Flashback Friday: 21 of the Best Songs from the 60s

Credit: MorgueFile

Credit: MorgueFile

Here at The Hot Zone, we’re obviously obsessed with what’s new, trending, and, well, hot. But we also know that sometimes, a little throwback is fun. So, we introduce you to Flashback Friday – for the retro soul in you. This week, here are 21 of the best songs from the 1960s.

21. “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum

What the hell are they talking about? No one knows. That’s why it’s a classic.


20. My Girl by The Temptations
This song is a classic. It’s a hit at daddy/daughter dances, weddings… you name it, you’ve probably swayed to it. Its lyrics are simple yet sincere, but the real reason it’s so great is that voice. David Ruffin was vocalist royalty.

19. Dazed and Confused by Led Zeppelin
We’d be crazy not to include the landmark, debut track from one of the world’s most iconic rock-n-roll bands. Arguably, Zeppelin changed the rock-n-roll sound for good.

18. Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells
This song is solid for a number of reasons. One of them is the way it’s sung. It’s desperate… you really think this guy deserves this girl he hardly knows but thinks he could love. Second, the bridge wasn’t supposed to have that weird effect on it – it was a mistake. A mistake that makes the song a classic, that is.

17. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? by The Shirelles
Think about this song for a second. Think about the title. Man, that’s good. It’s a subtle question that the girl is asking herself about her boyfriend – subtle, yet important. Leave it to the songwriting pair of Carole King and Gerry Goffin to come up with something so cleverly controversial in 1960.

16. In My Life by The Beatles
Another wedding classic, this is a good song. It’s simple, poignant, and classic. Though it’s been covered countless times, nothing will ever top the beauty and sincerity of the Rubber Soul original.

15. Stand by Me by Ben E. King
There’s a reason this song is played at every retreat you’ve ever had to go on. There’s a reason we were all in mourning when Ben E. King died. It’s this song. It’s beautiful, and it’s exactly what we need at all times.

14. Rag Doll by The Four Seasons
It doesn’t have a lot of words, but what it says is both totally heartfelt and completely over the top. It’s perfect. Also, Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe, who wrote the song, are about the only two men in the world who could make a tambourine sound sad.

13. Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones
Author’s Note: I’m not a Stones fan, but I have a special place in my heart for this one. Its metaphors are spot-on, describing perfectly how it feels to be lost and in despair.

12. Leader of the Pack by The Shangri-La’s
But actually, this song is perfect. It’s so melodramatic and unrealistic that you have to love it. Is this really how girls feel about their crushes in high school? Yes. Yes, it is. More importantly, how long were the singer and the leader of the pack actually going steady? We guess it was about a week.

11. God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
Everybody loves Pet Sounds, the album on which this song is featured. Our theory is everyone loves Pet Sounds because this song is on it. It’s beautiful. It captures the essence of romantic love in less than three minutes. Only music could do that.

10. Sherry by The Four Seasons
It was a total fluke that obsessed the nation. There’s no sound quite like The Four Seasons, thanks pretty much entirely to Frankie Valli’s legendary falsetto. Also, let’s talk about how the classic was written by a 19-year-old kid. Impressive.

9. My Boyfriend’s Back by The Angels
This song is adorable, sassy, and captures 60s bubblegum pop like no other.

8. I Couldn’t Live without Your Love by Petula Clark
This British pop sensation is so underrated in the here and now. Lots of other legendary musicians get the credit, but you hardly ever heard about Petula Clark. You should. Her voice is airy yet strong, and the high hat on this track is just fantastic. It’s Clark’s finest.

7. Crazy by Patsy Cline
This country crooner had a lot of good ones in her, but “Crazy” tops her catalogue. It’s gorgeous – so genuine and relatable. Easily one of the most legendary songs of the decade.

6. These Eyes by The Guess Who
There’s a reason there are no other Canadian bands. This is the only one we ever needed.

5. With a Little Help from My Friends by Joe Cocker
This cover of The Beatles’ original (on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band) is so much better than the original that even Paul McCartney admitted after Cocker’s 2014 passing. Pretty high praise, considering McCartney co-wrote the song with John Lennon. This song also made for a beautiful opening on the TV series, The Wonder Years.

4. The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
Simon and Garfunkel have plenty of beautiful songs. Your author has a theory that Paul Simon could only write good lyrics when he was being nice to Art Garfunkel (whose angelic voice makes every song). Yes, they have plenty of great tunes, but this is arguably the most famous and earns this place on our list.

3. Blue Angel by Roy Orbison
Are there better singers than Roy Orbison? Probably not. His songs, though full of heartbreak, are hauntingly gorgeous in every way you can think.

2. Can’t Take My Eyes off of You by Frankie Valli
There’s not one flaw in this song. No, seriously, it’s the definition of pitch perfect. It’s completely unusual – not pop, not rock, not anything. It should have its own genre of perfection.

1. She Loves You by The Beatles
We know people love the later, psychedelic Beatles songs best, and those are great. But this really captures who The Beatles were when they first appeared on the scene. It captures why the world fell in love with them. Although the band rarely hit a sour note, this was easily their finest hour.

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One Response to Flashback Friday: 21 of the Best Songs from the 60s

  1. Debra says:

    Incredibly awesome article! I truly loved it all! Every selection, and rationale given, like “Rag Doll” tambourine sounding sad, was right on.
    Flashback Friday…Thumbs up and Thank you!!

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