April 2017

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.