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

Music From The 1960s

In the 60s, music showed its wild side. In general, life was more colorful and stormy after the economic miracle years. Many students and civil rights activists fought for more freedom and 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 number 1 on 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 famous. 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

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

Trendy 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 USA and Great Britain charts 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, “Led Zeppelin II.” The piece is a unique 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.

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04. “Yesterday” – The Beatles

Many music connoisseurs consider the Beatles 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 relatively 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 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 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, and it made it to the top ten in the U.K. 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 special qualities as a band. This is 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 well with the young listeners. The reward was the place in the sun in the U.S. and U.K. 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 soul field.

The US-American singer released it in 1967 as a Cover version of the song by Otis Redding. Their song recording is much more gospel-oriented than the original and 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 “Space Oddity” from 1969. Bowie sings about the life of the fictional astronaut Major Toms, who stops communicating with the earth and drifts alone through space from now on.

The piece is to be assigned to the genres Space Rock, Psychedelic Folk, and 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 U.K. charts. The debut album “Are You Experienced” 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,” 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 U.S. 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 500 best songs of all time at number 28. The lyrics are primarily about the theme of home.

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12. “Pinball Wizard” – The Who

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

An acoustic guitar forms the song’s intro; finally, the electric guitar enters and provides for the rocky rhythms. In the British homeland, the group made it 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.

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. The song was shortened to about three minutes for the single version to make it more radio-friendly. Legendary is the Ed Sullivan Show performance, where the band performed the piece and did not bring in the given mitigation in the lyrics but presented the original songs.

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 sad 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 U.S. charts. Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 best songs of all time reached 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 U.S. charts in 1961. When re-released in 1987, it also reached the top position in the U.K. 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 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 Ronettes’ band. 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 he also made a name for himself as a great crooner and ballad singer in his career. 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 song’s outro 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 “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.

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The James Brown Orchestra supported him. 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.

Ray Davies wrote it, the frontman of the band The Kinks. It tells the story of Terry and Julie’s young couple, who want to emigrate together, and 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.

21.Ring Of FireJohnny Cash
22.Everlasting LoveLove Affair
23.Yummy, Yummy, YummyOhio Express
24.Sympathy For The DevilThe Rolling Stones
25.God Only KnowsThe Beach Boys
26.My GenerationThe 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 TodayHerman’s Hermits
30.She Loves YouThe Beatles
31.Friday on My Mind The Easybeats
32.Schuld war nur der Bossa NovaManuela
33.Kick Out The JamsMC5
34.Sugar, SugarThe Archies
35.Gimme ShelterThe Rolling Stones
36.Die Liebe ist ein seltsames SpielConnie Francis
37.Where Have All The Flowers GonePete Seeger
38.You Really Got MeThe Kinks
39.Bus StopThe Hollies
40.SuzanneLeonard Cohen
41.I Heard It Through The GrapevineMarvin Gaye
42.I Got You BabeSonny & Cher
43.Green TambourineThe Lemon Pipers
44.I Want You BackJackson 5
45.When A Man Loves A WomanPercy Sledge
46.Mrs. RobinsonSimon & Garfunkel
47.All I Have to Do Is DreamThe Everly Brothers
48.Aquarius / Let the Sunshine InThe 5th Dimension
49.Son of a Preacher ManDusty Springfield
50.Some Velvet MorningNancy Sinatra And Lee Hazlewood
51.Something’s Gotten Hold Of My HeartMarc Almond & Gene Pitney
52.All Along the WatchtowerJimi Hendrix
53.Venus In FursNico and The Velvet Underground
54.Wichita LinemanGlen Campbell
55.A Whiter Shade of PaleProcol Harum
56.These Boots Are Made For Walkin’Nancy Sinatra
57.Ich will keine SchokoladeTrude Herr
58.Louie LouieThe Kingsmen
59.Mellow YellowDonovan
60.Oh! CarolNeil Sedaka
61.Piece of My HeartJanis Joplin
62.I’ll Feel a Whole Lot BetterThe Byrds
63.Leader Of The PackThe Shangri-Las
64.ApacheThe Shadows
65.Jumpin’ Jack FlashThe Rolling Stones
66.Hippy Hippy ShakeThe Swinging Blue Jeans
67.I’m Waiting For The ManNico and The Velvet Underground
68.AlbatrossFleetwood Mac
69.I Wanna Be Your Dog Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
70.Papa’s Got A Brand New BagJames Brown
71.For Your LoveThe Yardbirds
72.Do Wah Diddy DiddyManfred Mann
73.What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
74.Bad Moon RisingCreedence Clearwater Revival
75.Black Is BlackLos Bravos
76.Ferry Cross The MerseyGerry and the Pacemakers
77.Weisse RosenNana Mouskouri
78.Oh Happy DayEdwin Hawkins Singers
79.In My Life The Beatles
80.River Deep – Mountain HighIke And Tina Turner
81.Where Did Our Love GoThe Supremes
82.I’d Rather Go BlindEtta James
83.Da Doo Ron Ron ((When He Walked Me Home))The Crystals
84.Lazy SundayThe Small Faces
85.In The Year 2525(Exordium & Terminus) – Zager & Evans
86.I Can’t ExplainThe Who
87.I’m A Believer (Single Version)The Monkees
88.Rhythm of the RainThe Cascades
89.California Dreamin’The Mamas & The Papas
90.Alone Again OrLove
91.Barbara AnnThe Beach Boys
92.Eleanor RigbyThe Beatles
93.Hello Mary LouRicky Nelson
94.LollipopThe Chordettes
95.Yesterday ManChris Andrews
96.The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)The Tokens
97.See Emily PlayPink Floyd
98.Paint It BlackThe Rolling Stones
99.Hang On SloopyThe McCoys
100.If I Had a HammerTrini Lopez
101.Spanish EyesAl Martino
102.Cinnamon GirlNeil Young & Crazy Horse
103.Dancing In The StreetMartha Reeves & The Vandellas
104.Mr. Tambourine Man The Byrds
105.Stop! In The Name Of LoveThe Supremes
106.So Long, MarianneLeonard Cohen
107.Save the last dance for meThe Drifters
108.Nothing But A HeartacheThe Flirtations
109.You Can’t Hurry LoveThe Supremes
110.Summer in the CityThe 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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