The Music Of The 1960s



My favorite decade of music.

Excerpt from:  Reflections From The L.A. Baby Boomers Rewind Den


Roll the tape……

The 1960s is the decade in which I came of age.  8 to 17 years of age I was then, and the music of that era will always live inside of me.  With very little thought, I can usually recognize a great deal of the songs from that era.

I was 4 when we moved to L.A. in 1956, and the earliest radio stations that I remember hearing was KFWB, and KRLA.  The music heard ranged from Fats Domino to Bobby Darin to Elvis to the Coasters to…. 

We watched American Bandstand and Lloyd Thaxton’s Hop on a regular basis.  We saw artists like Ray Charles, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Ben E. King, Paul & Paula, James Brown, Dee Dee Sharp, etc., perform on those programs.

My brother was 5 years older than me, and he had stacks and stacks of 45 rpm records that he played a lot.

In 1963, at the age of 11, I started listening to KGFJ and the sounds of rhythm & blues became my primary musical focus.  In around the mid-1960s, I started to also listen to KTYM FM (another ‘r &b’ station), and it also played dedication songs.  And late at night, here and there, I’d catch the legendary Wolf Man Jack on XERB.

Throughout the 1960s, I heard all of the music.  Today, I can listen to and appreciate just about any music from that decade.  There was a wide variety of sounds to listen to.  They all bring back memories of people, places, and things that we did, felt, thought, and tasted.

In those days, the air seemed clearer, the sky seemed to be bluer, birds seemed to fly higher, and flowers must have smelled sweeter……

Most of the songs that I remember were simple songs about Love.  Voices soared to great heights on dreams of Wonder.  Likewise, they could plummet to depths of pain and disappointment.  At other times, they sang about other things:  going up on the roof to escape from the world below; riding a ferry across a river to a home never to be left again; how a man’s burden is not too heavy to be carried by his brother……

The 1960s is my favorite decade of music.  When I hear those ‘oldies but goodies’, it seems like those times aren’t so far away.  I fondly remember and appreciate (just to name a few)……

1960:  Theme From A Summer Place (Percy Faith).  Big Boy Pete (The Olympics).  Cathy’s Clown (The Everly Brothers).  Alley Oop (Hollywood Argyles).  Handy Man (Jimmy Jones).  Way Down Yonder In New Orleans (Freddy Cannon).

1961:  Runaround Sue (Dion).  Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor – On The Bed Post Over Night (Lonnie Donegan).  Dedicated To The One I Love (The Shirelles).  Exodus (Ferrante & Teicher).  Big Bad John (Jimmy Dean).  Raindrops (Dee Clark).

1962:  Mashed Potato Time (Dee Dee Sharp). Venus In Blue Jeans (Jimmy Clanton).  The Lonely Bull (Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass).  Johnny Angel (Shelley Fabares).  If I Had A Hammer (Peter, Paul, & Mary).  Locomotion (Little Eva).   

1963:  My Boyfriend’s Back (The Angels).  Walk Like A Man (The Four Seasons).  Monster Mash (Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers).  South Street (The Orlons).  Wipe Out (The Surfaris.  Two Faces Have I (Lou Cristie).

1964:  Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey).  I Get Around (The Beach Boys).  The Shoop Shoop Song (Betty Everett).  You Don’t Know How Glad I Am (Nancy Wilson).  You Don’t Own Me (Leslie Gore).  The Girl From Ipanema (Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto).

1965:  Shotgun (Jr. Walker & The All Stars).  This Diamond Ring (Gary Lewis & The Playboys).  Cast Your Fate To The Wind (Sounds Orchestral).  The Boy From New York City (The Ad Libs).  Do You Believe In Magic (The Lovin’ Spoonful).  Cara Mia (Jay & The Americans).

1966:  When A Man Loves A Woman (Percy Sledge).  Kicks (Paul Revere & The Raiders).  Five O’ Clock World (The Vogues).  Cool Jerk (The Capitols).  I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (B.J. Thomas).  Cherish (The Association).

1967:  I Was Made To Love Her (Stevie Wonder).  Groovin’ (The Young Rascals).  Kind Of A Drag (The Buckinghams).  Ode To Billie Joe (Bobbie Gentry).  Expressway To Your Heart (The Soul Survivors).  Light My Fire (The Doors).

1968:  Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf).  Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding).  Spooky (Classics IV).  Stoned Soul Picnic (The 5th Dimension).  Classical Gas (Mason Williams).  The Fool On The Hill (Sergio Mendes).

1969:  These Eyes (The Guess Who).  Spinning Wheel (Blood, Sweat, & Tears).  I Can’t Get Next To You (The Temptations).  In The Year 2525 (Zaeger & Evans).  I’ve Gotta Be Me (Sammy Davis, Jr.).  Grazing In The Grass (The Friends Of Distinction). 

When the ‘British Invasion’ arrived in the US around 1964, I heard all of that music, too:  Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying (Gerry & The Pacemakers – 1964).  I Know A Place (Petula Clark – 1965)).  If You Gotta Go, Go Now (Manfred Mann – 1965).  Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones – 1965).  Hey Jude (The Beatles – 1968).  On and on and on……

I randomly made my selections from the Billboard Top 100 lists for each year. 

If the old TV program Name That Tune ever makes a return, I would not be able to compete in any categories from the mid-1970s through today.  But for the music of the 1960s, I think I could make a run for the money.

Looking back on the 1960s, I’d say that the music was pretty much all good……


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