A Few Great Songs From a Great Decade


Everyone who grew up in the 1960’s has their own personal favorite song. The Cold War with the Soviet Union, the Civil Rights Movement, Woodstock, and the Vietnam War all occurred during this very emotional decade. Rock ‘n roll was changing too, and some of that revolutionary music just can’t be denied the title of “the greatest rock ‘n’ roll of the 1960’s”. Let’s take a look at a few of those songs.

In the early sixties, the great songs may be seen as “softer” than those of the later sixties, and often carried an essence of the 50’s with them. Elvis Presely came out with the song, “Surrender” in 1961. Other notable early 60’s songs include Ricky Nelson’s “Travelin’ Man”, Del Shannon’s “Runaway”, and Little Eva’s “The Loco-motion”. Many of these “love and heartache” songs began to play next to a different, darker type of rock ‘n’ roll.

As the decade continued more troops were sent to Vietnam, and the Civil Rights Movement became increasingly violent, and at times, life seemed despairing. The music expressed this. For instance, “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals in 1964, and “Eve of Destruction” by Barry Mcguire in 1965. Both of these songs express a certain level of foreboding both in their sound and lyrics, however, not all songs traveled this darker path.

The Beach Boys contributed many optimistic beats, laden with California sunshine, such as “Surfer Girl”, “Surfin”, and “Help Me Rhonda”. In 1966, the band released “Good Vibrations”, and it is now heralded as one of the most popular, and musically influential songs of the 1960’s. In fact, the music that the group was making around the the time of “Good Vibrations”, heavily influenced another great song by another great band– The Beatles.

The Beatles released “Strawberry Fields Forever” in 1968. Rumor has it that this song was composed immediately after the group listened to the Beach Boy’s “Pet Sounds” album. The Beatles songs’ run the gamut from “tender-hearted” to “drearily trippy”. It is safe to say that their body of work greatly captures the varying emotions of the 1960’s.

A nearly infinite amount of great rock ‘n’ roll songs came out of the 1960’s; far too many to mention in a single article. From love ballads sung by 50’s icons as they transcended decades, to jarring outcries about the state of the world, the 60’s offers a diverse treasure trove of rock ‘n’ roll hits. What is your favorite?

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2 Responses to “A Few Great Songs From a Great Decade”

  1. John Heckle says:

    Is there cd with all these songs on it?

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