal arrangements provide the cherry on top, swinging with doo wop abandon during the verses but building into a multi-part cascade of swooning vocal grandeur on the heaven-sent chorus.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boVY83PQvX8]The Beach Boys-California Girls - YouTube[/ame]





9. Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence


The Supremes had been releasing records and having some success on the R&B charts, though none were pop hits, which made them put them in the "low priority" category at Motown. The hitmaking/producing/songwriting trio Holland-Dozier-Holland were having both R&B and pop success with Martha & the Vandellas: "Come and Get These Memories," "Heat Wave," and "Quicksand." Motown founder Berry Gordy suggested that the trio work with them, which didn't immediately result in the pop hits that Gordy craved. When Holland-Dozier-Holland presented "Where Did Our Love Go" (which at first was offered to, but rejected by the Marvelettes) to the Supremes, some members objected to it because they thought it was too "kiddie-ish" and felt that they were getting inferior "hand me down" material. The song even caused some bickering within the songwriting/production trio with some wanting Mary Wilson to sing the lead and others wanting Diana Ross to do it. What would have happened if Wilson sang lead? In the end, they picked Ross because she had a unique, sensuous sound. Recorded on April 8, 1964, "Where Did Our Love Go" went to number one R&B and got considerable airplay on pop stations in the summer of 1964. The mid-tempo groover launched a career that included 12 number one pop hits and established a number one pop chart run that collectively totaled 22 weeks.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fWyzwo1xg0]Simon & Garfunkel - The Sounds of Silence (Audio) - YouTube[/ame]





8. James Brown – I Got You (I Feel Good)


"I Got You (I Feel Good)" is a twelve-bar blues with a brass-heavy instrumental arrangement similar to Brown's previous hit, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag". It also features the same emphasis "on the one" (i.e. the first beat of the measure) that characterizes Brown's developing funk style. The lyrics have Brown exulting in how good he feels ("nice, like sugar and spice") now that he has the one he loves, his vocals punctuated by screams and shouts. The song includes an alto sax solo by Maceo Parker.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5TqIdff_DQ]James Brown - I Feel Good - YouTube[/ame]





7. The Mamas & The Papas – California Dreamin’


Written on a freezing New York winter evening long before the Mamas & the Papas ever existed, "California Dreamin'" neatly encapsulated the feeling of longing as well as a desire to lead a freer, more spiritually fulfilling life. What a '60s dream! Well, it certainly came true, and not just for the members of the Mamas, but for a lot of people who first heard the song back in the winter of 1966. The song's easy grace and subtle message is positively irresistible, and brought home even more by the Mamas & Papas' awesome vocal pyrotechnics. One of the first records that the group ever cut, the song was actually first recorded by Barry McGuire -- utilizing the same track (sans Bud Shank's elegant flute solo) -- and was slated to be the follow-up to his hit "Eve of Destruction" until Denny Doherty gave the vocal a shot. The rest, of course, is history. In general construction, it's basically a minor-key ballad. However, the descending chord progression (suggested by session guitarist P.F. Sloan) is vaguely reminiscent of "Walk Don't Run" and gives the song a minor surf/rock feel. The song was not only one of the most often-played records of its day, but it has proven itself to be one that can truly be described as timeless.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhZULM69DIw]The Mamas & the Papas - California Dreamin' - YouTube[/ame]





6. Otis Redding – I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)


Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long" is an R&B hit love ballad of the '60s that has lost none of its soulful power with the passing decades. Redding's success with the single was second only to that of his ever-popular classic "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay." His gritty vocals and heart-wrenched delivery in this soulful tune add intimacy to the song's universal theme: it's the plea of a lover to the loved one who's leaving.



[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ6OrrkeVFo]Otis Redding - I've Been Loving You Too Long - YouTube[/ame]





5. The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction


"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" is the Ur-Rolling Stones song: a pounding rocker with sneering vocals and lyrics, with a blues and soul base that nonetheless is used for a guitar-based song that is definitely rock, not blues or R&B. It was also one of the defining records of the its era, reaching number one around the globe and establishing the Rolling Stones as the second-biggest band in the world, behind only the Beatles. As with many Rolling Stones songs, the key hook is the guitar riff: a fuzz-toned, insistent series of ascending and descending notes that rates among the most captivating and memorable riffs in rock history. Set against a beat suitable for foot-stomping and hand-clapping, Mick Jagger delivers the verses in a hushed, ambiguous tone that hovers between commentary and sarcastic nastiness. The group approaches the verse with a series of increasingly urgent, tense harmonizations on the words "and I try" before exploding into the chorus: a cathartic release of all the frustration that has been building throughout the song, the opening fuzz riff reappearing in full force as Jagger half-screams the title (or most of it, at any rate) in a manner that compels the listener to sing-shout along. The chorus then turns into a stream-of-consciousness catalog of complaints about the irritations of modern life, touring, the media, and (of course) getting laid. It returns again to the basic shout-hook before all instruments drop out, save a crunching drumbeat: a most effective use of the maxim "less is more" within a pop song. Jagger's semi-rants during the chorus address the pressures of life in a more contemporary fashion than those in the blues-based songs the Stones had covered up to that point, ragging on the media man who tells him how white his shirts should be (a figure that hasn't exactly gone away in the 21st century, incidentally) and a girl who keeps putting him off. The reference in the verse to not getting a girl in action was fairly controversial in its day, interpreted by some listeners (and radio programmers) as a symbol for a girl willing to have sex. Note how for all the prominence given the fuzz riff, much of the track's texture is set by strumming acoustic guitars; also dig how on the fade-out, Jagger suddenly dips into a lower register for a few lines before shouting at the top of his range, increasing the tension yet further.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a7cHPy04s8]Satisfaction-Rolling Stones - YouTube[/ame]





4. The Who – My Generation


"My Generation" is the most famous Who song, and a good nominee for rock's most explosive expression of adolescent rebellion. Guitar feedback, crashing drums, power chords -- all had already been heard on Who records, particularly on the 1965 single preceding "My Generation," "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere." "My Generation" delivered all of this and more with a fury and trenchant defiance that could not be matched, let alone exceeded, by any competitors. Hard as it may be to imagine now, when endless repetitions of the song have made it so familiar, "My Generation" began life as a slow talking blues of sorts, and recordings were attempted on three separate occasions prior to the session that produced the released version. One of the main changes made to the song was to speed it up, and actually it probably couldn't have been taken at a pace any faster than the one ultimately used. The song's urgency is established by the opening clanging guitar chords and the usual hyper-energetic Keith Moon drum roll preceding the verse. The verses are call responses between Roger Daltrey, with his memorable stutter and sputter on numerous key words, answered by harmonized "talkin' bout my generation" chants from the band. That stuttering was enough on its own to ensure people took notice of this song. Some thought it was an emulation of blocked-up mod pill-heads, as had been the case with "I Can't Explain." In a more universal sense, it mirrors the barely articulated frustration of youth, especially when Daltrey stutters on a word that begins with f, though this turns out not to be the actual f-word. And there was that unforgettable assertion of hoping to die before getting old, although the Who, of course, would still be playing the number more than 30 years later, even after the guy who drummed on the track had been in the grave for more than 20 years. Unusually, and quite creatively, there is not a conventional guitar solo, but an excellent bass solo by John Entwistle, the tension heightened by having him play unaccompanied and instrumentally answered by sections featuring the full band. Two key changes (the Who would subsequently use key changes on numerous songs) corkscrew the tension until it's nearly unbearable. Then, it's mayhem. Keith Moon deviates from the standard splashing rhythm to play nonstop rolls, like "Wipe Out" taken from the beach into outer space. Pete Townshend plays searing, piercing feedback that is not as wild as that heard on the solo in "Anyhow, Anyway, Anywhere," but no less spellbinding. The backup harmonies declaring possession of their generation come in once again as Daltrey makes some final, half-shouted, defiant repetitions of the title.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=594WLzzb3JI]The Who - My Generation - YouTube[/ame]





3. The Miracles – The Tracks of My Tears


Smokey Robinson wrote more than his fair share of classic songs, but "Tracks of My Tears" holds a special place among his hits. Although the song didn't crack the pop Top 15 upon its release as a single in the summer of 1965, as the years passed, it revealed itself as perhaps his definitive ballad, rivaling even "You've Really Got a Hold on Me." Why is that? It's a matter of grace or poetry. Bob Dylan once called Robinson America's greatest living poet, and while he may have said this with his tongue firmly in cheek, he wasn't far from wrong. This song is proof positive that Robinson found poetry not only in lyrics, but also in the music itself. Writing with Warren Moore, Robinson created a song that is so natural, it seems to have always been there. Look closer, and the song seems trickier -- the words are shaded with telling detail and clever rhymes ("Although she may look cute/She's just a substitute") and the music positively aches with longing. Backed by the Miracles, Robinson delivered the definitive reading of the song with the original hit single.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNS6D4hSQdA]The Tracks of My Tears - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - YouTube[/ame]





2. Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone


One of the most self-righteous and eloquent indictments ever committed to wax, Like a Rolling Stone filters Bob Dylan¹s indignation for pseudo-bohemian sixties¹ scenesters through his legendary wit. If Dylan¹s first incarnation was as a protest singer, Like a Rolling Stone signals the era of Dylan as court jester/verbal assassin. Ironically, the former darling protest singer finds himself fighting a war of his own, defending his move to electric instrumentation from the attacks of a verbally violent horde of pacifists. And so it is with a single rifle-crack of the snare that Like a Rolling Stone kicks off Dylan¹s first completely electric album, 1965¹s Highway 61 Revisited. Michael Bloomfield¹s raw scale-climbing guitar is accented at every turn by (guitarist turned pianist turned organist) Al Kooper¹s triumphant and meta-influential Hammond organ riff. Together they create a circus-like jubilance, a sound that is later perfected in Dylan¹s classic double album Blonde on Blonde. Bloomfield and friends, though decidedly Œelectric¹, are able to retain Dylan¹s trademark hypnotic groove; a subtle element that propels his best and wordiest acoustic songs. The end result is a 6-minute-plus single that flourishes on notoriously time-conscious commercial radio. Dylan says Like a Rolling Stone is distilled from a 24-page short story he wrote about a society girl turned lonely street urchin. Yet as in one theory of dream analysis, where every character is an aspect of oneself, it could just as easily be argued that there is some self-referential songwriting going on here, too. Ultimately, this band rollicks through the song with such focus and fury, and Dylan wails with such conviction, that the end result transcends logic and theory - and inspires a half-century¹s worth of musicians, writers and artists.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F0ytNzHDj8]Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan - YouTube[/ame]





1. The Beatles – Yesterday


"Yesterday" is the most frequently covered Lennon-McCartney song ever, and indeed one of the most frequently recorded and performed popular music standards of the 20th century. The endless repetitions of the number, from contexts ranging from lounge jazz bands to TV variety shows and elevator muzak, have dulled the senses as to how fresh it actually did sound when it came out in mid-1965. Producer George Martin immediately sensed that the ballad, sung and wholly composed by Paul McCartney, would not work as a standard rock group arrangement. It was decided to augment McCartney with a string quartet -- the first time strings had ever been used on a Beatles session. McCartney, therefore, is the only Beatle featured on the recording, playing acoustic guitar and singing; it is essentially a solo Paul McCartney recording, although the band would work up a string-less live version to play on their final world tour in 1966. "Yesterday" is a supreme example of McCartney's talent for writing a classic, melancholic, memorable melody that was sad, but not gloomy or dirgey. The lyrics were direct and evocative of one of the most universal human emotions: nostalgia for better times in general and for a lost love in particular. To his credit, McCartney did not overplay the frankly sentimental lyric, singing the tune in a gentle, understated, sympathetic fashion that steered clear of self-pity. George Martin also deserves credit for not laying on the schmaltz with bombastic over-production, as many, perhaps most, producers would have done in the situation. Shrewdly, it was decided to have McCartney sing the first verse accompanied only by his acoustic guitar; the string quartet is introduced in the second verse, offering subtle support rather than overwhelming the vocalist, but introducing slightly more complex and elaborate counterpoints as the tune progresses. There's that point in the second bridge, for instance, where the cello suddenly throws in a groaning lick as a Greek chorus of sorts. For the very last line, McCartney hums wordlessly, as if he's said all he can and can only self-ruminate about his sadness.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRNn5nR2Yco]The Beatles - Yesterday - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)


"Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)", often abbreviated to "Turn! Turn! Turn!", is a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. The lyrics, except for the title which is repeated throughout the song, and the final verse of the song, are adapted word-for-word from Chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiastes, set to music and recorded in 1962. The song was originally released as "To Everything There Is a Season" on The Limeliters' album Folk Matinee and then some months later on Seeger's own The Bitter and the Sweet. The song became an international hit in late 1965 when it was covered by the American folk rock band The Byrds, reaching #1 on theBillboard Hot 100 chart and #26 on the UK Singles Chart.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ga_M5Zdn4]The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn! - YouTube[/ame]





Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself


I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" is a 1965 hit song recorded by the Four Tops for the Motown label. Written and produced by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, the song is one of the most well-known Motown tunes of the 1960s. The song finds lead singer Levi Stubbs, assisted by the other three Tops and The Andantes, pleadingly professing his love to a woman: "Sugar pie, honey bunch/I'm weaker than a man should be!/Can't help myself/I'm a fool in love, you see." Like most of his lead parts, Stubbs' vocals are recorded in a tone that straddles the line between singing and shouting, similar to the tone of a black Baptist preacher. The melodic and chordal progressions are very similar to the Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go".


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3bksUSPB4c]The Four Tops-I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) - YouTube[/ame]





The Impressions – People Get Ready


Can any song embody the tenor of the civil rights movement better than Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions' "Keep on Pushing"? If the answer is no, then "People Get Ready" can be seen as the next page of the story. Celestial in its tone, the classic seems to reflect the church roots of the movement. Its lyrics sometime take on Biblical tones, and sweet and gentle tones, at times, come across almost prayer-like. Arranged by producer Johnny Pate, "People Get Ready" went to number three R&B and number 14 pop in early 1965. Its flipside, "I've Been Trying," peaked at number 35 R&B and number 133 pop.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l04yM7-BWbg]"People Get Ready" The Impressions - YouTube[/ame]





The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody



"Unchained Melody" is a 1955 song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. North used the music as a theme for the little-known prison film Unchained, hence the name. The best known version of "Unchained Melody" was recorded by The Righteous Brothers and produced by Phil Spector in 1965 as the 'B' side of the single featuring the song, "Hung On You". Although the version was credited to The Righteous Brothers, it was actually performed as a solo by Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield, who later recorded other versions credited solely to him. This recording climbed to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1965 and reached #14 in the UK in 1965.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiiyq2xrSI0]Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody (High Quality) - YouTube[/ame]





The Shangri-Las – Out in the Streets


In the fall of 1964, after scoring back-to-back Top Ten hits with "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" and "Leader of the Pack," the Shangri-Las confused the marketplace by releasing two singles simultaneously, "Give Him a Great Big Kiss" and "Maybe." Record buyers opted for the former, which continued the group's saga of teenage girl talk over the latter, a melodramatic ballad. In the late winter of 1965, the group followed with its fifth single, "Out in the Streets." The song was written by Brill Building veterans Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who had composed "Leader of the Pack" with producer George "Shadow" Morton. It was yet another exploration of a girl's relationship with a bad boy like the one in "Leader of the Pack" and the "good-bad, but not evil" one in "Give Him a Great Big Kiss." This time, the singers, in harmony and without any spoken interludes, explained that the boy had given up the gang and didn't do wild things anymore. He didn't even comb his hair the same way or wear black boots. None of this, however, was cause for celebration: "It makes me so sad 'cause I know that he did it for me." Finally, the lyrics declare, "I gotta set him free" because "his heart is out in the streets." In keeping with the downcast tone of the lyrics, the music is mournful, without the self-mocking edge of "Leader of the Pack" and "Give Him a Great Big Kiss."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eosXg_bBkE4]The Shangri-Las - Out In The Streets (Remastered) - YouTube[/ame]





Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. Ike & Tina Turner – River Deep–Mountain High



Although Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High" captures the Wagnerian majesty of Phil Spector's wall of sound production ethic at its deliriously grandiose peak, the record also signaled the end of an era; pulling out all the stops to create his magnum opus, Spector left himself no margin for error, and when the single failed at pop radio, the producer's artistic heyday was over. Originally recorded in 1966, "River Deep, Mountain High" was Spector's last-ditch attempt to return to the charts he dominated just months earlier. No longer collaborating with the Righteous Brothers, his last hitmaking vehicle, the producer suffered flop after flop, and in light of the stunning advances made by recent recordings from the Beatles and the Beach Boys, it seemed pop music was in danger of passing him by for good. Written by the team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich -- the authors of past Spector classics like "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Be My Baby," and "Then He Kissed Me" -- "River Deep, Mountain High" forsakes the puppy-love pathos of the team's previous hits to achieve a cathartic intensity rooted in R&B; the melody, actually a composite of three different unfinished songs, veers dangerously close to complete collapse, yet holds together seemingly through sheer force of will.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzI5Ghrtmx4]Tina Turner - "River Deep, Mountain High" - YouTube[/ame]





9. Ennio Morricone – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" was first heard as the theme song to Sergio Leone's 1966 spaghetti western film of the same name, composed by Ennio Morricone (who scored several Leone films in the 1960s). As issued on the 1967 soundtrack album, the main title of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is an effective classic, starting with heartbeat rhythms, perhaps to mimic Native American patterns. The main hook, however, is the fluttering repeated riff, done in a whistling way by various instruments (including actual whistled wordless vocals), haunting and evocative of open but slightly threatening landscapes. The riff gives way to ultra-twangy guitar (by Alessandro Alessandroni) and Morricone's use of trademark creepy chanted vocal arrangements. When the main motif reappears, the rhythm has sped up to a horse's gallop, with women scatting the riff in a yet more disquieting fashion. Then a bugle enters with a grand fanfare, gunshots are heard, and it's time for a yet faster gallop through the main theme, now almost seeming to verge on losing control, like a horse breaking free of its cart. Morricone's version of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" packs a lot of melodic and instrumental ideas into less than three minutes, and it seemed unlikely both that it could be covered successfully by another artist, and that such a song could become a chart hit in any form.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFa1-kciCb4]The good the bad and the ugly - The best theme tune ever - YouTube[/ame]





8. The Rolling Stones – Paint It, Black


"Paint It Black" was one of the greatest Rolling Stones singles, reaching number one on both sides of the Atlantic in mid-1966. It also entirely broke free of the blues and R&B influences that had colored their 1965 smashes like "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Get off of My Cloud." That in turn proved that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were versatile, growing writers who could compete head-to-head with the best rock composers of the era, such as their chief rivals, the Beatles, of course. The principal riff of "Paint It Black" (almost all classic Rolling Stones songs are highlighted by a killer riff) was played on a sitar by Brian Jones and qualifies as perhaps the most effective use of the Indian instrument in a rock song. The exotic twang was a perfect match for the dark, mysterious Eastern-Indian melody, which sounded a little like a soundtrack to an Indian movie hijacked into hyperdrive.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Uj9sduV3k8]Rollin Stones-Paint It Black (lyrics) - YouTube[/ame]





7. The Beach Boys – Caroline, No


Both instrumental and vocal tracks were recorded on January 31, 1966 at Western Recorders in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. Wilson produced the session, with Chuck Britz as the engineer. As with the rest of the Pet Sounds backing tracks, Wilson employed players from a select group of southern California session musicians, who were later nicknamed The Wrecking Crew. None of the other Beach Boys appeared on the record. Wilson chose the session players because of their work with Phil Spector. Although The Wrecking Crew were primarily younger musicians, most were formally trained and already veterans of session playing. For "Caroline, No", harpsichord and bass flutes accompany more typical pop/rock instrumentation in a sound that, like other compositions from this period, reflects a jazz influence. The percussive exchange that opens the song features a tambourine and a large empty water bottle from the studio, played either by drummer Hal Blaine or percussionist Frankie Capp.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1emQrSNcM1o]The Beach Boys - Caroline No - YouTube[/ame]





6. Otis Redding – Try a Little Tenderness


Very possibly one of Otis Redding's defining moments on record. Going Top 20 on both the R&B and pop charts, it's also the real breakthrough record to the white rock marketplace that Redding was looking for. The song itself is a bit of a Tin Pan Alley chestnut (dating back to the 1930s, when it was introduced to the public by horn player Ted Lewis). Redding probably first heard it when Sam Cooke cut in on his Live at the Copa album in 1962, but Aretha Franklin also cut it around then. Starting with a down-tempo, soulful melody, the song moves through several melodic changes before culminating into a power and fury that is capped by an absolutely intense modulation on the choruses. It's precisely here that Redding turns to interpreting the song to commanding it. It's positively spellbinding.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnPMoAb4y8U]Otis Redding - Try A Little Tenderness - YouTube[/ame]





5. The Velvet Underground – Sunday Morning


In late 1966, "Sunday Morning" was the final song to be recorded for The Velvet Underground & Nico. It was requested by Tom Wilson, who thought the album needed another song with lead vocals by Nico with the potential to be a successful single. The final master tape of side one of the album shows "Sunday Morning" only penciled in before "I'm Waiting for the Man". Wilson brought the band into a New York City recording studio in November. The song was written with Nico's voice in mind by Lou Reedand John Cale on a Sunday morning. The band previously performed it live with Nico singing lead, but when it came time to record it, Lou Reed sang the lead vocal. Nico would instead sing backing vocals on the song. Aiming to create a hit for the album, "Sunday Morning" features noticeably more lush and professional production than the rest of the songs on the album. The song's prominent use of celesta was the idea of John Cale, who noticed the instrument in the studio and decided to use it for the song.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qK82JvRY5s]Velvet Underground-"Sunday Morning" from "Velvet Underground and Nico" LP - YouTube[/ame]





4. The Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice


"Wouldn't It Be Nice" is the opening track on the 1966 album Pet Sounds and one of the most widely recognized songs by the Americanrock band the Beach Boys. It was composed and produced by Brian Wilson, with words largely by Tony Asher; Mike Love having a hand in the coda's vocal arrangement and lyric. The lead vocals were sung by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. In the Endless Harmony documentary, Brian Wilson described the song as "what children everywhere go through… wouldn't it be nice if we were older, or could run away and get married".


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZBKFoeDKJo]Beach Boys - Wouldn't It Be Nice - YouTube[/ame]





3. The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows


"Tomorrow Never Knows" was the most experimental and psychedelic track on Revolver, in both its structure and production. This was not a song that could be easily sung by a rock group live, as the special effects and tape manipulation that were integral to the tune could not be re-created on-stage. In addition, there was a conspicuous absence of the riffs and verse-bridge-chorus-dominated construction that had colored virtually every original Beatles composition before 1966. The underpinnings of "Tomorrow Never Knows" were a single-tone drone, influenced by the group's growing interest in Indian music, and unforgettable stop-start, stuttering drum patterns by Ringo Starr. Eerie high-pitched seagull-like chanting was in the background throughout; principal composer John Lennon had actually envisioned the sound of monks chanting, and if this effect was not precisely what he had in mind, it was equally memorable. The lyrics were psychedelic, which is not just a critic's assumption: some of the words were adapted from Timothy Leary's book The Psychedelic Experience and the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Regardless of the source, the lyrics were philosophical, existential, sometimes inscrutable reflections on the state of being: a heavy subject for popular music, whether in 1966 or any other year. It would be difficult to assign an interpretation to the Beatles' own viewpoint as seen through "Tomorrow Never Knows," since the words are themselves a kaleidoscopic shift of thoughts and feelings, sometimes seeming to advocate passive relaxation and acceptance, at others intense karmic exploration, and at others advising unconventional intuition (as in the exhortation to listen to the color of one's dreams).


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xL1ffMlzKY]The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows - YouTube[/ame]





2. The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations


"Good Vibrations," the Beach Boys' 1966 entry into the best-single-of-all-time sweepstakes, announced the coming era of pop experimentation with a rush of riff changes, echo-chamber effects, and intricate harmonies, plus the very first theremin ever heard on a pop record. The natural grace of the song belied the months of recording and mountain of tape reels it required, however. Though Brian Wilson's self-described "pocket symphony" was his masterpiece, its creation effectively put the coda on his production career and he was never the same again. The single is so catchy it's no wonder radio stations played it to death, but "Good Vibrations" is an amazingly free-form song. It's just barely connected to the verse-chorus-verse standard for pop songs, continually switching from section to section -- all of them just partially related -- in a fragmented style that allies it with the cut-and-paste efforts of '60s experimentalists like William Burroughs. It utilized every one of the session-master instrumentalists Wilson had collected during the previous few years, plus a few unlikely instruments including cellos and a theremin. The latter, an electric instrument whose invention dated to 1919, produced an eerie, high-pitched tone that modulated its pitch and volume based on the player's hand movements above and next to the instrument. Radio listeners could easily pick up the link between the title and the obviously electronic riffs sounding in the background of the chorus, but Wilson's use of the theremin added another delicious parallel -- between the single's theme and its use of an instrument the player never even touched.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eab_beh07HU]The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations - YouTube[/ame]





1. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows


"God Only Knows" is a 1966 song by American rock band The Beach Boys. It is the eighth track on the group's 11th studio album, Pet Sounds, and one of their most widely recognized songs. "God Only Knows" was composed and produced by Brian Wilson with lyrics byTony Asher and lead vocal by Carl Wilson. As writer, producer, and arranger, Brian Wilson used many unorthodox instruments, including the French horns and accordions that are heard in the song's famous introduction.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkPy18xW1j8]The Beach Boys - God Only Knows (Lyrics via Description) (HQ) - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




The Byrds – Eight Miles High


The defining pop-psychedelic single by the Byrds, it opened up a rich new territory of musical exploration for the band -- but it was also the final single by the five-man line-up of the band, representing the final contribution of co-founder and principal songwriter Gene Clark; and for all of its bold new sounds and lyrics, it also became the group's first controversial single and, as a result, never did as well as it should have. Inspired by the band members' first flight to London, it pulled together observations about flying, filtered through a druggy ambience -- the members' condition writing the song, if not on the flight -- and the surreal experience, on arriving, of becoming international stars in just a matter of months. Opening with Chris Hillman's most prominent appearance on bass to date and a hard rhythm guitar accompaniment, the song was immediately seized by Roger McGuinn's 12-string guitar, sounding as though it had suddenly been transformed into another instrument. McGuinn had been listening to the music of John Coltrane, and made his 12-string guitar imitate the sound of a saxophone on the song in a soaring, searing, rippling performance (repeated to some extent elsewhere on the resulting album on the song "I See You"). The singing, laced with impeccable high harmonies around an eerily compelling melody, was strangely alluring as well


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH6UnvSlahc]The Byrds Eight Miles High (Remastered) - YouTube[/ame]





Four Tops – Reach Out I’ll Be There


In some groups, who sings lead can be a strong point of contention. Four Tops members Lawrence Payton, Renaldo "Obie" Benson, and Abdul "Duke" Fakir knew that having Levi Stubbs sing lead was the best thing for the group. Stubbs has a pleading urgency in his voice that perfectly captured the longing anxiousness of the songs written by the producing trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland. For their second chart-topper, "Reach Out I'll Be There," Stubbs' vocals were surrounded by one of Motown's most idiosyncratic offerings. The track bubbles over with sharp classical flourishes built on the rock-solid groove supplied by the Funk Brothers, Motown's studio band. The dramatic, semi-operatic tension and release feel of the track was due in part to Brian Holland's immersion into classical music. "Reach Out I'll Be There" parked at number one R&B and number one pop for two weeks in the fall of 1966.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnDm3qr1Knk]The four tops - Reach out i´ll be there - YouTube[/ame]





James Brown – It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World



James Brown's dynamic ballad "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" started out as a song written by a woman. Betty Newsome's original lyrics were based on what she gleamed from her Biblical studies and her own romantic relationships, including one with the singer. Just like many of Brown's mid-'60s sides ("Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," "I Got You (I Feel Good)"), "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" almost wasn't released due to the legal wrangling going on between King Records and Mercury Records (some of Brown's sides had been issued on their Smash imprint). An injunction was issued in favor of King on the basis that Brown was still signed to King. As with "I Got You (I Feel Good)," Brown had to re-record "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." Sammy Lowe, who arranged his 1963 number six R&B hit "Prisoner of Love," was enlisted to work his magic on the new version of the song. The impassioned ballad was recorded February 16, 1966, at Bob Gallo's Talentmasters studio in New York with drummer Bernard Purdie; guitarist Billy Butler; pianist Ernie Hayes; and horn players Heywood Henry, Waymom Reed, Dud Bascomb, and Lamarr Wright. Co-written by producer James Brown and Betty Newsome, "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" b/w the similarly passionate "Is It Yes or Is It No?" held the number one R&B spot for two weeks and hit number eight pop in spring 1966.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwuO2dfqrF4]It's A Man's Man's Man's World - James Brown (Lyrics) - YouTube[/ame]





The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon


”Sunny Afternoon” was released as a single on June 3, 1966 and become an across the board #1 hit on the U.K. charts and reached #14 in the United States. The song’s success would help solidify The Kinks and songwriter Ray Davies in particular, as the foremost incorporators of English music hall style into rock and roll. The kitschy vignettes skewering tightly wound social mores of British society had already been explored in earlier recordings, such as ”A Well Respected Man” and ”Dedicated Follower Of Fashion”. While ”Sunny Afternoon” appeared a breezy tune on the surface, it belied a scathing indictment of a brutal tax system that in itself would become a favorite preoccupation of English musicians, such as George Harrison’s ”Taxman” of the same period and would help drive The Rolling Stones into tax exile a few years later. To a sarcastically fluffy acoustic guitar and a lazily descending riff Davies defiantly kicks back to enjoy the fine summer weather while his fortune crumbles around him, crooning in pleasant voiced resignation, “The tax man’s taken all my dough / And left me in my stately home / Lazing on a sunny afternoon /And I can’t sail my yacht / He’s taken everything I’ve got / All I’ve got’s this sunny afternoon” The pace picks up during the lilting bridge, guitars wank in time to happy organ accents and supported by gentle backing vocals as he pleads, “Save me, save me, save me from this squeeze / I got a big fat mama trying to break me / And I love to live so pleasantly / Live this life of luxury / Lazing on a sunny afternoon / In the summertime” Davies words are razor sharp throughout, brilliantly painting indelible images, all rendered with deft economy like in the smart second verse, “My girlfiend’s run off with my car / And gone back to her ma and pa / Telling tales of drunkenness and cruelty / Now I’m sitting here / Sipping at my ice cold beer / Lazing on a sunny afternoon”. ”Sunny Afternoon” would also identify The Kinks as an Anglo-centric group, both scrutinizing and reflecting British culture and musical traditions.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIKsHh3BFPI]The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon (With Lyrics!) - YouTube[/ame]





The Walker Brothers – The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Any More


"The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" is a song written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio. It was originally released as a single by Frankie Valli in 1965 on the Smash label, but was more successful when recorded by The Walker Brothers in 1966. Retitled "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore", this version met with much greater success than Valli's. It topped theUK Singles Chart and also became their highest rating song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S., where it peaked at #13. The single also hit the top 10 in the Netherlands.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q11ium_-Lv8]The Walker Brothers - The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore - YouTube[/ame]





Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. Aretha Franklin - Respect



"That girl stole that song from me," Otis Redding says during a clip in a VH-1 special on Aretha Franklin that aired in spring 2001. The "stolen" song is Redding's own "Respect." No doubt the "theft" was made up for by the hefty writer royalties the Memphis soul great earned from the million-plus sales of the single. Though Redding had a 1965 number five R&B hit with the song, it would be Franklin's version which earned the most "respect." Recorded in February 1967, the recording session boasted the same Muscle Shoals rhythm section that had played on her million-selling Atlantic Records debut single, "I Never Loved a Man (The Way That I Love You." Franklin and her sister/frequent collaborator Carolyn Franklin are credited with coming up with the song's signature "sock it to me" break. Saxman King Curtis supplied the fat, cohesive key-changing solo which is akin to his work on Sam and Dave's "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby." With input from Arif Mardin and engineer Tom Dowd, the Jerry Wexler-produced "Respect" held the number one R&B spot for an astounding eight weeks and number one pop for two weeks in spring 1967.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FOUqQt3Kg0]Aretha Franklin - Respect [1967] (Original Version) - YouTube[/ame]





9. Pink Floyd – See Emily Play


"See Emily Play" was the sole big British hit that Pink Floyd had while Syd Barrett was the leader of the band, making number six in 1967 at the very middle of the hallowed Summer of Love. And although Pink Floyd is not thought of as a group that made catchy singles, there was a good reason that it did so well on the hit parade. Like many of Barrett's early songs, it was actually quite catchy and hummable, with a nice ascending wordless vocal hook at the end of the first lines in the verses. Of all Barrett's early tunes, though, this was perhaps the most catchy and singable. The chorus was both just as catchy and quite different from the verse, shifting into a somewhat more foreboding, haunting melody, decorated by arresting tinkling descending piano riffs at the end of most of the lines. The chorus resolved into a gentler rising keyboard glissando, and finally settled on a declarative, exultant phrasing of the song's title. Again, like many of Barrett's early compositions, the lyrics had the ambience of a fairy tale with an undercurrent of mystery and menace, with both childlike whimsy and turns of the phrase far more enigmatic than those of standard nursery rhyme pop lyrics. For all its accessibility, there was no shortage of instrumental psychedelic freakiness, either. There were exhilarating steel guitar-like up and down swoops that started the track; an almost free-form whirling dervish interaction of keyboards and ominously echoing guitar in the instrumental sections; and what sounded like a harpsichordist gone made playing an accelerated music clock bursts of notes right before the second verse. The song ended on a sustained vocal harmonization of the title, the guitars wavering in and out like a heartbeat.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLQiFlgSVYs]Pink Floyd - See Emily Play - YouTube[/ame]





8. Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze


"Purple Haze" was an early signature song for Jimi Hendrix and remains his best-known composition. After years as a journeyman musician, the 23-year-old Hendrix was taken to England in September 1966 by his new manager, Chas Chandler, who helped him put together Jimi Hendrix Experience, a power trio. The group released its first British single, Dino Valenti's "Hey Joe," on December 16, and it became a Top Ten hit. According to Chandler, he heard Hendrix playing the riff that became the basis of the music for "Purple Haze" that month and encouraged him to finish writing it for the Experience's second single. Hendrix is said to have completed the composition at a club on December 26. Originally, the lyrics were a long poem headed "Purple Haze -- Jesus Saves", from which Hendrix extracted the three verses used in the song. Some accounts have said that he was on LSD when he wrote the lyrics, but Chandler disputed that. Nevertheless, the words, while nominally referring to a mental disorder caused by a spell put on the narrator by a girl, are easily interpretable as being about a drug experience. Whatever the cause, the narrator is disoriented and upset. But the lyrics are less important than the relentlessly driving, if relatively slow-paced underlying music, which provides a good platform for some of Hendrix's inventive guitar playing.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNLQpEMftrQ]Jimi Hendrix | Purple Haze - YouTube[/ame]





7. Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World


Intended as an antidote for the increasingly racially and politically charged climate of everyday life in the United States, the song also has a hopeful, optimistic tone with regard to the future, with reference to babies being born into the world and having much to look forward to. The song was initially offered to Tony Bennett, who turned it down. Thereafter, it was offered to Louis Armstrong. George Weiss recounts in the book Off the Record: Songwriters on Songwriting by Graham Nash that he wrote the song specifically for Louis Armstrong. George was inspired by Louis’s ability to bring people of different colors together. The song was not initially a hit in the United States, where it sold fewer than 1,000 copies because the ABC Records head Larry Newton did not like the song and so did not promote it, but was a major success in the United Kingdom, reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5TwT69i1lU]Louis Armstrong What A Wonderful World - YouTube[/ame]





6. Love – Alone Again Or


Written by second guitarist Bryan MacLean in the early '60s in musical tribute to his mother, a flamenco dancer, "Alone Again Or" is lushly beautiful, but also achingly sad, thanks both to MacLean's distressed lost-love lyrics and Lee's high-register vocals, which give the song an off-kilter quality due to the fact (also revealed in the reissue's liner notes) that Lee's vocals were originally meant to be simply a high harmony to MacLean's gruffer lead, but Lee pushed his own vocals front and center, mixing MacLean out almost entirely, during the album's final mix. In both respects, then, it fits perfectly as the start of Forever Changes, a jaundiced "no thank you" to the supposed sunshine and good vibes of the Summer of Love as well as Arthur Lee's own Pet Sounds, the album he intended as his personal artistic summation.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNcXFy8QTC4]Love - Alone Again Or - YouTube[/ame]





5. The Velvet Underground – Heroin


The centerpiece of the first Velvet Underground album, "Heroin" is also one of Lou Reed's most legendary compositions, a seven-minute monolith that he would, in later years, stretch to almost twice that length, so conscious was he of the song's bearing on his own legend. Myriad interpretations of the song exist. Defending the Velvet Underground against the common charge that they glorified drug use and depravity, drummer Maureen Tucker described "Heroin" as a song about a bad trip, and that might well be the case -- line for line, the song really doesn't take sides. Such subtleties were lost on many of the band's audience, however -- in 1973, Reed himself complained of fans who approached him to announce, "I shot up to your song," while his own performances (during the Rock and Roll Animal tour) frequently saw him tying off with his microphone cord and miming precisely the same action himself. Whatever its intentions, there is no doubting "Heroin"'s quality, both lyrically -- the verses do indeed trace a user's absorption of the drug, physically and emotionally -- and musically. Led by Cale's almost pained viola, the band -- understated for much of the song -- reaches an absolutely maniacal peak of intensity in the final section, a fact that Reed readily acknowledged in 1977. "'Heroin' is very close to the feeling you get from smack. It starts on a certain level, it's deceptive. You think you're enjoying it. But by the time it hits you, it's too late. You don't have any choice. It comes at you harder and faster and it keeps on coming. The song is everything but the real thing."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffr0opfm6I4]The Velvet Underground - Heroin - YouTube[/ame]





4. The Beach Boys – Heroes and Villains


Like "Good Vibrations," "Heroes and Villains" defies the terminology of a "pop" song. It can only really be accurately called a suite, and that is exactly what it is. One of the first efforts of the legendary and ill-fated Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks songwriting symbiosis, it's a charming illustration of an old West drama -- not dissimilar to Marty Robbins' classic "El Paso." Dramatic, yes, but the sense of whimsy (both musically and lyrically) is what commands the effort. Musically, Wilson matches Parks' esoteric (although simply charming) wordplay note for note.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgSgOTxcEMk]The Beach Boys-Heroes and Villains - YouTube[/ame]





3. The Zombies – Care of Cell 44


The leadoff song to the Zombies' 1967 classic Odessey & Oracle was a true quantum leap for the group and the songwriter, Rod Argent. In one song, Argent distills all of his latent Brian Wilson/Paul McCartney influences, while remaining wholly original at the same time. A breezy, infectious pop melody (buttressed by some melodic bass playing by Chris White) is broken up by a series of choral harmony breaks. The overall effect is that the writer was clearly thinking arrangement during the songwriting process. The dichotomy of the lyrics -- about a woman returning from jail -- only adds to the song's charm.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afrdo2qneoI]Care Of Cell 44 - The Zombies - YouTube[/ame]





2. The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset


”Waterloo Sunset” is one of those pop songs so perfect, so immediately familiar, that it feels as if it were plucked from the air and taken form in a rare moment of musical grace. The song’s conduit, Ray Davies says as much in the liner notes to the re-issue of The Kinks superb Something Else By The Kinks on Castle in 1998, “I woke up singing it in my sleep, like Frank Sinatra. It was in a swing mode –that was how I first heard it.” The song was released as a single and rose to #2 on the charts in the U.K. but was virtually ignored in America. Perhaps this is not so surprising in that ”Waterloo Sunset” is an uncharacteristically straight -faced love letter to Davies’ native London. An unabashed ode to the city he grew up in, Davies’ fastens scraps of comforting childhood memories to deeply serene melody that are infused with a kind of majestic sadness that goes beyond nostalgia into personal lamentation, bemoaning the profound lose of wonder that comes with age from the reflective vantage point only maturity can provide. As the track opens to a seemingly endless descending progression, giving way to heartily strummed acoustics and aching guitar figure in anticipation of the bittersweet vocal melody, the sensation is like falling into a giant soft pillow. Davies quickly sets the scene, “Dirty old river, must you keep rolling / Flowing into the night / People so busy, makes me feel dizzy / Taxi light shines so bright” The band kicks into the lazy groove as the vocals are smoothed by double tracked harmonies as he ponders, “But I don’t need no friends / As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset / I am in paradise”. As Davies explained in his intimate storytelling tour for his book X-Ray, much of Waterloo Sunset was derived from childhood memories of being a bit of a homebody, preferring to stay in while his siblings ventured out into the big city, content to gaze at the sunset from his boyhood home on a hill that overlooked the Waterloo underground station. This provides an almost cinematic setting when considering the lines, “Every day I look at the world from my window / But chilly chilly is evening time / Waterloo sunset’s fine”. We can picture the young Ray watching his sister meet a friend on their way to the city, “Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station / Every Friday night / But I am so lazy, don’t want to wander / I stay at home at night / But I don’t feel afraid / As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset / I am in paradise”, preferring the comfort of home over the frequently damp London evenings. The recording seems to be in perfect tune with Davies cozy vibe, right down to the late snare beat as the band comes back in just a hair late on the words “But I am so lazy”, the tape capturing the sort of recording moments that just can’t be scripted. ”Waterloo Sunset” is one of those golden songs that is capable of bringing both a tear to the eye while bearing a knowing inner grin –an incongruous pang of joy. As Davies himself commented in the liner notes, “There’s no memory of that song that isn’t a pleasure.”


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J3gX47rHGg]The Kinks " Waterloo Sunset - YouTube[/ame]





1. The Beatles – A Day in the Life


"A Day in the Life" was one of the most complex and ambitious Lennon-McCartney songs performed by the Beatles, providing an incendiary climax for their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. It was also the most outstanding instance in which two discrete song fragments -- one primarily by John Lennon, the other by Paul McCartney -- were combined into one to build a whole greater than the sum of the parts. "A Day in the Life" is an unexpectedly mordant coda to an album noted for epitomizing the Summer of Love. The main verses of the song are Lennon's work, a rather gloomy first-person narrative of going through the motions and observing, in a detached manner, the cruelties and absurdities of the everyday world. As the Beatles often did, the specific lyrical references are drawn from bits of news and personal experience. The death in a car crash was that of socialite and Beatles acquaintance Tara Browne (not of Paul McCartney, as would often be speculated a few years later during the "Paul Is Dead" rumors); the film about the English army winning the war was How I Won the War, in which John Lennon had acted. The dramatic tension is aided by Ringo Starr's crafty, thundering drum accents, but had it remained unembellished, Lennon's piece of the song would have been little more than a pensive, almost folky rumination. After the initial verses and Lennon's celebrated invitation to turn the listener on, however, the song mutates into something quite different, a dissonant orchestral crescendo that is simultaneously nightmarish and exhilarating. As is heard in several of Lennon's songs in 1966 and 1967, he seems largely uninterested in the outside world, and more intrigued by withdrawing into himself and the mind, whether with the aid of psychedelic chemicals or otherwise. The orchestral section suddenly ends just as it seems it can't wind itself into any higher a key, immediately followed by a basic, jaunty McCartney tune about waking up and going to work. By itself, this McCartney tune certainly wouldn't have been much. What made it effective was its juxtaposition next to Lennon's dreamier sections. The implication seemed to be that Lennon's was the dream world, and McCartney's a literal rude awakening to reality, ending when the narrator of McCartney's bit slides back into a dream. Lennon then takes over again, with haunting wordless vocals of Olympian import, ending with a brief brass fanfare before the last verse. In contrast to the opening verses, though, this final run-through is perky, with a far livelier, almost rushed rhythm, as if it was a compromise between the earlier moods of the song. Again this turns into a frightening orchestral crescendo, its dissonance unified by nothing more than a rising key, ending with what might be the most famous finale in all of rock: a momentous, echoing piano chord, sustained for almost a full minute (actually played simultaneously on three separate pianos by three Beatles and roadie Mal Evans).


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-Q9D4dcYng]The Beatles- A Day in the Life - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




The Doors – Light My Fire


“Light My Fire” -- from the quartet’s self-titled debut LP -- is the track that propelled the Doors onto the charts and into the collective consciousness of rock ‘n’ roll. The undeniably catchy melody and pulsating Bossa Nova rhythms support Morrison’s obvious and blatantly sexual lyrics. Although the song is officially credited to the band, it was actually guitarist Robbie Krieger who came up with the “C’mon baby, light my fire …” hook. The performance however is a group effort in the classic sense, as they symbiotically propel each other into some remarkably intense and emotionally charged interaction. This is not only true of the studio version, as the presence of a live audience often intensified the band’s resolve. Specifically, the instrumental trio’s improvisational skills are honed when coupled with their uncanny ability to instinctually support Morrison’s mostly non-verbal and inaudible cues. Between the verses, are some definitive psychedelic solos. Ray Manzarekmelodically swirls his eerie and intricate leads through the spaces opened up in John Densmore’s fluid jazz and Eastern-influenced drumming. Krieger follows suit with some incendiary fretwork that challenges and ultimately steers his solo into a staccato phrase that instrumentally reunites the trio as they reconvene for the final verse and chorus.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deB_u-to-IE]The Doors - Light My Fire - YouTube[/ame]





Jackie Wilson – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher


"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" put Jackie Wilson back at the top of the charts. Teamed with Chicago soul producer Carl Davis and members of Motown studio band the Funk Brothers, the combination would give Wilson several hits. The song had originally been recorded by the Dells on one of their albums. The session for Wilson's version took place on July 7, 1967, at Columbia's Chicago recording studio with bassist James Jamerson, drummer Richard "Pistol" Allen, guitaristRobert White, and keyboardist Johnny Griffith. The track is a perfect marriage of song and singer with Wilson relishing every lyric. Written by Raynard Miner, Carl Smith, Gary Jackson, and Chess A&R head Billy Davis and arranged by Sonny Sanders, "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" went to number one R&B and number six pop in the fall of 1967.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzDVaKRApcg]Jackie Wilson - (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher (Best Quality) - YouTube[/ame]





Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit



One of Grace Slick's earliest songs, written during either late 1965 or early 1966, uses imagery found in the fantasy works of Lewis Carroll: 1865's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass, such as changing size after taking pills or drinking an unknown liquid. It is commonly thought that these are also references to the hallucinatory effects of psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. Characters referenced include Alice, the hookah-smoking caterpillar, the White Knight, the Red Queen, and the Dormouse. For Slick and others in the 1960s, drugs were a part of mind-expanding and social experimentation. With its enigmatic lyrics, "White Rabbit" became one of the first songs to sneak drug references past censors on the radio.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR8LFNUr3vw]Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit - YouTube[/ame]





Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale


With their 1967 debut single "A Whiter Shade of Pale," Procol Harum managed a remarkable feat attempted, but unattained, by many many rock groups: creating a classic and huge-selling record that genuinely did not sound like any previous rock recording. It also become something the band themselves couldn't hope to live up to in their ensuing career, although as it turns out they did quite nicely. "A Whiter Shade of Pale" married classical and rock music, and was a key building block of progressive rock, even though it was very much a psychedelic keystone as well. The principal hook of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" -- which, after all, was a huge pop hit, hitting #1 in the UK and #5 in the US -- is its cathedral-toned organ riff, loosely based on Bach's Air on a G String. The vocal verses are yet more loosely based on that melody, though the lyrics are extremely obscure for a pop song. Obviously influenced by the free-association imagery of Bob Dylan, it did not necessarily but could have been impressions of a drug experience, and not a particularly good one, despite the soothing melody. The most famous line of the song, other than the title, is probably the one about 16 vestal virgins leaving for the coast (for California?); not that it's particularly connected to other lines of the song, it's just a nice image. Gary Brooker sings like a psychedelic Ray Charles, and really wrenches into the depths of his bellow when the tempo briefly stutters before the line "and so it was," accompanied by a similarly wrenching swirl of the organ.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb3iPP-tHdA]A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procol Harum - YouTube[/ame]





The Who – I Can See for Miles


"I Can See for Miles" was one of the greatest Who songs and, although not the single very most famous one ("My Generation" would get the nod), their biggest American hit, making the Top Ten in late 1967. Although the lyrics were about a fairly conventional popular music situation -- betrayal by a lover -- the execution and construction were fiercely dramatic and unusual, bordering on psychedelia (a genre the Who rarely plunged into full-tilt). The song opens with a low, ominously sustaining guitar twang (a quite similar one, by the way, was used in Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive," also from 1967). "I Can See for Miles" boasts one of Keith Moon's greatest performances, and ergo, one of the best drum parts ever on a rock record, right from the time Moon responds to the guitar twang with a couple of crackling beats. Ever-shifting, frequently pausing to increase the tension, the drums brilliantly convey the onset of a dramatic, doomy showdown. The verses are in a most uncommon irregular meter, slowing to a near-crawl for Roger Daltrey's menacing accusations of unfaithfulness and speeding to a frenzy (paced by furious Moon drum rolls) for the riffs that separate the lines of the verse. The chorus is a harmonized repetition of the title -- mostly the last two words of the title, actually -- that, combined with the battlefield guitars and drums in the background, creates the psychedelic effect of a dizzying echo on the verge of spinning out of control. The instrumental break is a remarkable exercise in taut, barely controlled anger, as one guitar note is insistently hammered as accompanying power pop guitar chords crash and Moon's drums play circles around them. The final verse raises the key by several levels -- a strategy that the Who had, in fact, used on the very single preceding "I Can See for Miles," "Pictures of Lily" -- which is an especially neat trick since the verses use imagery of the heights of the Eiffel Tower and Taj Mahal. The chorus of "I Can See for Miles" is tailor-made for a long fadeout, as the endless swirling repetitions of the title aurally sculpt the impression of the narrator seeing for endless distances and as Pete Townshend's guitar twangs jump an octave for an added bite. The "I Can See for Miles" phrase was ripe for psychedelic interpretation, hinting at the kind of sensory distortion and enrichment associated with the drug experience. In fact, however, it refers to the narrator's ability to see through the deception of his lover, and by extension is a play on one of Townshend's recurring themes: the mixture of reality and illusion.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKGRijV8U3s]The Who - I Can See for Miles - YouTube[/ame]





Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. The Beatles – Hey Jude



With their 1968 number one single "Hey Jude," the Beatles managed to cover several bases at once. It was one of their most memorable, classic, romantic songs, and it was simultaneously quite commercial and structurally daring, even barrier-breaking. The barrier being broken was that which limited pop singles to about two or three minutes in length, and certainly never more than five; "Hey Jude" went on for just over seven minutes. Sung and written by Paul McCartney (although John Lennon was instrumental in getting him to keep the line about the movement on his shoulder), "Hey Jude" is not exactly a standard love song, but a song of consolation, sympathy, and encouragement. After all, the singer is not singing about himself or singing to a lover, but to a friend, imploring him or her to let go of the sadness of the past and open up to the possibilities of a new relationship. Lennon even speculated that McCartney was addressing the song to him, saying it was okay for him to begin his relationship with Yoko Ono. It was written around the time McCartney's engagement to Jane Asher broke off (and shortly before his relationship with Linda Eastman became serious), however, so it could also be seen as a subtle message to himself. Whatever, "Hey Jude"'s strength lies in its sublime melody, sad at points but never depressing, with an elegiac mood heightened by McCartney's stately piano playing and the Beatles' angelic background harmonies. What could have been just another great Beatles ballad became something quite extraordinary at the end of the last verse when the vocals unpredictably repeat the last word over and over again in ascending notes, ending in a full-out jubilant scream. That's the signal for the most elongated Beatles fadeout ever, lasting about four minutes, consisting solely of repeated harmonized "nah nah nah" refrains. What could have very easily been boring is instead hypnotic, because McCartney varies the vocal with some of the greatest nonsense scatting ever heard in rock, ranging from mantra-like chants to soulful lines to James Brown power screams. In addition, there's a gradual addition of numerous orchestral instruments, creating a symphonic grandeur that builds in majesty.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5c-LVYnafg]The Beatles - Hey Jude [HQ] - YouTube[/ame]





9. Simon & Garfunkel – Mrs. Robinson


The more well-known, hit version of the song was included on Bookends. As much as he sought to distance himself initially from the film, The Graduate was the perfect vehicle for Simon's songs; from the beginning of his songwriting career and continuing through Bookends, Simon had explored the recurring themes of the alienated individual, the lonely and prophetic voice of reason disenfranchised and disappointed by the unfulfilled promise of America, a promise replaced with the emptiness and ache of his song "America." The sense of the country's lost innocence is expressed in "Mrs. Robinson"'s most quoted verse: "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio/Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you/Woo woo woo/What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?/Joltin' Joe has left and gone away?" Simon claims that the song was also the first time the word Jesus was used in a pop song. Despite the controversy it caused at radio, the single went on to become the duo's best-seller thus far. The final Bookends version of the song is a slinky, funky, percussive, acoustic arrangement, heavy on conga drums and the duo's trademark ultra-smooth harmonies. While they were clearly influenced by Bob Dylan and the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel were still most indebted to the Everly Brothers, the heroes of their youth on whom they modeled their first high school incarnation, Tom and Jerry. "Mrs. Robinson" is really just an update of the Everlys' sound.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C1BCAgu2I8]Simon & Garfunkel - Mrs. Robinson (Audio) - YouTube[/ame]





8. Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman


Songwriter Jimmy Webb was driving along the Kansas-Oklahoma border when he saw a lonesome telephone lineman working solemnly atop a telephone pole when he got the idea for "Wichita Lineman." Glen Campbell had previously had a number 26 pop hit with the Webb song "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and the songwriter thought "Wichita Lineman" would be perfect for him. While recording the song in the studio, Campbell felt something was out of place. He couldn't capture the same feel of the song he'd felt when Webb sang the song as he accompanied himself on his Hammond organ. Campbell decided that the only way to get the right vibe was to add Webb's organ to the recording studio.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8kFGGOIl4c]Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman - YouTube[/ame]





7. Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man


"Son of a Preacher Man" is a classic song recorded by Dusty Springfield in September 1968 and featured on the album, Dusty in Memphis. It was written by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins. The rights to record "Son of a Preacher Man" were originally offered toAretha Franklin, who turned it down. Springfield's version was produced by Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin for her first album for the Atlantic Records label and became an international hit reaching #10 in the United States and #9 in her native UK when released in late 1968. The album Dusty in Memphis was released in stereo though its singles were remixed and released in mono. "Son of a Preacher Man" was to be the last Top Ten chart hit for the artist for almost 20 years until she teamed up with Pet Shop Boys for the single "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" in 1987.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjydOI4MEIw]Dusty Springfield Son of a Preacher Man - YouTube[/ame]





6. The Band – The Weight


The Band's best-known and most enduring recording, "The Weight," is perhaps their most successful attempt at the creation of a new American mythology, a winding, impressionistic story song cut from the rural traditions of roots music -- folk, country, and gospel -- but re-imagined from a distinctly postmodern vantage point. "The Weight"'s writer, Robbie Robertson, once claimed the song was inspired by the work of surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel, who did pictures like Viridiana and Nazarin, which explored the "impossibility of sainthood"; however, while the song's first line -- "I pulled into Nazareth" -- immediately casts a spiritual light, the Nazareth in question is not the birthplace of Christ but rather the Pennsylvania town home to the Martin guitar factory. The landscape shifts similarly throughout, variously suggesting a Deep South setting and a Wild West milieu as well, but wrought throughout with anachronistic quirks which, like the films of Buñuel, together evoke a time and place removed from conventional reality. That said, Robertson's Nazareth does exist on a spiritual plane -- one of the song's characters, ol' Luke, is "waitin' on the Judgment Day," while another, Carmen, walks with the Devil; the narrator also advises a townswoman to "Go down, Miss Moses/There's nothin' you can say" (the overt Biblical implications of the name aside, the lyric also recalls Go Down Moses, a collection of short stories by William Faulkner, himself no slouch in capturing the vagaries of rural culture). Ultimately, "The Weight" of the title appears to concern the mounting burdens and demands of society which no one individual can reasonably shoulder, but even that seems oversimplified; the song operates on far too many levels (musical, narrative, and symbolic) to fit any single interpretation.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmRDM7GyJXE]The band - The Weight (Take a load off Annie/Fanny) - YouTube[/ame]





5. The Zombies – Time of the Season


A virtual mini-suite, "Time of the Season" is one of the most remembered Zombies songs of all time, and for good reason. Musically, the song has some unique and unusual influences (especially for the time), like the Afro motif, which underpins the song, along with a vague jazz feeling. Lyrically, it echoes some of the concepts on the other Odessey & Oracle songs, especially the change of seasons. The song has been covered by several artists, namely Argent. The Zombies' version has an interesting chart history, especially in the U.S., where it was released as a posthumous single almost two years after it was recorded, providing the group with an excellent, fitting closing hit to their career. This fact alone puts the concept that almost all of their music was slightly ahead of its time in place.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc7b62El_fk]The Zombies-Time Of The Season - YouTube[/ame]





4. The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil


"Sympathy for the Devil" is perhaps the most notorious and controversial Rolling Stones song, as well as one of the greatest. As the most famous tune on their 1968 album, Beggars Banquet (rivaled only, perhaps, by that LP's "Street Fighting Man"), it came out at a time when the Stones were increasingly flirting with a satanic public image. Well, "Sympathy for the Devil" took that flirt to a full-on consummation. Here was the narrator -- Mick Jagger, naturally -- taking on the role of the devil himself, a portrait made more distressing by his gentlemanly self-introductions. As seen in the Jean-Luc Godard film One Plus One (retitled Sympathy for the Devil for some releases), the backing track went through some radical transformations, from elementary sluggish blues-rock on acoustic guitars, before arriving at its recorded arrangement. That final arrangement was integral to the success of the song. A compelling African-like rhythm pounded out on conga drums introduces the track, the air of uneasy menace established by echoed yelps and grunts. Along with rumbling piano, those drums continue to underscore the tune, and after the first verse, Jagger is joined by soulful, wordless, high backup vocals that are both catchy and creepy. The chorus -- sung with progressive vehemence as the song proceeds -- is the embodiment of Jagger's persona in his song: an evil figure who charms and refuses to disclose the true nature of his identity and intentions. The guitar solo is one of Keith Richards' most economic and incisive, like flames licking at the devil's feet. The narrator of "Sympathy for the Devil" recounts his insinuation into various historical cataclysms: the Crucifixion, the Inquisition, and the then-still fresh assassinations of the Kennedys. The Kennedys reference was especially explosive. Who killed them, asked Jagger? It was you and me. As some disgruntled critics pointed out, that wasn't exactly fair; most of the people listening to the Stones didn't want to kill anyone, let alone the Kennedys. What Jagger, more than any other rock performer possibly, was adept at was making listeners ponder those questions of how evil manifests itself in the world, and giving listeners who likely wouldn't have hurt a fly the titillation of acknowledging the dark, submerged sides of themselves. It is interesting, by the way, that the word "devil" is never sung, although Jagger makes it fairly clear once and for all whose character he is assuming when he says that some call him Lucifer. The extended fade makes the evil ambience even more pervasive, Jagger starting to shout in distressed falsetto as the backup singers maintain their unfettered chants.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBecM3CQVD8]The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil -HQ - YouTube[/ame]





3. Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower


One of the masterpieces of John Wesley Harding, and one of Bob Dylan’s greatest songs of the 1960s, “All Along the Watchtower” was given it’s definitive reading by Jimi Hendrix, who substituted the gentle, country strains of the original for incendiary rock music. Hendrix’s appreciation of Dylan is well known, andHendrix howls the song’s lyrics with the up most reverence. However, it’s musically where Hendrix takes the song into another level. The song famously has three guitar solo’s, one Wah, one straight, and one slide (played with a cigarette lighter) – and there’s no denying the unrivalled brilliance of each one of these. Indeed, they’re arguably Hendrix’s greatest moments as a guitarist. Hendrix’s apocalyptic reading of the song turns it into one of the finest moments on Electric Ladyland, and one of the finest four minutes of the artist’s entire career.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLV4_xaYynY]All Along The Watchtower (Audio) - YouTube[/ame]





2. Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through the Grapevine


Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" is Motown's greatest record -- really, what's better? Even obscured by years of oldies radio overkill and Big Chill nostalgia it retains a hypnotic power unmatched by any of the label's other classics, articulating the turmoil and anguish of a soul torn apart at the seams with a clarity unmatched in the annals of popular music. On its surface a desperate plea to salvage a relationship gone terribly wrong, "Grapevine" progressively probes much deeper to convey complete emotional free-fall: haunted by lies, taunted by gossip and shattered by loss, Gaye's torment is palpable, and his performance -- the signature sophistication and elegance of his voice ravaged by fear and doubt -- is devastating. The repetitive electric piano figure and voodoo rhythms which open the song ominously foreshadow the troubles on the horizon; sinister and serpentine, Norman Whitfield's production twists the knife even further into Gaye's back, orchestrating a rumor-mill chorus of whispers and echoes which reiterate the singer's shame and humiliation over and over again.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hajBdDM2qdg]Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through The Grapevine - YouTube[/ame]





1. Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay


Though soul music great Otis Redding had several R&B hits and two Top 20 pop hits ("I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)," "Try a Little Tenderness"), the singer's biggest hit wouldn't happen during his lifetime. "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," a song written by Redding and frequent collaborator Steve Cropper, would prove to be Redding's sole certified million-seller. The gentleness and quiet introspection of the track signaled a new direction for Redding: more contemplative, even more folksy than his previous efforts. The genesis of the song was created as Redding relaxed on a boat in Sausalito, CA, after his spectacular performance at the Monterey Pop Festival during the summer of 1967. The concert is captured in the 1968 movie documentary Monterey Pop. Redding and Cropper began recording the song in Stax Records' Memphis, TN, studio around the first week of December 1967 with the MG's, including Isaac Hayes on piano. The singer's crisp vocals are due in part to his recovery from throat surgery for removal of polyps from his vocal cords. It's interesting to listen to the creative process used in the making of the record from the outtakes found on the 1992 Stax/Fantasy CD Remember Me. It must have been emotionally upheaving for producer/guitarist Cropper to finish production on the track in lieu of his friend's sudden demise. Recorded just three days before his death in a fatal plane crash, Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" went gold, holding down the number one R&B spot for two weeks and the number one pop position for four weeks in early 1968.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCmUhYSr-e4]Otis Redding-Sitting on the dock of the bay - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




Aretha Franklin – Think


Aretha Franklin's "Think" had the same kind of raucous energy and liberated women's subtext as her previous gold single, "Respect," though the women's lib movement was still years away. The driving number was recorded in April 1968 at Atlantic Records' New York recording studio. Producer Jerry Wexler used members of the Muscle Shoals rhythm section (Roger Hawkins, Spooner Oldham, Jimmy Johnson, Tommy Cogbill) as he'd done on Franklin's previous million-selling singles. Co-written by Franklin and her husband/manager Ted White and issued during the first weeks of May 1968, the million-selling "Think" stayed at number one R&B for three weeks, going to number seven pop in the summer of 1968. On the flipside was a swinging cover of the Sam Cooke classic "You Send Me," which broke the R&B Top 30 and mid-charted pop. Those tracks as well as the gold singles "See Saw" and "I Say a Little Prayer," her cover of the Dionne Warwick hit, and also "I Can't See Myself Leaving You" were included on her gold number one R&B (for 17 weeks) album Aretha Now. "Think" resurfaced when Franklin performed the song in the Dan Ackroyd/John Belushi movie The Blues Brothers.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsL9UL9qbv8]Aretha Franklin - Think [1968] (Original Version) - YouTube[/ame]





Cream – White Room


Possibly the best-known song in Cream's catalog, "White Room" encapsulated the band's appeal as it effortlessly vacillated between spooky psychedelia and hard blues-rock. It was a textbook example of the partnership between the group's bassist and vocalist, Jack Bruce, and his lyricist, Pete Brown. Bruce cooked up a strange, evocative song, where the powerful, hard verses were underscored with as much menace as the ethereal harmonies on the chorus. It fit Brown's lyrics, which weren't really comprehensible, but they had the nightmarish logic of a bad acid trip. Certainly, Cream's original recorded version was one of the towering moments of British psychedelia, as Bruce's keening vocals were as trippy as Eric Clapton's incendiary guitar.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkae0-TgrRU]Cream - White Room - YouTube[/ame]





The Flirtations – Nothing but a Heartache



The Flirtations (previously The Gypsies) are an all-female musical group who have recorded since the early 1960s. In late 1968 the trio signed with Deram Records and released what would become their signature recording: "Nothing But A Heartache" — a dense, dynamic, earth-shattering melodrama produced by Englishman Wayne Bickerton and written by Bickerton with Tony Waddington. "Nothing But a Heartache" just missed the UK Top 50 with a number 51 peak. However the track became a Top 40 hit in both the Netherlands (#36) and in the US, reaching #34 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated May 24 1969


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97zgi3Ri2Go]The Flirtations - Nothing But A Heartache - YouTube[/ame]





Sly & The Family Stone – Everyday People (Different Strokes for Different Folks)


Sylvester Stewart had experience as a radio DJ on Oakland radio station KSOL and as a producer on hits by Bobby Freeman and the Beau Brummels. In 1966, he started Sly & the Family Stone. The group earned a reputation for exciting live shows before signing with Epic Records. The first chart success danced to the music of a Top Ten R&B/pop hit in early 1968. With the band's diverse look and unique musical fusion it seemed natural that their first million-seller would be "Everyday People." The easygoing track almost seems to have a key nursery rhyme feel to it. Produced and written by Sly Stone, "Everyday People" topped the R&B charts for two weeks and the pop charts for four weeks in early 1969. Its flip side was the explosive "Sing a Simple Song," which charted number 28 R&B and number 89 pop.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JvkaUvB-ec]Sly & The Family Stone - Everyday People (Audio) - YouTube[/ame]





Van Morrison – Sweet Thing


The mid-tempo song stands in contrast to the other three songs on the first side of Astral Weeks, and thus serves as a welcome change of pace (though it should be noted that producer Lewis Merenstein, not Morrison, sequenced the album and that Morrison has criticized the sequencing). The music, keying from Morrison's acoustic guitar, plays a light, repeating sequence with some striking improvisations, especially from Richard Davis' swooping bass and Connie Kay's expressive drums. Over the endlessly descending, circular progression, Morrison sings positive lyrics about nature and a romantic partner, seemingly beginning in the middle of a thought: "And I will stroll the merry way." The language is heightened, with its references to chariots and champagne eyes, and contains striking paradoxes, notably "And I will never grow so old again." But the mood is positive, even giddy, in contrast to much of the rest of the album. Early in the second verse, a string quartet joins the proceedings, giving the song an even more effervescent feel. But "Sweet Thing" remains less a song in the usual sense than a musical meditation in which Van Morrison muses about certain images over a remarkable mélange of folk, blues, and jazz, some of it played with classical music instruments. You could say much the same about the rest of Astral Weeks, of course, but "Sweet Thing" is the only song on the album that looks forward instead of backward, and the only one that is celebratory, which may help explain why it was chosen by the compilers of The Best of Van Morrison to represent his most remarkable album.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QzDWIOUnM0]Van Morrison - Sweet Thing - YouTube[/ame]





Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. The Beatles – Something



"Something" is unquestionably George Harrison's most famous composition. It is also one of the most popular Beatles ballads of all, reaching number one as part of a double-sided single (with "Come Together") in late 1969, and other than "Yesterday," it might be the most frequently covered Beatles composition. In short, it is a popular music standard, the first one George Harrison came up with (and one of the few). At a time when most of the Beatles' songs were dealing with non-romantic topics or presenting cryptic and allusive lyrics even when they were writing about love, "Something" was an unabashedly straightforward and sentimental love song inspired by Harrison's wife of the time, Patti. In fact, the opening line about the way his love moves was directly inspired by -- some would say lifted from -- the early James Taylor tune "Something in the Way She Moves," recorded for the Beatles' label, Apple Records. In its classic pop melody, "Something" could have been (but was not) the work of Lennon-McCartney, the principal hook being the tangy curling, ascending guitar line that opens the song and reappears throughout the track. Its appeal to middle-of-the-road pop listeners was ensured by a rather gushing string arrangement by George Martin. Although for the most part the song is lighthearted and confident, a slightly more ambiguous element is introduced by the soaring bridge, Harrison posing questions about whether the love will grow and answering that he doesn't know.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBjt7EsWbWE]The Beatles - Something (Remastered) - YouTube[/ame]





9. Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer


Paul Simon's "The Boxer" is a long, thoughtful ballad that reflects on the struggles that one encounters in life. It is set in the form of an autobiography of a man who leaves home early. Arriving in New York City, he seeks work, but can't find any and is comforted only by prostitutes. Near the end of the song, he declares that he is going home, but in the final verse the song shifts into the third person to describe a scarred boxer who says he is leaving, but does not. (There is actually one more verse usually left off recorded versions of the song, but frequently sung by Simon in concert, in which the character talks about the passage of time, concluding that, "after changes, we are more or less the same.") The song thus represents the tension between a determination to succeed and the experience of apparently insurmountable barriers. But the tension is expressed calmly, breaking into passion only at the wordless chorus.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3LFML_pxlY]Simon & Garfunkel - The Boxer (Audio) - YouTube[/ame]





8. The Kinks – Victoria


"Victoria" is one of pop's greatest singles, just on musical merit alone (hook, performances, production, etc.), ignoring for a moment that under its infectious melody and singalong chorus is a genuine message. From the 1969 LP Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire, another of the Kinks' concept records, "Victoria" is a sardonic look at the uptight mores, classism, and imperialism under Queen Victoria, not exactly the burning issues of rock music in the Vietnam era. Davies, via the title character, Arthur, lets his sarcasm shine through: "I was born, lucky me/In a land that I love/Though I am poor, I am free/When I grow I shall fight/For this land I shall die/Let her sun never set," a scathing reference to the proud Tory assertion of the past that the sun never set on the English Empire, the empire which Victoria exploited while turning her back on such bothersome issues as the 1845 potato famine of Ireland, during which over a million people starved as food continued to be exported to England. Albert, claims Davies in his autobiography, X-Ray, was a carpet layer intended to represent the common man, a "cog" in the empire that passed him by. As such, Davies identified with the character, whose shared name with the queen's husband and first cousin surely was no coincidence. When the king (also known as the "prince consort") died, Victoria became famous for her mourning, which is commonly thought of as the driving force behind her moral edicts: "Long ago life was clean/Sex was bad and obscene/And the rich were so mean/Stately homes for the Lords/Croquet lawns, village greens/Victoria was my queen." With a great chugging twin-guitar rhythm, giddy-up drumbeat, and muted horns, the song is not unlike Canned Heat's version of "Going up the Country," but is really closer to some Chuck Berry songs that beg to have their chorus sung, like "Carol" and "Johnny B. Goode."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2GHlcwlT1Y]The Kinks - Victoria - YouTube[/ame]





7. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son


"Fortunate Son" was, with its flipside "Down on the Corner," a double-sided #3 single in late 1969 for Creedence Clearwater Revival. Musically, though powerful, it was perhaps a shade less memorable than Creedence's other huge hits of the era, like "Down on the Corner," for instance. Lyrically, though, it was one of songwriter John Fogerty's strongest and most uncompromising statements. Too much, perhaps, has been made by some critics of a pro-working class and anti-privilege ethos in the song, with some seeing it as a blast against those wealthy families who were able to keep their sons out of Vietnam while less affluent people had less options. It's more of a screed against the privileged in general, using and subscribing to patriotism while sending others to do the dirty work of fighting. At any rate, Fogerty -- who, incidentally, did serve in the army reserve and knew something about having to pay the consequences of militarism -- makes his stance on the matter clear, if blunt. That's especially so in the chorus, where Fogerty hammers home the point again and again: it ain't him, he's not a fortunate son. (Interestingly, the title "Fortunate Son" is sung just once, in the very last one; more often, he uses the phrase "I ain't no fortunate one.") Although the guitar riffs "Fortunate Son" are constructed around are more basic and less memorable than those on some other Creedence hits, they're effective enough, starting with the slightly devious, curling one that opens the track. The verses are mostly a rushed three-chord background for Fogerty to spit-howl his venom against, though there's a lot of sincere soul as well, particularly when he hits the highest notes.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ec0XKhAHR5I]Creedence Clearwater Revival: Fortunate Son - YouTube[/ame]





6. King Crimson – The Court of the Crimson King


"The Court of the Crimson King" was the grand finale to King Crimson's epochal debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King: An Observation by King Crimson. Although the song is really not at all typical of what most of King Crimson's records contained -- particularly since guitarist Robert Fripp has been the only member from the lineup on that album to play on most of the group's subsequent recordings -- it remains, justifiably, their most famous song. The track wastes no time pulling out the stops, starting with a grand, clenched-teeth Mellotron riff anchored by Michael Giles' always varying, underrated drum beats, and the drama is heightened by a turnaround (inspired by James Brown, of all people) in which the Mellotron slowly creeps up the scale until it gets back to where it started. As the intro fades out, a folky verse starts that's really not all that different from a typical classy late-'60s Donovan tune. (Lest some find the Donovan citation an affront, let it be noted that early King Crimson regularly covered Donovan's "Get Thy Bearings" in concert.) The lyrics evoke a medieval royal court and not one that's entirely welcome, with its images of a black queen, funeral march, and fire witch. The vocals become more intensely dramatic -- portentous, pretentious even -- as the singer announces the court of the crimson king, leading into a death-mask wordless harmonized vocalization of the grinding theme introduced in the opening instrumental section. Cleverly, the band varies the instrumentation and tempo subtly from verse to verse with thoughtful skill beyond most folk-rockers or prog rockers -- Michael Giles' stuttering drum rolls being particularly excellent. The verses are interrupted by instrumental breaks which, again, are quite different from each other, though they adhere to the same tune: one glides like a kite set free over fields, another is a pastoral respite that accelerates ominously near the end. The macabre mood peaks in the last verse, where the wordless turnaround eventually comes to a tumbling halt, followed by a sudden optimistic chord and Aeolian vocal as if heralding the appearance of a sudden shaft of sunlight in the dismal court. But it's a false ending, some percussive tinkles leading into a downright goofy reiteration of the main theme by recorder, as if to mimic the dances of the puppets described in the song. An especially booming drum pattern leads the band back into its most crazed, violent restatement of the main theme, this time wholly instrumental, with some of the greatest, chilliest Mellotron ever played on a rock record (by Ian McDonald). The impression here is of a magical court on the verge of teetering amok, especially with the near-berserk keyboard washes of the final bars before it comes to a cold end. The nine-minute "The Court of the Crimson King" may have some of the bombast and pretension that early progressive rock in general is accused of purveying. But few, if any, early progressive rock tracks were as powerful, perfectly evoking the magical yet ghastly faces and artwork adorning the album sleeve.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5Rz4ydRi_M]King Crimson - The Court Of The Crimson King (HQ) - YouTube[/ame]





5. Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love


"Whole Lotta Love" is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. It is featured as the opening track on the band's second album, Led Zeppelin II, and was released in the United States and Japan as a single. The song is in compound AABA form. Page played the loose blues riff for the intro, on a Telecaster through a Vox Super Beatle, which ascends into the first chorus. Then, beginning at 1:24 (and lasting until 3:02) the song dissolves to a free jazz-like break involving a theremin solo and a drum solo and the moans of Robert Plant. Plant did the vocals in one take. As audio engineer Eddie Kramer has explained: "The famous Whole Lotta Love mix, where everything is going bananas, is a combination of Jimmy and myself just flying around on a small console twiddling every knob known to man."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0utAHY3xo4]Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love - YouTube[/ame]





4. The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter


"Gimme Shelter" is the Rolling Stones song most apt to be called apocalyptic, and was, aside perhaps from "You Can't Always Get What You Want," the best track on their 1969 album Let It Bleed. The most striking feature of the cut makes itself known right away: the shaky, shimmering guitar leads, whose catchiness nonetheless is imbued with a feeling of impending doom. The eerie, high, wordless vocals and dramatic piano that preface the verse add to the feeling that something dreadful is approaching just over the horizon. The verses are rather ordinary and workmanlike in comparison to the chorus, another great catchy Stones chorus that can be half-shouted and half-sung along with. The words, as in many Jagger/Richards songs, are ambivalent and ambiguous, not to mention sometimes difficult to understand even literally. The group might be seeking shelter from an oncoming disaster, or they might be seeking shelter in the escape offered by someone's love, or they might be seeking both. Sex and death: they can be strong bedfellows, and that's the coupling conveyed by "Gimme Shelter," even if that coupling is more implied by the mood than definitely spelled out by the words. To further establish the sense of uneasy tension that pervades the song, the Stones took the unusual step of having some of the backup vocals, and even some of the lead vocals, sung by African-American session singer Merry Clayton, who was able to reach full, high notes that Mick Jagger could not have. "Gimme Shelter" is sometimes assumed to have been written by the band about their disastrous free concert at Altamont in December 1969, but that wasn't the case. Let It Bleed was released that very month, as it happens, but of course "Gimme Shelter" had been written and recorded sometime before that. Some pundits have mused that "Gimme Shelter" presciently foresaw the demise of the 1960s and all that decade stood for, but if it foresaw any catastrophe, one could say that was Altamont itself.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_a0zOLMAfw]The Rolling Stones-Gimme Shelter + Lyrics - YouTube[/ame]





3. David Bowie – Space Oddity


David Bowie's first hit single, from fall 1969, has long been associated with the first ever Apollo moon landing, with which its release coincided. In fact, it is hard to think of a song less appropriate to such a venture, as Major Tom switches off all communications with earth and prepares to spend eternity floating around in his tin can. Nevertheless, the BBC employed the song as the theme music to its coverage of the event, and Bowie swiftly found himself with a Top Five U.K. smash -- albeit one which it would take him three years to follow-up. "Space Oddity" was originally written and recorded for a 30-minute promotional film highlighting Bowie as a songwriter, performer, and all-round artiste in 1968 -- discussing its origins, Bowie has credited both Stanley Kubrick's 2001 and "a silly flirtation with smack," and both influences have been discerned by watchful students. This original recording of the song remained unreleased until 1984 brought the Love You Till Tuesday soundtrack release.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKE3FSPJu-4]David Bowie - Space Oddity (stereo version) - YouTube[/ame]





2. The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog


The opening guitar is overpowering, the central riff is a churning leviathan. But it is the one finger piano that dominates "I Wanna Be Your Dog," a self-confessedly messed-up love song that makes even the Velvet Underground's sagas of sexual deviation and disgrace sound somehow tame. There, after all, the beaters and the beaten sound almost guilty about their pleasures. Iggy Pop, on the other hand, revels in his subservience -- "I'll lay right down in my favorite place."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJIqnXTqg8I]The Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog - YouTube[/ame]





1. Jackson 5 – I Want You Back


The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" is a textbook example of how to start a pop music career. Their first nationally released single took the brothers to the top of both the R&B and pop charts. Originally written as "I Wanna Be Free," "I Want You Back" was written by Freddie Perren, Fonce Mizell, and Deke Richards, who along with Berry Gordy became known as the Motown songwriting/arranging/producing collective the Corporation. Perren, Mizell, and Richards thought the song would be great for Motown acts Gladys Knight and the Pips or Diana Ross. After approaching label president Gordy, it was rewritten for a five-member teenaged brothers singing group from Gary, IN, he'd just signed. Gordy wanted the group to be an updated version of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers ("Why Do Fools Fall in Love") and this song seemed to be the perfect career-launching vehicle.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz7zo7wIlbU]The Jackson 5: I Want You Back - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




The Isley Brothers – It’s Your Thing


After recording such '60s hits as "Twist and Shout" (the Beatles' 1964 cover peaked at number two pop), by the late '60s, the Isley Brothers had left Motown ("This Old Heart of Mine") to start their own label, T-Neck Records, which was distributed by Buddah Records. Group member Ronald Isley came up with an idea for a song that fused the rock/funk of Sly and the Family Stone with the Southern soul sound of Stax Records. His brothers O' Kelly Isley and Rudolph Isley added their own ideas and the song became "It's Your Thing." Recorded in January 1969 at New York's A&R Studios, the musicians on the session were members of Wilson Pickett's touring band, the Midnight Movers: drummer George Moreland, pianist Herb Rooney, arranger George Patterson on sax, and guitarist Charles Pitts Jr., who's best known for his wah-wah work on Issac Hayes' million-selling classic "Shaft." When the bass player failed to show, the group enlisted their 17-year-old brother, Ernie Isley. Produced by the Isley Brothers, "It's Your Thing" topped the R&B charts for four weeks and peaked at number two pop in spring 1969.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD-9eOWsp8o]The Isley Brothers - It's Your Thing - YouTube[/ame]





Nick Drake – River Man


"River Man" is the second listed song from Nick Drake's 1969 album Five Leaves Left, remastered and released as a single in 2004. According to Drake's manager, Joe Boyd, Drake thought of the song as the centre piece of the album. The song is in a 5/4 time signature and is one of the few songs Drake wrote to be played in standard tuning. The string arrangement was composed by Harry Robinson and Robert Kirby, after Drake's friend Robert Kirby felt he couldn't compose it alone, although he did most of the composing for the rest of Five Leaves Left. Drake did not reveal the identity of the 'Betty' character in the lyrics, although Trevor Dann speculated that she may have been drawn from Betty Foy, a character in Wordsworth's "The Idiot Boy", a poem Drake had studied while attending Cambridge.[2] However, the only similarity to the poem is the existence of a Betty.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idcaRTg4-fM]Nick Drake- Riverman - YouTube[/ame]





Scott Walker – The Seventh Seal



Starting with an elegant flamenco-tinged flourish of acoustic guitars and trumpets, Scott Walker’s “The Seventh Seal” on the one hand has to be one of the most literal musical tributes to a film ever. Not merely referencing Ingmar Bergman’s mid-20th-century classic of religious existentialism, “The Seventh Seal” finds Walker reducing the movie’s narrative to a quick lyrical précis. As a formal exercise it’s not so bad but it’s the rich, beautiful arrangement that makes this song a stunner, both as the opener for Scott 4 and as a stand-alone listen. Peter Knight’s string arrangements and the haunting wordless backing vocals create a queasy, dramatic atmosphere immediately suggestive of Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western classics, while Walker himself delivers his words with all the haunted elegance and deep-voiced passion that had helped make his name. It’s at once commanding and controlled, in the end disappearing into the swelling conclusion of the song.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMUk1R_fKEA]Scott Walker - The Seventh Seal - YouTube[/ame]





Sly & The Family Stone – Stand!


"Stand!" is a 1969 song by the soul/rock/funk band Sly and the Family Stone. The song's title and lyrics are a call for its listeners to "stand" up for themselves, their communities, and what they believe in. Like nearly all of Sly & the Family Stone's songs, Sylvester "Sly Stone" Stewart was credited as the sole songwriter. The original mix of "Stand!" garnered a warm, yet unenthusiastic, reaction when Sly Stone had an early acetate of the record played in aSan Francisco club. As a result, Stone went back into the studio and had the song's final section, a fevered gospel music-styled break, rerecorded. Most of the Family Stone was unavailable for the session, and Stone resorted to using mostly studio musicians for the rerecorded section.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7Yakl_xIkc]Sly and the Family Stone - Stand! - YouTube[/ame]





The Velvet Underground – What Goes On


Lou Reed once said, "If God showed up tomorrow and said, 'Do you want to be president?' 'No.' 'Do you want to be in politics?' 'No.' 'Do you want to be a lawyer?' 'No.' 'What do you want?' 'I want to be a rhythm guitar player.'" No one who's ever heard Reed play the song "What Goes On," which first appeared on the Velvet Underground's self-titled third album, would doubt that statement for a moment. Reed's furious, dead-solid-perfect guitar is the backbone of the original recording of the tune, and he doesn't miss a beat for a good four and a half minutes; as he wails with a palpable joy "Lady be good/Do what you should/It's gonna be all right," he sounds happier to be alive than on anything the Velvets ever cut.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtntDoDoEbQ]VELVET UNDERGROUND - WHAT GOES ON (Qué está pasando) - YouTube[/ame]





Link to comment
Share on other sites

#1 Songs from 1960s at a Glance:




1960: The Shirelles – Will You Love Me Tomorrow

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbxxkwBQk_o]THE SHIRELLES-WILL U STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW - YouTube[/ame]





1961: Ben E. King – Stand By Me


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vbg7YoXiKn0]Ben E. King - Stand by me - YouTube[/ame]





1962: Sam Cooke – Bring It on Home to Me


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZB4jcPmFGo]Sam Cooke Bring It On Home to Me lyrics - YouTube[/ame]





1963: The Ronettes – Be My Baby


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g_FD_sYazk]The Ronettes - Be My Baby - YouTube[/ame]





1964: Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaNzxniXxYE]Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come (THE REAL VERSION; CD QUALITY; LYRICS) - YouTube[/ame]





1965: The Beatles – Yesterday


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRNn5nR2Yco]The Beatles - Yesterday - YouTube[/ame]





1966: The Beach Boys – God Only Knows


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkPy18xW1j8]The Beach Boys - God Only Knows (Lyrics via Description) (HQ) - YouTube[/ame]





1967: The Beatles – A Day in the Life


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-Q9D4dcYng]The Beatles- A Day in the Life - YouTube[/ame]





1968: Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCmUhYSr-e4]Otis Redding-Sitting on the dock of the bay - YouTube[/ame]





1969: Jackson 5 – I Want You Back


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz7zo7wIlbU]The Jackson 5: I Want You Back - YouTube[/ame]


Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. The Beatles – Let It Be



"Let It Be," a number one single in early 1970, was one of the Beatles' most popular and finest ballads, becoming almost as well known and familiar as "Yesterday." Like "Yesterday," "Let It Be" was solely the work of Paul McCartney (although credited to Lennon-McCartney), and rather by accident came to serve as the group's epitaph in song. The song is based around classically melodic, descending piano chords, whose understated grace give the performance a spiritual quality somewhat in the manner of a previous Beatles classic ballad based around the piano, "Hey Jude." "Let It Be" had more of a gospel feel than "Hey Jude," however; in its combination of rock, pop, and gospel elements, it recalls Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," although "Let It Be" is less bombastic a production. (In his Playboy interview, John Lennon would cruelly infer that McCartney was trying to write a "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," but that's simply not true; "Let It Be" was recorded in early 1969, about a year before "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" came out.) The spiritual setting is amplified by the soothing harmonies on the chorus as well as McCartney's sincere emotional phrasing. The lyrical mood of the song, too, is spiritual and even quasi-religious, McCartney speaking of a mother Mary (actually based on his own late mother Mary, not a mother Mary in Christian lore) who comforts him in times of trouble and doubt. In a more overall sense, the song is one of consolation, both to himself and his audience, urging optimism in times of darkness and reassuring that things will turn out well in spite of the troubles to be weathered. One more gospel touch is supplied by the churchy organ solo on the mix used for the single (available on Past Masters, Vol. 2). On the album, Phil Spector's mix rather buried this under more prominent guitar parts, although the more simple, uncluttered original mix suited the song better. Although recorded in early 1969, "Let It Be," despite its obvious superior quality, did not come out for a year, as the sessions they had recorded in early 1969 for an album languished in the vaults while the Beatles decided what to do with them. The "Let It Be" single reached number one the very week that the Beatles broke up in April 1970. That, combined with its use as the title track of the Let It Be album -- which was the final Beatles album to be released, although it was the second-to-last to be recorded -- reinforced the mistaken, though understandable, impression that "Let It Be" might have been designed as an unofficial, subtle epitaph to the Beatles' career, with its "life goes on" message and plea to overcome the tragic present state of affairs.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsQsOjaVUuA]Let it Be - BEATLES - YouTube[/ame]





9. The Stooges – Down on the Street


One of the more straightforward numbers on the Stooges' seminal sophomore album, "Down in the Street" opened side one with a lurching riff and a battery of Iggy Pop's most evocative animal grunts and yelps before developing into the kind of downright nasty, bluesy swagger that wouldn't have disgraced the Rolling Stones. Two minutes in, a pair of overlapping guitar solos -- again accompanied by Iggy's scat yowling -- add to the switchblade-menace intensity of the piece and, though little of "Down in the Street"'s impact would not reappear, even tighter-strung and threatening, elsewhere on the album, still it was an ideal point of entry -- and, compared to the rest of the record, it might have been a smart choice for single as well.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qannFs974gg]The Stooges - Down On The Street - YouTube[/ame]





8. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Ohio


One of America's greatest all-time atrocities would have to be the "Kent State Killings." On May 4, 1970, the National Guard was called in to break up an anti-Vietnam protest that students had been carrying out, but things took a turn for the worse when the soldiers began firing tear gas and their rifles into the crowd, leaving four dead. Like the majority of others at the time, David Crosby was disgusted and horrified about what happened, and encouraged his bandmate in CSNY, Neil Young, to pen a song on the spot about what happened (after showing him the cover of Time magazine). The result was "Ohio," one of CSNY's greatest tracks. The rest of the band immediately congregated at a nearby studio and recorded Young's new composition, which mixed his anger and hostility towards then-president Richard Nixon for letting such a crime take place. The song was released as a single only one week after the killings (backed by another new CSNY track, "Find the Cost of Freedom") and proved to perfectly sum up the disgust that young America was feeling -- the single climbed to number 14 on the charts and proved to be the last new song issued by CSNY until 1988.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIKOpF08G5w]Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young - Ohio - YouTube[/ame]





7. Black Sabbath – Paranoid


The title track from Black Sabbath's best and most popular album (which sold over four million copies), "Paranoid" was a minor singles-chart entry upon its initial U.S. release in 1970, not even cracking the Top 60, but has since grown in stature (partly with the help of album rock radio) to become a heavy metal standard, to the point where it was even used in American television commercials nearly three decades later. It was an immediate success in Britain, however, reaching the Top Five in 1970 and even re-entering the charts in 1980, making the Top 20. "Paranoid" is easily the most concise and up-tempo song on the album (and perhaps in the group's entire Ozzy Osbourne-era catalog -- in both categories), and while it isn't complicated, it does take surprising stamina for a band to maintain its relentless, morose intensity. After the intro riff (which is never repeated), the main body of the song is built around a simple riff consisting of three power chords, adding an additional fourth when the song changes sections. The rhythms are chugging, pounding, and squared-off, with nary a trace of the blues-rock feeling that informed some of the band's work; this is unmistakable, straight-ahead heavy metal, pure and simple -- and simple it is, too, which really only serves to increase the power of the band's delivery. That's especially true for bassist Geezer Butler, who always provided a driving underpinning in all the band's songs, and whose lines here alternately play around Tony Iommi's riffs or mesh with them in unison to create the feel of an hammering, unstoppable juggernaut. Ozzy Osbourne's vocals, meanwhile, almost threaten to fall behind the band's relentless pace at times, but he wails the lyrics with the urgency needed to sell the performance, and the occasional raggedness only serves to increase the intensity, as though the band -- and thus the song's character -- could fall apart at any moment. The social and psychological isolation of the protagonist is apparent throughout the song: he self-defeatingly pushes others away even as he yearns for support; he indulges in aimless fantasies without finding a positive direction that really fulfills him; he wallows in self-involved depression and concludes that "happiness I cannot feel and love to me is so unreal." It's melodramatic, to be sure, but it also connected with countless alienated teenagers seeking expression of their anxieties, with enough extravagance to reflect the real-life intensity of those anxieties, but with just enough pure theatricality to allow distance and escape from them as well. That's probably the best explanation available for the song's enduring appeal, and it's a huge part of the reason that Black Sabbath continues to influence countless metal and alternative bands -- not filtered down through second or third generations, but directly from the original sources.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQBttKoetqo]paranoid black sabbath (lyrics included) - YouTube[/ame]





6. The Beach Boys – Forever


Easily one of the standouts on the Sunflower album, "Forever" is sort of a capper on Dennis Wilson's unexpected burst of creativity during the 1968-1969 period. A lovely, effervescent melody frames his soulful vocal and lyrics, which are as an accurate description on everlasting love and faithfulness as one could ever want to hear. There is a timeless quality to the whole piece, which is not unlike some of the more refined Elton John/Bernie Taupin ballads that would dominate the pop charts later in the 1970s. The unfortunate timing of the Charles Manson murders during this period sadly took some air out of Dennis' creative drive, yet this is still one of the greatest examples of his artistry.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Tokxcbu_Uo]The Beach Boys - Forever - YouTube[/ame]





5. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water


Writing on the guitar in the key of G, Simon came up with a stately melody and two verses in which a narrator (who could be God, a parent, a lover, or a friend) pledges to help someone in adversity, to be "like a bridge over troubled water." Later deciding the song was too short, he added a third verse in a slightly different style, beginning with the line, "Sail on, silver girl, sail on by." Commentators have since suggested that this was a reference to the Swan Silvertones or to Simon's prematurely gray fiancée, and one extreme interpretation held that it was a reference to heroin and that, in fact, the whole song was about drugs, a particularly fanciful case of late-'60s/early-'70s drug paranoia. Simon tried singing the song in falsetto, but decided it was better suited to Garfunkel's angelic tenor. Garfunkel, upon hearing the song, disagreed, and also disputed Simon's contention that it was the best song he'd ever written, another in the series of disputes that eventually broke up their partnership. But Garfunkel eventually agreed to sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which was then transposed into E flat for him. The recording prominently featured the piano playing of Los Angeles session musician (and later member of Bread) Larry Knechtel, though it built to a tremendous, string-filled climax.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_a46WJ1viA]Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water - YouTube[/ame]





4. George Harrison – My Sweet Lord


Like much of the material from the chart-topping album it came from, All Things Must Pass, "My Sweet Lord" has a quasi-religious feel, but nevertheless has enough conventional pop appeal to reach mainstream listeners who may or may not care to dig into the spiritual lyrical message. And like much of Harrison's material from this period, it has an incantational feel, struck by the insistent, mantra-like repetition of the title, echoed by the responsive harmony vocals. The title hook is quite catchy, however, as is the verse, with the sort of subtly ascending key changes that Harrison had mastered on "Something." The entire song rises to a higher key near the end for the extended fadeout, as if to mimic prayers rising to the heavens. Other principal hooks, of course, are Harrison's inimitably swooping slide guitar riffs, which recur throughout the piece. Although he has often been criticized for the piety of his lyrical outlook, Harrison delivers the vocal with a winning earnestness that invites listeners to share his joy, rather than making them feel excluded if they don't happen to subscribe to his particular world view, religious or otherwise.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kNGnIKUdMI]George Harrison-My Sweet Lord (Studio Version) Original - YouTube[/ame]





3. James Brown – Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine


"Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine" is not only one of James Brown's best cuts, it also served as the recording debut as members of his band of the brother duo of bassist William "Bootsy" Collins and rhythm guitarist Phelps "Catfish" Collins. The story is almost legendary of how Brown's previous band had quit just before the singer was to perform on-stage. With no rehearsals at all, the Collins brothers were hastily offered a 250-dollar-a-week salary as the audience grew increasingly restless. Brown took the teenagers into Nashville's Starday/King Studios during April 1970. The result was "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine" sitting at number two R&B for three weeks and going to number 15 pop in summer 1970. Brown, the Collins brothers, and the rest of the band would return to Nashville to record "Super Bad," a number one R&B/number 13 pop smash in late 1970.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huZFThnetjo]James Brown Get Up (l Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine. - YouTube[/ame]





2. Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song


Kicking off the band's 1970-released third album, "Immigrant Song" is Led Zeppelin at their most powerful and basic, riding an up-tempo groove and a stomping Jimmy Page guitar riff that simply switches between two octaves of the same note. As the song opens, John Bonham's drums double the riff, and Robert Plant's otherworldly howl enters shortly thereafter, singing a piercing, wordless melody that seems to invoke the spirits of the long-dead mariners mentioned in the lyrics. The "immigrants" of the title are actually ancient Viking conquerors (there are references to "the land of the ice and snow," "the hammer of the gods," and Valhalla), and the unearthly quality of Plant's voice helps establish an aura of mystery and pagan myth about the song that makes it as eerie as it is hard-rocking. Plant also projects a certain menace in keeping with the warlike nature of the song's characters, and his softer, slinkier tone on threats like "We are your overlords" contrasts nicely with the shrieking chorus. Although "Immigrant Song" isn't too technically challenging, there are quite a few change-ups from the main riff that keep things from getting repetitive; there's also an unorthodox ending which uses a melody and variation on the main riff not heard previously in the song. While the rest of the band plays well, "Immigrant Song" is really Plant's showcase, and he turns in a stellar performance.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnnjP8Rcb5k]Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song (Remastered) - YouTube[/ame]





1. Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up


"Move on Up" from Curtis Mayfield's poignant solo debut, Curtis, is considered a funk-soul classic, though it was never released as a single, perhaps due to its unconventional length of nearly nine minutes and the use of extended musical jams. The number's positive vibe is reminiscent of Mayfield's earlier work with the Impressions, emphasizing black pride much like the '60s hits "Keep on Pushing" and "We're a Winner," but this song would be injected with Mayfield's newfound sound, a more heavily produced uptown funk that would go on to dominate the early-'70s soul and R&B scenes. The optimistic atmosphere can be heard from the very opening joyous horn riff, signaling a kind of feel-good fanfare as the song's brisk rhythm is quickly sustained by a grooving percussion section of congas, Don Simmons' rollicking drum kit, and a steady strum of clean electric guitar. Mayfield uses a variety of horn and string riffs as an ingenious call and response device to his silky smooth vocal performance at various points throughout the song's intricate arrangement of a multitude of instruments. The overall effect is one of a unstoppable wave of positive sound, rolling forward, moving on up, as Mayfield offers words of encouragement, of progress through hard work and perseverance, "Hush now child/And don't you cry/Your folks might understand you by and by/Just -- Move on up!/Toward your destination/Though you might find from time to time, complication." The hook is driven home when Mayfield harmonizes in his ringing falsetto the rising three-note title lyric, "Move on up!" Mayfield slyly mentions one of his early hits, "Keep on Pushing," later in the track, singing, "And keep wishing/Remember your dream is your only scheme/So keep on pushing," the horns blaring in jubilant response. At about the halfway mark, the song breaks down to a shuffling drum section provided by Don Simmons and soon joined by synchronized congas and a slinking bass line followed by a swinging sax solo. The vocals never return, the track extending for several minutes with various horn and string arrangements interweaving in an all-out musical jam before an eventual slow fade out.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z66wVo7uNw]Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




The Delfonics – Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)


"Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" is one of the towering achievements of early-'70s soul, a luscious romantic ballad that was the first masterpiece from Thom Bell's Philly Groove label. The song built upon "La-La Means I Love You," the Delfonics' first big hit, which also was written by Bell and his partner, William Hart. For "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" they opened up their lush sound, made it more erotic, slowed down the tempo, and gave the song an easy, dreamy hook. Although the song is about the narrator convincing his lover that he blew her mind with his love -- "I gave my heart and soul to you, girl" -- the way the Delfonics sing it (and the way Bell produced the record) makes it sound as if she blew his mind, instead. Thanks to the group's velvet harmonies, the gently insistent strings, and the wonderful odd touch of a sitar, it's a rich, seductive sounding record, and the song itself is its match, due to its insinuating melody and lovely, measured lyrics. The Delfonics made records that were as good, as did Bell and Hart, but they never made one better.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l153atE72OA]The Delfonics - Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time) - 1970 - YouTube[/ame]





Derek and the Donimos - Layla


Derek & the Dominos' album Layla was Eric Clapton's dark night of the soul, and the title song was its masterpiece -- an anguished plea to a forbidden love that was Clapton's barely disguised letter to Patti Boyd, the wife of his best friend, George Harrison. Clapton had never sounded as pained as he did here, and he never sounded as tortured again -- not even on "Tears in Heaven," written after the tragic death of his young son. "Layla" is pure catharsis, followed by a coda written by Jim Gordon that is nothing less than bliss, the sound of love fulfilled. Even though that coda was used to terrific effect in Martin Scorsese's 1990 masterpiece Goodfellas, most listeners remember "Layla" for the incendiary, fiery riff that fuels the first section of the song. Easily one of the best-known guitar licks in rock history, the riff was ironically borrowed from a T-Bone Walker vocal riff, which may be the reason Clapton phased it out in his acoustic shuffle reworking in 1991. As pleasant as that version is -- and it is quite nice -- it excised the pain that surges through the original recording, while eliminating the masterful coda that ends the song on a grace note. In other words, he changed the very meaning of the song -- the juxtaposition of the intense blues of the body of the song and the sweetness of the coda was at the heart of the song. Nobody else could figure out a way around that juxtaposition until Clapton reinterpreted it for his Unplugged recording. It was an admirable reworking, but Derek & the Dominos' original recording remains one of the towering moments in rock & roll history.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th3ycKQV_4k]Layla - Derek and the Dominos - YouTube[/ame]





Elton John – Your Song


Here is a rare case where Bernie Taupin's lyrics compliment perfectly an exceptional Elton John melody -- not just remaining innocuously out of the way, and not outrightly fouling up a beautiful composition, but actually reaching the same level of sophisticated pop songcraft. And it may just be for the basic reason that Taupin keeps it simple, not allowing his ambition to exceed his ability or to weigh down a simple pop song with pretense and forced verbiage. The result -- from John's eponymous second LP -- is a near-perfect song, with an aching melody, sentiment, and performance. The music is the sort of blend that John often pulls off: a little bit of country, soul, folk, and jazz, with the R&B hook of the chorus: "I hope you don't mind/I hope you don't mind/That I put down in the words/How wonderful life is while you're in the world." The instrumental focus is on John's nimble Leon Russell-influenced piano work, with acoustic guitar, Paul Buckmaster's string accompaniment, and a shuffling rhythm section. Taupin offers an innocent love-song lyric: "It's a little bit funny this feeling inside/I'm not one of those who can easily hide/I don't have much money but boy if I did/I'd buy a big house where we both could live." At times the self-deprecating narrator stumbles to get out his feelings, a melodramatic device, to be sure, but effective and sweet nonetheless: "So excuse me forgetting but these things I do/You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue/Anyway the thing is what I really mean/Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen/And you can tell everybody this is your song/It may be quite simple but now that it's done." This is the other hook: "Your Song"'s self-consciousness as a song written as a gift for a loved one.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13GD78Bmo8s]Your Song - Elton John - YouTube[/ame]





John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – Mother



"Mother" marked the harrowing beginning of a harrowing album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. The LP was John Lennon's solo debut after the demise of the Beatles. It reflected the emotional upset the split occasioned, and it also was influenced by Lennon's sessions with psychiatrist Dr. Arthur Janov, who, in his book The Primal Scream, recommended screaming as a form of therapy. In "Mother," Lennon addressed his parents in confessional, autobiographical style, telling them "I wanted you, you didn't want me" and "I needed you, you didn't need me," then bidding them both goodbye. In the third verse, he advised his children not to do what he had done in life. The song ended with the repeated plea "Mama, don't go; daddy, come home." Lennon set this somber sentiment to a slow, simple tune, with a stark piano-and-drum accompaniment. As he repeated the song's closing lines, he became more and more emotive, until he was screaming the word "go" each time. The result was cathartic for the listener, as it must have been for the singer. "Mother" was an unusual song to use at the start of an album, but it properly introduced the subject matter of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, in which Lennon exorcised various demons in his life.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDVkkwl6aJo]John Lennon - Mother - YouTube[/ame]





Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed


"Maybe I'm Amazed" is a song written by Paul McCartney that was first released on his 1970 album McCartney. McCartney dedicated the song to his wife, Linda, who had helped him get through the break-up of The Beatles. McCartney wrote the song in 1969, just before The Beatles' break-up. He credited his wife Linda with helping him get through the difficult time. Although most of his debut solo album was recorded at his farm in Scotland, McCartney recorded "Maybe I'm Amazed" entirely in EMI's Number Two studio in Abbey Road in London, where he was mixing "Every Night". He played all the instruments: guitars, bass, piano, organ and drums. Although McCartney declined to release the song as a single in 1970, it nonetheless received a great deal of radio airplay worldwide, making it one of his most recognizable solo successes


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm2YyVZBL8U]Wings/Paul McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed (HQ) - YouTube[/ame]





Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven



"Stairway to Heaven" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in late 1971. It was composed by guitarist Jimmy Pageand vocalist Robert Plant for the band's untitled fourth studio album (often referred to as Led Zeppelin IV). It is often referred to as one of the greatest rock songs of all time. The song, running eight minutes and two seconds, is composed of several sections which increase in tempo and volume as the song progresses. The song begins as a slow acoustic-based folk song accompanied by recorders before electric instrumentation is introduced. The final section is an uptempo hard rock section highlighted by an intricate guitar solo by Page and Plant's wailing vocals, ending with Plant's a cappella delivery of the final line: "And she's buying a Stairway to Heaven".


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcL---4xQYA]Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven - YouTube[/ame]





9. The Rolling Stones – Wild Horses


"Wild Horses" is one of the Rolling Stones' most beautiful ballads, and one of the most worthwhile country-influenced rock songs ever done by a major rock band. It has often been speculated that its composition bore a strong influence from Gram Parsons, a friend of the group who spent a great deal of time with Keith Richards in particular in the late '60s and early '70s. While it's true that the tune has some of the drawn-out languorousness found in Parsons' music, and indeed within much country music in general, this is not a bandwagon-jumping country outing. It's a rock song, and more important, a Rolling Stones song, with typically salacious, drawling Mick Jagger vocals. In the Stones' songs about women, graceful love declarations were far exceeded by nasty putdowns and aggressive sexual come-ons; the album containing "Wild Horses" (Sticky Fingers), for instance, had "Brown Sugar" and "Bitch" for a start. But within that minority of heartfelt, romantic originals, "Wild Horses" is certainly one of the Stones' best, most sincere efforts. The folky, melancholy guitar strums interact well with the barroom piano that might be one of the most countryish aspects of the tune. Still, it's that singalong chorus -- a trait that, it's not often noted, the Stones excelled at -- that is the song's chief hook, as something that can be sung to whether you're toasting glasses in a honky tonk or sitting alone in your living room. A tingly, bluesy guitar solo gives this a nice rock edge that reminds you that you're listening to the Stones, not George Jones.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE2B_kCfvss]The Rolling Stones - Wild Horses -HQ - YouTube[/ame]





8. Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised


By 1970, there was a profound shift in the struggle for equality as the fight for civil rights gave way to the demand for Black Power. The Civil Rights Movement had lost its focus, being ripped apart by differing interest groups and ignored by a wartime US government. The voices of its leaders were silenced by jail or bullets. Black popular music reflected this change. The voices on the radio stopped preaching brotherhood and togetherness and started reporting the facts, and the music got more aggressive. Leading the new attack was a new voice: articulate, uncompromising, and enraged. The voice held the light up to the country’s missteps and shook up an apathetic audience. The voice was Gil Scott-Heron’s. This is a '60s "Black Power" tune written by Gill Scott-Heron. It makes a point that everything is skewed towards white people, television, advertising, TV shows, with black people being portrayed in condescending or stereotypical racial roles. "The revolution will be no re-run brother, the revolution will be live."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnJFhuOWgXg]Gil Scott Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - YouTube[/ame]





7. David Bowie – Changes


David Bowie once explained "Changes" like so: "[it] started out as a parody of a nightclub song, a kind of throwaway." Which is part of the fun joy of the track -- it manages to work completely straight-faced while also having some laughs as well. For all of the lyrical references to "these children that you spit on" and "how every time I'd got it made, the taste was not so sweet," "Changes" doesn't pretend to be the voice of a generation or rampant angst gone crazy. It's upbeat, entertaining, and, but of course, has that brilliant knack of Bowie's -- an absolutely wonderful chorus. With Rick Wakeman's piano providing the introduction and conclusion for the song, not to mention helping to form said chorus, Bowie leads the incipient Spiders From Mars in a sly romp mixing semi-spoken verse and his delicious delivery of the title, "Ch-ch-ch-changes!" The descending chords of the bass hint at that particular glam rock element's incipient dominance, while Ken Scott's production and Mick Ronson's excellent string arrangement -- not to mention Bowie's own winning sax part -- complete the package.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl3vxEudif8]david bowie - changes - YouTube[/ame]





6. Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine


"Ain't No Sunshine" is a mellow ballad that's awash with soothing strings as Withers' folksy drawls emote that there's darkness when the love of his life is missing. The mid-song break is an amazing showcase of the singer's breath control. Withers' Sussex sides included top session musicians including former members of Charles Wright's Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band best known for "Express Yourself" and "Loveland": drummer James Gadson, keyboardist Ray Jackson, guitarist Benorce Blackman (co-wrote with Withers, "The Best You Can" from Making Music), and bassist Melvin Dunlop. Winning a Grammy as Best R&B Song, "Ain't No Sunshine" sold more than a million copies, going to number six R&B and number three pop in summer 1971.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIdIqbv7SPo]Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine - YouTube[/ame]





5. The Who – Baba O’Riley


"Baba O'Riley" is a song written by Pete Townshend for the English rock band The Who. Roger Daltrey sings most of the song, with Pete Townshend singing the middle eight: "Don't cry/don't raise your eye/it's only teenage wasteland". The title of the song is derived from the combination of the song's philosophical and musical influences, Meher Baba and Terry Riley. Townshend originally wrote "Baba O'Riley" for his Lifehouse project, a rock opera that was to be the follow-up to The Who's 1969 opera,Tommy. The song was derived from a nine minute demo, which the band reconstructed. "Baba O'Riley" was going to be used in theLifehouse project as a song sung by Ray, the Scottish farmer at the beginning of the album as he gathers his wife Sally and his two children to begin their exodus to London. When Lifehouse was scrapped, many of the songs were released on The Who's 1971 album Who's Next, with "Baba O'Riley" as the first track.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2KRpRMSu4g]The Who - Baba O'riley - YouTube[/ame]





4. Can – Halleluwah


"Halleluhwah" is a song by the krautrock band Can, on their 1971 album Tago Mago. The track, which originally took up a whole side of long-playing vinyl, lasts for 18 minutes and 28 seconds and is characteristic of the band's sound around 1971 in that it features a vast array of improvised guitars and keyboards, tape editing, and the rhythm section "pounding out a monster trance/funk beat". The drum beat for which the song is famous is repeated almost continuously by Jaki Liebezeit, with only minor variations, throughout the course of the 18-minute jam. In one line of the song, Damo Suzuki's lyrics mention all the songs from side one of Tago Mago: "mushroom head, oh yeah, paper house."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nueez9Igtgg]Can - "Halleluhwah" (HD) - YouTube[/ame]





3. Al Green – Let’s Stay Together


Singers sometimes don't like the way they sound on certain recordings. That's the time when an intuitive, subjective producer is needed. Al Green didn't like the sound of his voice on "Let's Stay Together." Producer Willie Mitchell disagreed, feeling that the record would be a hit. In fact, Mitchell had been looking for a falsetto who he could use as a strong counterpoint against his crack rhythm section. When he first started working with Green, one of his first moves was to have the singer sing in smoother, softer tones. Green had previous blues-tinged R&B hits with covers of Junior Parker's "Driving Wheel" and the Temptations' "I Can't Get Next to You." The transition wasn't only musical but also in appearance with Mitchell's suggesting the singer cut off his afro and wear nice, tailored suits. The genesis of "Let's Stay Together" began with Mitchell and drummer Al Jackson Jr. coming up with the rolling beat that characterized smooth piano changes. When Green returned, the duo gave him a demo and the singer finished writing the song in under 30 minutes. The million-selling single "Let's Stay Together" stayed at number one R&B for nine weeks and went to number one pop in early 1972.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COiIC3A0ROM]Al Green-Lets Stay Together - YouTube[/ame]





2. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On


By the '70s, Motown artist Marvin Gaye was bored with "the Sound of Young America." When he wanted to go more in the direction of message music, label founder Berry Gordy wasn't pleased. It didn't help matters that Gaye had a reputation around the label of being "difficult," making him somewhat of a pariah among the talent pool. One of the key tracks for Gaye's new musical path was a song that was co-written by Four Tops member Renaldo Benson and Motown staff songwriter Al Cleveland. As Gaye worked on the song that would become "What's Going On," he angrily reflected on the stories told to him by his brother Frankie Gaye who was a Vietnam vet. The melancholy alto sax line was blown by Eli Fountain and, like the song itself, it seemed as a kind of aligned signal that the upbeat '60s were giving way to the more pessimistic '70s. When Gaye delivered the complete version of "What's Going On" to Motown, some executives thought it sounded like a radio that wasn't tuned well; to them it sounded like two records playing at once. Issued on January 20, 1971, "What's Going On" waited at number one R&B for five weeks and number two pop for three weeks in early 1971.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-kA3UtBj4M]Marvin Gaye - What's Going On - YouTube[/ame]





1. The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up


Almost more of an experience than a mere song, the title track from the Beach Boys' 1970 Surf's Up album has rightfully achieved legendary status in the pop world. Originally the centerpiece from the much celebrated, incomplete 1966-67 SMiLE sessions, this song is one of the prime examples of the songwriting collaboration between Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks. A classically influenced melody with odd timings and eccentric bass notes all melt together to create a virtual pop symphony. Lyrically, the song is equally impressive. Parks and Wilson were, legend has it, inspired by the tensions of America at the time in relation to the protest over the Vietnam war. The lyrics are an aural painting of an audience at a theatre, while all around them the world and empires are changing and falling. Indeed, this is weighty stuff, yet told with Park's patented wordplay and Wilson's gorgeous music, it all settles into an incredible experience, and one that should be listened to by anyone interested in "the genius of Brian Wilson." The 1970 recording was partially cut in 1966 and then added in the studio in 1970 by the rest of the band, mostly Carl Wilson, who did an admirable job.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ2OKoLpNBM]Surf's Up - The Beach Boys - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




Leonard Cohen – Joan of Arc


"Joan of Arc" is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. It was released as a single in March 1971 from his third album,Songs of Love and Hate. The song lasts almost six-and-a-half minutes, and is composed of four stanzas of eight lines each with a "la-la"refrain. The song is constructed mainly as a dialogue between Joan of Arc and the fire which is consuming her as she burns at the stake, after having been found guilty of heresy (in 1431). In the song, Joan says that she is "tired of the war" and tells how she would rather be wearing a white wedding dress (one of the charges against her was that she dressed as a man). Joan's surrender to the fire, as its bride, may also be seen as a symbol of her religious fervor and commitment


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPf5Ki9ygVY]Leonard Cohen - Joan of Arc - YouTube[/ame]





Serge Gainsbourg – Ballade de Melody Nelson


‘Ballade de Melody Nelson’ provides the main theme of this soundtrack without a film. The bass funk is high in the mix and leads as Serge sings of his instant lust for this fifteen year old girl. Acoustic guitar picking and string arrangements sweep over the listener in precise and beautiful waves. The strings segue this track into the 1.32 minutes of ‘Valse de Melody’ where lush waltzing strings alone accompany Serge crooning his first attempt at verbal seduction.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZDDDFNHApI].Ballade de melody nelson*Serge Gainsbourg. - YouTube[/ame]





Sly & The Family Stone – Family Affair


"Family Affair" is a 1971 number-one hit single recorded by Sly and the Family Stone for the Epic Records label. Their first new material since the double a-sided single "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"/ "Everybody Is a Star" nearly two years prior, "Family Affair" became the fourth and final number-one pop hit for the band. Released on November 6, 1971, "Family Affair" was markedly different from the earlier Sly & the Family Stone hits. "Family Affair" is a somber, Hohner Pianetelectric piano based record with a rhythm box (or drum machine) providing the rhythm, making it the first number-one hit to feature a programmed rhythm track. Sly Stone and his sister Rose sing lead on the song. The lyrics reflect the good and bad aspects of being family, with Sly delivering his part in a low funk-styled tone instead of his earlier gospel-based shout, sounding off rhythm and off key. Sly's screams are a variation of a child crying.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdiRhzTsSnk]Sly & The Family Stone - A Family Affair - YouTube[/ame]





T. Rex – Bang a Gong (Get It On)



"Bang a Gong" was written on tour in early 1971 and recorded in Los Angeles with producer Tony Visconti. Musically it was an undisguised paean to Bolan's late-'50s idols -- the "meanwhile, I'm still thinkin'" ad lib over the fade is lifted straight from Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie"; Eddie Cochran was remembered with a mention of his movie Untamed Youth, while the early, pink-jacketed Cliff Richard can also be heard splashing around in the liquid boogie. But "Bang a Gong" was more than simply a skillful distillation of its retro parts. It was also a portent of a bright and glittering future that, in the hands of other artists, would soon be shaped into glam rock. Bolan, the movement's father, almost carelessly allowed his offspring to be adopted. But "Bang a Gong" is one of its most invigorating anthems.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVEhDrJzM8E]Bang a Gong (Get It On) by T.Rex - YouTube[/ame]





The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again


"Won't Get Fooled Again" records the thoughts of one musician as he watches the changing of the political guard; revolution brings down the old leaders and the new firebrands take over, but very little actually changes besides the faces and the names. Bemused, our protagonist declares, "I'll tip my hat to the new constitution/Take a bow for the new revolution/Smile and grin at the change all around/Pick up my guitar and play/Just like yesterday/Then I'll get on my knees and pray/We don't get fooled again." Townshend seems to take the view that there's little we can do to change the system, that power will inevitably corrupt even the most noble, and so rather than change the world around us, perhaps we need to begin by changing ourselves. While Townshend's view appeared to be that widespread political change could only accomplish so much, the performance of "Won't Get Fooled Again" burns with the passion of a true believer. Townshend's pioneering use of sequencers and synthesizers gives the song an air of mystery at first, and then a rock-solid pulse that at once imposes an unusual degree of discipline upon drummer Keith Moon, and makes his bursts of tom-tom fire all the more furious.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHhrZgojY1Q]The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again - YouTube[/ame]





Link to comment
Share on other sites





10. Neil Young – Heart of Gold



Like any number of rockers, Young took some cues from Nashville in the '70s. But unlike the others, "Country Neil" is convincingly earnest in his approach on "Heart of Gold," his only number one single from his only number one album, Harvest (1972). A little harmonica, a little peddle steel, his natural twang, and two simple verses that speak of the universal human condition are the song's essence. It's one of those four-chord songs even the most unskilled guitarist can play (Em-C-D-G), thus making it the ultimate campfire song and the first many children of the '70s learned to play on their acoustic guitars. It's difficult to imagine anyone but Young himself singing it -- and he's done that, at virtually every solo and acoustic performance he's played. The song is widely considered his signature.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fXaC07X5M8]Neil Young - Heart of Gold - YouTube[/ame]





9. The Temptations – Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone


Possibly the greatest Temptations record of all time, "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" combined so many musical elements so well that it could be described as the group's own "Good Vibrations." A brilliant, dark bass and drum pattern sets the menacing tone to the rhythm, and is spiced elegantly by a jazzy trumpet, giving the song a slightly free-form air. On top of this, some steely orchestration adds yet another layer of darkness, making this one of the "blackest" Top Ten records of its time. But it's the lyrics and vocal performance that it is best remembered by. All of the group members describe the main character, to the point that they all sound like the nefarious father's children. The end effect encapsulates the urban tension at the dawn of the 1970s like no other, save for Curtis Mayfield. It's ironic, given all of this, that the Temptations didn't really want to cut the track, and this "attitude" is one of the things that make the record powerful and lasting.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJV2pWFyfn4]The Temptations - Papa Was A Rolling Stone - YouTube[/ame]





8. Big Star – Thirteen


Big Star's Chris Bell and Alex Chilton wrote some of pop music's most memorable melodies -- memorable for the relatively few listeners who were fortunate to hear them, that is. There are few songs that capture the aching innocence of adolescence as well as the ballad "Thirteen," and fewer that are as pretty as this song. Often compared to their most immediate influence, the Beatles, Big Star produced some "Here Comes the Sun"-like gems. "Thirteen" is from the Memphis band's debut, No.1 Record (1972). Over gorgeous folk-pop acoustic guitars, Chilton's vulnerable-sounding voice shakes with the tentative insecurity of the 13-year-old narrator tenderly trying to gain the affection of his crush: "Won't you let me walk you home from school/Won't you let me meet you at the pool/Maybe Friday I can get tickets to the dance/And I'll take you, ooh/Won't you tell your dad 'Get off my back'/Tell him what we said 'bout "Paint It Black"/Rock & roll is here to stay/Come inside girl, it's OK/And I'll shake you/If it's so, well let me know/If it's no, well I can go/I won't make you." Chilton's lyrics are so simple and so clear that they seem effortless. The song has a Zen/haiku-like quality in its concise, yet powerfully evocative form. The music is provided by acoustic guitars and vocals alone -- backing vocals run through a rotating Leslie speaker. The folky style foreshadows similar ballads that Chris Bell would write, including the sublimely beautiful "You and Your Sister" from his solo I Am the Cosmos (1978). The gentle guitar picking on "Thirteen" can be heard audibly quickening in tempo after the song's instrumental bridge. Whether by design or by accident, the effect is to add even more nervous tension to the third verse, wherein the narrator asks for a decision from the girl. "Thirteen" and No. 1 Record in general show a band following their own muse at a time when hard rock and large productions were the order of the day, not well-crafted, West-coast-meets-Anglo-pop music. They were at once ahead of their time (witness '80s and '90s alternative rock) and behind it. Big Star achieved cult status alongside such legends as the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, bands who never achieved huge commercial success, but whose influence on pop music and bands who followed is immeasurable.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pte3Jg-2Ax4]Big Star - Thirteen 1972 - YouTube[/ame]





7. David Bowie – Starman


The first single drawn from David Bowie's then newly released Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars album, "Starman" is arguably the single most influential song in his entire catalog. At the time of its release, after all, he was still a one-hit wonder, creaking around the club circuit with a critically acclaimed, but publicly ignored live show, while his "Space Oddity" signature theme sank ever further back into the mists of time. And then he appeared on British television's Top of the Pops, cocky, camp, and colorful, with one arm draped languorously over guitarist Mick Ronson's shoulder, and giving the come-on to every man, woman, and child in the land. Two weeks later, "Starman" was in the Top Ten, and Bowie was a superstar. The song itself is sweet and simple -- "the story of a little spaceman who comes to earth," explained his publicist of the time, Cherry Vanilla. Of course it is a little more involved than that, all the more so if one believes some of Bowie's own explanations of its place in the Ziggy song cycle; he told Rolling Stone, "Ziggy is advised in a dream, by the infinites, to write the coming of a starman" -- the infinites being a race of aliens who travel through black holes, but apparently have an excellent grasp of contemporary earthling slang. "Let the children boogie" indeed.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5iOiLX5ppA]David Bowie - Starman - YouTube[/ame]





6. Bill Withers – Lean on Me


Singer/songwriter Bill Withers wrote "Lean on Me" based on his experiences growing up in a West Virginia coal mining town. During the lean times, neighbors would help each other out. The simple chord progression was created while he noodled around on his just purchased Wurlitzer electric piano. He wasn't a pianist and had no knowledge of the keyboard; he just knew that he liked the sound made when he spaced his fingers a certain way. The sound of the chords reminded Withers of the church hymns that he heard growing up. The song was written before Withers was a recording star, having to come up with "material" for a new album. It was written purely on the basis of the singer wanting to express the "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" sentiment that he'd grown up with. On the session for "Lean on Me," producer Withers used former members of the Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band ("Express Yourself," "Loveland"): drummer James Gadson, keyboardist Ray Jackson, guitarist Benorce Blackman, and bassist Melvin Dunlop. The follow-up to "Ain't No Sunshine" and his second gold single, "Lean on Me" went to the number one spot on the R&B charts and topped the pop charts for three weeks in summer 1972.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPoTGyWT0Cg]Bill Withers - Lean On Me [with lyrics] - YouTube[/ame]





5. The Rolling Stones – Tumbling Dice


When the Stones split England in early 1971 to escape the oppressive tax laws of her majesty, they took up residence in the south of France, an area that had many casinos, and much of that local color seeped into the songs that would eventually appear on Exile. One of the true gems of the album is "Tumbling Dice," a lazy, mid-tempo shuffle that was originally titled "Good Time Women" and appeared in rough form as early as the Sticky Fingers sessions of 1970. Under its new title, Mick Jagger applied gambling slang ("I'm all 6's, 7's and 9's") to the usual topics of fast women and a roguish lifestyle, but it's the music much more than the lyrics that make "Tumbling Dice" the rock & roll classic it undoubtedly is. From Keith Richards' slinky guitar intro to Charlie Watts' effortless drumming propelling that wonderfully loose beat, the song is the sound of the Stones working on all cylinders. In truth, it took hours and hours of outtakes before that loose shuffle feel central to the song's magic was captured to the band's liking, and the female voices that propel the beautifully arranged coda were recorded months later in L.A. by Clydie King and Vanetta Fields. But all of that is irrelevant when the listener's ears are bathed in those giant organ swells and gospel vocals offset by Mick's rough-edged call to "roll me" as the song slowly fades into oblivion.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U8JlcB_BzA]Tumbling Dice ~ The Rolling Stones - YouTube[/ame]





4. Can – Vitamin C


"Vitamin C" is a song by the krautrock band Can on their 1972 album Ege Bamyasi. It is known for its thick bass line, bouncy percussion and catchy chorus, which has Damo Suzuki repeating the line "Hey you! You're losing your Vitamin C". Considering its short length and relatively standard song structure, it is one of the band's more conventional songs.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a1NhRbNJ_Y]CAN - Vitamin C - YouTube[/ame]





3. NEU! – Hallogallo


In not quite 10 minutes, "Hallogallo" sets out the template for Neu!'s entire career. (Not to mention Kraftwerk's Autobahn and the 1991-1994 oeuvre of Stereolab.) The essence of the duo's much-vaunted "motorik" style, "Hallogallo" ("Hullabaloo") is simply a one-chord guitar solo over an unvarying 4/4 snare beat that's so unyielding that the occasional cymbal splashes and rat-a-tat fills, which would be unnoticed in a typical rock and roll song, are like seismic events. Over this unchanging pulse, Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger overlay fluid, shimmering single-note guitar drones, impressionistic synth washes, a rubbery bass line that floats in and out of view and some noises that are simply unidentifiable. Like the Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray," it's a simple but enormously effective idea, and it's one of the cornerstones of the entire Krautrock scene.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAXYMOgHQI4]Neu! ''Hallogallo'' - YouTube[/ame]





2. Stevie Wonder – Superstition


"Superstition" marked a major change for Stevie Wonder. It was a glowing example of his new role as a producer which was acquired after the singer met all of the stipulations of his recording contract with Motown and renegotiated a new contract with the label. The track also was a continuation of his collaboration with engineers/synth programmers Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff. The trio loved working together and knew that for them to continue to do so they needed a knockout hit single. Their previous effort, Wonder's groundbreaking Music of My Mind LP, boasted several good tracks: "Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)" (number 13 R&B, number 33 pop, summer 1972), "Love Having You Around" (which was a given an ultra funky cover by First Choice on their Delusions LP), and "I Love Every Little Thing 'Bout You" among others. The album went to number six R&B and number 21 pop, but the record biz was still hit-singles driven then and the trio knew in order to continue their collaboration they needed a chart-topper. While working on Wonder's next album, Talking Book, at New York recording studio Electric Lady, Cecil and Margouleff were producing a LP for guitarist Jeff Beck. Beck heard "Maybe Your Baby" and asked if he could cover it on his album. Wonder refused but offered to write another song for the phenomenal guitarist. After the song, now titled "Superstition," was finished, Wonder changed his mind because he knew it was the hit that he was looking for.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CFuCYNx-1g]Stevie Wonder Superstition - YouTube[/ame]





1. Lou Reed – Perfect Day


"Perfect Day" is a logical extension of Lou Reed's work up through Transformer (1972); he always had a bit of Brill Building, if not Tin Pan Alley songwriting in him. The song begins as traditional jazz-pop songcraft, like the classic nuggets churned out by those tune factories. Over a lazy progression of piano chords, a bastardized Burt Bachrach-type of arrangement, Reed drawls like a modern-day Perry Como: "Just a perfect day/Drink sangria in the park/And then later when it gets dark, we go home/Oh, it's such a perfect day/I'm glad I spend it with you/Oh, such a perfect day/You just keep me hanging on." But this being Reed, in a way the anti-Como, the summery song soon takes a turn for the dark side, even if only subtly so: "Just a perfect day/You made me forget myself/I thought I was someone else, someone good," ending with the menacing refrain of, "You're going to reap just what you sow/You're going to reap just what you sow." He takes the pernicious approach of Brian Wilson to a new level. What has made such a day turn so sour? Why is the narrator so bitter? We don't know for sure, but he certainly seems to be at war with himself. It appears that the "perfect day" is now just a memory, and as in an old blues, country, or folk song, the narrator warns of some impending doom, tragedy for the addressee of the lyric for apparently doing him wrong and denying him further such idyllic moments. The intermingling light and dark made the song a perfect centerpiece for the film adaptation of Irvine Welsh's novel exploring heroin use, Trainspotting (1996). Reed is accompanied by only the piano, a small jazz rhythm section, and light orchestration, which swells during the chorus, wherein Reed outrightly croons. The strings build to a crescendo before gliding into the coda refrain. The student aids the master on this record; David Bowie -- who had long before acknowledged Reed's influence -- produces Transformer, the second post-Velvet Underground Reed solo album, and gives Reed's career a much-needed boost. Surprisingly, Bowie sideman, Mick Ronson, known more for his identifiable electric guitar punch, supplies the traditional, decidedly non-rock & roll arrangement.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYEC4TZsy-Y]Lou Reed - Perfect Day - YouTube[/ame]







Honorable Mentions:




Al Green – I’m Still in Love With You


Al Green was in the midst of his '70s heyday when he, producer Willie Mitchell, and Stax drummer and Booker T. & the MG's member Al Jackson Jr. went to a Hot Springs, AR, resort to unwind and write songs. Besides another Green favorite, "Love and Happiness," the trio came up with "I'm Still in Love With You." Another smooth, falsetto-laced mid-groover, Green effortlessly phrases the lyrics in a way that seems to make them float around the track. It didn't hurt that the song also sports the tight rhythm section heard on all of Green's best known hits: Jackson, bassist Leroy Hodges, his brothers -- keyboardist Charles Hodges and guitarist Mabon Hodges -- and percussionist Howard Grimes. "I'm Still in Love With You" parked at number one R&B for two weeks and number three pop in summer 1972.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8AtyaxgtOU]Al Green - Im still in love with you - YouTube[/ame]





Curtis Mayfield – Superfly


Curtis Mayfield was presented with the script for the movie Superfly after a 1971 concert at New York's Lincoln Center. Impressed with the depth of the topics that the script dealt with and the character progression of the main character Priest, Mayfield enthusiastically began writing songs for what was to become a classic, trendsetting soundtrack whose influence stretched over decades. On the surface, the track may seem to be glorifying Priest, but a close listen will find that really the opposite is true, masked in bravado and "game-face bragging."


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cmo6MRYf5g]Curtis Mayfield - Superfly - YouTube[/ame]





Elton John – Tiny Dancer


Bernie Taupin makes like a pop-poet here, with sharp-eyed details from the road mixed with silly-yet-romantic characterizations of women ("tiny dancer"?), as the narrator falls in love with one out of the spotlights: "Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band/Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you'll marry a music man/Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand/And now she's in me, always with me, tiny dancer in my hand/Hold me closer tiny dancer/Count the headlights on the highway/Lay me down in sheets of linen/You had a busy day today." As always, John provides a stunning melody and country-pop arrangement, augmented by Paul Buckmaster's lush and dramatic strings. Clocking in at over six minutes, the sweep of the song is epic, with electric and pedal steel guitar licks and a choir of backing vocalists.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBWfUc5jKiM]Tiny Dancer - YouTube[/ame]





Nick Drake – Pink Moon



Pink Moon is arguably Nick Drake’s masterpiece, and the title track is one of his most beautiful, fully realised songs. Performed with just Drake’s haunting vocal and his ethereal acoustic guitar, the song sounds like a folk ballad, albeit a heavenly one. The lyrics are astonishing – “Saw it written and I saw it say/Pink moon is on its way” is the wonderful opening, and the repetition of the word “pink” in the chorus is hugely atmospheric, and positively inspired. One of Nick Drake’s prettiest melodies, “Pink Moon” is one of the artist’s great songs, and with a back catalogue as rich as Drake’s, that’s certainly saying something.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXnfhnCoOyo]Nick Drake - Pink Moon - YouTube[/ame]





The O’Jays – Back Stabbers


As the hope and optimism of the '60s gave way to the fear and loathing of the '70s, few records evoked the creeping paranoia of the post-Altamont/pre-Watergate period quite so vividly as the O'Jays' 1972 smash "Back Stabbers." Although the betrayals Eddie Levert's anguished vocals relate are specific to the two-timing and lies lurking behind friendship and romance, it's not difficult to read the song as an allegory for the insidious hypocrisies sweeping across the sociopolitical landscape as a whole. As records like Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead," and the Undisputed Truth's "Smiling Faces Sometimes" (the title of which "Back Stabbers" directly quotes) attest, it was a paranoia particularly acute throughout the African-American community. It was an especially bitter pill to swallow from the O'Jays, whose next hit, "Love Train," made a 180-degree reversal to celebrate the fantasy of a global utopia. Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff's trademark Philadelphia International production is as smooth as the song's message is biting, however -- the lush orchestrations and slithering rhythm anticipate the emergence of disco, and the gorgeous harmonies cushion the blow as well.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzTeLePbB08]The O'Jays - Back Stabbers - YouTube[/ame]





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...