100 Of The Best 60s Songs: Classic Tunes From A Decade That Changed Music Forever

(via udiscovermusic) by Sam Armstrong

The best songs of the 60s? Surely an impossible task. And it is. So we’ll say at the beginning that this list doesn’t purport to be the definitive top 100 songs of the 60s. Instead, what we’re hoping to provide is a window into a decade that changed music forever and a pathway for future discovery.

Two important things that are worth mentioning. The first: We wanted each song we included to have some sort of popular impact, either in the decade it was released (or importance in the following decades). That means most of the jazz you’ll find on this list hit the Billboard charts. The second: We’ve only allowed one song per artist in an effort to pay tribute to as many folks as possible.

With that preamble out of the way, enjoy the list!

100: Roger Miller – King of the Road (1965)

Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” shines a light on the traveling man. The track, a delightful country-pop crossover, tells the story of a nomadic hobo, untethered from all obligations and material goods. The song’s most famous line, “I’m a man of means, by no means, king of the road” was bitingly cynical, reveling in the freedom of refusing to conform to societal norms. The smooth-as-whiskey melody and straightforward instrumentation has made it a reliable cover for country stars and rock bands alike, with artists as diverse as Glen Campbell and Reverend Horton Heat covering the tune. The song’s stripped-down style allows for many different interpretations, but it’s Miller’s original, built around the singer’s charmingly beautiful voice, that remains the definitive “King of the Road.”

99: Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames – Yeh, Yeh (1964)

Georgie Fame and his band, The Blue Flames, found the perfect intersection of pop, jazz, and R&B. Audiences agreed. The group’s version of “Yeh Yeh,” topped the Beatles’ “I Feel Fine” on the UK chart, ending a five-week run from the Liverpool chaps. Shortly after topping the UK charts, “Yeh, Yeh” reached #21 on the Billboard Pop charts, proving that the song was more than a UK wonder. The band truly came into their own once Fame ditched his piano for a Hammond organ, a decision that was directly inspired by Booker T. & The M.G.’s “Green Onions.”

98: Jackie Wilson – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher (1967)

The instrumentation for Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” is as crisp as it gets. The bass sounds like it was recorded in a hermetically sealed vacuum, while the iconic conga groove pops without a crinkle or crack. All Wilson had to do was show up. And show up he did. The instrumental for the 1967 hit was written by Gary Jackson, Raynard Miner, and Carl Smith. The song was first offered to The Dells, but was never released. Wilson came in, and originally sang the tune as a ballad. It wasn’t until he reframed his performance as the uptempo, soul-charge you hear today that the song was deemed fit for release and became a 60s classic…

Read more: Best 60s Songs: 100 Classic Tunes | uDiscover Music

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: