1. “Come See About Me”
My favorite Supremes cut!
A Holland-Dozier-Holland composition, it’s all about the groove.
I distinctly remember dancing to this at the following year’s bar mitzvah parties. That’s right, some tracks are so rhythmic they incite us to get up from our chairs and ask Nancy or Betty or Jennifer to dance. And it’s not about them so much as us. We hold our heads high in the air as we sing along. At least I did!
2. “I Feel Fine”
The flip side was “She’s A Woman,” number 7 on this list, and the funny thing is I never dug it back then but it resonates with me now even more than “I Feel Fine”!
It was all about George’s guitar, the distortion, the riff, we were banging our heads long before metal came into vogue.
This was off “Beatles ’65,” which everybody had and played until the grooves turned grey. But even though the album contained these hits, it was the one-two punch of the opening cuts that made us swoon. Come on, remember dropping the needle and hearing John singing “This happened once before…”? And then, when that was done, “I’m A Loser” with that jaunty beat and the lyric that no one would sing today. Today everybody’s a winner, no one’s three-dimensional, all we get is smiling idiots. No wonder people tune out.
Of course the Beatles are not on Spotify, but you know this song by heart, right?
3. “Mr. Lonely”
That’s right, the British Invasion didn’t wipe the slate completely clean, not right away, some of the oldies held over, and as a result I know this by heart, we all do, back when we couldn’t tune out for fear of missing the next Beatles/British Invasion hit.
4. “She’s Not There”
That’s the power of music, it sets a mood instantly, takes you away from the humdrum to a mystical, magical world where you’re your best self and it’s all right to be sensitive.
5. “Love Potion No. 9″
Of course it was a cover of the Clovers hit, but that hit back in 1959, before most Beatlemaniacs were listening to the radio, before transistors became ubiquitous.
Composed by Leiber and Stoller, this track still sounded positively British. Listening you felt like you were experiencing a movie, you were right inside it. Back when music infected you and took you away. When the notes were more powerful than the flicks. Before both caved and faded and we all paid penance to television, the seemingly only honest medium left.
6. “Goin’ Out Of My Head”
Little Anthony and the Imperials
Funny how something so dated sounds so modern.
I always liked this. But I prefer “Tears On My Pillow” and “Hurts So Bad,” but they’re all good.
7. “She’s A Woman”
See number 2 above.
8. “Time Is On My Side”
The Rolling Stones
It’s that screechy, whiny, thin guitar intro and then the way Mick Jagger seems to sing with his mouth wide open.
You’ll come runnin’ back
This sounded like it was about a neighborhood in London inhabited by no one else on the radio. We were intrigued.
Of course, this is a cover of the Jerry Ragavoy composition. Furthermore, there are two iterations. The famous one, the one you know, begins with guitar, but the one on “12 X 5″ begins with an organ. I’ve included both iterations.
9. “My Love, Forgive Me”
I had to hear this to remember it.
Our parents’ music was not completely done, the MOR artists were all over television, dominating variety shows and late night. Little did everyone know we were at the advent of a youthquake, about to turn the entire nation upside down.
10. “You Really Got Me”
Funny how time changes things, “You Really Got Me” is now seen as a Van Halen song, even though we thought it was a cheap shot when it appeared on the band’s debut album.
Sure, the guitar is great, but it’s Ray’s sneer that endears you. What kind of people are these? Who don’t care about authority, who don’t know to respect their elders, who have such attitude.
Soon we all had attitude.
Our Jewish patriarch from the Great White North who headed up the Cartwright family which beamed into our homes every Sunday night this was the William Shatner hit before Bill became famous as a vocalist but this was no joke. And by this time we all knew Ringo Starr, we could not deny the connection to this song, even though there was none.
Once again, note the mood.
13. “Any Way You Want It”
The Dave Clark Five
Not on Spotify, of course, Dave Clark is waiting until Spotify is superseded before he deigns to license his group’s material, but of course it’s on YouTube, check it out here:
This exploded out of the dashboard.
15. “Keep Searchin'”
He’s more famous for “Runaway,” but this is almost as great.
Once again, it’s about the feel, completely different from the work of the British acts.
And when Del sang about following the sun, we couldn’t help but make the connection to “I’ll Follow The Sun” on “Beatles ’65.”
And if you don’t know this, stay at least through the organ solo!
16. “I’m Into Something Good”
Their first hit, soon to be superseded in the public consciousness by “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter,” “I’m Into Something Good” is a stone cold smash that pays dividends over the years, it’s one of my favorite records ever. Sure, it’s a cover, but there’s the energy and the innocence, the way Peter Noone is singing more to be famous than to get laid, that is so infectious.
I was eleven when this came out. I remember singing the title to myself as I had my initial camp romances. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for, to be into something good?
The funny thing is some prepubescent act could cut this today and it would be a hit all over again, that’s how timeless this Goffin-King composition is.
19. “The Jerk”
I couldn’t have told you who did it, but I know it.
Back in the era of dance crazes, when we watched TV to know what to do at parties, back when no one even knew the word “choreographer.”
You can almost hear Prince in this one hit wonder.
23. “As Tears Go By”
The hit version of the Stones song. More sing-songy, but all over the radio.
I bought and enjoyed the “Broken English” Marianne Faithfull, but this is the one who will be remembered.
26. “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved You)”
Like with “You Really Got Me” above, this is seen more as a James Taylor song now.
Marvin Gaye doesn’t get enough respect.
He croons. How different from today where everybody oversells.
28. “The Leader of the Laundromat”
I may not have known who did “The Jerk,” but I knew the Detergents did this answer song to the Shangri-Las’ “Leader Of The Pack.” You had to give the creators credit, they had a sense of humor.
61. “All Day and All of the Night”
There’s that sneer once again!
Soon to follow “You Really Got Me” up the chart, this song had a riff that we all played on the guitars we got in the wake of seeing the Beatles on “Ed Sullivan.”
And bubbling under, we had Petula Clark with “Downtown” and Reparata and the Delrons with “Whenever A Teenager Cries.” And you wonder why the sixties are considered a golden era.
That’s right, today most people have no idea what’s number 1, never mind number 10! But back then the entire younger generation was addicted to the radio, we knew every cut, every lick. We bought the records, sang along to the radio, and every baby boomer will testify that this music is far from forgettable, not just representative of the era, but CLASSIC!
The musicians were figuring it out as they went along. They were following the Beatles and writing their own songs, it was a badge of honor to be able to play. And everyone at home was forming bands, singing these songs, the same way today’s youth follows technology.
The entire modern music business is built upon this foundation.
P.S. Thanks to musicradio77.com for the WABC playlist:
P.P.S. My favorite jock was always Cousin Brucie, I smile when I hear him on Sirius XM today, but this was also the era when Scott Muni was a fast-talking jock on AM, before he slowed down and dominated on WNEW.