The 110 Best Songs Of The 60s – The Most Popular Music From The 1960s


In the 60s music showed its wild side. In general, life was more colorful and stormy after the years of the economic miracle. Many students and civil rights activists fought for more freedom and for the independence of women. This was also reflected in fashion.

With bright colors and psychedelic patterns on the clothes, the women caused a sensation.

Musically could be heard in the 1960s especially the English bands scored. The Beatles were enormously successful. Between 1964 and 1968, their songs were at times number 1 in the charts in almost all countries.

Their novel style of music captivated the people in Scharren. The Rolling Stones also rose in the sixties to one of the most commercially successful groups in rock history most successful groups in rock history.

Besides bands, many solo artists were also popular. The German pop singer Manuela was number one in the German charts for seven weeks with her 60’s hit “Schuld war nur der Bossa Nova”. Other cult hits include “Ring Of Fire” by Johnny Cash, “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen, “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher, “White Roses” by Nana Mouskouri, and “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” by Ohio Express.

All in all, many artists succeeded in making a name for themselves in the 1960s and rose to become world stars as time went on. Examples are Connie Francis, Bob Dylan, Jackson 5, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Ike And Tina Turner, The Supremes, and Otis Redding.

Many songs are still popular today on the radio, television, and on the 60s theme, parties Played. An overview of the 110 most popular songs from the 1960s can be found below.

(At the end of the article, we’ve put together a Spotify playlist for you with all the songs listed here.)

The best 60s songs:

01. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” – The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones were one of the most successful bands of this era. They made their breakthrough at the beginning of the 1960s and produced some of their biggest hits in this decade. Especially popular is the hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” with its distinctive guitar riff by guitarist Keith Richards.

The song was released in May 1965 and was especially popular with young music fans. With this song, the band reached the pole position in the charts in the USA for the first time. In the British homeland, it was the fourth number 1 single.

02. “Good Vibrations” – Beach Boys

Summer, sun, and beach – the Beach Boys stand for this Californian attitude to life like hardly any other band. Their star rose in the 60s. With their music with a positive message, they went down well with young music listeners.

Especially popular among their 60s songs was the track “Good Vibrations”. A catchy melody and polyphonic singing made this song a real success for the quintet. In 1966, the guys reached number 1 in the charts in the USA and Great Britain with this song.

It was their third million-seller after “Barbara Ann” and “Sloop John B.

03. “Whole Lotta Love” – Led Zeppelin

The harder sounds in this decade were provided by the British band Led Zeppelin. The track “Whole Lotta Love” thrilled with a catchy riff.

It can be found on the group’s second album, titled “Led Zeppelin II”. The piece is a striking mixture of blues rock, hard rock, and psychedelic rock. Singer Robert Plant relies on a striking vocal that duels with the guitar.

The song was for a long time the theme song of the British hit show “Top of the Pops” and was even performed at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

04. “Yesterday” – The Beatles

The Beatles are considered by many music connoisseurs to be the most influential and greatest band of all time. The four Britons John Lennon Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Star created numerous big hits in the 60s.

Especially the song “Yesterday” is unforgettable. It is a rather quiet ballad, which is very sparsely orchestrated. The vocals are done by Paul McCartney, who also co-wrote the piece with John Lennon.

Lyrically “Yesterday” deals with the processing of a past love. The piece goes only scarcely two minutes. It reached position 1 in the USA and also entered the top ten of the singles charts in Germany.

05. “Times They Are A-Changin” – Bob Dylan

One man, his Singing voice, and his guitar – that’s all it takes for one of the most style-defining and well-known songs of the 1960s. Bob Dylan managed with this early work of his to describe the mood of a whole generation.

The times are changing – and we are right in the middle of it. The single can be found on the album of the same name and was released in 1965. It made it to the top ten in the UK charts.

In the same decade, the modern evergreen was covered by bands like Simon and Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, and Peter Paul & Mary.

06. “The House of the Rising Sun” – The Animals

When you record an old folk song and land a hit with it, you have to have special qualities as a band. This is definitely true for The Animals from Great Britain. They released the song in 1964 and suddenly it was the talk of the town.

Thanks to the expressive voice of singer Eric Burdon, they gave the traditional song a completely new touch – and it went down really well with the young listeners. The reward was the place in the sun in the US and UK charts. In this country, the song rose to #9.

07. “Respect” – Aretha Franklin

RESPECT – this sequence of letters in sung form is probably what every music connoisseur immediately remembers when he thinks of this hit from the 60s. The work is one of the most successful million-sellers in the field of soul.

The US-American singer released it in 1967 as a Cover version of the song by Otis Redding. Their recording of the song is much more gospel-oriented than the original – and also became much more successful.

08. “Space Oddity” – David Bowie

The 60s also saw the rise of a man whose numerous visual and musical transformations shaped several generations at once. He had a big hit with the track “Space Oddity” from 1969. Bowie sings about the life of the fictional astronaut Major Toms, who stops communicating with the earth and from now on drifts alone through space.

Musically the piece is to be assigned to the genres Space Rock, Psychedelic Folk as well as Progressive Rock. David Bowie was inspired by the Stanley Kubrick film “2001: A Space Odyssey” from 1968.

09. “Purple Haze” – Jimi Hendrix Experience

Jimi Hendrix is still unforgotten as a virtuoso guitarist. His performance at the Woodstock Festival is legendary. But he was also successful with his band Jimi Hendrix Experience.

A hit became for example a piece “Purple Haze”. Also here the guitar work of Hendrix is in the foreground. The song reached the top 3 in the USA and UK charts. It is the opening song of the debut album “Are You Experienced” and was released in 1967.

Hendrix mixes traditional blues elements with sprawling psychedelic sounds to create a whole new sound.

10. “The Sounds of Silence” – Simon and Garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel are among the quieter representatives of this musical decade. Their 60s songs are characterized by sparse instrumentation. Over it floats the catchy two-part vocals of the duo.

Paul Simon wrote the music track “The Sounds of Silence”, it was released in 1964 on the album “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.” released with simple guitar accompaniment and in 1966 as a newly produced version with the band as a single in its own right. In the USA this hit reached number 1. In 1967, the work was also the soundtrack to the film “The Graduate” with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft.

11. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” – Otis Redding

“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” is the most famous Otis Redding song to this day. The Soul singer recorded the song in 1967 a few days before his death. It was released posthumously and rose to the pole position in the US charts. Otis Redding wrote the song together with guitarist Steve Cropper.

Already in 1969, the song was awarded two R&B Grammys. The Rolling Stone chose it in the list of the 500 best songs of all time at number 28. The lyrics are primarily about the theme of home.

12. “Pinball Wizard” – The Who

For the rocking moments in this decade stands the band The Who from Great Britain. The song was written by Pete Townshend, the guitarist of the group. It is part of the rock opera “Tommy”, an epic in whose film adaptation Elton John plays the leading role.

An acoustic guitar forms the intro of the song, finally, the electric guitar enters and provides for the rocky rhythms. In the British homeland, the group made it with this song to № 4 in the charts, in the U.S. the song entered the Top 20. Later “Pinball Wizard” was covered by Genesis and Rod Stewart, among others.

13. “Light My Fire” – The Doors

The Doors, the band around the charismatic frontman Jim Morrisson, stand for dark tones and dark stories. The song “Light My Fire” from the debut album “The Doors” made it to number 1 on the charts in the USA with its psychedelic sound.

The album version of this song goes on for seven minutes and is characterized by long organ and guitar solos. For the single version, the song was shortened to about three minutes to make it more radio-friendly. Legendary is the performance in the Ed Sullivan Show, where the band performed the piece and did not bring in the given mitigation in the lyrics, but presented the original lyrics.

This caused a big scandal at the time.

14. “A Change is Gonna Come” – Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was the soul star of the ’60s. The song “A Change is Gonna Come” can be found on his 1964 album “Ain’t That Good News”. The song deals with the themes of the civil rights movement in the 60s.

The inspiration for the song was “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan. Sam Cooke even processes a few of his own experiences in this song. One of the supporting instruments of the recording is the horn, which gives the song a particularly melancholic note.

15. “Fortunate Son” – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Catchy guitar sounds and a smoky voice with a soulful note – that’s what the band Creedence Clearwater Revival stands for. The fast rock song “Fortunate Son” from 1969 can be found on the band’s fourth album: “Willy and the Poor Boys”. The song became an anthem of the peace movement.

The song was written by John Fogerty, the frontman of Creedance Clearwater Revival. Stylistically, the song is classified as hard rock and rock’n’roll. It reached number 3 in the US charts. In Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 best songs of all time, the song reached number 99.

16. “Stand By Me” – Ben E. King

“Stand by Me” by Ben E. King probably belongs to the most romantic love songs of all time. The catchy slow tempo soul track thrills with shouty vocals and catchy lyrics. The simple harmony was penned by the writing duo Leiber/Stoller, who shaped the 50s and 60s and wrote numerous other songs like “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog”. “Stand By Me” made it to #4 on the US charts in 1961. When re-released in 1987, it also reached the top position in the UK charts.

Among other things, the cover version of John Lennon is also known.

17. “Be My Baby” – The Ronettes

A distinctive kick drum intro and off goes this sugary sweet pop song by the band The Ronettes. The content is about eternal love, which should be as simple and beautiful as the wonderful melody of this song.

Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich were responsible for the songwriting. Phil Spector’s wife Ronnie was the lead singer of the band The Ronettes. They managed a hit, which made it to number 2 in the charts in the USA.

18. “Suspicious Minds” – Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley was originally considered the King of Rock’n’Roll, but in the course of his career, he also made a name for himself as a great crooner and ballad singer. In “Suspicious Minds” he relies on a catchy upbeat number. The driving force here is the horns of The Memphis Horns.

Besides the catchy chorus, the outro of the song is also striking: At first, the instrumentation fades out after about four minutes, but after a short break they come back one more time. The song can be found on the album “Elvis in Memphis” from 1969. It made it to #1 on the U.S. charts and was the last big success during the artist’s lifetime.

19. “I Got You (I Feel Good)” – James Brown

With this song good mood is guaranteed. With “I Got You (I Feel Good)” soul singer James Brown recorded a real hit.

He was supported by the James Brown Orchestra. It is the most successful single of the musician, it rose to number 3 in the charts in the USA. In addition, the song can be heard in numerous films as a soundtrack, for example, in the Hollywood movie “Good Morning, Vietnam” with Robin Williams.

The song came on the music market in 1965.

20. “Waterloo Sunset” – The Kinks

The British Rock band played fast rock’n’roll numbers in their early days. This quiet Rock ballad but is one of their most popular songs. “Waterloo Sunset” was released in the year 1967.

It was written by Ray Davies, the frontman of the band The Kinks. It tells the story of the young couple Terry and Julie, who want to emigrate together. It became one of their most successful songs.

In the charts, the song made it to number 2. It is featured on the album “Something Else by The Kinks”. Ray Davies performed the song in 2012 at the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics in London.

Places 21-110 of the best songs of the 60s:

Each song is linked to the corresponding music video via the title.

Place: Song titles: Performer: Listen to:
21. Ring Of Fire Johnny Cash
22. Everlasting Love Love Affair
23. Yummy, Yummy, Yummy Ohio Express
24. Sympathy For The Devil The Rolling Stones
25. God Only Knows The Beach Boys
26. My Generation The Who
27. Like a Rolling Stone Bob Dylan
28. San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers In Your Hair) (Single Version) Scott McKenzie
29. No Milk Today Herman’s Hermits
30. She Loves You The Beatles
31. Friday on My Mind The Easybeats
32. Schuld war nur der Bossa Nova Manuela
33. Kick Out The Jams MC5
34. Sugar, Sugar The Archies
35. Gimme Shelter The Rolling Stones
36. Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel Connie Francis
37. Where Have All The Flowers Gone Pete Seeger
38. You Really Got Me The Kinks
39. Bus Stop The Hollies
40. Suzanne Leonard Cohen
41. I Heard It Through The Grapevine Marvin Gaye
42. I Got You Babe Sonny & Cher
43. Green Tambourine The Lemon Pipers
44. I Want You Back Jackson 5
45. When A Man Loves A Woman Percy Sledge
46. Mrs. Robinson Simon & Garfunkel
47. All I Have to Do Is Dream The Everly Brothers
48. Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In The 5th Dimension
49. Son of a Preacher Man Dusty Springfield
50. Some Velvet Morning Nancy Sinatra And Lee Hazlewood
51. Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart Marc Almond & Gene Pitney
52. All Along the Watchtower Jimi Hendrix
53. Venus In Furs Nico and The Velvet Underground
54. Wichita Lineman Glen Campbell
55. A Whiter Shade of Pale Procol Harum
56. These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ Nancy Sinatra
57. Ich will keine Schokolade Trude Herr
58. Louie Louie The Kingsmen
59. Mellow Yellow Donovan
60. Oh! Carol Neil Sedaka
61. Piece of My Heart Janis Joplin
62. I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better The Byrds
63. Leader Of The Pack The Shangri-Las
64. Apache The Shadows
65. Jumpin’ Jack Flash The Rolling Stones
66. Hippy Hippy Shake The Swinging Blue Jeans
67. I’m Waiting For The Man Nico and The Velvet Underground
68. Albatross Fleetwood Mac
69. I Wanna Be Your Dog Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
70. Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag James Brown
71. For Your Love The Yardbirds
72. Do Wah Diddy Diddy Manfred Mann
73. What A Wonderful World Louis Armstrong
74. Bad Moon Rising Creedence Clearwater Revival
75. Black Is Black Los Bravos
76. Ferry Cross The Mersey Gerry and the Pacemakers
77. Weisse Rosen Nana Mouskouri
78. Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins Singers
79. In My Life The Beatles
80. River Deep – Mountain High Ike And Tina Turner
81. Where Did Our Love Go The Supremes
82. I’d Rather Go Blind Etta James
83. Da Doo Ron Ron ((When He Walked Me Home)) The Crystals
84. Lazy Sunday The Small Faces
85. In The Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) – Zager & Evans
86. I Can’t Explain The Who
87. I’m A Believer (Single Version) The Monkees
88. Rhythm of the Rain The Cascades
89. California Dreamin’ The Mamas & The Papas
90. Alone Again Or Love
91. Barbara Ann The Beach Boys
92. Eleanor Rigby The Beatles
93. Hello Mary Lou Ricky Nelson
94. Lollipop The Chordettes
95. Yesterday Man Chris Andrews
96. The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh) The Tokens
97. See Emily Play Pink Floyd
98. Paint It Black The Rolling Stones
99. Hang On Sloopy The McCoys
100. If I Had a Hammer Trini Lopez
101. Spanish Eyes Al Martino
102. Cinnamon Girl Neil Young & Crazy Horse
103. Dancing In The Street Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
104. Mr. Tambourine Man The Byrds
105. Stop! In The Name Of Love The Supremes
106. So Long, Marianne Leonard Cohen
107. Save the last dance for me The Drifters
108. Nothing But A Heartache The Flirtations
109. You Can’t Hurry Love The Supremes
110. Summer in the City The Lovin’ Spoonful

60s Spotify playlist:

These are the greatest hits of the 60s, which are still listened to today and have not lost their magic.

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