A site where I get to complain about music I don't like.
For some people, the 60s were the high point of modern music as a whole. Personally, I feel that music was at its most creative in the 70s, but it’s easy to see why people believe this. With music moving away from the old Rock ‘n’ Roll and Gospel styles that were common in the 50s, artists spread their wings to new styles they’d never tried before, such as Psychedelic and what would become Metal. So today, I’m here to count down…
The Top 10 Songs of the 60s
Note: These aren’t the best songs of the 60s. These are the songs that I feel best represent the time, or represent the start of the 70s.
10. 21st Century Schizoid Man- King Crimson
You hear that? That’s the sound of change. When King Crimson debuted, no one had ever heard anything as completely out there, so dense and harsh as this. I’ve already talked about this song in an earlier article, so I won’t talk to much about it, but just let me say, it’s a classic.
9. Heartbreaker- Led Zeppelin
Similar to “Schizoid Man” above, I put “Heartbreaker” on here mostly for what it did for the 70s, and also because I like it more than “Whole Lotta Love”. Just listen to the guitar in this song. Would anyone else be playing riffs that heavy and blues-y until the 70s came? Except for Hendrix, I don’t think so. And just that solo; no one would have ever thought of a acappella solo that fast and incomprehensible. This song truly showed something new.
8. Sunshine of Your Love- Cream
Now this is what you call the embodiment of the summer of love. You listen to this song, and you can just feel yourself going straight back to Woodstock. Everything about the song is almost designed to work in the time; the guitar playing, the lyrics, and just the sound of the song. It was hard to pick one Cream song for this list, but it almost felt like I had to pick this, and I can see why. A great song by a great band.
7. Time of the Season- Zombies
If you have any form of “hippie montage” in a movie, you essentially have two songs to use. You can use “Sunshine of Your Love”, or you use “Time of the Season”. One of those songs that you can recognize from the first note, it’s hard for a song to build up an atmosphere as quickly or as well as this. As one of the most underrated bands at the time, the Zombies never did get as huge as they deserved, but at least they left behind such classic music.
6. Gimme Shelter- Rolling Stones
Besides music for hippie montages, what else are classic songs from the time used for? Vietnam sequences. There are three songs on this list used for that purpose, and this is the first. Doesn’t that opening guitar just sends chills down your spine? The whole song is one of the Rolling Stones’ most powerful and chilling performances ever, with classic singing by guest Merry Clayton, it’s the centerpiece of Rock’s greatest album. Try and debate me.
5. For What it’s Worth- Buffalo Springfield
The second Vietnam song on the list, without this song, it’s likely Neil Young’s career wouldn’t be the same. His first classic song, it showed just how strong a songwriter he was, along with a melody that seemed to perfectly translate “a storm is coming”. With a great opening harmonics riff, great harmonies by the band and perfect lyrics, it’s obvious why this song is a classic for the ages.
4. God Only Knows- Beach Boys
Now here’s a song that could’ve never become popular when it first came out. A baroque-pop song with a classical bridge that mentions god in the title? No way that ever would have become popular. And yet, here it stands, as possibly the Beach Boy’s crowning legacy. It’s almost ironic how one of the most popular bands of all time created one of the most popular Indie Rock sub genres. I could have listed all of Pet Sounds, but here is the defining moment.
3. All Along the Watchtower- Jimi Hendrix
And here’s the final, and possibly perfect, Vietnam song. While “Star-Spangled Banner” is probably Jimi’s best anti-war song, none are as good as Jimi’s one real hit. While lots of artists have covered Dylan, none ever did as well as here, with classic guitar, drums, bass, and one of Jimi’s best vocal performances ever. Easily one of the best covers ever, no one captured Vietnam in a bottle like here. And speaking of Dylan…
2. The Times They Are-a Changing- Bob Dylan
I think I’ve said before that I really hate “Blowin’ in the Wind”. But I do love Bob Dylan. And “Times” is easily his best early folk hit. Sure, Dylan’s voice was and always will be chalkboard scrapes, but he’s one of the greatest writers in music, and he shows the best of his abilities here, without being as vague and stupid as possible like with “Blowin”. Dylan abandoned strict Folk soon afterwards, and this stands as his masterpiece of that era.
1. Tomorrow Never Knows- Beatles
Surprised you, didn’t I? Yeah, you all knew it would be the Beatles, but I decided to go with one of their lesser songs. Why? Because right here, this is when The Beatles showed that even massive artists could take huge risks. When this song came out, no one had heard anything like it. Without this, it’s possible that Electronica would have never been as accepted as it is now if this song was never made. Certainly not the Chemical Brothers. So this song embodies what the 60s were about; risks and starting something. And that’s why “Tomorrow Never Knows” is the greatest song of the 60s.
Special Shout Out to Deltaxkila, for winning the contest and suggesting this list for today!