100 Great Singles Of The 1960s (That Haven’t Been Played To Death On Oldies Radio).

100 Great Singles Of The 1960s (That Haven’t Been Played To Death On Oldies Radio).
Originally posted summer 2008.

What it says on the tin. Yes, given the choice, I’d probably listen with greater avidity to the stuff everyone and their mother has already enshrined as canonical. But I’m not much interested in writing about such well-documented stuff. So, here we are:

  • Every song on this list was, to the best of my knowledge, released as a commercial single between January 1960 and December 1969.
  • No song on this list has ever, to the best of my knowledge, been played on the two radio stations that first introduced me to the music of the era, KOOL 94.5 (“Good Times And Great Oldies”) and KSLX 100.7 (“The Valley’s Only Classic Rock Station”).
  • In most cases, I’ve listened to the B-side and think it’s great too, but I’m only streaming the A-sides.
  • Because compiling this list has been too much work already, and goddammit it’s summer, I’m not saying anything substantive about these songs, just throwing a bit of doggerel up there. Mostly haiku, limericks, and clerihews, with the occasional double dactyl and possibly a sonnet when merited. Yes, for me that’s taking it easy.

Cool? Cool. Enjoy.

Jeff Beck
100. Jeff Beck “Plynth (Water Down The Drain)”
(Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, Nicky Hopkins)
Columbia 1C 006-90 346 b/w “Hangman’s Knee” • 1969
Jeff Beck
Never bounced a check.
Which worked out for Stewart and Wood,
Since he helped them first make good.

Brigitte Fontaine
99. Brigitte Fontaine “Le Goudron”
(Brigitte Fontaine, Areski Belkacem)
Saravah 40008 b/w “Les Beaux Animaux” · 1969
There once was a girl called Brigitte
Who was fou and avant and pétite.
With her lover the Berber
And the AEC to disturb her
Her music was not at all sweet.

98. The Arbors “I Can’t Quit Her/For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her”
(Al Kooper, Irwin Levine, Paul Simon)
Date 1645 b/w “Lovin’ Tonight (Maybe Tonight)” · 1968
A bunch of white dudes
Singing other white dudes’ songs
Somehow sounds awesome.

Tony Bennett
97. Tony Bennett “I Wanna Be Around”

(Johnny Mercer)
Columbia 42634 b/w “I Will Live My Life For You” · 1962
Bibbiddy bobbiddy,
Johannus Mercerus
Wrote many lyrics of
Happy, sweet song;

When he attempted to
Write music also, his
Ethos went wrong.

96. Cream “I Feel Free”
(Jack Bruce, Pete Brown)
Reaction 591011 b/w “N.S.U.” · 1966
Because too few songs
That predict heavy metal
Also use doo-wop.

The Dixie Cups
95. The Dixie Cups “Iko Iko”
(James Crawford)
Red Bird 10024 b/w “Gee Baby Gee” · 1965
There once was a Mardis Gras shimmy
Writ by one “Sugar Boy” Jimmy.
When these girls renamed it,
He had to reclaim it
And the lawyers made everything swimmy.

Leonard Cohen
94. Leonard Cohen “Suzanne”
(Leonard Cohen)
Columbia 44439 b/w “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” · 1968
Leonard Cohen
Dipped his toe in
To pop music — wouldn’t you know it:
He’s never considered a poet.

Eddy Arnold
93. Eddy Arnold “Make The World Go Away”
(Hank Cochran)
RCA 0520 b/w “I Want To Go With You” · 1965
It has many names:
Saudade, or sehnsucht, or
Lacrimae rerum.

Prince Buster
92. Prince Buster “Madness”
(Cecil Bustamente Campbell)
Blue Beat 170 b/w “Toothache” · 1963
There once was a Muslim named Buster
Who set all Jamaica a-fluster
But twenty years later
He was known as much greater
By second-wave ska’s borrowed lustre.

Astrud Gilberto
91. Astrud Gilberto “I Haven’t Got Anything Better To Do”
(Lee Pockriss, Paul Vance)
Verve 10638 b/w “The Sea Is My Soul” · 1969
Astrud Gilberto,
From fair head to fair toe,
Made strong men despite themselves weep
When she sang as though she were asleep.

Buck Owens
90. Buck Owens & His Buckaroos “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail”

(Buck Owens, Harlan Howard)
Capitol 5336 b/w “Cryin’ Time” · 1964
Dinosaur victrole;
Today I’ll buy no sorrows
On the flying spoon.

The First Edition
89. The First Edition “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”
(Mickey Newbury)
Reprise 0655 b/w “Shadow In The Corner Of Your Mind” · 1968
There was a young singer named Kenny
Who tried to appeal to the many.
Now dismissed as a relic,
He started out psychedelic,
And earned quite a marvelous penny.

Eddie Gale
88. Eddie Gale “Black Rhythm Happening”
(Eddie Gale)
Blue Note 1952 b/w “Ghetto Summertime” · 1969
Eddie Gale
Never went to jail.
Though his music was out on the fringes
He kept himself free from all binges.

The Equals
87. The Equals “Police On My Back”
(Eddy Grant)
President 166 b/w “You Got Too Many Boy Friends” · 1968
The Equals
Had very few sequels.
For very few others could fake a
Mod sound with a voice from Jamaica.

Captain Beefheart
86. Captain Beefheart “Moonchild”
(Dave Gates)
A&M 1228 b/w “Frying Pan” · 1965
That serrated voice
Echoes in the damp dark night
Like a benison.

Phil Ochs
85. Phil Ochs “I Ain’t Marching Any More”
(Phil Ochs)
Elektra 002 b/w “That Was The President” · 1965
Phil Ochs
Could not be kept in a box.
Whenever he pleased any radical,
He’d take a freethinking sabbatical.

The Free Design
84. The Free Design “2002: A Hit Song”
(Christopher Dedrick)
Project 31350 b/w “Hurry Sundown” · 1968
The irony is,
No one ever heard of them
Until 2000.

Waylon Jennings
83. Waylon Jennings “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line”
(Jimmy Bryant)
RCA 9561 b/w “Right Before My Eyes” · 1968
Waylon Jennings
Drove a Mercedes-Benningz.
His wife was Jesse Colter,
And he did his best to keep holt’ her.

The Isley Brothers
82. The Isley Brothers “It’s Your Thing”
(Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley, O’Kelly Isley)
T Neck 901 b/w “Don’t Give It Away” · 1969
There was a group of funk soul brothers,
Who played and sang-shouted like mothers.
They borrowed from power
(Black, atomic, and flower)
To make songs unpar’lelled by others.

Jake Holmes
81. Jake Holmes “Dazed And Confused”
(Jake Holmes)
Tower 393 b/w “Penny’s” · 1968
Possibly better
Because you can hear Zeppelin’s
Echo in your head.

Marianne Faithfull
80. Marianne Faithfull “Sister Morphine”
(Marianne Faithfull, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards)
Decca AT 15133 b/w “Something Better” • 1969
Marianne Faithfull
Said “One over the eighth’ll
Do me just fine.”
But she didn’t mean wine.

Os Mutantes
79. Os Mutantes “A Minha Menina”
(Jorge Ben)
Philips CSPN 51043 b/w “Adeus Maria Fulô” • 1968
There was a young band from Brazil
Whose exuberance nothing could kill.
They’d try anything once,
And offended all fronts,
But by gosh they’re exuberant still.

Alton Ellis
78. Alton Ellis & The Flames “I Am Still In Love With You”
(Alton Ellis, Clement Dodd)
Studio One 2020 b/w Roy Richards “Honky Panky” • 1967
Alton Ellis
Was a touch overzealous.
He conceived lover’s rock when already
He was the High King of rocksteady.

Etta Jones
77. Etta Jones “Don’t Go To Strangers”
(David Mann, Arthur Kent, Redd Evans)
Prestige 180 b/w “If I Had You” • 1960
The end of an age;
When songs this dim and smoky
Sold over a mil.

The Creation
76. The Creation “Making Time”
(Eddie Phillips, Kenny Pickett)
Planet 116 b/w “Try And Stop Me” • 1966
There once was a band called Creation
The pride and joy of the Mod nation.
To achieve guitar racket
They used a bow to attack it;
So much for J. Page innovation.

Ram John Holder
75. Ram John Holder “Brixton Blues”
(Ram John Holder)
Beacon 112 b/w “Piccadilly Circus Blues” • 1969
Ram John Holder
Travelled where weather was colder.
From sunny Guyana to Britain:
He had to invest in a mitten.

Roy Orbison
74. Roy Orbison “In Dreams”
(Roy Orbison)
Monument 806 b/w “Shadaroba” • 1963
Showaddy Owaddy,
Roy Kelton Orbison
Wasn’t particularly
Fond of the damp.

And, though he’s famous for
Singing, he didn’t like
Being called camp.

Joe Bataan
73. Joe Bataan “Gypsy Woman”
(Curtis Mayfield)
Fania 447 b/w “So Fine” • 1967
It’s called boogaloo.
As rhythm and blues to swing,
So this to salsa.

Jerry Lee Lewis
72. Jerry Lee Lewis “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)”
(Glen Sutton)
Smash 2164 b/w “All The Good Is Gone” • 1968
There was a man nicknamed the Killer,
Known as a rock and roll pillar.
When old-time rock was invalid,
He went country with ballad,
And remained a consistent girl-thriller.

The Luv’d Ones
71. The Luv’d Ones “Up Down Sue”
(Char Vinnedge)
White Oak 759101 b/w “Yeah I’m Feeling Fine” • 1966
Echoes of Blondie
And of riot grrls beyond:
But they got there first.

Tyrannosaurus Rex
70. Tyrannosaurus Rex “Debora”
(Marc Bolan)
Regal Zonophone 3011 b/w “Child Star” • 1968
There once was a hippie named Bolan,
Creator of glam rock and rollin’.
Ere he started to sob it,
His great tunes with a hobbit
Freak-folkers have pretty much stolen.

Claudine Longet
69. Claudine Longet “Snow”
(Randy Newman)
A&M 895 b/w “I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You” • 1967
Maybe it’s because
I live where no snow will fall
But this is perfect.

The Four Seasons
68. The Four Seasons “C’mon Marianne”
(Raymond Bloodworth, Russell Brown)
Philips 404060 b/w “Let’s Ride Again” • 1967
Frankie Valli
Is spiritually still in an alley;
Though his falsetto could make all the charts break,
He couldn’t get over his heartache.

Loretta Lynn
67. Loretta Lynn “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”
(Loretta Lynn)
Decca 3196 b/w “God Gave Me A Heart To Forgive” • 1966
Loretta Lynn
Had no doubts about sin:
Both the consequence of misadventure,
And what she’d do to whom trespassed against her.

The Friends Of Distinction
66. The Friends Of Distinction “Grazing In The Grass”
(Harry Elston, Philemon Hou)
RCA 0107 b/w “I Really Hope You Do” • 1969
Hugh Masekela
Gave birth; I first heard it by
Pizzicato Five.

Peggy Lee
65. Peggy Lee “Is That All There Is?”
(Jerry Lieber, Mike Stoller)
Capitol 2602 b/w “Me And My Shadow” • 1969
There was a dame from North Dakota
So sweet she could advertise soda;
But with charm and come-hither
She put jazz in a dither,
And left this as her rock & roll coda.

Del Shannon
64. Del Shannon “Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow The Sun)”
(Del Shannon)
Amy 915 b/w “Broken Promises” • 1964
“Del Shannon
Is part of the rock & roll canon.
But almost nobody has heard
A song except ‘Runaway’.” “Word.”

Arthur Alexander
63. Arthur Alexander “You Better Move On”
(Arthur Alexander)
Dot 16309 b/w “A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues” • 1962
On the charts today:
Jesse McCartney’s “Leavin’.”
This is an answer.

Scott Walker
62. Scott Walker “Jackie”
(Jacques Brel, Gérard Jouannest, Mort Shuman)
Philips BF 1628 b/w “The Plague” • 1967
The gentleman known as Scott Walker
Was not much of a hugger or chalker.
Life was elegant hell,
So he covered Jacques Brel:
teen idol in nouvelle vauge shocker!

The Shangri-Las
61. The Shangri-Las “Give Him A Great Big Kiss”
(George “Shadow” Morton)
Red Bird 10018 b/w “Twist And Shout” • 1964
The Shangri-Las
Give their hair an angry toss:
Hippie chicks give them some latitude:
They’re punk-futuristic in attitude.

The Turtles
60. The Turtles “She’d Rather Be With Me”
(Gary Bonner, Alan Gordon)
White Whale 249 b/w “The Walking Song” • 1967
Pop chameleons
Channeling, say, the Four Tops
Only very white.

Doris Troy
59. Doris Troy “Just One Look”
(Doris Payne, Gregory Carrol)
Atlantic 2188 b/w “Bossa Nova Blues” • 1963
Doris Troy
Played it exceedingly coy.
From this (sounds like Arthur Reid’s cellar)
To the best bit of Floyd’s biggest seller.

Silver Apples
58. Silver Apples “Oscillations”
(Simeon, Warren Stanley)
Kapp 923 b/w “Whirly-Bird” • 1968
Two men that make songs electronic
Are in pop-music terms pretty iconic,
But they claim independence;
Unlike their 80’s descendents,
Their relations were mostly platonic.

57. Vashti “Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind”
(Mick Jagger, Keith Richards)
Decca F 12157 b/w “I Want To Be Alone” • 1966
Deep calm in her voice
Belies the orchestration:
Her future the past.

Irma Thomas
56. Irma Thomas “Ruler Of My Heart”
(Naomi Neville)
Minit 666 b/w “Hittin’ On Nothing” • 1962
Irma Thomas
Kept her promise:
Time was on her side through the stormin’s:
And she’s still the Soul Queen of New Orleans.

Johnny Cash & June Carter
55. Johnny Cash & June Carter “Jackson
(Marshall Grant)
Columbia 44011 b/w “Pack Up Your Sorrows” · 1967
A man in black wanted to charter
A ride on the middle Miss Carter.
He attempted to barter,
Or act like a martyr,
But he had to outlove, not outsmart her.

54. Funkadelic “I’ll Bet You”
(George Clinton, Sidney Barnes, Patrick Lindsey)
Westbound 150 b/w “Qualify And Satisfy” • 1969
Here the name for once
Is literally exact:
Funk and psych at once.

Eddie Palmieri
53. Eddie Palmieri & His Orchestra “Ay Que Rico”
(Eddie Palmieri)
Tico b/w “Busca Lo Tuyo” (?) • 1968
Eddie Palmieri
Was quite fond of dairy;
Not perhaps so very relevant,
Save as he resembled an elephant.

Jimmy Cliff
52. Jimmy Cliff “Many Rivers To Cross”
(Jimmy Cliff)
Island 818039 b/w “The Harder They Come” • 1969
How many songs have been listed
That sound like they’ve always existed?
Not reggae, not soul,
Not e’en rock & roll:
Like a hymn that has barely been twisted.

51. Love “Alone Again Or”
(Bryan MacLean)
Elektra 45629 b/w “A House Is Not A Motel” • 1968
Mariachi horns
At the back of a folk song
Would be rare enough.

John Hartford
50. John Hartford “Gentle On My Mind”
(John Hartford)
RCA 9175 b/w “Washing Machine” • 1967
John Hartford
Sent bluegrass artward
With a penchant for songs so melodic
That it’s tempting to go all rhapsodic.

Solomon Burke
49. Solomon Burke “Got To Get You Off My Mind”
(Solomon Burke, Dolores Burke, J. B. Moore)
Atlantic 2276 b/w “Peepin’” • 1965
Where can a three-
Hundred-pound soul legend sit?
Anywhere he wants.

The Merseys
48. The Merseys “Sorrow”
(Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer)
Fontana 694 b/w “Some Other Day” • 1966
Some bands of the British Invasion
Acknowledged that they were Caucasian.
They sniffed, “Only hacks
Try to imitate blacks,”
As they read Oscar Wilde and Persuasion.

Sir Victor Uwaifo
47. Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Melody Maestroes “Guitar Boy And Mamywater”
(Victor Uwaifo)
Philips PF 383245 b/w “Ebiss-Ebiss” • 1966
Victor Uwaifo
Had a great life-o.
But he knew he was only the king
’Cos a mermaid had once heard him sing.

The Paris Sisters
46. The Paris Sisters “Lonely Girl”
(Di Martino-Jarrard)
MGM 13236 b/w “Dream Lover” • 1964
It seems there’s no end
To the treasures you can find
In obscure girl groups.

Joe Williams
45. Joe Williams “Get Out Of My Life Woman”
(Allen Toussaint)
Solid State b/w “Woman’s Got Soul” (?) • 1966
The guy who once sang for Count Basie
Saw that music had changed, prima facie.
Far from calling it junk,
He saluted the funk,
And got just a little bit spacey.

Merle Haggard
44. Merle Haggard & The Strangers “The Bottle Let Me Down”
(Merle Haggard)
Capitol 5704 b/w “The Longer You Wait” • 1966
Merle Haggard
Was no songwriting laggard;
Only reason he’s no bigger splash
Is somebody known as J. Cash.

The Who
43. The Who “I Can’t Explain”
(Pete Townshend)
Brunswick 05935 b/w “Bald Headed Woman” • 1965
I used to say that
The Who were my fav’rite band.
Then I heard the Clash.

The Young Rascals
42. The Young Rascals “It’s Wonderful”
(Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati)
Atlantic 2463 b/w “Of Course” • 1967
There was a young band from New Jersey:
Blue-eyed soul mixed with beat from the Mersey.
In good old sixty-seven,
Their ascent to psych heaven
Was more aesthetic than entrepreneursy.

Francoise Hardy
41. Françoise Hardy “Le Temps De L’Amour”
(Jacques Dutronc, Lucien Morrisse, Andre Michel Salvet)
Vogue 1633 b/w “Ton Meilleur Ami” • 1962
Françoise Hardy
Didn’t enjoy a party
Or a lot of extravagant hype.
She was more the introvert type.

Mel Torme
40. Mel Tormé “Comin’ Home Baby”
(Bob Dorough, Ben Tucker)
Atlantic 2165 b/w “Right Now” • 1962
He hated this song,
But it was the template for,
E.g., “Break On Through.”

Townes Van Zandt
39. Townes Van Zandt “Waiting Around To Die”
(Townes Van Zandt)
Poppy 506 b/w “Talking Karate Blues” • 1968
Townes Van Zandt
Loved the leaf of the plant.
Not exactly a musical rarity;
I just mention it in solidarity.

38. U-Roy “Dynamic Fashion Way”
(Ewart Beckford)
Imbidimts 793 b/w “The Hudson Affair” • 1969
The original dub-reggae toaster
Was not such a braggart or boaster.
Though he liked to praise Jah
And express mostly joie,
He’s the father of rap’s roller coaster.

The Stooges
37. The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog”
(Iggy Pop, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, Dave Alexander)
Elektra 45664 b/w “1969” • 1969
Seriously; like
There’s anything I could say
That the song doesn’t.

John D. Loudermilk
36. John D. Loudermilk “Tobacco Road”
(John D. Loudermilk)
Columbia 41562 b/w “Midnight Bus” • 1960
Boollaboo Billaboo
John David Loudermilk
Made a nice pile in the
Musical biz.

But when it came to his
Expertise — well, you can
Hear how it is.

The Left Banke
35. The Left Banke “Pretty Ballerina”
(Michael Brown)
Smash 2074 b/w “Lazy Day” • 1966
One of the few times
When the B-side managed to
Get it on the list.

Gladys Knight & The Pips
34. Gladys Knight & The Pips “I Wish It Would Rain”
(Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield, Roger Penzabene)
Soul 35047 b/w “It’s Summer” • 1968
Gladys Knight
Knows art from shite.
She’s rarely if e’er made the latter;
That’s why she (and the Pips) matter.

The Sir Douglas Quintet
33. The Sir Douglas Quintet “Mendocino”
(Doug Sahm)
Mercury 127421 b/w “I Wanna Be Your Mama Again” • 1968
“The best garage-rock band from Texas?”
Is a question which often perplexes.
The pick of most raters
(13th Floor Elevators)
Would be good, but I’ll go where Tex-Mex is.

The Maytals
32. The Maytals “Pressure Drop”
(Toots Hibbert)
Trojan 7709 b/w Beverly All Stars “Smoke Screen” • 1969
A lush green island;
An impoverished populace;
A deathless music.

Nina Simone
31. Nina Simone “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”
(Horace Ott, Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus)
Philips 40232 b/w “A Monster” • 1964
Nina Simone
Sat on her throne
As the greatest blues singer alive
Whilst limeys were stealing her jive.

Fairport Convention
30. Fairport Convention “Meet On The Ledge”
(Richard Thompson)
Island 6047 b/w “Throwaway Street Puzzle” • 1968
The group called the Fairport Convention,
Convened with specific intention
Of getting the masses
Up off of their asses,
Collapsed due to sexual tension.

Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot
29. Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot “Bonnie And Clyde”
(Serge Gainsbourg)
Philips 380.028 b/w “Everybody Loves My Baby” • 1968
You wouldn’t’ve thought
Faye Dunaway could be topped
For smokin’ hotness.

Gloria Jones
28. Gloria Jones “Tainted Love”
(Ed Cobb)
Champion 14003 b/w “Come Go With Me” • 1964
Gloria Jones
With great courtesy loans
This tune out to eighties pop duffers,
Who best give it back ’fore they suffers.

Randy Newman
27. Randy Newman “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today”
(Randy Newman)
Reprise 0692 b/w “The Beehive State” • 1968
A young man in glasses named Newman
Had studied the past with acumen.
And so when the future
Needed musical suture,
He had what it took to be human.

Lee Perry
26. Lee Perry “The Upsetter”
(Lee Perry)
Amalgamated 808 b/w “Thank You Baby” • 1968
Lee Perry
Could sometimes be scary.
Although here he’s all geniality —
Watch out for his sense of reality.

Syd Barrett
25. Syd Barrett “Octopus”
(Syd Barrett)
Harvest 5009 b/w “Golden Hair” • 1969
Lament for poor Syd,
The nutter who allowed that
Music could be mad.

Neil Young
24. Neil Young & Crazy Horse “Down By The River”
(Neil Young)
Reprise 0836 b/w “The Losing End (When You’re On)” • 1969
Wiskatoo Wistaktee,
Young Neil Percival
Dropped out of class in the
Buffalo spring.

As though to prove up his
Cred, he then bashed out this
Bloody, wet thing.

Bobbie Gentry
23. Bobbie Gentry “Okolona River Bottom Band”
(Bobbie Gentry)
Capitol 2044 b/w “Penduli Pendulum” • 1967
Bobbie Gentry
Said, “Elementary,
Dear Watson: just take all the pomp
Out of your music and let in the swamp.”

The Flirtations
22. The Flirtations “Nothing But A Heartache”
(Wayne Bickerton, Tony Waddington)
Deram 216 b/w “Christmas Time Is Here Again” • 1968
Like the Supremes if
Florence Ballard had just once
Been Diana Ross.

James Carr
21. James Carr “The Dark End Of The Street”
(Dan Penn, Chips Moman)
Goldwax 317 b/w “Lovable Girl” • 1967
James Carr
Couldn’t get too far
In the music biz or in good-lovery,
So let’s hear it for soul rediscovery.

Harry Nilsson
20. Harry Nilsson “One”
(Harry Nilsson)
RCA 9462 b/w “Sister Marie” • 1968
Harry Nilsson
Could have been Brian Wilson.
But he didn’t survive going crazy,
Which (as Bracknell would say) is just lazy.

The Sonics
19. The Sonics “Psycho”
(Gerald Roslie)
Jerden 811 b/w “Maintaining My Cool” • 1966
Rock rock rock rock rock
Rock rock rock rock rock rock rock
Rock rock rock rock rock

Ruby & The Romantics
18. Ruby & The Romantics “Our Day Will Come”
(Bob Hilliard, Mort Garson)
Kapp 501 b/w “Moonlight And Music” • 1963
This song is miscategorized. It shoulda
Become a new standard; it coulda
Been sung by Sinatra,
Ou le une, ou l’autre,
But instead it’s been misunderstooda.

Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood
17. Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood “Some Velvet Morning”
(Lee Hazlewood)
Reprise 0652 b/w “Oh, Lonesome Me” • 1967
Shimmysha Shimmywa,
Barton Lee Hazlewood
Had a great racket pro-
Ducing a chick.

But what he came up with
When they duetted was
Weirder than frick.

16. Can “Soul Desert”
(Holger Czukay, Michael Karoli, Jaki Liebezeit, Irmin Schmidt, Malcolm Mooney)
Liberty 15340 b/w “She Brings The Rain” • 1969
Yeah; totally weird.
Can had a single? this soon?
I was surprised too.

Sam Cooke
15. Sam Cooke “(Ain’t That) Good News”
(Sam Cooke)
RCA 8299 b/w “Basin Street Blues” • 1964
Sam Cooke
Was the singer who took
Soul to the pop music arena
Like a nerd, his date, and the marina.

The Beach Boys
14. The Beach Boys “Farmer’s Daughter”
(Brian Wilson, Mike Love)
Capitol K 22933 b/w “Hawaii” • 1965
Despite Love’s lyrics,
Brian’s form and melody
Are Gershwin-classy.

Charlie Rich
13. Charlie Rich “Love Is After Me”
(Isaac Hayes, Dave Porter, Steve Cropper)
Hi 2117 b/w “Pass On By” • 1966
After working Sam Phillips’ plantation,
Charlie Rich longed for more integration.
He began to sing soul,
A move Elvis then stole
For his ’68 Comeback Salvation.

The Velvet Underground & Nico
12. The Velvet Underground & Nico “All Tomorrow’s Parties”
(Lou Reed)
Verve VK-10427 b/w “I’ll Be Your Mirror” • 1966
The first VU song
I ever heard; but that’s not
Why it’s on the list.

The Flying Burrito Brothers
11. The Flying Burrito Brothers “The Train Song”
(Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman)
A&M 756 b/w “Hot Burrito #1” • 1969
Gram Parsons
Wasn’t indicted for multiple arsons.
An unaccountable oversight,
As he burned up the stage every night.

The Zombies
10. The Zombies “Care Of Cell 44”
(Rod Argent)
CBS 3087 b/w “Maybe After He’s Gone” • 1967
Real life is finding
Happiness in the fucked up,
As this song makes plain.

Desmond Dekker
9. Desmond Dekker & The Aces “007 (Shanty Town)”
(Desmond Dacres)
Pyramid 6004 b/w Roland Alphonso “El Toro” • 1967
Desmond Dekker,
King of the black-and-white checker
That has come to mean ska,
Now resides above every mortal law.

William Bell
8. William Bell “You Don’t Miss Your Water”
(William Bell)
Stax 116 b/w “The Formula Of Love” • 1962
The music we know as the soulful
Can be either blissful or doleful.
Or sweetly erotic,
Or briskly chaotic,
Or narcotic like smoking a bowlful.

Gal Costa
7. Gal Costa “Baby”
(Caetano Veloso)
Philips 365243 b/w “Mamãe, Coragem” • 1968
In sunny old Brazil, where only man
Is vile, a military junta tried
To shut down student thinkers who began
To question what their country’d been denied.
In all the arts, a flow’ring soon broke out
But nowhere more than the pop-music scene,
Where, snubbing bossa nova’s tourist clout,
They jumped a psychedelic trampoline.
The irony, of course, is that they still
Created sounds that dream of old Brazil.

Small Faces
6. The Small Faces “Tin Soldier”
(Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriott)
Immediate 062 b/w “I Feel Much Better” • 1967
Shiggidy Shoggidy,
Steven P. Marriott
Had a big voice that could
Peel off the paint.

But if you think that he’s
Better than Guy-Who-Re-
, he ain’t.

Dusty Springfield
5. Dusty Springfield “Don’t Forget About Me”
(Carole King, Gerry Goffin)
Atlantic 2606 b/w “Breakfast In Bed” • 1969
Dusty Springfield
Because she could sing, healed
More hearts than could ever be counted.
And that is to what she amounted.

James Brown
4. James Brown & The Famous Flames “Cold Sweat, Pt. 1”
(James Brown)
King 6110 b/w “Cold Sweat, Pt. 2” • 1967
Funk funk funk funk funk
Funk funk funk funk funk funk funk
Funk funk funk funk funk

Glen Campbell
3. Glen Campbell “Guess I’m Dumb”
(Brian Wilson, Russ Titelman)
Capitol 5441 b/w “That’s All Right” • 1965
A guy sang for a studio session
(Later famed for pop-country confession,
But despite all the glory
That’s not today’s story)
Brian Wilson’s least-well-known progression.

Ike & Tina Turner
2. Ike & Tina Turner “A Fool In Love”
(Ike Turner)
Sue 730 b/w “The Way You Love Me” • 1960
Ike Turner
Found Tina and attempted to turn her
Into a speaker-busting phenomenon,
And she went on and on and on and on.

The Kinks
1. The Kinks “Days”
(Ray Davies)
Pye 17573 b/w “She’s Got Everything” • 1968
On the seventh day,
Having seen that all was good,
The artist rested.

And, just for fun, here’s the companion list of 100 Great Singles Of The 1960s That Have Been Played To Death On Oldies Radio. It may be pound-for-pound a better bunch of songs, but the above has far more character, don’t you think?

100. Procol Harum “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”
99. Manfred Mann “Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)”
98. Dion “Runaround Sue”
97. The Association “Never My Love”
96. Neil Diamond “Sweet Caroline”
95. ? & The Mysterians “96 Tears”
94. Chad & Jeremy “A Summer Song”
93. Johnny Rivers “Secret Agent Man”
92. Moby Grape “Omaha”
91. Archie Bell & The Drells “Tighten Up”
90. Stone Poneys “Different Drum”
89. The Bee Gees “New York Mining Disaster 1941”
88. Esther Phillips “Release Me”
87. Steppenwolf “Magic Carpet Ride”
86. B. J. Thomas “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”
85. The Allman Brothers Band “Whipping Post”
84. The Walker Brothers “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”
83. Ray Charles “Georgia On My Mind”
82. Nancy Sinatra “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’”
81. Herman’s Hermits “Something Good”
80. The Doors “Hello, I Love You”
79. Roger Miller “King Of The Road”
78. Buffalo Springfield “Mr. Soul”
77. The Hollies “Bus Stop”
76. Lesley Gore “You Don’t Own Me”
75. The Kingsmen “Louie, Louie”
74. J. J. Jackson “It’s Alright”
73. The Four Seasons “Sherry”
72. Gene Pitney “A Town Without Pity”
71. The Angels “My Boyfriend’s Back”
70. The Mamas & The Papas “California Dreamin’”
69. Merrilee Rush “Angel Of The Morning”
68. The Rascals “Groovin’”
67. Petula Clark “Downtown”
66. Ben E. King “Stand By Me”
65. The Temptations “Cloud Nine”
64. The Ikettes “I’m Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)”
63. The Turtles “Happy Together”
62. Thunderclap Newman “Something In The Air”
61. Etta James “Tell Mama”
60. Jefferson Airplane “White Rabbit”
59. Small Faces “Itchycoo Park”
58. Them “Gloria”
57. Aaron Neville “Tell It Like It Is”
56. The Toys “A Lover’s Concerto”
55. The Animals “House Of The Rising Sun”
54. Marvin Gaye “Heard It Through The Grapevine”
53. The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”
52. Del Shannon “Runaway”
51. Marianne Faithfull “As Tears Go By”
50. Elvis Presley “Suspicious Minds”
49. Donovan “Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)”
48. The Shangri-Las “Leader Of The Pack”
47. The Four Tops “It’s The Same Old Song”
46. Glen Campbell “Wichita Lineman”
45. The Left Banke “Walk Away Renee”
44. Tommy James & The Shondells “Crimson And Clover”
43. Cream “White Room”
42. The Easybeats “Friday On My Mind”
41. The Impressions “People Get Ready”
40. The Band “The Weight”
39. The Zombies “She’s Not There”
38. Bobbie Gentry “Ode To Billie Joe”
37. The Troggs “With A Girl Like You”
36. Roy Orbison “Only The Lonely”
35. Wilson Pickett “Mustang Sally”
34. Creedence Clearwater Revival “Bad Moon Rising”
33. Jackie Wilson “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher”
32. The Jimi Hendrix Experience “All Along The Watchtower”
31. The Monkees “Daydream Believer”
30. Led Zeppelin “Whole Lotta Love”
29. Patsy Cline “Crazy”
28. Stevie Wonder “I Was Made To Love Her”
27. The Foundations “Build Me Up Buttercup”
26. Dionne Warwick “Walk On By”
25. The Crystals “Then He Kissed Me”
24. Sam & Dave “Hold On! I’m Coming”
23. Big Brother & The Holding Company “Piece Of My Heart”
22. The Miracles “Tracks Of My Tears”
21. The Yardbirds “For Your Love”
20. The Supremes “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”
19. David Bowie “Space Oddity”
18. Simon & Garfunkel “The Boxer”
17. Sly & The Family Stone “Hot Fun In The Summertime”
16. The Rolling Stones “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
15. Harry Nilsson “Everybody’s Talkin’”
14. Otis Redding “(Sittin’) On The Dock Of The Bay”
13. Dusty Springfield “Son Of A Preacher Man”
12. The Byrds “Feel A Whole Lot Better”
11. James Brown “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag”
10. Johnny Cash “Ring Of Fire”
9. Aretha Franklin “Think”
8. The Beatles “Penny Lane”/“Strawberry Fields Forever”
7. Sam Cooke “A Change Is Gonna Come”
6. The Kinks “Waterloo Sunset”
5. Bob Dylan “Like A Rolling Stone”
4. The Ronettes “Be My Baby”
3. The Who “I Can See For Miles”
2. Martha & The Vandellas “Dancing In The Street”
1. The Beach Boys “God Only Knows”

11 Thoughts on “100 Great Singles Of The 1960s (That Haven’t Been Played To Death On Oldies Radio).

  1. Pat Nelson on December 6, 2008 at 2:29 pm said:

    I came across your site while searching for the artist that recorded a song in the late 60s or very early 70s. I bought a 45 because the A side got a lot of play, but now I can’t remember either the artist or the A side title. The B side title was a rock & roll song called “Stay With Me”, but this was earlier – and a different song – than the Rod Stewart version of “Stay With Me”. The tune and some of the words came to me a few days ago and I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out who sang it and what was on the A side – it had to be a popular rock & roll song for that particular time or I would not have bought it. Can you help??

    While on your site, I also thought I might come across a song called “Pickle Protest” by (I think) the New Survivors. This song was a little earlier, probably 1967 to 1968. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere either.

  2. Where in the world was “I’m Blue (The Gong Gong Song)” played to death on oldies radio? Or “Omaha,” for that matter?”

  3. marvin davis on March 1, 2009 at 2:14 pm said:

    i was there in the 60’s, but where was I?

  4. Judy C Abrahams on October 4, 2009 at 7:44 am said:

    This is a highly professional labor of love. I woke up with 60’s lyrics in my head, googled and came up with the Hollies… but something wasnt quite right man, yeah the voices were not those of the Hollies, I know my rock n roll just as much as I know my soul.. so I looked up doris payne, bingo! THANKS!

  5. antony glaser on December 13, 2010 at 2:01 pm said:

    Amazing choice of music. Impressed with the Zombies and Young Rascals songs . I think the Paul Revere and the Raiders ” Hungry”, The Pretty Thingsv ” Deflecting Grey” and Electric Prunes ” Get me to the World on Time” are stand out songs as well

  6. Lord Koos on December 17, 2010 at 4:40 am said:

    Woa, on Can’s “Soul Desert” the singer sounds exactly like Prince. Glen Campbell, classic Brian Wilson melody, never heard that one before. Nice list

  7. Jimmyjazz on April 24, 2011 at 8:23 am said:

    Cool list with plenty of good music. Thanks.

  8. Chris Bartle on March 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm said:

    So great – hours of fun. Some good ones and some fantastic ones. Some fonds memories, some memory stretchers and some complete unknowns – if you grew up in Virginia, anyway. Thank you.

  9. Tom Joyce on August 18, 2012 at 11:12 am said:

    You are The Man.

    I cannot say enough about your writing and your love of the music I also love. Thank you. x(infinity)

  10. Hello music lover,

    Thank you for all the effort you put in creating the lists. I absolutely love ‘m!!!

    Just tonight I made my debut as a Dj, playing oldies from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Your listst are a very good inspiration, also because I like to walk on musical paths that haven’t been walked on much (anymore).

    I am staying up late (it’s 04:00 hrs at night here in The Netherlands (Europe). 🙂

    Thank you!

    Rogier van Iterson

  11. A far out selection of sixty’s music.as cool as they were there was more then The Beatles and The Rolling Stones happening out there in that era. Must go to bed now and dream those hippy dreams of old.Of pretty young girls with long flowing hair peace sighs,bell bottoms and no underware. Good Night