The Top 75 Songs Of The 1960’s

The 1960’s, for me, were all about The Song, as opposed to The Album. That may sound weird coming from me, I know. But the songs of the 1960’s were more satisfying and fascinating than the albums that decade produced. Whenever I visit San Francisco, which is about once every year or so, I make a mix tape of songs that I believe typify the ‘60’s. The list that I have compiled here is that mixtape, which consists of 3 full cd’s worth of music, or about 4 hours. It takes 2 hours to get to ‘Frisco from where I currently reside, which is just perfect for a round trip. It’s quite magical to be driving over the Golden Gate Bridge listening to Eight Miles High by The Byrds, or passing Height/Ashbury when White Rabbit is playing. Over the next 5 days I will be posting 15 songs along with a brief commentary on each. I hope you find one or two that you agree with, and maybe a few you didn’t know existed. At any rate, enjoy!

This list reflects my tastes, naturally.  Not everyone will agree, especially on the ranking part. If I’ve left any of your favorites off the list, well, there’s always the “comments” section for you to tell me which ones.


61. The Doors,  Strange Days: The ‘60’s were strange indeed, and this song was strange even for a strange band like the Doors. My favorite, by far.

62. Booker T and the MGs, Green Onions: By far the best and most psychedelic and durable instrumentals of the ‘60’s, or any decade for that matter.

63. The Byrds, Eight Miles High: One of the best drug songs of the decade.

64. Stevie Wonder, Uptight: Although Stevie blossomed in the ‘70’s, this is a classic bit of soul. After this he dropped the “little Stevie” bit.

65. The Four Tops, It’s The Same Old Song: My fave by these guys, the second best Mottown vocal act. For the #1 Motown vocal group, see #66.

66. The Temptations, Cloud Nine: The start of their ‘psychedelic soul’ era.

67. The Seeds, Pushin’ Too Hard: Just another garage classic, folks. A grimy slice of primal rock and roll. Wonderful.

68. The Amboy Dukes, Baby Please Don’t Go: Uncle Ted before he got all wango tango with cat scratch fever.

69. Led Zeppelin, Good Times Bad Times: The beginnings of metal as we know it.

70. The Temptations, My Girl: One of the simplest and most joyful songs on this list by my favorite Motwon act. They would get funkier, but never more soulful.

71. The Kinks, Death Of A Clown: Dave Davies moment in the sun. One of the saddest and most poignant songs the Kinks ever did. Big Brother Ray must have been very proud.

72. The Who,  Armenia City In The Sky: A track that rarely gets a mention when discussing the best of The Who, but deserves to be a part of the conversation as does its parent album, Sell Out. It is overshadowed by I Can See For Miles, but due to over familiarity of that song, Armenia…is rising in the ranks.

73. The Velvet Underground, What Goes On: The guitar strum of What Goes On remains as influential as ever.

74. Pink Floyd, Interstellar Overdrive: Just great, late 60’s psychedelia and the beginning of what we now call ‘space-rock’.

75. Donovan, Sunshine Superman: I always thought Donovan was one of those one or two song novelty scenesters until I saw how his song Hurdy Gurdy Man was used to great effect in the movie Zodiac a few years ago. It made me dig deeper and I was surprised to find that this dude was much more than what I initially suspected.