1964 was a big year for many up-and-coming acts of the early 1960s who would became major forces in the popular music scene during the latter half of the decade. Spurred on by the success of The Beatles, particularly after they conquored America, British acts like The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Searchers, Peter & Gordon, The Hollies, Herman's Hermits, Manfred Mann, The Animals Cilla Black, Sandie Shaw and Tom Jones all enjoyed their first taste of success with No. 1 hits in 1964, and added momentum to Britian becoming the the centre of popular music creativity through what became known as the British Invasion.
Over in the US, things were also happening - Motown launched a counter attack with a string of new talent that included Mary Wells, Martha & The Vandellas and The Supremes, and folk-rock bands like The Byrds were emerging out of the dying folk music movement and starting to make an impact on the charts. In Australia, Billy Thorpe & The Azteks joined the likes of Little Pattie, Ray Brown And The Whispers, Dinah Lee and Judy Stone as newcomers who made it to the top locally in 1964 (The Seekers were a few years ahead of them); honing their skills and developing their talents were others like Normie Roe, Johnny Farnham, Johnny Young, The Bee Gees, MPD Ltd, The Loved Ones, Bobbie & Laurie, The Twilights and The Easybeats who would emerge over the next few years.
Top 20 Singles of 1964
1. All My Loving - The Beatles
The first single to be lifted off The Beatles' second album, With The Beatles, it was also Paul McCartney's first solo vocal performance on the album (his vocal was double-tracked to bring it out in the mix) and became a standard in their concerts. George shows his prowess in playing guitar Country and Western-style during the instrumental break. The single and the album were released in Britain on 22nd November 1963 and in Australia a few weeks later. This was the first time Paul McCartney wrote the words to a song before the music. The song began as a poem he wrote for his girlfriend Jane Asher, who he met when she interviewed him for the magazine Radio Times. When When the Beatles toured with Roy Orbison in May/June1963, McCartney found himself missing Asher and came up with the words on their tour bus. He wrote the music that night. This is claimed to be the last song John Lennon ever heard. He was brought to the hospital, still alive, though barely so, after being shot. The doctors worked hard to save him, but to no avail. As his life sign monitor went flat, this was playing over the loudspeaker in the hospital. Yoko Ono has recalled how he started singing along with it softly with his last breath.
This was the first Beatles' single to be released in Britain in October 1962, but in Australia, it didn't surface until some time later because it only stayed on the charts for 6 weeks and only reached No. 17. John and Paul share the lead vocals on "Love Me Do", and while Paul is singing, John is blowing away on a harmonica he stole from a music shop in Arnhem, Holland. Two recordings of the song have been released. On the single version, Ringo plays drums. On the album version, session drummer Andy White played drums and Ringo played the tambourine. The reason for the two recordings was that producer George Martin had never heard Ringo play drums before this recording session, so he brought in White to play just in case Ringo failed to meet expectations. The other Beatles were not happy about the use of a session player on their records, or that Ringo had been relegated to playing such a basic instrument as the tambourine. They insisted that another version with Ringo playing drums be recorded and released as the single. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote "Love Me Do" in 1958, when John was 17 and Paul was 16. They made time for songwriting by skipping school. They had written songs before, but this was the first one they liked enough to record. When they played it for an audition with Parlophone Records, the producer they auditioned for was George Martin, who became a key figure in Beatles history as he helped shape their sound. He started tinkering with the song right away, adding the harmonica part. Lennon and McCartney started writing "I Saw Her Stabding there" in McCartney's living room after they skipped school one day, with Paul writing the majority of this song in September 1962. It was the last song John Lennon performed for a paid audience. He played it at Madison Square Garden on 28th November 1974 when he took the stage at an Elton John concert. Lennon introduced it as a song written by "an old flame".
"A Hard Day's Night" was released in July 1964 on The Beatles' third album, the soundtrack for The Beatles' first film. The story goes that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were always on the look-out for interesting titles to write a song around. They did just that when a tired Ringo uttered "God, it's been a hard days night" and again when a chauffer told Paul, "I'm very busy at the moment. I've been working eight days a week." The second prototype model OS 360/12 FG Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar ever made, owned and played by George Harrison, featured prominently on "A Hard Day's Night". It unusual harpsichord-like sound, which Harrison had first played on "You Can't Do That", the rarely played B-side of "Can't By Me Love", generated unprecedented international interest in the instrument. Within a year, everyone from The Byrds ("Me Tambourine Man") to The Searchers ("When You Walk In The Room") began featuring the Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar on their recordings.
John Lennon wrote this song, which contains long, repeating notes that are uncommon in Pop music. Even more unusual, Lennon sang it in glissando: "haaaard days night...". The melody resembles the Irish Folk song "Donall Og," with the same pentatonic, and small glissandos. Such glissandos you even find in the English ballad "Three Babes." Albert Goldman wrote in his 1980 book The Lives of John Lennon, "The whole composition is written in mixolydic key, an old key which was abandoned in the beginning of the seventeenth century, but is maintained in English and Irish Folk music." The Beatles recorded this in nine takes on Thursday, 16th April 1964. It was written and recorded in a little more than 24 hours. It had to be done quickly when film name was changed from "Beatlemania!" to "A Hard Day's Night."
The first of three No.1 singles to be lifted off the 'Hard Day's Night' album (it was released three months before the album), it features double-tracked lead vocals by Paul; it was one of the first Beatles songs where only one member of the group sang. In the first two takes of this song, John and George sang back up harmonies. Take four was the one they used. The version The Beatles intended to release was recorded in a theatre dressing room, but producer George Martin hit the roof when he heard the sound of a toilet flushing in the background, and insisted they re-record it. Not only that, their recording did not include George playing his guitar, as it was he who had gone to the toilet during the recording session. Paul McCartney wrote this song. Despite rumors to the contrary, he claimed it was not about a prostitute. Rather, the song makes a simple yet profound statement on what matters most in life. This was one of the first Pop songs to start with the chorus rather than a verse, that being producer George Martin's idea.
At the time of the release of 'The Wedding', Julie Rogers had told the New Musical Express that she wanted to become an international artiste. By the time this EP had been issued, just a few weeks later, that ambition had already been realised. Although she had other hits, it was 'The Wedding' that changed her career and guaranteed her an audience for life. This sentimental song sold worldwide, although it did not quite reach the top in the UK and Australia. Julie followed it up with two more hits, but never managed to produce anything as distinctive or original as her first great hit. 'The Wedding' was sufficiently well known to allow her to become a familiar performer on the UK cabaret scene. While still in her teens she worked briefly on a cruise ship - something she has done many times since, but in the role of starring performer - no longer as a stewardess.
Cilla (real name Priscilla White) worked as a cloakroom attendant at the legendary 'Cavern' in Liverpool when The Beatles performed there in the early days. Occasionally she would get the chance to sing with the groups and was eventually 'discovered' by Beatles entrepreneur Brian Epstein. She was placed under the same EMI production team as the Fab Four and under George Martin's guidance managed to produce a striking version of Burt Bacharach's 'Anyone Who Had A Heart', her second single. The same confident, strident vocalisation that she created on this disc would carry her on to make a series of individual sounding pop records during the next several years.
'You're My World', the follow up single to 'Anyone Who Had A Heart', proved she was no one-hit-wonder, and established her as one of the most successful female British recording artists of the decade, challenged only by Dusty Springfield. Produced by George Martin, 'You're My World' was originally an Italian ballad called "Il Mio Mondo," which he had translated by Carl Sigman and arranged by Johnny Pearson - becoming, "You're My World." Australian band Sherbet vocalist Daryl Braithwaite had a No.1 hit with his rendition of this song in August 1975, launching his successful solo career with it.
7. If I Fell / I Should Have known Better - The Beatles
This pair of songs was released on an EP in Britain with two other tracks from the 'A Hard Day's Night' album, but here in Australia they were released as a single. The songs received equal airplay on Australian radio, with neither one more popular than the other. "I Should Have Known Better" features John playing harmonica. The song makes an early appearance in the film, A Hard Day's Night, where The Beatles are seen playing cards in a train. John Lennon wrote "If I Fell", which may have been influenced by the ambivalence he felt during his first marriage. Lennon called this song "my first attempt at a ballad... it's semi autobiographical, but not consciously." Lennon and McCartney sang together into the same microphone when recording this song. John sang the lead on the intro, then Paul sang in a higher lead while John sang harmony.
The structure of the song, clearly influenced by producer George Martin, is rather intriguing. Its intro contains no musical elements found in the rest of the song, and the body of this song has no real verse/chorus structure, just 2 verses that each turn halfway through on an unexpected chord. Typical of Lennon is the emphasis on three recurrent long notes ("...give my heart..."). It has similarities with John Dunstable's motet "Quam pulchra es" from the fifteenth century. "I Should Have Known Better" was done in three takes on 25th February 1964. But it didn't end there - they completely remade it the next day. The take they used is Take 22. John Lennon's vocal was double-tracked to make it stand out; McCartney played a 12-string electric guitar.
Released as a single in November 1964, it was The Beatles' seventh single in Australia (their eighth in Britain) and seventh consecutive No.1. As a recording, it broke new ground as it was the first to feature feedback, and started a trend followed by the likes of Jimmi Hendrix who often used feedback as a musical note rather than background noise. When the song was first released the buzzing sound at the beginning of the song led to much speculation as to what it was. Most thought it to be the amplified sound of a bee. It wasn't recognised as feedback because feedback was never heard on records as producers always edited it out. George sings lead vocals and the sound of Paul playing around - it sounds like barking dogs - can be heard in the background at the end of the song. John Lennon wrote the majority of this song. The refrain is typical of Lennon's songwriting, with the three long notes: "I'm so glad." John got the idea for both the guitar riff and drumbeat rhythm from Bobby Parker's "Watch Your Step". In 2008, Parker said: "I've been in litigation for close to 55 years about some of this material that was stolen from me. They had 'Watch Your Step' on John Lennon's Jukebox ... John Lennon said how he had 'borrowed' that guitar part for HIS record, and pretty soon everybody knew about 'Watch Your Step.'"
Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs appeared on the Australian music scene at the time of the onslaught of Beatlemania early in 1964. Their first recording, 'Blue Day', did not chart. A few days before going into ther studio to cut their second single, the band got a hold of the latest Rolling Stones EP which had the song 'Poison Ivy', a 1959 Coasters' hit, on it. They believed (rightly so) that they could do a better version of it than The Stones; they recorded the song and it became their first and only No.1 hit around Australia.
The Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs line=up for this song was Billy Thorpe (lead vocals), Colin Baigent (drums), UK-born Tony Barber (rhythm guitar, vocals), Vince Melouney (lead guitar, vocals), and John "Bluey" Watson (bass). The song comes from the songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The song has been said to be about a femme fatale who is beautiful but dangerous, and much like poison ivy, can get under your skin and make you sick. However, in 2009, Leiber revealed in Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography: "'Poison Ivy' is a metaphor for a sexually transmitted disease - or the clap." Leiber and Stoller wrote another song in 1959 about a woman you might want to avoid in "Love Potion No.9." Other artists who have recorded this song include The Hollies, The Lambrettas, Manfred Mann, The Nylons and The Paramounts. The Lambrettas catchy re-make was the most successful in the UK, peaking at No.7 in 1980.watch the video online
PP&M were leaders in the folk music movement of the 1960s and would proabably have stayed closer to these roots had Bob Dylan not come along and changed both of their directions. This song is early PP&M, a negro spiritual written by John W Work Jr (1872-1925), a Christmas Carol to retell the Biblical account story of the Exodus of the Israelites led by Moses. Though they popularised Dylan's songs, 'Blowin' In The Wind' (1963) was the only Dylan song that was a top 20 hit for them in Australia. They never had a hit as big as this one in Australia with any of their Dylan renditions, though 'The Times They Are Achangin' (1963) charted for a long time.
The leading US band of the pre-psychedelic 1960s, The Beach Boys was formed in 1961 and took the lead from drummer Dennis Wilson's love of surfing in creating a totally new sound - surfing music. The boys collaborated in the writing of a string of songs about surfin' and cruising the boulevards of Los Angeles in their hot cars, all of which became top sellers and surf music classics. 'Hawaii', which follows that theme, was released at a time when the island state and its pristine surf beaches were being discovered by surfers the world over.
'Boys', lifted off The Beatles first album, Please Please Me, is an old Shirelles song (the B-side to their 1960 hit, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow") that was Ringo's first recorded attempt at singing lead. First released on an early live album recorded in Hamburg, Germany, before The Beatles hit the big time, "Long Tall Sally" is a cover of a Little Richard hit - the song was a regular in their early days before they starting writing their own material. The Beatles met Little Richard at the Star Club in Hamburg when they were performing there in 1962. "Long Tall Sally" was the last song The Beatles played at their last paid concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on 29th August 1966. The song was also The Kinks' first single. They decided to record it after seeing the reaction The Beatles got when they played it. Little Richard wrote the song, his biggest hit - about a transvestitie - while working as a dishwasher at a bus station in Macon, Georgia.
It contains many sexual references, but Richard made them vague enough so most people didn't catch them, so as to avoid the song getting censored. "Boys" was originally recorded by The Shirelles, a popular female vocal quartet of whom John Lennon was a big fan. The Beatles also recorded another Shirelle's song, Baby It's You. Pete Best had sung lead on this song at early live appearances, until he was fired and replaced by Ringo Starr. It was recorded for the Please Please Me album, which was put down in one day to take advantage of The Beatles' UK success. They filled the album with the singles they had released along with cover songs that were often part of their live show, which is how "Boys" made the cut. The budget for the album was 400 pounds (about $1,000), with each Beatle receiving a union scale pay of 29 pounds. Hear "Long Tall Sally" online
''Roll Over Beethoven' was an old Chuck Berry standard, written and first recorded by Berry in 1956. It came from the group's early rock'n'roll repertoire. It was re-recorded for 'With The Beatles', having already been cut a year earlier with George singing lead. "Hold Me Tight" sees Paul singing lead in a Little Richard-like style similar to "I Saw Her Standing There". It was essentially a McCartney composition and reflected his growing interest in writing his own material. 'Hold Me Tight' is lifted from The Beatles second album, With The Beatles. One of the lesser-known Beatles songs, it was recorded during the Please Please Me sessions, but right off the album. Paul wrote two songs called "Hold Me Tight", this one for the Beatles (on which he sings lead vocals), and one as a solo artist. During some live performances, Jimmy Nicol is seen playing drums while Ringo was getting his tonsils out.
Neither song ended up in the Elvis Presley hall of greats, but this single sold well nonetheless. They had both been originally recorded in 1958 just prior to Elvis commencing National Service and were rush released in September to prepare the public for Elvis' next movie, Roustabout. Ask Me was the Italian song written by Domenico Modugno. The English lyrics were written by Bill Giant, Bernie Baum, and Florence Kaye. Floyd Cramer is playing the organ.
Detroit born Wells began singing at the age of ten, and did the rounds of the local talent shows before walking in off the street to Motown Records to sell a song she had written, and walking out with a recording contract. The song, 'Bye Bye Baby' (1961) was a bit hit that was followed by a string of charting singles. Her career peaked with 'My Guy', a husky, loping minor-key ballad from the pen of Smokey Robinson. Mary switched labels soon after recording it, but was never able to repreat the spectacular success she enjoyed as one of Motown's frontline artists.
16. A World Without Love - Peter & Gordon
Paul McCartney wrote this decidedly Beatlesque melancholy ballad just as The Beatles were becoming famous, but it was never recorded by them except as a demo. When Peter Asher, the brother of Paul's then girlfriend, actress Jane Asher, formed a duo with fellow Liverpudlian Gordon Waller, Paul passed this song along with a number of others to help his friends along. 'World Without Love', 'Nobody I Know', 'Woman' and 'I Don't want To See You Again' were all Lennon-McCartney compositions, and became big hits for the pair as did this one. According to some sources, Peter Asher wrote the bridge ("middle eight") of the song. John Lennon had nothing to do with it, but got the co-credit because of an agreement with Paul when they were both in their teens. Peter & Jane Asher's father was an eminent London doctor and they lived on Wimpole Street in the City. Paul McCartney moved in there and in the basement wrote several very famous songs. After Peter & Gordon broke up, Peter Asher became the manager and producer of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. Waller passed away in July 2009, age 64.
17. Sick And Tired/About Love - Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs
The release of this single was very much a case of striking while the iron was hot. 'Poison Ivy' had shot to the top of the charts Australia-wide earlier in the year, so two further singles - this one, and the novelty dance song 'Mashed Potato' - were rush released. 'Sick and Tired' is a cover of a Searchers song found on their "Live at the Star Club" album. The song was written by Dave Bartholemew and Chris Kenner. The Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs' version stayed in the local charts for 17 weeks and peaked at No.12.
18. Have I The Right - The Honeycombs
This song was penned by the London songwriting team of Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley. They also wrote songs for Lulu, Elvis Presley, The Herd (Peter Frampton's group), Petula Clark, Engelbert Humperdink and many others. It was produced by Joe Meek whose own group, The Tornadoes, had a hit with the instrumental "Telstar" in 1962. The Honeycombs were a London band with a female drummer (Honey Lantree) who worked in a hairdressing salon ... hence the band's name. It was their solitary hit record. The song is typical of the stomp music of that time. Listen carefully and you will hear the band members stomping their feet throughout the song. Legend has it that it was recorded in a stairwell so as to get the right 'stomping' sound! (there is no stomping on the video, but back them, everybody mined their records on TV shows). The Dave Clark Five apparently did the same thing when recording "Bits and Pieces" in the same year. The trck was recorded by the legendary Joe Meek in his tiny apartment which doubled as his recording studio above a shop at 304 Holloway Road, London.
19. Viva Las Vegas - Elvis Presley
Elvis made three movies in 1964 - Viva Las Vegas, Roustabout and Kissin' Cousins - and this up-beat song is the title song from the first. The movie is considered his best, perhaps because he was given a decent script and for the first and only time in his career, a leading lady who was equal to him in terms of screen presence - Ann-Margret. Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman wrote this as the title song for the film. Among the other songs they wrote for Presley were the hits "Little Sister," "Suspicion," "Surrender" and "His Latest Flame (Marie's The Name)." The song is featured twice in the film The Big Lebowski. During the film it is performed by a Rock band called Big Johnson featuring Bunny Lebowski, the wife of Big Lebowski. During the closing credits Shawn Colvin performs a softer version. Viva Las Vegas was the most successful of the 31 films Elvis starred in, returning more than $5 million to MGM Studios on an investment of less than $1 million. Glenn Campbell, then a session player, played lead guitar on this recording. The song was revived by ZZ Top, who took it to #10 in the UK in 1992.
After a string of No.1 hits in which Roy Orbison sang the part of the broken hearted lover, the singer songwriter took somewhat of a gamble with this song, in which he still portrayed himself as a loner, but this time he actually gets the girl. It was a gamble that paid off, becoming Orbison's biggest hit ever and a song that is without doubt his signature tune. Regarding its composition, Orbison recalled he was with his songwriting partner Bill Dees at his house when he told Dees to get started writing by playing anything that came to mind. Orbison's wife Claudette came in and said she was going to go into town to buy something. Orbison asked if she needed any money, and Dees cracked, "Pretty woman never needs any money." Inspired, Orbison started singing, "Pretty woman walking down the street." Recalls Dees: "He sang it while I was banging my hand down on the table and by the time she returned we had the song. I love the song. From the moment that the rhythm started, I could hear the heels clicking on the pavement, click, click, the pretty woman walking down the street, in a yellow skirt and red shoes. We wrote "Oh Pretty Woman" on a Friday, the next Friday we recorded it, and the next Friday it was out. It was the fastest thing I ever saw. Actually, the yeah, yeah, yeah in "Oh Pretty Woman" probably came from The Beatles." Dees also recounts how the distinctive growling cry of "Mercy" came about: "I can't do that growl like Roy, but the "Mercy" is mine.
"I used to say that all the time when I saw a pretty woman or had some good food. Still do." This song contains probably the best bridge ever written - it's a totally different melody than the rest of the song. The transition back into the final verse is so seamless it's not obvious that the bridge is a totally different melody. Orbison and his wife Claudette had recently reconciled after some tough times, but as this song was climbing the charts, Roy found out she had been cheating on him and filed for divorce.
In 1966, they remarried, but 2 months later Claudette was killed when the motorcycle she was riding was hit by a truck. Orbison faced tragedy again when his two oldest sons died in a fire at his home in 1968. He was on tour at the time. This was Orbison's last big hit. His career faded fast, but was revived in the '80s when prominent musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and George Harrison cited him as an influence and invited him to join various projects. He was inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and joined The Traveling Wilburys with Dylan, Tom Petty, Harrison and Jeff Lynne. As he was enjoying this career revival, he died of a heart attack on 6th December 1988 at age 52.watch the video online
Diane Jacobs (her real name) lobbed in to Sydney from New Zealand in 1964 to appear on the TV show Sing, Sing, Sing, and soon became a regular on Bandstand. She was signed up by HMV and this, her first single, immediately rocketed to the top of the Australian charts. It was a revival of a 1958 Huey 'Piano' Smith rhythm and blues number. She followed it with 'Reet Petite' and quickly got a reputation as Miss Mod because of her progressive dress style. Huey 'Piano' Smith's version online
This single marked the first Australian chart success of New Zealand band Ray Columbus & the Invaders. It was a cover version of a song by Birmingham, England band, The Senators, whose lineup included future Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. The song re-appeared in 1989 when New Zealand rapper duo Double J; Twice The T released the song, making use of Ray Columbus's hit version. They transformed it from a pop song about a Mod chick, to an ode to their mother, a former mod chick.
A year after suffering a nervous breakdown in 1962, O'Keefe was back on top with a number of hit records and compare of the popular TV show, Sing, Sing, Sing. He followed up 'Shake Baby Shake', 'Move Baby Move' and 'Twist It Up' with this song, which featured a 31-piece orchestra playing a special arrangement by its composers, American husband and wife songwiting duo, Boudleaux and Felice Bryant. One of the finest recordings ever put down in Australia up until that time, the song is regarded by many as O'Keefe's best.
6. 4,003,221 Tears From Now/Gonna Find Me A Bluebird - Judy Stone
Judy Stone was popular Australian singer, a regular on the long-running TV pop show Bandstand, often on the charts in Australia from the early 60s to the mid-70s. This, her third single and second hit, was released in April 1964. It was followed by a number of charting singles, after which she gradually began to move into the club circuit.
7. White Rabbit - Peter Posa
A New Zealand born one-hit wonder (in this country at least), Peter Posa was a top guitarist who specialised in recording and performing covers of big intrumental hits. In the late 1960s, he spent some time in the US after being spotted by Chet Atkins. Peter Posa was born the son of Dalmatian wine growers from Henderson, New Zealand. He began plying guitar at seven, started recording at 18 and turned professional at 20. His most succesful record was "The White Rabbit" which reached the charts in most Australian states in 1963. He was a technically proficient player and used multi-tracking to good effect, reminding one of Les Paul on occasions. Hear the song online
The A-side, comprising 2 1/2 minutes of sheer nonsense had only three words in its lyrics - "Mashed potato, yeah". It set a world record of Yeah's for all time ... 72 Yeah's in 2 and a half minutes!! It was first heard in Australia on The Searchers' album, Live at the Star Club, recorded in Hamburg in 1963 and was written by Dessie Rozier. Rufus Thomas' version (1963) is believed to be the original. Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs, who were just breaking onto the local music scene, got a hold of a copy of The Searchers' album and recorded three cover songs from it - 'Sick And Tired', 'Sho' Know A Lot About Love' and this one. Of the three recordings, 'Sick And Tired' and 'Mashed Potato' were both hits, the latter reaching No. 7 in Sydney, No. 7 in Melbourne and No. 9 in Brisbane. The Mashed Potato was a popular dance, which accounts for the song's name.
Incidentally, there were a number of songs recorded at that time that did little more than repeat the name of a dance craze. Tommy James & The Shondells recorded a hit called 'Hanky Panky', which repeated over and over again, "My Baby Does The Hanky Panky". Chubby Checker then had two hits which extolled the virtues of dancing The Twist - and we Baby Boomers criticise the current generation of youth for the garbage they listen to! Hear 'Mashed Potato' online
In 1963, Johnny Chester became compere of a TV country-pop show called Teen Time On Ten. It featured overseas guest artists who were performing in Australia, like Connie Francis and the Everly Brothers. A years later as Beatlemania struck, he switched to the ABC to compere its national pop show, Teen Scene. The 'in' word was teen, so it is appropriate that his next single should be called 'Teeny'. It stayed in the charts for 12 weeks and made it to No.12.
10. Reet Petite/Do The Blue Beat - Dinah Lee A hit for Dina Lee, that was the follow-up to the even bigger seller, 'Don't You Know, Yockomo'. 'Reet Petite' was written by Berry Gordy and Tyran Carlo for Little Millie who Lee admired. Jackie Wilson also recorded a version. Max Merritt and His Meteors provided the backing. Lee was born Diane Marie Jacobs on 19th August 19 1943 in the small South Island town of Waimate. She was raised by a foster family in Christchurch, when her parents split up, but Diane always kept in touch with her father. He sold carpet in a department store, but also ran and promoted teen dances in his spare time.
One night he asked Diane if she would like to sing some songs at one of the dances, and she jumped at the chance. The crowd loved it and she started singing regularly on Saturday nights. She made her professional debut in 1960 singing at a dance in a small Christchurch hall with Bobby Davis and the Dazzlers. "Reet Petite (The Sweetest Girl in Town)" (original subtitle: The Finest Girl You Ever Want To Meet) was first made popular by Jackie Wilson. It was his first solo hit after leaving the legendary R&B group The Dominoes and, over the years, has become one of his biggest international chart successes. Written by Berry Gordy and Tyran Carlo, a pseudonym of Jackie's cousin Billy Davis, and produced by Carl Davis, the song is one of the classics of rock and roll music. Taking the title from the Louis Jordan song 'Reet, Petite and Gone', this was Jackie Wilson's first recording as a solo artist. Hear Jackie Wilson's version online
Other Hits of 1964
Navy Blue - Diane Renay Most notably famous for her 1964 Hit Recording, "Navy Blue", one-hit wonder Diane Renay was born Renee Diane Kushner in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where many other famous recording stars such as, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Dee Dee Sharp, and Chubby Checker) just to name a few, also hailed from the South Philadelphia area. As soon as Diane started talking, she started singing along with any song she would hear on the radio or record player that was playing in her parents home. By the time she was 12 years old, she started taking voice lessons with a well known vocal teacher/coach in Philadelphia, by the name of Artie Singer whose band, Danny & the Juniors, had a major hit record at the time entitled 'At The Hop'.
By the time Diane was 14, she entered into a recording studio and with the assistance of 4 Boys (a group of friends and with whom she also often sang with, Diane sang lead and they sang the Do Wop Background), she recorded several songs. After her parents heard the demo recording, they were shocked by what they heard, and realised that Diane's vocal coach was right in telling her when she was only 12, that when she gets older, she should pursue a career as a recording artist. Diane was soon signed up with a recording company and her first single, 'Little White Lies', was released in 1962 when she was only 16 years old and still at school. 'Navy Blue' hit the Top 10 Billboard Chart in February 1964. It was followed by a similar song, 'Kiss Me Sailor', her fourth single, which sold well but never reached the heights of 'Navy Blue'. Diane never had another hit record.
A plaintiff cry from the heart of a guy/girl who is besotted by someone yet that person doesn't even know he/she exists. It was this song that introduced me to a musical instrument I came to adore, the Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar. The introduction and fills throughout the song are played by Mike Pender on his cherry red 360/12 Rose Morris Model 1993. Besides the version by The Searchers, Jackie DeShannon's original recording (she wrote it) is very listenable and Paul Carrick's (lead singer of Mike And The Mechanics) 1987 hit is a particularly likeable rendition too. Former ABBA lead singer, Agnetha Fältskog, has a version on her 2004 album, My Colouring Book. The Searchers are a British rock act who emerged as part of the 1960s merseybeat scene along with The Beatles, The Swinging Blue Jeans, and Gerry & The Pacemakers. Originally founded as a skiffle group in Liverpool in 1959, the band took their name from the classic 1956 John Wayne western, The Searchers. Their first single, "Sweets for My Sweet", was a No. 1 hit in the UK and a lesser hit in Australia. Live performance video online
Needles And Pins - The Searchers
Jack Nitzsche, a recorded producer who worked on a lot of movies, wrote this song with Sonny Bono, also a record producer and songwriter who had first made a name for himself working with Larry Williams on songs like "Bony Maronie" and "Dizzy Miss Lizzie." He later married his girlfriend, Cher. Jackie DeShannon cut the original recording in 1963, but her version barely made it onto the charts. The Searchers heard British performer Cliff Bennett sing it at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany (where The Beatles played for a while), and decided to make it their next single.
The Searchers were the first group to knock the Beatles out of the number one spot on the charts (after their looong streak) in the US with this song. Though the intro sounds like the 12-string guitar used for the introduction of "When You Walk In The Room", in fact two 6-string guitars are playing in unison - an engineer accidentally right the echo switch on but liked the result. It is also one of the few recordings where you can hear a squeaky hi-top pedal! View the video online | hear the origtinal recording online
The House of The Rising Sun - The Animals (right)
British beat group, The Animals, fronted by Eric Burdon, burst onto the music scene with this No.1 hit. Also called "Rising Sun Blues", it is a folk song from the United States that tells of a life gone wrong in New Orleans. Like many classic folk ballads, the authorship of "The House of the Rising Sun" is dubious. Folklorist Alan Lomax, author of the seminal 1941 songbook Our Singing Country, wrote that the melody was taken from a traditional English ballad and the lyrics written by a pair of Kentuckians named Georgia Turner and Bert Martin. Other scholars have proposed different explanations, although Lomax's is generally considered most plausible. The phrase "House of the Rising Sun" is a euphemism for a brothel, but it is not known whether or not the house described in the lyrics was an actual or fictitious place. The oldest known existing recording is by versatile entertainer Clarence Ashley and Gwen Foster (1934).
Ashley thought he had learned it from his grandfather, Enoch Ashley. In an interview by Martin Scorsese in his Dylan biopic No Direction Home, folksinger Dave van Ronk recounted that he had originally worked out the arrangement for his coffee house act. Bob Dylan then "borrowed" the arrangement for his first album, 1962's Bob Dylan, without Van Ronk's permission. Vocalist Eric Burdon and The Animals heard Josh White perform "House" in Europe and decided to cover it. Bob Dylan has said he first heard The Animals' version on his automobile radio and "jumped out of his car seat" because he liked it so much. Dylan stopped playing the song after The Animals' hit because his fans accused him of plagiarizing Burdon's version.
Regardless of its sources of inspiration, The Animals' take on "House of the Rising Sun" sounded wholly new: writer Dave Marsh described it as "the first folk-rock hit," sounding "as if they'd connected the ancient tune to a live wire," while writer Ralph McLean of the BBC agreed that "it was arguably the first folk rock tune," calling it "a revolutionary single" after which "the face of modern music was changed for ever." Recorded in just one take on 18th May 1964, it started with a famous electric guitar A minor chord arpeggio by Hilton Valentine, that inspired countless beginning guitarists. Eric Burdon's lead vocal has been variously described as "howling", "soulful" and "deep and gravelly as the north-east English coal town of Newcastle that spawned him." Finally, Alan Price's pulsating organ part completed the sound. Burdon later said, "We were looking for a song that would grab people's attention," and they succeeded; it was the group's breakthrough hit in both countries and became their signature song. The Animals' rendition of the song is recognized as one of the classic outputs of the British Invasion. It ranked No.122 on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. It is also one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. The RIAA placed it as number 240 on their Songs of the Century list. In 1999 it received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.
Various places in New Orleans, Louisiana have been proposed as the inspiration for the song, with varying plausibility. It is possible that the "House of the Rising Sun" is a metaphor for either the slave pens of the plantation, the plantation house, or the plantation itself, which were the subjects and themes of many traditional blues songs. Dave van Ronk claimed in his autobiography that he had seen pictures of the old New Orleans Prison for Women, the entrance to which was decorated with a rising sun design. He considered this proof that the House of the Rising Sun had been a nickname for the prison. View the video online
Baby Love - The Supremes (right)
"Baby Love" was one of the most popular songs of the late 20th century, and The Supremes' most successful single. It was also the second of five Supremes songs in a row to go to No.1 (the others are "Where Did Our Love Go," "Come See About Me," "Stop! In the Name of Love," and "Back in My Arms Again", and one of 12 Supremes songs to hit No. 1. It is no small coincidence that "Baby Love" and its immediate predecessor, "Where Did Our Love Go," sound a lot alike: producers Holland-Dozier-Holland (H-D-H) worked into the new song all of the elements that had made the previous song a big hit: Diana Ross' cooing lead vocal, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson's "baby-baby" backup, the Funk Brothers' instrumental track, and teenager Mike Valvano's footstomping. H-D-H had hoped they could make lightning strike twice - and succeeded. View the video online
Chapel of Love - The Dixie Cups
Written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, the song tells of the happiness and excitement the narrator feels on her wedding day. Previously recorded by the Crystals and the Ronettes, the definitive version of the song was recorded by the Dixie Cups in 1964. Though it has been criticised as being light, fluffy and crass, the song was nevertheless ranked No.279 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, being the group's only song on the list. Bette Midler featured "Chapel Of Love" on her 1972 debut album, The Divine Miss M. Hear the song online
Dancing In The Streets - Martha and the Vandellas (right)
Produced by William "Mickey" Stevenson and written by Stevenson and Marvin Gaye, the song was conceived by Stevenson who was showing a rough draft of the lyrics to Gaye disguised as a ballad. When Gaye read the original lyrics, however, the singer said that the song sounded more danceable. With Gaye collaborating with him in lyrics, the duo composed the single with Kim Weston in mind to record it. Weston passed on the song and when Martha Reeves came to Motown's Hitsville USA studios, the duo presented ikt to her. Hearing Gaye's demo of it, Gaye and Stevenson granted Reeves' request to arrange her own vocals to fit the song's message and the song was recorded in two takes. The interesting loud beat of the drums in its instrumentation can be attributed to the banging of a crowbar. While produced as an innocent dance single (it became the precursor to the disco movement of the 1970s), the song took on a different meaning when riots in inner-city America led to many young black demonstrators citing the song as a civil rights anthem to social change which also led to some radio stations taking the song off its play list .
In 2006, it was announced that Martha and the Vandellas' version of "Dancing in the Street" would be one of fifty sound recordings preserved by the Library of Congress to the National Recording Registry. A second hit version was done by Mick Jagger and David Bowie in 1985, as part of the Live Aid charity movement. Although a hit at the time of its release, the record (as well as the rushed video) is generally derided today. Many Bowie, Jagger and rock fans in general often refer to this pairing as Ja-Bo (or JaBo) a derisive allusion to the saccharine media nick names for celebrity couples. View the video online
Do Wah Diddy Diddy - Manfred Mann (right)
The first No.1 hit song for Manfred Mann, it was originally performed in 1963 by the American band, The Exciters. Written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, Manfred Mann's version was recorded on 11th June 1964, and released a month later. The song is a repeated motif in L.A. Story, a 1991 movie by Steve Martin. As a result of the song's prominent use in the Bill Murray film, Stripes, it has become a popular military cadence. Manfred Mann was a British Beat, R&B and pop band, named after its South African keyboard player and founder, who later led the successful 1970s follow-on group Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The band's lead singer was Paul Jones. View the video online
Anyone Who Had a Heart - Cilla Black
Written by American songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and Hal David for Dionne Warwick, her version was recorded at the same December 1963 session in New York that yielded "Walk On By". Released as a single in 1963 and eventually appearing on her album of the same name, it became her first top ten hit in the US, but did little business elsewhere. The song was covered by several 1960s female singers, including American singer Vikki Carr and numerous British singers including Dusty Springfield and Cilla Black; it was the latter's version which became the No.1 hit in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The song, with its many time signatures, was unlike many ballads on the scene in the early 1960s. As such, notable stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Petula Clark (who performed the song in French as "Ceux Qui Ont Un Coeur") added the song to their repertoires. Over the years the song has become an oft-covered standard of excellence. More recently, Luther Vandross, Wynonna Judd, and Linda Ronstadt, Jan Graveson, Tim Curry, and Bic Runga have recorded, as has Sandie Shaw, one of the few British girl singers who did not cover the song in the 1960s. View the video online
My Boy Lollipop - Little Millie, aka Millie Small (right)
A bouncy little number that helped develop the musical styles of Reggae and Ska. To this day, it is one of the best-selling hits with a Reggae or Ska influence. The song was originally an R&B hit around 1956-57 for an American singer named Barbie Gaye. Small's version (which ironically was a hit in Britain before America) was a bigger, international hit. After she recorded a couple of songs for a label in her native Jamaica, Small was brought to England by Chris Blackwell to record this song; she was 17 at the time. Blackwell would later become a successful music producer who contributed to the development of Reggae music; he later discovered and worked with Bob Marley. Legend has it that a young Rod Stewart played the harmonica for this song. Small did have a minor hit with a similarly sounding follow-up single called 'Sweet William' but a string of other singles failed to chart and Millie drifted back into obscurity. Hear the song online
Downtown - Petula Clark (right)
"Downtown" was composed by Tony Hatch following a first-time visit to New York City. It was his original intention to present it to The Drifters, but when British singer Petula Clark heard the incomplete tune, she proposed that if he could write lyrics to match the quality of the melody, she would be interested in recording it. Literally thirty minutes before the song was scheduled to be recorded, Hatch was completing the lyrics in the studio's men's room. "Downtown" was released in late 1964 and became a best seller in English, French, Italian, and German versions, topping music charts worldwide (with 3 million copies sold in the US alone) and introducing Clark to the American record-buying public. She continued her success with a string of fifteen consecutive Top 40 hits. "Downtown" was the first song by a British female artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart and went on to win a Grammy Award for "Best Rock and Roll Song". Clark re-recorded the song three times, in 1976 (with a disco beat), in 1984 (with a new piano and trumpet intro that leads into the song's original opening), and in 1996. The original 1964 recording was also remixed and re-released in 1988, 1999, and 2003. "Downtown" has been covered numerous times by other artists since Clark's original recording, most notably by Dolly Parton in 1984. View the video online
Fun, Fun, Fun - The Beach Boys
This Beach Boys hit was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love about Shirley England, the daughter of the owner of radio station KNAK in Delta, Utah where she worked as a teenager. She borrowed her father's Ford Thunderbird to go study at the library. Instead of driving to the library, she ended up at a hamburger stand. When her father found out he took the car away. The next day she was at the radio station complaining about it to the staff while The Beach Boys were visiting and they were inspired to write this song. Murry, the Wilsons' father, always the critical conservative, denounced the whole idea for the song as immoral, and tried to prevent the group from recording it. The opening electric guitar introduction of the song was lifted from Chuck Berry's 1958 hit, "Johnny B. Goode", as a tribute to Berry, however the latter was not impressed. Backed by a cover version of Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers' "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", "Fun, Fun, Fun" became a top-five hit.
The argument with Mr Wilson Snr. over the song led to a further deterioration in family relationships. The Beach Boys eventually purchased Murry a fake audio console for their sessions, so he could twiddle knobs to his heart's delight without destroying anything. The situation came to a head when Murry was sacked as The Beach Boys manager a few months later when "I Get Around" was about to become their first No.1 single. "Fun, Fun, Fun" was re-recorded in 1996 by the then-current lineup of the Beach Boys in conjunction with Status Quo, with a new verse written for the song. The Beach Boys sang mainly backing vocals, with Status Quo's Francis Rossi performing the lead vocal for the entire song, except the new verse, which was sung by Mike Love. View the video online
I'm Into Something Good - Herman's Hermits (right)
A song composed by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, it was the first of a string of hits for British Mod group, Herman's Hermits. Formed in Manchester in 1963, their trademark simple, non-threatening and clean-cut "boys next door" image made them easier to listen to and more accessible than other British Invasion bands. This song was originally recorded by ex-Cookie member Ethel "Earl-Jean" (or Darlene) McCrea in 1964, which reached No. 38 on the US chart. Herman's Hermits' release at the height of the British Invasion came while Brill Building songwriters, Goffin and King in this case, found themselves in danger of obsolescence, as most of the British groups wrote their own material. The song proved there was still a great deal of life in the song machine. The song was featured in the first Naked Gun movie in 1988. From that movie's soundtrack, a solo version by Herman's Hermits frontman Peter Noone climbed the charts that year. View the video online
(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me - Sandie Shaw (right)
Penned by the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, it was originally a minor hit for American singer Lou Johnson, but it was then discovered by British pop manager Eve Taylor on a visit to the U.S. while looking for songs for her new recruit, Sandie Shaw (born Sandra Ann Goodrich). Shaw's version became her breakthrough hit. With her hair, slender frame, model cheekbones and outfits, Shaw has been described as the ultimate working-class 'it' girl. An icon of the Swinging 60s, Shaw was notable for her quirk of usually appearing barefoot. This song was recorded by Dionne Warwick in 1968 and has been recorded by several other artists, including R.B. Greaves, who had a top forty hit in the United States with his version in 1970. It was also the first hit for the British group Naked Eyes, who took the song into the American Top 10 in 1983. Naked Eyes' version, which curiously failed to make the top 40 in the UK, remains the version of the song with which most Americans are likely most familiar. Sandie Shaw re-recorded the song in 1985 for the soundtrack of the movie Letter to Brezhnev. View the video online
I Believe - The Bachelors
Songstress Jane Froman, troubled by the uprising of the Korean conflict in 1952 so soon after World War II, asked Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl and Al Stillman to compose a song for her to sing that would offer hope and faith to the populace. It was Erwin Drake who wrote the standards "Good Morning Heartache" for Billie Holiday and "It Was A Very Good Year" for Frank Sinatra). In addition to Jane Froman, "I Believe" has been recorded by many others, and has become both a popular and religious standard. Frankie Laine's version spent a total of 18 weeks at No.1 in the UK, a record for most non-consecutive weeks. It was the biggest-selling single of 1953 in that country. Laine once said of this song: "It accomplished an awful lot in its day because it said all the things that need to be said in a prayer and yet it didn't use any of the holy words - Lord, God, Him, His, Thine, Thou. It became a top 10 hit for the Irish trio the Bachelors in 1964 and No.1 UK hit for Robson & Jerome in 1995. Hear the song online
Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying - Gerry & The Pacemakers (right)
Gerry & the Pacemakers were the second group be signed by pop group manager Brian Epstein (The Beatles were the first). They were an important part of the Merseybeat sound emanating from Liverpool, UK. Engineered by Beatles producer George Martin, this was their second hit, following "Ferry Cross The Mersey" to top the charts. Gerry Marsden wrote many of the band's songs, including this one. Marsden has always claimed he wrote it to his then girlfriend who today is still his wife, however it was written by Joe Greene, and was a No.2 R&B hit for Louis Jordan in 1946. Likely, the version that influenced Marsden was Ray Charles' 1960 rendition. It is contained on his 1960 album, "The Genius Of Ray Charles". Hear the song online
Where Did Our Love Go - The Supremes
The song that turned The Supremes into superstars, recorded for the Motown label, was written and produced by Motown's main production team Holland-Dozier-Holland. It was also the first of five Supremes songs in a row to reach No.1 (the others are "Baby Love", "Come See About Me", "Stop! In the Name of Love", and "Back in My Arms Again"). H-D-H had originally composed the song and prepared the instrumental track for The Marvelettes to record. They rejected the song, thinking it childish, and H-D-H offered it to the Supremes, who by early 1964 had only one top-forty hit, "When the Lovelights Starts Shining Through His Eyes", and eight failed singles.
Although The Supremes were apprehensive at first about the song, they decided that they really didn't have a choice in the matter. Upon learning the Supremes had chosen to record it, the Marvelettes warned the girls to stand up for themselves and not just take anything H-D-H would give them. As a result, when the song was recorded on 18th April 1964, there was a bit of animosity on the part of the Supremes towards singing the song. Lamont Dozier was forced at one point to re-do the arrangement of the background vocals, replacing the original, more complex backing with simple repetitions of the word "baby". One of the most famous aspects of "Where Did Our Love Go" was its rhythm section, comprised primarily of footstomps. This sound effect was performed by an Italian-American teenager named Mike Valvano, who stomped on two wooden boards suspended by strings, to create the aural illusion of a group of foot-stompers. Handclaps were overdubbed for the 45 RPM single mix of the song.
Since the lead vocal was originally written to be sung by The Marvelettes' lead singer Gladys Horton, it was arranged in a register lower than the Supremes' lead singer Diana Ross' natural register. The resulting vocal track had a sensual appeal not present in Ross' earlier, more juvenile-sounding work, and she elatedly rushed to Motown chief Berry Gordy's office, and dragged him to the basement studio at Hitsville U.S.A. to hear it. Gordy remarked that the song had potential, possibly enough to make it to the top ten. Six weeks after the single's release in June 1964, while the Supremes were on tour as part of Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars, the song made it to No.1. The girls began the tour at the bottom of the bill; by the conclusion of the tour, they were at the top. The song became the focal point and title track of the group's second album, Where Did Our Love Go, released later that year. View the video online
Only You Can Do It - Francoise Hardy (right)
The French darling of the Swinging 60s and answer to Britain's Sandie Shaw, Francoise Hardy is arguably one of the most talented singer-songwriters France has ever produced. As a 16 year old, Hardy answered a newspaper advertisement looking for young singers and signed her first contract with the record label Vogue in November 1961. Five months later, shortly after finishing school, her first album, Oh oh Chéri, appeared, with the title song written by Johnny Hallyday’s writing duo. The flip side of the record, “Tous Les Garçons Et Les Filles” became a huge success, with 2 million copies sold. In 1963, she represented Monaco in the Eurovision Song Contest, being placed 5th with her song "L'amour s'en va". Her third hit, released in 1965, was the lively "Je veux qu'il Revienne", a French version of British girl group The Vernon Girls' "Only You Can Do It". Her biggest English language hit in Britain was the self-penned "All Over The World" (Dans Le Monde Entier), which reached the top 20 in March 1965, and prompted a French release of English versions of four of her songs as well as English versions of other French songs of hers.
"All Over The World" (Dans Le Monde Entier) became her first British Top 20 single and her only Top 40 single in Australia. This success prompted Hardy to eventually recorded in French, English, Italian, Spanish and German. The Seekers, who were then based in England, covered "All Over The World" (the English version of "Dans le monde entier" which she wrote in a lonely hotel room during her concert tour in Brazil thinking about her loved ones) on their album, Come The Day, a year later. "Tar And Cement", an English version of her French hit, "La maison où j'ai grandi", was a big hit in Australia for Verdelle Smith in 1966. As well as a singer, Hardy became something of a fashion icon, her slender frame suiting the latest styles by top designers such as Yves Saint-Laurent and Paco Rabanne. Hardy's trademark outfit was jeans and a lether jacket, though she often turned heads showing off her lanky legs in a short mini skirt. Hear the song online
The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss) - Betty Everett (right)
The original version of this song was released by Merry Clayton, however, it did not become a hit until Betty Everett recorded it for her 1963 album, It's In His Kiss, and then releaaed it as a single in 1964. Many other versions of this song have been recorded by such artists as Linda Ronstadt, Aretha Franklin, Cher, The Supremes and Lulu. Versions which alter the gender of the song (i.e., "it's in her kiss") have been recorded by such artists as The Newbeats, The Hollies and The Searchers. Linda Lewis had a hit in the United Kingdom with her version in 1975. Kate Taylor's version became a Hot 100 hit when released in 1977. Though they never recorded a studio version of their duet, Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow performed "The Shoop Shoop Song" during several joint concert appearances throughout the mid 1970s. The most notable of these was a 1976 appearance on Saturday Night Live. Cher's 1990 remake was lifted from the Mermaids movie soundtrack. Recording the song was a case of deja-vu for Cher - she was one of the back-up singers on Betty Everett's recording. Hear the song online
Under The Boardwalk - The Drifters (right)
Written by Kenny Young and Arthur Resnick, the lyric describes a tryst between a man and his beloved in a seaside town, who plan to privately meet "out of the sun" and out of sight from everyone else under a boardwalk. The instrumentation includes güiro, triangle and violins. The song's chorus is unusual in that it switches from a major to minor key. It occasionally quotes the chorus of the Drifters' prior hit "Up on the Roof". The song was set to be recorded on 21st May 1964, but the band's lead singer, Rudy Lewis, died unexpectedly the night before. Lewis had sung lead on all of their hits including "Up on the Roof" since the 1960 departure of Ben E. King. Rather than re-schedule the studio session to find a new frontman, former Drifters backup singer Johnny Moore performed the lead vocals for the recording. The last-minute move was a success. "Under the Boardwalk" has since been covered many times, including by The Beach BoysThe Rolling Stones, John Mellencamp, The Undertones, Bette Midler, and Tom Tom Club. Versions by Billy Joe Royal, actor Bruce Willis, and Lynn Anderson all reached the US Billboard charts. View the video online
Mr. Tambourine Man - The Byrds (right)
In Australia, Bob Dylan did not enjoy anywhere near the success in terms of record sales as he did in Amercia and Europe. Down-under, it was right to the likes of Peter, Paul and Mary and The Byrds to poularise his music. This song, written and performed by Dylan, and featured on his 1965 album, Bringing It All Back Home, was recorded by The Byrds in January 1965, before the release of Dylan's own version. The single arrived prior to their debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man, which was released around the time the single topped the charts. The album brought the folk-rock sound into mainstream American consciousness. The song as sung by The Byrds is No.79 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. As sung by Bob Dylan it is listed as No.106 on the same list. Structurally, the song is notable for the fact that it begins with an iteration of the chorus, rather than following the conventional pop song structure, which typically employs a brief instrumental introduction that leads into the first verse.
There are many theories about the meaning of the song. One interpretation is that it allusively recounts Dylan's early experiences with LSD, and this is supported by the prominent use of the word "trip" in the first line of the second verse. Bruce Langhorne, a noted Greenwich Village folk guitarist, may well have been an inspiration for the song by way of the giant Turkish tambourine-like frame drum he was often known to play in the time leading up to the song's composition. The electric guitar accompaniment on the album version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" is among Langhorne's numerous credits on Bob Dylan's recordings. Though the indstrument was first heard being played by George Harrison on a number of tracks on The Beatles' album, A Hard Day's Night, it was The Byrds' version of "Mr Tambourine Man" that popularised the use of the Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar in pop music, its twangy "jangle" becoming the identifying "sound" of that band. Watch the video online | recording outtakes
You Really Got Me - The Kinks (right)
Written by Ray Davies and performed by his band, The Kinks, of which he was the lead singer. It was released as the group's third single in August 1964, and reached No.1 on the UK singles charts the following month. It was the group's breakthrough hit, and established them as one of the top British Invasion acts. "You Really Got Me" was built around parallel 5ths and octaves, and was to prove heavily influential on later rock musicians, particularly in the Heavy Metal genre. It is considered to be the prototypical heavy metal and proto-punk song. For its era the song was raw and gritty, an edgy piece of otherwise straight guitar music with lyrics that hinted at pleading and mad passion. It was the instrumentation, however, which caught the ear - more adult than the early Beatles, it also preceded the Rolling Stones early fuzz guitar-driven songs. The song was actually recorded by the Kinks in a number of styles before the final sound was achieved. The group was under tremendous pressure for a hit from their record company Pye, after their two previous singles had failed to chart. Ray Davies in particular was stubbornly persistent in forcing the Kinks' management and record company to take the time and money needed to develop the record's landmark sound and style. The influential distortion sound of the guitar track was created after guitarist Dave Davies sliced the cone of his amplifier with a razor blade.
The guitar solo on the recording is the source of one of the most controversial and persistent myths in rock music: that it was not played by the Kinks' lead guitarist Dave Davies, but by then-session player Jimmy Page. The solo was undoubtedly played by Dave Davies (then 17 years old), as everyone involved in the July 1964 recording sessions for the track has always maintained. The Kinks' use of distorted guitar riffs continued with songs like "All Day and All of the Night," "Tired of Waiting for You," and "Set Me Free," among others. The song appears at No.82 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. In early 2005, the song was voted the best British song of the 1955-1965 decade in a BBC radio poll. In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at No.9 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. View the video online
Not Fade Away - The Rolling Stones (right)
"Not Fade Away", a cover of a Buddy Holly hit of 1958, was the Stones' first UK/Australian top 10 hit. Their previous two singles were "I Wanna Be Your Man" (written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney) and "Come On" (written by Chuck Berry). According to an article in The Daily Mail in April 2006, at a time when the Rolling Stones weren't talking to each other and were on the verge of breaking up, Gene Pitney, who knew the group through their manager, Andrew Oldham, claimed it was his birthday and asked them all to drink a water glass full of cognac to celebrate. As a result he not only brought about a reconciliation, he also persuaded them to record their memorable cover of "Not Fade Away". Phil Spector is credited with playing maracas on the record but in fact he was playing an empty cognac bottle with a 50 cent piece.
Charlie Watts recalls: "We did it with a Bo Diddley beat, which at the time was very avant garde for a white band to be playing Bo Diddley's stuff. It was a very popular rhythm for us in clubs; looking at it from the drumming point of view. So we did it in this slightly different way than Buddy Holly did it." Said Oldham: "Although it was a Buddy Holly song, I considered it to be like the first song Mick and Keith wrote, in that they picked the concept of applying that Bo Diddley thing to it. The way they arranged it was the beginning of the shaping of them as songwriters. From then on they wrote. At that time, Mick, Keith and I lived together. They were into the last half bottle of wine and going through, it was one of those magical moments. Keith just did it, and that was that. To me, they wrote the song. It's a pity we couldn't have gotten the money." View the video online
King of the Road - Roger Miller (right)
Written and originally recorded by Roger Miller, the lyrics tell of a man with a hobo lifestyle (possibly a struggling road musician, maybe himself) who, although he lives a hand-to-mouth existence, describes himself with joking introspectivity as the "king of the road". The song was written at the Station Hotel in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, which sits right next to the train station. It has been covered by several other artists, including Dean Martin, Boxcar Willie, Randy Travis, the Statler Brothers, Rufus Wainwright, R.E.M. and The Proclaimers. Miller followed up this hit with "England Swings", which also reached the top 10 singles charts. View the video online
My Girl - The Temptations
Written and produced by Miracles members, Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, this Motown song became the Temptations' first U.S. No.1 single, and is today their signature song. Robinson's inspiration for writing this song was his wife, Miracles' member Claudette Rogers Robinson, and he originally intended to have The Miracles record the song. "My Girl" was the first Temptations single to feature David Ruffin on lead vocals. Previously, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams had performed most of the group's lead vocals, and Ruffin had joined the group as a replacement for former Temptation Elbridge "Al" Bryant. After some persuasion from Ruffin's bandmates, Robinson had the Temptations record "My Girl" instead of The Miracles, and recruited Ruffin to sing the lead vocals. The success of this single launched a series of Ruffin-led hits, including "Since I Lost My Baby" and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg". In 2004, "My Girl" was ranked No. 88 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. View the video online
It's Not Unusual - Tom Jones (right)
Written by Les Reed and Gordon Mills, "It's Not Unusual" was the second Decca-single Jones released, and has become his signature tune. Backing musicians were The Ivy League with Clem Cattini on drums. The arranger was Les Reed. Tom Jones rose to fame in the mid-1960s, with an exuberant live act that included wearing tight breeches and billowing shirts, in an Edwardian style popular among his peers at the time. He was known for his overt sexuality, before this was as common as it has become in subsequent years. In 1963 he became the frontman for Tommy Scott and The Senators, a local beat group. Clad in black leather, he soon gained a reputation in the South Wales area, although the Senators were still unknown in London. Jones recorded his first single as a solo artist, 'Chills And Fever', in late 1964. The single didn't chart, but the follow-up, 'It's Not Unusual', was an instant hit. View the video online
Let's Hang On - The Four Seasons
Composed by Bob Crewe, Sandy Linzer, and Denny Randell, this single reached the No.3 position in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the group's highest placement since "Rag Doll" hit the top spot in July 1964. The popularity of "Let's Hang On" has been attributed to the inclusion of several devices into the recording: a two-line introduction (sung by lead singer Frankie Valli, the use of two fuzz guitars (one guitarist playing low notes, another playing high notes on a fuzz bass), a chorus loaded with hooks and sung in falsetto, and backing vocals giving counterpoint with Valli's lead vocal. It re-established the group's presence in the top 10 as, at the time, The Four Seasons were in a flurry of activity, recording albums and being the backing musicians for Valli's rekindled solo career. Watch the video online
Just One Look - The Hollies (right)
The original recording of "Just One Look" by New York soul singer, Doris Troy, reached No. 10 on the US singles charts in 1963. The Hollies covered the song on their fourth single to be released in Britain and it became their first top 5 hit (it reached No.2) there as well as their first song to enter the Australian singles charts. The Manchester-based quintet, The Hollies, formed in 1962. Heavily influenced by the Everly Brothers, they became known for rich three part harmonies rivalling those of The Beach Boys, ringing guitars, infectious melodies, jazz oriented backbeats and a squeaky-clean image. They became one of the most commercially successful pop/rock acts of the British Invasion.
>While groups like The Beatles would sometimes toy with non-pop experiments, the Hollies kept their material catchy and appealing no matter what style they pursued; however, they tried easing into more sophisticated folk-rock and mildly psychedelic sounds as the decade wore on, especially on their albums. Their mass recognition is generally limited to a selection of perhaps a dozen hit songs, from "Just One Look" to 1974's "The Air That I Breathe", but in reality, their recorded history started in 1963 and encompasses more than 350 songs, spread over dozens of albums, EPs and singles, across 33 years. View the video online
Ferry Cross The Mersey - Gerry & The Pacemakers (right)
"Ferry Cross the Mersey" is the name of a 1965 song, film, and soundtrack album, all related to Liverpool and the Mersey Sound, as well as the Mersey Ferry, which still runs from Liverpool to Birkenhead and Seacombe on the Wirral. The song was recorded by Gerry (Marsden) & the Pacemakers and released in late 1964, and became the band's first hit in Australia. The film, directed by Jeremy Summers, is one of the more uncommon artifacts of the Mersey scene, shown very rarely on television and never issued on video. It was the first to be shot on location in Liverpool after the city's emergence into the music mainstream. For authenticity, many scenes were shot in clubs near Gerry & the Pacemakers frontman Gerry Marsden's home. Marsden wrote nine new songs for the film which also starred Cilla Black, Jimmy Savile, and The Fourmost. One of the most interesting things about the recording is the fact that there are no backing vocals - just the lone reverberated voice of Gerry Marsden. In the mid-1990s a musical theatre production also titled Ferry Cross the Mersey related Gerry Marsden's Merseybeat days; it premiered in Liverpool and played in the UK, Australia, and Canada. View the video online
Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season) - The Byrds
Often abbreviated to "Turn! Turn! Turn!," the song was written and first recorded by Pete Seeger, wherein Seeger set text from the Bible to music, specifically, a reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes, 3:18. Although he wrote it in the 1950s, Seeger waited until 1962 to record it, releasing the song on his The Bitter and The Sweet album on Columbia Records. As a song, the text is commonly performed as a plea for world peace, with stress on the closing line: "a time for peace, I swear it's not too late," the latter phrase being the only part of the lyric composed by Seeger himself. It is one of few mainstream songs to set a large portion of Scripture to song, another being Boney M's "Rivers of Babylon".
One of the best selling songs of the 1960s folk era, it first appeared, several months before the Seeger version, on an album by the folk group The Limeliters under the title "To Everything There Is a Season." One of their backing musicians, Jim McGuinn (a.k.a. Roger McGuinn), would later work with folk singer Judy Collins, rearranging the song to suit her style, now entitled "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)". McGuinn went on to form The Byrds who included it in their repertoire. Their recording of it became one of the defining records of the entire decade. The song has been covered by a number of other artists, including Welsh folk singer Mary Hopkin, appearing as the flipside of her Paul McCartney-produced international hit single of 1968, "Those Were the Days." Others who have recorded the song include Dolly Parton, Papa M, Nina Simone and Adrienne Camp (Adie) has also recorded a version of the song, which was released on her album, Don't Wait, on 26th September 2006. Don't Wait was released through BEC Recordings. The Byrds' 1965 recording of the song was among those featured prominently in the 1994 movie, Forrest Gump. Handwritten lyrics to the song were among the documents turned over to New York University by the Communist Party, USA, in March 2007. View the video online