Top 10 Songs of the 1960s

An era when girls traded in their poodle skirts for minis and guys let their hair grow long.

1960

  1. You Talk Too Much - Joe Jones

  2. Cathy’s Clown - The Everly Brothers

  3. The Twist - Chubby Checker

  4. Save the Last Dance for Me- The Drifters

  5. Running Bear - Johnny Preston

  6. Sweet Nothin’s - Brenda Lee

  7. Handy Man - Jimmy Jones

  8. Walk, Don’t Run - The Ventures

  9. Alley-Oop - The Hollywood Argyles

  10. Stay - Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs

The song that won Song of the Year at The Grammys was Theme From Exodus. Ray Charles took two honors, Best Pop Single Artist and Best Pop Male Vocal for his hit Georgia on My Mind. Ella Fitzgerald won the Best Pop Female Artist with Mack the Knife. The Best Pop Duo or Group went to We Got Us by Eydie Gormé and Steve Lawrence.

The top grossing movie of 1960 was the cult classic Psycho. This film’s music did its job better then most, with its eerie and suspenseful background compositions.

Elvis Presley returned to the music scene at the beginning of this decade after serving in the US Army.

1961

  1. Tossin’ And Turnin’ - Bobby Lewis

  2. Runaway - Del Shannon

  3. Blue Moon - The Marcels

  4. Runaround Sue - Dion

  5. Quarter To Three - Gary “US” Bonds

  6. Will You Love Me Tomorrow - The Shirelles

  7. I Like It Like That (Part 1) - Chris Kenner

  8. Daddy's Home - Shep & The Limelites

  9. Stand By Me - Ben E King

  10. Goodbye Cruel World - James Darren

At the Grammy Awards, Moon River by Henry Mancini won Song of the Year, Lollipops and Roses by Jack Jones won Best Pop Male Vocal and Chubby Checker took the Best Rock and Roll Recording with Let’s Twist Again.

Disney’s 101 Dalmatians was the top-grossing movie of the year. Judy Garland recorded a live album at Carnegie Hall on April 23, for which she won Best Pop Female Vocal and the Grammys’ prestigious Album of the Year award.

 

1962

  1. Green Onions - Booker T & The MGs

  2. Duke Of Earl - Gene Chandler

  3. Soldier Boy - The Shirelles

  4. Sheila - Tommy Roe

  5. Peppermint Twist - Joey Dee & The Starliters

  6. The Loco-Motion - Little Eva

  7. The Wanderer - Dion

  8. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do - Neil Sedaka

  9. Johnny Angel - Shelley Fabares

  10. Palisades Park - Freddy Cannon

What Kind of Fool Am I from the musical Stop the World I Want to Get Off won Song Of The Year at the Grammys. The other award winners were If I Had a Hammer by Peter, Paul and Mary for Best Pop Duo or Group, Bent Fabric Alley Cat for Best Rock and Roll Recording and I Left My Heart in San Francisco by Tony Bennett for Best Pop Male Vocal

Jimi Hendrix joined one of the first mixed-raced bands in history, Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers.

 

1963

  1. Sugar Shack - Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs

  2. Surf City - Jan And Dean

  3. He’s So Fine - The Chiffons

  4. It's My Party - Leslie Gore

  5. If You Wanna Be Happy - Jimmy Soul

  6. Louie Louie - The Kingsmen

  7. Easier Said Than Done - The Essex

  8. Deep Purple - Nino Tempo & April Stevens

  9. My Boyfriend’s Back - The Angels

  10. Surfin’ USA - The Beach Boys

One of the anthems of the 1960s generation, Blowin’ in the Wind by Peter, Paul and Mary, won Best Pop Duo or Group at the Grammy Awards. Jack Jones took Best Pop Male Vocal for Wives and Lovers. The Best Rock and Roll Recording went to Deep Purple by Nino Tempo and April Stevens. Henry Mancini won Record Of The Year and the prestigious Song of the Year with The Days of Wine and Roses.

John F Kennedy was shot and killed on November 22, and his assassination was just over three months after Dr Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was given on August 28.

 

1964 

  1. Bread And Butter - The Newbeats

  2. Under The Boardwalk - The Drifters

  3. I Get Around - The Beach Boys

  4. Little Old Lady From Pasadena - Jan & Dean

  5. Out of Limits - The Marketts

  6. Suspicion - Terry Stafford

  7. Chapel of Love - The Dixie Cups

  8. She’s Not There - The Zombies

  9. Last Kiss - J Frank Wilson and The Cavaliers

  10. Leader Of The Pack - The Shangri-las

At the Grammy Awards Louis Armstrong picked up Song Of The Year and Best Pop Male Vocal for Hello, Dolly! The Best Rock and Roll Recording went to Downtown by Petula Clark, and Barbra Streisand won Best Pop Female Vocal for People.

The family favorite Mary Poppins was the top grossing movie, with such hits as Julie Andrews singing A Spoonful of Sugar (Makes the Medicine Go Down), Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Feed the Birds. Dick Van Dyke performed Chim Chim Cheree. The movie also featured their duet Jolly Holiday.

The Beatles arrived in America on February 7, kicking off "Beatlemania".

 

1965

  1. The Name Game - Shirley Ellis 

  2. A Lover’s Concerto - The Toys

  3. This Diamond Ring - Gary Lewis and The Playboys

  4. Help Me, Rhonda - The Beach Boys

  5. You’ve Lost That Lovin‘ Feeling - The Righteous Brothers

  6. Wooly Bully - Sam The Sham and The Pharoahs

  7. 1-2-3 - Len Barry

  8. Treat Her Right - Roy Head and The Traits

  9. I Got You Babe - Sonny & Cher

  10. Eve Of Destruction - Barry McGuire

The Shadow of Your Smile (Theme from The Sandpiper) took home the Grammy award for Song Of The Year. Other winners were It Was a Very Good Year by Frank Sinatra for Best Pop Male Vocal and the Statler Brothers took home Best Pop Duo or Group for their hit Flowers on the Wall.

The Sound of Music was the top-grossing movie; along with the opening where Julie Andrews, “Maria”, sings the theme song, along with such timeless songs such as I Have Confidence and My Favorite Things. The comical “Maria” was performed by the nuns and Climb Ev’ry Mountain sung by Mother Abbess. Maria also has sing-alongs with the children featuring Sixteen Going on Seventeen with “Liesl” and Do-Re-Mi with all the children. Captain Von Trapp performs a tear-jerking rendition of Edelweiss, and toward the end of the film they do a duet of Something Good.

The legendary Nat “King” Cole died of lung cancer on February 16. The Doors were formed in Los Angeles.

 

1966

  1. I’m A Believer - The Monkees

  2. Summer In The City - Lovin’ Spoonful

  3. Wild Thing - The Troggs

  4. Hanky Panky - Tommy James and The Shondells

  5. When A Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge

  6. Soul And Inspiration - The Righteous Brothers

  7. Monday, Monday - The Mamas and The Papas

  8. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys

  9. Devil With A Blue Dress On - Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels

  10. Good Lovin’ -The Young Rascals

Michelle by John Lennon and Paul McCartney Song Of The Year at the Grammys. Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra won Best Pop Male Vocal and Record Of The Year, while If He Walked Into My Life by Eydie Gormé won Best Pop Female Vocal, and A Man and a Woman by the Anita Kerr Singers took home Best Pop Duo or Group. 

Janis Joplin joined Big Brother and The Holding Company in 1966, and Walt Disney died on December 19.

 

1967

  1. Little Bit O’ Soul - The Music Explosion

  2. The Letter - The Box Tops

  3. Happy Together - The Turtles

  4. Soul Man - Sam & Dave

  5. Windy - The Association

  6. Respect - Aretha Franklin

  7. Incense and Peppermints - Strawberry Alarm Clock

  8. I Think We’re Alone Now - Tommy James And The Shondells

  9. Groovin - The Young Rascals

  10. Gimme Some Lovin’ - The Spencer Davis Group

Up, Up and Away by The 5th Dimension won three honors in 1967: Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year and Best Pop Duo or Group. Glen Campbell’s By the Time I Get to Phoenix won Best Pop Male Vocal and Bobbie Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe won Best Female Pop Vocal.

The Jungle Book was the top grossing movie of the year and included such children’s hits as The Bare Necessities; I Wanna Be Like You and Trust In Me.

“The Summer of Love”, 1967, spawned the Monterey International Pop Festival, where Janis Joplin performed and The Jimi Hendrix Experience played their first American concert.

 

1968

  1. Tighten Up - Archie Bell and The Drells

  2. Judy In Disguise - John Fred and His Playboy Band

  3. Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding

  4. People Got To Be Free - The Rascals

  5. Chain Of Fools - Aretha Franklin

  6. Green Tambourine - The Lemon Pipers

  7. Cry Like A Baby - The Box Tops

  8. Mony Mony - Tommy James and The Shondells

  9. Yummy Yummy Yummy - The Ohio Express

  10. The Horse - Cliff Nobles and Company

Little Green Apples won Song Of The Year, and other Grammy winnders included  Mrs Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel for Best Pop Duo or Group and Record Of The Year, José Feliciano's Light My Fire took Best Pop Male Vocal and Dionne Warwick received the honor of Best Pop Female Vocal for Do You Know the Way to San Jose.

 

1969

  1. Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In -- The 5th Dimensionion

  2. Dizzy - Tommy Roe

  3. Sugar, Sugar - The Archies

  4. Crimson and Clover - Tommy James and Shondells

  5. Crystal Blue Persuasion - Tommy James and The Shondells

  6. Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye - Steam

  7. Take A Letter Maria - by RB Greaves

  8. Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations

  9. Time Of The Season - The Zombies

  10. Good Morning Starshine - Oliver

Games People Play by Andi Deris won Song of the Year at the Grammys; Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In by The 5th Dimension won Best Pop Duo or Group, Peggy Lee took home Best Pop Female Vocal for her hit Is That All There Is" and Harry Nilsson won Best Pop Male Vocal for Everybody's Talkin‘.

People associate 1969 with the most well-known concert of the millennium. Woodstock was held on August 15-17 in Bethel, NY, and the hippie was officially recognized as a class of society. More than 500,000 people showed up for the biggest rock concert in history. There were two births and two deaths. Every legend that the Top 10 forgot performed at this festival, from Janis Joplin and Santana to Jimi Hendrix and The Grateful Dead.

Judy Garland, born Frances “Baby” Gumm on June 10, 1922, died on June 22 at the age of 47.


As we moved from the 1960s to the 1970s, generational heroes passed away as new ones made themselves known, and the Flower Power swingers of the ’60s don‘t fully realize the glitter that‘s about to rain down upon them, whether they do the dance for it or not.