The Top 5 Albums Of The 1960’s

Let me say that the 60’s provided an absolute TON of quality albums. Actually, every decade since the sixties has produced their share of masterpieces, but I believe that this decade set the template for pretty much everything that followed, and the Beatles weren’t the only 60’s musicians who inspired the sonic experimentation that followed. Everyone seemed to build off each other and the range of styles and genres generated was staggering. Consider the Stooges, Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa, Grateful Dead and The 13th Floor Elevators, to name but a tiny fraction. Their influence is all over the place nowadays and influenced punk rock, acid house, chill out, country rock, noise rock, heavy metal and post rock.

Bob Dylan, Hwy 61 Revisited: Like a Rolling Stone is just too massive, too overwhelmingly important, to ignore, but not the sole reason this is included in my top 5 albums of the 1960’s, No, the album is packed with bitter goodies for the musical palette. Tombstone Blues, From A Buick 6, the title track and the obvious monster in the room, Desolation Row. All 11:21 of it.
The Beatles, Revolver: Picking a favorite Beatles album is pretty damn difficult, but this is my fab 4 “go to” album most often. To me, other than the freaky vibes of Tomorrow Never Knows (another Ringo malapropism?) it’s remarkably similar to it’s predecessor, Rubber Soul, in style. It contains my favorite Paul McCartney song in Got To Get You Into My Life and one of Lennon’s most underrated (Dr. Robert).
The Kinks, Something Else: Two of the Kinks best songs are on this album. Death Of A Clown and Waterloo Sunset, the latter of which is in my Top 5 songs of all time, just below God Only Knows by The Beach Boys. That would be enough, but the others (David Watts, Love Me Till The Sun Shines, Afternoon Tea, etc) flesh out a remarkably consistent and enjoyable album.

The Who, Tommy: Pretentious, overblown, overrated, overlong, silly, muscular, tuneful, epic. All true, but listen to Sparks at maximum volume in the dark around 3am and you WILL see God.

Beach Boys, Pet Sounds: I know a lot of people who have a real hatred for this record, and I can understand that. What I can’t understand is how God Only Knows, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Caroline No, Let’s Go Away For A While and I Know There’s An Answer didn’t move the love generation the same way that Sgt. Pepper did? It’s far and away the better album. Beautifully weird, the only thing that would have made this perfect album even more perfect would have been the inclusion of Feel Flows and Surf’s Up.

Runners Up: Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s Cosmo‘s Factory; The Band’s Song’s From Big Pink; The Doors debut; Moby Grape‘s debut; Love’s Forever Changes; The Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed; The Stooges debut; Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks; The Velvet Underground’s debut; Odyssey and Oracle by the Zombies; Frank Zappa and the Mother’s We’re Only In It For The Money.


That being said it was very hard to pick my top 5, and like all the subsequent decades I’ve already changed my mind more than once, switching this album for that. I’m looking at this list now and thinking, “How the hell could I have left off the Velvet Underground’s debut album? Or The Doors debut? Or Moby Grape? Take Tommy off, you say? No way, man, that album got me through a tough couple of years back in the day. It’s not perfect, it is subjective based on the creator of the list, and the results may even cause a fist fight or two, who knows? I hope it does. ‘Cause all music should create an emotional response, good, bad or indifferent.