MI0000810841#13 – The Four Seasons – “Walk Like a Man” – (1963)

Man, listen to Frankie Valli hit those high notes at the beginning of this song. This was the third #1 hit for the Four Seasons. Whenever I hear it, I can only think of the Broadway, play Jersey Boys and the weird in-sync, in-place marching they do when they sing this. Apparently walking like a man means doing it in place and rigidly moving your arms.


220px-Then_He_Kissed_Me#14 – The Crystals – “And Then He Kissed Me” – (1963)

Before Motown’s girl groups there was Phil Spector. While not a number one hit, this is one of The Cyrstals best-remembered songs, perhaps because it was famously used in the legendary tracking shot from Goodfellas

The_Rooftop_Singers_-_Walk_Right_In#15 – The Rooftop Singers – “Walk Right In” – (1963)

Folk music definitely had its place prior to Bob Dylan and the quite political folk scene of the mid-1960s. Originally recorded in 1929, this version went to #1 for the Rooftop Singers, a folk trio who formed specifically to record this song. This is one of those songs most people know or can at least recognize the melody, even if they don’t realize it was a big hit from the 1960s.

220px-Elvis_Devil_in_Disguise#16 – Elvis Presley – “(You’re the) Devil in Disguise” – (1963)

We’re getting back to that point in time where Elvis was still churning out hits (prior to his late-60s revival). This #3 hit and was Elvis’ last top ten single on the R&B charts (who knew he had so many R&B singles?). 1963 was sort of the end of the road for Elvis’ unstoppable chart success. It would be years before he had another, memorable, smash hit (Christmas music not included).

Bluevelvet#18 – Bobby Vinton – “Blue Velvet” – (1963)

Immortalized by David Lynch’s movie of the same name, Bobby Vinton’s 1963 #1 hit is one of the best vocals of 1963. Lynch, correctly, points out that the mood of this song matches the mood of his film, and it does. This song has a certain mood about it and it still holds up 50+ years later.

R-5778530-1402408918-7949.jpeg#19 – The Chantays – “Pipeline” – (1963)

Imagine someone trying to release a hit single that is an instrumental in today’s world. Not gonna happen. Surf rock was huge in the early 1960s and had enough steam to put this into the top five. Over time it’s become one of the classic surf rock tracks.

51WRNaxdynL#20 – Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs – “Sugar Shack” – (1963)

This light rock song from New Mexico-based Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs was a #1 hit in 1963. Strangely, the guy who wrote the song gave the rights to his aunt as a gift. I like to imagine this being done prior to it becoming a big hit and the guy trying to wrestle the rights back after the fact.

The_Tymes_-_So_Much_In_Love#21 – The Tymes – “So Much In Love” – (1963)

Well, we’re officially in Oldies territory. Before rock and roll really got heavy, doo-wop was still an alternative popular music style. Doo-wop really hit its stride in the 50s, but had some staying power because this classic was a #1 hit in 1963.

Harry_Chapin_-_Verities_&_BalderdashHarry Chapin – “Cat’s in the Cradle” – (1974)

Harry Chapin died in a car crash about seven years after this song was released, so he had more time to write another #1 hit, but this would be it. It was a Grammy-nominated hit and has will forever be known as that sad song about father-son relationships.

oh_pretty_woman_single_cover#1 – Roy Orbison – “Oh, Pretty Woman” – (1964)

Is it just me or does Roy Orbison always look 50 years old regardless of what year his photo was taken? This song is the number one song of 1964 because it is iconic and was a #1 all over the world. You know what it is from those opening chords and most of the words (if not just the chorus) right down to Roy’s little growl at one point in the song.

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.