August 2017


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.

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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.