r-2808425-1386532393-7201-jpeg#7 – Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders – “The Game of Love” – (1965)

Originally, this was much farther down the list, but I’ve been hearing it on the radio a lot recently (that’s right, on an AM oldies station) and discovered that it is in fact an awesome tune. Fontana (whose real name is Glyn Ellis) is from England and this song, with really cool vocal delivery, was a #1 in the U.S.

secondalbum#8 – The Four Tops – “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” – (1965)

Who doesn’t love this song? Another Motown classic from Holland-Dozier-Holland, this was a #1 hit for The Four Tops. 1965 was a great year for Motown – they had really hit their stride and were releasing great record after great record. The Four Tops stand as one of the best male vocal groups of all time with hits like this.

help#9 – The Beatles – “Yesterday” – (1965)

“Yesterday” is widely considered one of the best Beatles’ songs and it was famously titled “Scrambled Eggs” as a placeholder before more serious lyrics could be written. It was a #1 and was later used in the brilliant film Once Upon a Time in America. It’s weird – everyone loves the Beatles or whatever, but their music is so rarely used in film (other than Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I guess).

the_righteous_brothers_-_youve_lost_that_lovin_feelin#10 – The Righteous Brothers – “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” – (1965)

It’s pretty incredible how low the opening lines of “You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips” actually are. Co-written by Phil Spector, this is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded. Used spectacularly in Top Gun, the song has remained quite famous since its release as a single in late 1964 (the album came out the next year). It was a #1 in the U.S. and the U.K. It was a top ten hit in the U.K. again in 1969 and cracked the top 50 again in 1977. That’s  some serious staying power for two serious vocalists.

220px-more-hits-supremes#11 – The Supremes – “Stop! In the Name of Love” – (1965)

This is one of Motown’s most famous songs. Written by Holland-Dozier-Holland and performed by the greatest girl group of all time, this #1 hit is probably the most recognizable song by the Supremes – at least in title. 

2597710#12 – The McCoys – “Hang on Sloopy” – (1965)

The McCoys – which were led by Rick Derringer – are basically a one-hit wonder and this was that hit. It reached #1 on the Hot 100 and has since become (annoyingly) closely associated with the Ohio State University football team. That’s one way to ruin a classic song.

220px-miraclesgoingtoagogo#13 – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – “The Tracks of My Tears” – (1965)

1965 was the year that The Miracles became “Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.” And it was also the year that Motown (okay, Tamla) put out one of their greatest records ever: this one. It only managed #16 on the Hot 100, but hit #2 on the R&B chart.

220px-the_boy_from_new_york_city_ad_libs#14 – The Ad Libs – “The Boy From New York City” – (1964)

This top ten hit – a non-album single – was by The Ad Libs, a soul group from Bayonne, New Jersey. The lead singer was female and the male vocalists backed her in a doo-wop style. Couple that with the uptempo music and you get a really cool sound. This was the groups biggest hit (and yes, it came out in December of 1964).

220px-hermanhermitsalbum#15 – Herman’s Hermits – “I’m Into Something Good” – (1965)

Herman’s Hermits, one of the top bands of the British Invasion of the mid-1960s, made this song famous, but it was originally recorded by someone else. In fact, it was co-written by Carole King (!). Who knew? It was the band’s first single and remains their best.

junior_walker_and_the_all_stars_-_shotgun#16 – Junior Walker & the All Stars – “Shotgun” – (1965)

As I’m listening to it, it occurs to me that this song should be rated higher on this list. It’s a great soul record (produced by Berry Gordy for Motown sister-label “Soul Records”) with a killer organ and awesome sax from Mr. Walker himself. It peaked at #4 on the Hot 100.

220px-rollingstonesoutofourheadsalbumcover#17 – The Rolling Stones – “(I Can”t Get No) Satisfaction” – (1965)

I would call this the Rolling Stones’ signature song. It was a #1 hit in the U.S. (their first) and a #1 in a majority of European countries with their own charts. I think at this point you’d have to live under a rock to have never heard this… like you’d have to go way out of your way to avoid it.

jay__the_americans_-_blockbusters#18 – Jay and the Americans – “Cara Mia” – (1965)

“Cara  Mia” was a hit for David Whitfield in 1954 and Jay and the Americans released a version in 1965 that went to #4 on the Hot 100. This band was from Queens and this song is Italian and it has a very nostalgic feel to it. My favorite Jay and the American fun fact: the group has had three different singers of the years, and all were named Jay.

marvin-how-sweet#19 – Marvin Gaye – “You’re a Wonderful One” – (1965)

This is a highly underrated Marvin Gaye classic. Written by the wonderful trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland, it ran up to #15 on the Hot 100 in 1964 (and was released on Gaye’s ’65 album How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You). Guess who is one backing vocals. Yeah, that’s the Supremes.

220px-my-generation-2#20 – The Who – “My Generation” – (1965)

The Who released My Generation (the album) at the tail end of 1965 in the U.K., hence its inclusion here. It’s one of their most iconic hits and one of the great songs of the British Invasion – and one that set the tone for rock and roll for the rest of the 1960s.

9452250jpg#21 – Wilson Pickett – “In the Midnight Hour” – (1965)

This song has been covered by seemingly everyone, but Wilson Pickett rocks it best. A #1 hit on the R&B charts, it only made it to #21 on the Hot 100 it is probably Pickett’s best-known song. It’s an R&B classic for sure and a great example of that Memphis soul sound.

220px-straight_shooterBad Company – “Shooting Star” – (1975)

“Shooting Star” wasn’t even a single from Bad Company’s 1975 album Straight Shooter. But it has received plenty of airplay on U.S. radio stations over the years and was actually written about the deaths of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison.

220px-foreigner_-_double_visionForeigner – “Hot Blooded” – (1978)

Here is one of Foreigner’s signature songs, a top five hit from 1978’s Double Vision (it actually peaked at #3). It may be more well-remembered, but this wasn’t even the highest charting single from the album, yet it’s appeared all over the place on TV and in commercials.

journey_infinityJourney – “Wheel in the Sky” – (1978)

From 1978’s Infinity we have “Wheel in the Sky,” the album’s first single. It was the band’s first song to chart on the Hot 100, peaking at #57. The song was co-written by Robert Fleischman, the band’s singer prior to Steve Perry. But it’s Perry’s vocals (he replaced Fleischman prior to recording this album) that really put Journey on the map.

220px-themamasandthepapas-ifyoucanbelieveyoureyesandears#1 – The Mamas & the Papas – “California Dreamin'” – (1966)

Here it is – the song that defines the entire decade. Originally recorded by Barry McGuire, it was actually written by members of this group. This song marked the arrival of the entire counterculture movement and announced California as its home. It was a top five hit and has been used in numerous other works… it just has that ability to set you in a time and place like very few other songs can.

petsoundscover#2 – The Beach Boys – “God Only Knows” – (1966)

There’s only one reason this wasn’t our #1 song of 1966 and that is the fact that our #1 pick sort of defines the entire decade. This beautiful song was co-written by Brian Wilson and included on Pet Sounds, largely regarded as one of the best albums ever released. The lead vocals were actually done by Carl Wilson and it features a bunch of weird instruments including sleigh bells and the French horn. But all comes together absolutely perfectly.

220px-tempts-gettin-ready#3 – The Temptations – “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” – (1966)

Perhaps because it has been successfully covered by artists like The Rolling Stones, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” might be the most well-known Temptations tune with the probable exception of “My Girl.” People love this song and this is without a doubt the best version.

220px-aftermath-rollingstones-usalbum-cover#4 – The Rolling Stones – “Paint It, Black” – (1966)

Anyone ever figure out what Mick Jagger has against red doors? This song actually features a sitar, and rather prominently, giving it a weird feel – one very similar to that of “Sympathy for the Devil.” This was the Stones’ third #1 hit in the U.S. and it remains one of their most well-known and popular songs.

bustop1966hollies#5 – The Hollies – “Bus Stop” – (1966)

“Bus stop. Wet day. She’s there. I say: ‘Please share my umbrella.'” This song about a rainy day waiting for a bus is actually a love song about a guy meeting a girl at the bus stop and, after chasing her for a few months, finally getting to date (and eventually) marry her. It hit #5 in the U.S. and the U.K. and it’s a fantastic pop song.

220px-hums_of_the_lovin_spoonful#6 – The Lovin’ Spoonful – “Summer in the City” – (1966)

This quickly sung song features a variety of real life noises (like car horns and jackhammers) is one of the best songs from John Sebastian’s The Lovin’ Spoonful. It was a #1 hit in the U.S. and is a song unlike many others of its era due to its rapid pace.

soundssilence#7 – Simon & Garfunkel – “The Sound of Silence” – (1966)

“Hello darkness, my old friend…” This song is as at home in a scene of helicopters blasting over Vietnam as it is a New York apartment in 1966. The song was originally released in 1964 and it flopped, splitting up S&G. But then it started getting airplay and the producer remixed the song to make it a little livelier and it became the first #1 hit of 1966. Simon & Garfunkel reunited and put out this album. And hit after hit followed.