After posting my first top 100 sixties songs I was left with a feeling of incompleteness. There was just so much more to that decade than my little list. Perhaps it is down to the interweb thing that we have such unprecedented access to every kind of music now. It’s a paradox that today we can have a more holistic overview of this kind of music than the people who actually lived through the decade; constrained in their tastes by what was available in record shops or played on the radio or written in the music press. Did anyone in 1960s London have any idea what kind of music was being played in Saskatchewan or New South Wales? Did people in Sheffield know much about the music scene even in Leeds? Perhaps more than we imagine, but maybe less than we do now. What I do know now is that video streams are often withdrawn/expurgated. This seems to happening with Beatles stuff especially so I won’t be posting links for the Fab Four. You all know the songs anyway. One rule I’ve kept to: not more than one song per band.
An additional note: I’m posting this early to help publicise Independent Record Store Day (April 17th ). For all the delights of music online, the browsing experience, meeting other music fans and having your ears and mind opened to new things by knowledgeable strangers is a pleasure that can’t easily be replicated elsewhere. We need these spaces to meet, learn and listen. I hope you will support the campaign. Alternatively, you can look at my post about 70s music.
1 Screamin’ Jay Hawkins — I Put A Spell On You
One of the most innovative voices in popular music, Hawkins always knew how to put on a show. He gave soul music the goth aesthetic (before the goths were even thought of), wrote some of the wittiest songs ever recorded and came up with this classic. Covered endlessly by the mediocre, the bland and the forgettable, it shines when performed by its genius creator. I give you Screaming Jay: half George Clinton, half Salvador Dali 100% legend.
2 The Human Beinz — Dance On Through
I include this mainly as a tribute to the guy who made this video. If you are ever on Youtube and want to spend an hour or so finding great 60s tunes, head for Blacflag’s page. Some of the stuff he’s posted is truly inspired (and I’ve raided his archive mercilessly in these posts). On the other hand, it is a great wistful tune from a band that is famous for only one song (Nobody But Me). A great eye-opener of the range that the Human Beinz were capable of.
3 Johnny Cash & Bob Dylan — Girl From the North Country
American folks’ most honoured sons in a legendary duet. OK so Bob’s voice is less than perfect, but the song as a whole benefits from his raw vocal delivery. The overproduced, shiny, electronically neutered pap marketed as music these days could learn a thing or two from this.
4 Sons of Adam — Feathered Fish
Back in ’89, I was a student at Portsmouth Polytechnic and was billeted in halls with a guy called Michael Neden. Ned (as everyone called him) had a great collection of 60s garage records he’d brought all the way from Bury. I introduced him to Arthur Lee and Love, he repaid me with this truly original song (among others). Every time I listen it takes me back to those days… Magic.
5 Los Saicos — Demolición
Only discovered this a couple of weeks ago as I scanned the latest Shindig! Magazine. Peruvian freakbeat, of all things. And it’s brilliant! It’s the best song I’ve ever heard about demolishing a railway station. Those cats in Lima really knew how to Rock. Saludos desde Inglaterra, compadres.
6 The Rolling Stones — Sympathy For The Devil
Quality. That’s all I have to say about this particular song. One of those you could listen to all day and still find new things to delight in. Every time I play it, it gets better.
7 The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band — Mr Apollo
A rallying cry against body fascism, a piss-take of Charles Atlas newspaper advertisements (A theme that the Bonzo’s would return to in Look Out There’s A Monster Coming). The message was simple: just be yourself. Don’t let charlatans tell you you’re not good enough and need to change. The medium used was humour. Jolly good English humour at that. Pip, pip!
8 Country Joe & The Fish – I’m A-Fixin’ To Die
The drollest anti Viet-Nam War song of them all. “Be the first one on the block to have your boy come home in a box.” Classic.
9 The Soul Benders – Hey Joe
Hey Joe is a song with a lot of history behind it. Originally written by Billy Roberts, there are a number of stories concerning its authorship. One is that Roberts sold the copyright to a fellow musician, Dino Valenti, to help him get back on his feet after a stint in jail. Valenti then published the song under the pseudonym, Chester Powers. What is clear is that in 1964 it came to the attention of west-coast musicians and popularised by ‘Love’ and ‘The Leaves’ (who had the original hit with the song). It soon became a standard (Blacflag has documented over 15 recorded versions of the song prior to its most famous incarnation; by the Jimi Hendrix Experience). The Soul Benders’ treatment is my own personal favourite.
10 The Soup Greens – Like A Rolling Stone
The sleeve notes on the Pebbles compilation album where I first heard this song, asserted that 60s garage bands could take any tune you could think of and make it sound like Louie Louie. This version of a Bob Dylan masterpiece, proves their point beyond reasonable doubt.
11 The Children Of Darkness — She’s Mine
12 The Troggs — Wild Thing
13 The Beatles — Twist & Shout
14 The Kinks — The Village Green Preservation Society
15 The Dantes — Connection
16 James Carr — The Dark End Of The Street
17 The Sonics — Psycho
18 Mouse & The Traps – Maid Of Sugar, Maid Of Spice
19 Led Zeppelin — Whole Lot Of Love
20 Tyrannosaurus Rex — Warlord Of The Royal Crocodiles
21 Love – Seven And Seven Is
22 Simon & Garfunkel – Richard Cory
23 Tim Buckley — Happy Time
24 The Ju Jus — You Treat Me Bad
25 Duane Eddy — Boss Guitar
26 Hawkwind — Hurry On Sundown
27 Mary Hopkin – Those Were The Days
28 The Pretty Things — Midnight To Six Man
29 The Chocolate Watchband – She Weaves A Tender Trap
30 Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band — Pachuco Cadaver
31 The Velvet Underground and Nico — I’ll Be Your Mirror
The Velvets, looking insouciant.
32 The Liverpool Set — 17 Years To The End
33 The Searchers — Needles And Pins
34 Booker T and the MGs — Green Onions
35 The Hollies — Carrie Anne
36 Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders — They Said No
37 The Electric Prunes — Kyrie Eleison Mardi Gras
38 The Righteous Brothers — Little Latin Lupe Lu
39 The McCoys – Hang On Sloopy
40 Dickey Lee — I Saw Linda Yesterday
41 The Byrds — Eight Miles High
The Byrds in a TV studio with swirly background
42 Arthur Alexander — Soldier Of Love
43 Dick Dale & The Deltones — Misirlou
44 Paul Revere & The Raiders — Let Me
45 The New Vaudeville Band — Winchester Cathedral
46 Otis Redding — Can’t Turn You Loose
47 Group 1850 — Mother No-Head
48 The Crystals– Da Doo Ron Ron
49 The Grodes — Cry A Little Longer
50 Ralph Mc Tell — Streets Of London
51 The Trashmen — Surfing Bird
52 The Who – It’s Not True
53 The Specters — No Good Nowhere World
54 The Hep Stars — Speedy Gonzalez
55 Smith — The Weight
56 Golden Dawn — My Time
57 Traffic — Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush
58 Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs — Poison Ivy
59 Love Affair – Everlasting Love
60 John Lee Hooker – No Shoes
61 David Bowie — The Laughing Gnome
62 Marie Laforet — Toi, Mon Amour Mon Ami
Judy Huxtable and Peter Cook; the Posh and Becks of 1966
63 Blue Cheer — The Hunter
64 Mireille Matthieu — Je Ne Suis Rien Sans Toi
65 Status Quo — Pictures of Matchstick Men
66 Pink Floyd — Interstellar Overdrive
67 The American Breed — Bend Me, Shape Me
68 Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – The Legend of Xanadu
69 The Calico Wall — I’m A Living Sickness
70 The Jimi Hendrix Experience — Red House
71 Hugo Montenegro — The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (Theme)
72 The Strawberry Alarm Clock — Incense And Peppermints
73 The Shangri-Las — The Dum Dum Ditty
74 Boyce & Hart — I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight
75 The Avengers — Be A Caveman
76 The Allisons — Are You Sure?
77 Del Shannon — Runaway
78 Dee Dee Sharp — Mashed Potato Time
79 Trini Lopez — If I Had A Hammer
80 Kyu Sakamoto — Sukiyaki
81 Fleur De Lys — Mud In Your Eye
82 Serge Gainsburg & Screamin’ Jay Hawkins — Constipation Blues
83 Cream — NSU
84 Donovan — Mellow Yellow
85 Fairport Convention — Crazy Man Michael
86 Merrel Fenkhauser & HMS Bounty — Things (Are Going Round in My Mind)
87 The Mammas & The Pappas — California Dreaming
88 The Nice — America
89 The 1910 Fruitgum Company — Simon Says
90 Gerry & The Pacemakers – It’s Gonna Be Alright
91 The Swinging Blue Jeans — You’re No Good
92 The Bluestars – Social End Product
93 The Brogues — I Ain’t No Miracle Worker
94 Kit & The Outlaws — Don’t Tread On Me
95 The Hombres — Let It All Hang Out
96 The Elastik Band — Spazz
97 The Ronettes — Be My Baby
98 The Everglades — Limbo Lucy
99 The Wyngates — See What’s Right
100 The Blues Magoos Pipe Dreams