ShutDownVol2Cover#2 – The Beach Boys – “Don’t Worry Baby” – (1964)

Oh man, it was hard to put this song at number two and not number one. This is one of the top three Beach Boys songs they ever recorded. It might be the most beautiful. This was the B-side to “I Get Around,” which was a #1 hit. This only peaked at #24, still respectable for a B-side, but not nearly good enough for what it is. This album was called Shut Down Volume 2 – but the Beach Boys never released a “Shut Down Volume 1″, though Capitol Records did release a compilation album featuring a number of different artists that they named after that other Beach Boys song, “Shut Down” (which does not appear on this album). Pretty weird.

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TheManfredMannAlbum-#3 – Manfred Mann – “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” – (1964)

Manfred Mann’s cover of this song was a #1 hit in the U.S. Songs with nonsensical lyrics (or titles) don’t always get the best reviews, but this one is so catchy and its famous appearance in the Bill Murray comedy Stripes has helped it endure.

TheBeatlesSecondAlbumreissuecover#4 – The Beatles – “She Loves You” – (1964)

“She Loves You” was actually a standalone single from 1963 that was thrown onto their The Beatles’ Second Album album that Capitol records released in the U.S. in 1964. It was a #1 in the U.S. and it’s wonderful because this was the Beatles at their most elemental. Pure, simple, pop songs. No politics, so sadness, no drugs, no drama. Just happy, love me do, pop music. Also, this video is ridiculous. I wonder what these girls think now when they see themselves losing their shit over this band 55 years ago.

Undertheboardwalk#5 – The Drifters – “Under the Boardwalk” – (1964)

The original version – this version – of “Under the Boardwalk”, which came out in June 1964, has to be one of the last “pop standards” to ever break into the top five on the pop charts. It was a #4 hit and other than slightly upbeat music, it’s largely done in the same style as vocal groups from throughout the 1950s and even back into the 40s. It’s a classic.

ScreenHunter_945 Mar. 29 18.54#6 – Betty Everett – “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)” – (1964)

This great soul hit did not come from Motown, but instead from Mississippi-born Betty Everett. Her #6 hit was actually a cover of a version done the year before by Merry Clayton. It’s great. Cher would later have one of her biggest hits with her own cover in the 1990s.

Jan_And_Dean_-_The_Little_Old_Lady_From_Pasadena#7 – Jan and Dean – “The Little Old Lady (from Pasadena) ” – (1964)

In 1964, a brand new, shiny red, Super Stock Dodge was serious business (Max Wedge-engined cars are very expensive today). And any little old lady driving one was probably badass. This surf rock classic is often mistaken for being a Beach Boys hit, though they did cover it. Instead, it was a top three hit for Jan & Dean.

220px-Four_Tops_(album)#8 – Four Tops – “Baby I Need Your Loving” – (1965)

This 1964 single from the Four Tops is among their greatest achievements. It’s Motown gold straight from Hitsville U.S.A. It was the group’s first Motown single and, penned by Holland-Dozier-Holland, it reached #11 on the Hot 100. Johnny Rivers covered it in 1967 and took it to #3.

2646959#9 – Dusty Springfield – “I Only Want To Be With You” – (1963)

Released at the tail end of 1963, this was English-singer Dusty Springfield’s debut single. It was upbeat, has horns, and Dusty’s vocal delivery has never given any hint to her British-ness. Somehow, it only managed to hit #12 in the U.S., while it peaked at #4 in the U.K.

220px-Supremes-wherelove#10 – The Supremes – “Baby Love” – (1964)

Every time I listen to a song by the Supremes I think “this is the best song by the Supremes.” And then I listen to a different one and think the same thing. They were fantastic. This Motown #1 was written by, who else, the trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland. Astonishingly, it lost the 1965 Grammy for Best R&B Recording to a song I’ve never heard of. Seems like theft!

220px-Myguycover#11 – Mary Wells – “My Guy” – (1964)

Album titles that tell you exactly what you are getting are great. Example: Mary Wells Sings My Guy. Perfect! This is a classic example of smooth-as-silk Motown and it was written by Smokey Robinson. Mary took it to #1, and deservedly so.

220px-Kinks-size#12 – The Kinks – “All Day And All Of The Night” – (1965)

Released as a single in the fourth quarter of 1964 (the album came out in March of ’65), this was a top ten hit for The Kinks. This band was great because they had such a dirty, garage-rock sound. Part of it were those killer guitar riffs and part was Ray Davies’ gravelly voice. The Kinks might be the best British Invasion band, other than The Beatles, which were sort of their own thing anyway.

 

Jay_&_The_Americans_-_Come_A_Little_Bit_Closer#13 – Jay and the Americans – “Come A Little Bit Closer” – (1964)

What I love about this song is the barely-there Latin tinge that it offers. Part of it is the lyrics, but part of it is the lyrical delivery. And this isn’t the only song they did this with (see: “Cara Mia”). You’d think that this band was made up of a bunch of Hispanic kids from the Bronx, but nope. White guys all around.

R-2771333-1300305645.jpeg#14 – Peter and Gordon – “A World Without Love” – (1964)

Peter (Asher) and Gordon (Waller) were a duo from Britain and they released this #1 hit as their first single in early 1964. Does it sound like it was written in a somewhat familiar style? Well if it does, maybe that’s because it was written by Paul McCartney at the height of Beatlemania.

R-2883539-1364799570-9512.jpeg#15 – Wayne Newton – “Danke Schoen” – (1963)

Immortalized by Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Danke Schoen” is Wayne Newton’s signature song. It was originally recorded by Bert Kaempfert as an instrumental under a different title. In case you were wondering, like I always have, Wayne Newton was 21 years old when he recorded this song.

The_Animals_(American_album)#16 – The Animals – “The House of the Rising Sun” – (1964)

First off, I didn’t realize that The Animals were actually British. Maybe it’s because their signature song is an original take on an American folk song about New Orleans. In fact, it’s such a folksy song that the credited writer is “Traditional” – meaning it’s so old no one gets credit for it. It hit #1 and is sort of thought to be the first folk-rock smash hit. 

51QlIRrWf3L#17 – The Four Seasons – “Rag Doll” – (1964)

Not many things are better than songs by the Four Seasons. This #1 hit is one of their best and it would be their last #1 hit until their comeback in 1975. The pacing and tempo of the song is very similar (I think) to “Walk Like a Man.” 

220px-At_the_Whisky_à_Go_Go_cover#18 – Johnny Rivers – “Memphis” – (1964)

The song “Memphis” was originally written and recorded by Chuck Berry in 1959. Johnny Rivers did a live version of it – which was really his own take on it – in 1964 and this version made it to #2 in the U.S. After this, Chuck Berry’s live versions of the song resembled this version more than the original, which says something about how good this version is.

220px-downtown_warner_bros#19 – Petula Clark – “Downtown” – (1965)

Just like #20, this was released as a single in ’64 with the album following the next year. This #1 hit means we are finally into “Oldies” territory! When was the last time you heard this on the radio? I can only find it on AM stations, which is kind of sad. We’ll continue to lament the death of true oldies radio throughout the remainder of the years we run through.

220px-begin_here_decca#20 – The Zombies – “She’s Not There” – (1965)

Released as a single in mid-1964 (the album came out in early 1965), “She’s Not There” is among the catchiest songs from The Zombies. “Time of the Season” gets all the love but this song was a #2 hit in the U.S. It’s good stuff – before all of the psychedelia took over.

bob_dylan_-_the_times_they_are_a-changin#21 – Bob Dylan – “The Times They Are a-Changin'” – (1964)

In 1964 the times certainly were a-changin’. Socially, politically – and musically. If you look at the lists we’ve done from 1965 through 1969, the songs were heavier, more politically charged. But this song was sort of the turning point. Everything from here back is just… simpler. Compare #1-20 in 1964 to 1966 and you’ll likely notice a big difference in tone.

Despacito_by_Luis_Fonsi.jpegLuis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee – “Despacito” – (2017)

Always love Latin music in the summer. Puerto Rico brings us this track and it was an instant hit on the Latin chart. But, more recently, Justin Bieber released a remix of it (which, admittedly I don’t think I’ve heard) that jumped into the top 10 on the Hot 100. Between the two versions, this song has hit #1 in many countries all over the world.

artworks-000204286114-6i1cxp-t500x500Sander van Doorn & LVNDSCAPE – “Need To Feel Loved” – (2017)

I feel liker Sander van Doorn (who is obviously Dutch) has dropped more singles in the past seven years than about another other DJ. This one features a great sound, thanks in no small part to LVNDSCAPE, whose work I’ve featured before.

Show_You_Love_(KATO_and_Sigala_song)Kato & Sigala feat Hailee Steinfeld – “Show You Love” – (2017)

Kato is a DJ from Denmark and Sigala is a DJ from the U.K. And Hailee Steinfeld is an American actress who sings some too. This song, which was released in February, charted in the U.K. and Ireland and features the sound we look for in summer songs.

artworks-000190014213-pug81q-t500x500Nora En Pure feat. Dani Senior – “Tell My Heart” – (2016)

Well, we saved the best for last (unless I throw another week in of this next week to try and capture some songs released in 2017). Nora En Pure (real name, Daniela Niederer) is a South Africa/Swiss DJ and her stuff is pretty good. This deep house track is cool, smooth, and matched with soothing vocals. The perfect song for summer.

kendji-by-kendji-giracKendji Girac – “Andalouse” – (2014)

I think anything with 213 million views on YouTube qualifies as a “hit.” This was the second single from Kendji Girac and it’s sung in French with Spanish thrown in here and there. It was a top five hit in France, Greece, and Belgium. Even if you don’t know what he’s saying, you know it’s catchy as hell.