Category Archives: 1960

1960

Mixes By Year: 1960: Most Recommended Albums

1960- I’ve often heard it referred to as the worst music year in post rock n’ roll history.  That actually may be true though if you’ve followed this blog you know that one of my main beliefs about music in the 2nd half of the twentieth century is that no year is a bad year.  In 1955/56 rock n’ roll had exploded into the public consciousness, and the years ’56-’58 were particularly fertile.  By 1960 most of (white) rock n’ roll’s biggest stars had become waylaid- either by death or some other factor and folk music began to dominate the collegiate scene as the rock n’ roll teeny boppers grew up and went to college.  The record companies brought in heavily marketed and imaged teen idols like Frankie Avalon and Fabian who were a pale imitation of the rebellious and authentic rockers of just a few years before-  they were the early sixties version of today’s American Idol contestants.

Elvis Presley, certainly rock n’ roll’s biggest star, joined the army and signed a contract with Colonel Tom Parker, whose primary goal seemed to be to get the King to appeal as much as possible to the middle of the road.  Buddy Holly (along with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper) died in a plane crash the year before and Jerry Lee Lewis was being shunned by the American public for his marriage to his 14 year old cousin.  Little Richard left rock n’ roll for religion and although Chuck Berry was still having hits he was about to be in heaps of legal troubles and eventually sent to jail for transporting a 14 year old minor across state lines.  Two of the main sub genres of rock n’ roll- Doo Wop & Rockabilly were also petering out though there were still some fine charting songs in 1960 for both.

So that certainly paints anything but a rosy picture, but what is often left out of the history books is all of the good music being made in 1960-  most of the best stuff was being made by black artists so it is unfortunately no surprise that many times it is given too short shrift in the white historical lexicon.  But artists like the Everly Brothers, huge in the last fifties, were still firing on all cylinders in 1960 with two of their biggest hits, “Cathy’s Clown” and “When Will I Be Loved” along with a few other great but lesser known tracks.  Roy Orbison also emerged as one of the best new artists of 1960.  Though he had been recording at Sun since the mid 50’s he didn’t hit big until ’60 with “Only the Lonely”, his first in a string of amazing hits that lasted through the early part of the decade.  Underrated (except by Italians 🙂 ) Connie Francis also had some great would be girl group (if she wasn’t a solo singer) gems, paving the way for singers like Dusty Springfield & Lesley Gore a few years later.

But the really great music came from the Soul & Blues artists.  All of the inventors of soul- Sam Cooke, James Brown, Jackie Wilson & Ray Charles had some of their very best years in 1960- in fact, they were all at the peak of their powers.  Labels like Atlantic, Chess & King were still flourishing and the Blues was in high gear.  Starting with the Kings (B.B., Freddy & Albert) as well as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters & Elmore James to name the biggest hitmakers. Many of these tracks wouldn’t be known to white America until the late 60’s when British heavy metal/hard rock bands like Led Zeppelin & Cream covered them.  Several huge 50’s artists like Fats Domino & Hank Ballard had big hits in ’60 as well, though both were at the tail end of their charting careers.  Another big 50’s, Atlantic’s The Drifters, climbed to even bigger hits in 1960 when they got a new lead singer in Ben E. King, who also contributed his first solo hit “Spanish Harlem” which would become a soul standard.  Lesser known soul/blues artists like Little Willie John also had big years, while the city of New Orleans was generating tons of excitement as well with one off singles like “Carnival Time” by Al Johnson, “Ooh Pa Pa Do” by Jessie Hill” and “Go to the Mardis Gras” by Professor Longhair, which would become the theme song for the yearly Mardis Gras event.

Even though Elvis had become somewhat neutered, or at the very least watered down, he still was good for a handful of great songs- “It’s Now or Never”, “Stuck On You”, “Are You Lonesome Tonight” amongst all of the other dreck.  And “True Love Ways” was released posthumously after Buddy Holly’s death, the song a fitting reminder of so much future creativity and greatness lost.  Like I said, 1960 may pale in comparison to every post 1955 year in music but it is still well worth exploring.  And I didn’t even mention that some of the best jazz albums of all time came out in ’60 (the first two absolute gamechangers)- see below!


Buy Sketches of Spain – Miles Davis

Buy Sketches Of SpainAmazon




Buy Giant Steps – John Coltrane

Buy Giant StepsAmazon


Buy Blues & Roots (Bonus Track Version) – Charles Mingus

Buy Blues & RootsAmazon



Buy Beauty Is a Rare Thing – The Complete Atlantic Recordings – Ornette Coleman

*The “Change of the Century” album is included on this release

*Not available via Amazon



Buy Ella Fitzgerald Live In Berlin Mastered – Ella Fitzgerald

Buy The Complete Ella In Berlin: Mack The Knife Amazon

Mixes By Year: Best of 1960 Volume 1

Best of 1960 Volume 1 (9/1/02) (Revised 9/1/02)

 

  1. Max Roach- Freedom Day

 

2. John Coltrane- Giant Steps

 

3.  Elvis Presley- It’s Now or Never

Buy It’s Now or Never – Elvis: 30 #1 Hits

Buy It’s Now Or Never (2003 Sony Remaster)Amazon

 

4.  James Brown- Think

Buy Think (Single Version) – The Federal Years: 1956-1960

Buy ThinkAmazon

 

5. Professor Longhair- Go to the Mardis Gras

Buy Go to the Mardi Gras – City of Dreams: A Collection of New Orleans Music

Buy Go To The Mardi Gras Amazon

 

6. Link Wray & His Wraymen- Right Turn

 

7.  Fats Domino- Walking to New Orleans

Buy Walking to New Orleans – The Fats Domino Jukebox: 20 Greatest Hits

Buy Walking To New Orleans (2002 Digital Remaster)

 

8.  Hank Ballard & the Midnighters- Finger Poppin’ Time

Buy Finger Poppin’ Time – Hank Ballard & the Midnighters – Their Very Best – EP

Buy Finger Poppin’ TimeAmazon

 

9.  Little Willie John- I’m Shaking

Buy I’m Shakin’ – Sure Things

* Not available via Amazon

 

10. Chubby Checker- The Twist

 

11.  Sam Cooke- (What A) Wonderful World

Buy (What A) Wonderful World – 30 Greatest Hits – Sam Cooke Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 (Remastered)

Buy Wonderful WorldAmazon

 

12.  Ben E. King- Spanish Harlem

Buy Spanish Harlem – Spanish Harlem

Buy Spanish Harlem (LP Version)Amazon

 

13.  Smokey Robinson & the Miracles- Who’s Loving You

Buy Who’s Lovin’ You – The Ultimate Collection: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

Buy Who’s Lovin’ YouAmazon

 

14.  The Everly Brothers- When Will I Be Loved

Buy When Will I Be Loved – The Fabulous Style of the Everly Brothers

Buy When Will I Be Loved (1960 #8 Billboard chart hit; #4 UK)

 

15.  Carla Thomas- Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)

Buy Gee Whiz, Look At His Eyes (Single Version) – Rhino Hi-Five – Carla Thomas – EP

Buy Gee Whiz, Look At His Eyes (Single/LP Version)

 

16.  Freddy King- Have You Ever Loved a Woman

Buy Have You Ever Loved a Woman – 17 Greatest Hits

Buy Have You Ever Loved A WomanAmazon

 

17.  Dean Martin- Ain’t That a Kick in the Head

Buy Ain’t That a Kick In the Head – Dino – The Essential Dean Martin

Buy Ain’t That A Kick In The Head (1997 Digital Remaster)

 

18.  Ike & Tina Turner- A Fool in Love

Buy A Fool In Love – Proud Mary – The Best of Ike & Tina Turner

Buy A Fool In LoveAmazon

 

19.  The Shirelles- Will You Love Me Tomorrow?

Buy Will You Love Me Tomorrow – Dirty Dancing (20th Anniversary Edition) [Soundtrack from the Motion Picture]

Buy Will You Love Me Tomorrow?Amazon

 

20.  Jerry Butler- He Will Break Your Heart

Buy He Will Break Your Heart – Best of Jerry Butler

Buy He Will Break Your Heart Amazon

 

21.  Bobby Bland- Cry, Cry, Cry

Buy Cry, Cry, Cry (Single) – Bobby Blue Band: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 – The Duke Recordings

Buy Cry, Cry, CryAmazon

 

22.  Elmore James- The Sky is Crying

Buy The Sky Is Crying – The Best of Elmore James

Buy The Sky Is Crying – OriginalAmazon

 

23. Howlin’ Wolf- Spoonful

 

24. Roy Orbison- Only the Lonely

Buy Only The Lonely (Know The Way I Feel) – 16 Biggest Hits: Roy Orbison

Buy Only The Lonely (Know The Way I Feel)Amazon

 

25.  Ray Charles- Georgia On My Mind

Buy Georgia On My Mind – Genius – The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection

Buy Georgia On My MindAmazon

 

26.  Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs- Stay

Buy Stay (Remastered 2003) – Dirty Dancing (20th Anniversary Edition) [Soundtrack from the Motion Picture] Buy Stay (Remastered 2003)Amazon

 

27. Etta James- At Last

 

28.  The Drifters- Save the Last Dance for Me

Buy Save the Last Dance for Me – The Drifters: All-Time Greatest Hits

Buy Save The Last Dance For Me (LP Version)Amazon

Mixes By Year: Best of 1960 Volume 2

Best of 1960 Volume 2 (9/2/02) (Revised 3/2/24)

1.  The Ventures- Walk Don’t Run

Buy Walk Don’t Run – Walk Don’t Run : The Best Of The Ventures

Buy Walk – Don’t RunAmazon

 

2.  The Crests- Step By Step

Buy Step By Step – Ten Best Series – The Crests

Buy Step By StepAmazon

 

3.  Hank Ballard & the Midnighters- Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go

Buy Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go – Hank Ballard & the Midnighters – Their Very Best – EP

Buy Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s GoAmazon

 

4.  Smokey Robinson & the Miracles- Shop Around

Buy Shop Around – 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: Best of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles Buy Shop AroundAmazon

 

5. Jackie Wilson- Doggin’ Around

 

6.  John Lee Hooker- No More Doggin’

 

7. B.B. King- Sweet Sixteen (Parts 1 & 2)

 

8.  The Drifters- This Magic Moment

Buy This Magic Moment – The Drifters: All-Time Greatest Hits

Buy This Magic Moment (Single/LP Version)Amazon

 

9. Etta James- I Just Want To Make Love To You

 

10. Ike & Tina Turner- I Idolize You

 

11. Gladys Knight & The Pips- Every Beat Of My Heart

 

12. The Flamingos- Mio Amore

 

13.  Elvis Presley- Stuck On You

Buy Stuck On You – Elvis: 30 #1 Hits

Buy Stuck On You Amazon

 

14. Charles Mingus- Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting

 

15. John Coltrane- Naima

 

16.  James Brown- Bewildered

Buy Bewildered – Star Time

Buy BewilderedAmazon

 

17. Joan Baez- Silver Dagger

 

18. The Stanley Brothers- Man Of Constant Sorrow

 

19.  Buck Owens- Excuse Me (I Think I’ve Got a Heartache)

Buy Excuse Me (I Think I’ve Got a Heartache) – The Buck Owens Story, Vol. 1 1956-1964

Buy Excuse Me (I Think I’ve Got a Heartache)Amazon

 

20. Charlie Rich- Lonely Weekends

 

21. The Coasters- Wake Me, Shake Me

Buy Wake Me Shake Me – Greatest Hits of 1960, Vol. 9

Buy Wake Me, Shake Me (LP Version)Amazon

 

]22.  Little Willie John- Heartbreak (It’s Hurting Me)

Buy Heartbreak (It’s Hurtin’ Me) – Greatest Hits of 1960, Vol. 17

Buy Heartbreak (It’s Hurtin’ Me)Amazon

 

23. Elmore James- Standing At The Crossroads

 

24.  The Everly Brothers- Cathy’s Clown

Buy Cathy’s Clown – The Golden Hits of the Everly Brothers

Buy Cathy’s Clown (LP Version)Amazon

 

25.  Roy Orbison- Blue Angel

Buy Blue Angel – The Essential Roy Orbison

Buy Blue AngelAmazon

 

26.  Sam Cooke- Sad Mood

Buy Sad Mood – 30 Greatest Hits – Sam Cooke Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 (Remastered)

Buy Sad MoodAmazon

 

27. Chuck Berry- Bye Bye Johnny

 

 

Mixes By Year: Best of 1960 Volume 3

Best of 1960 Volume 3 (5/16/04) (Revised 3/2/24)

1.  Bo Diddley- Roadrunner

Buy Roadrunner (Single) – The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection: Bo Diddley – His Best

Buy Road Runner Amazon

 

2. Chuck Berry- Let It Rock

 

3. Link Wray & His Wraymen- Ramble

 

4. Lightnin’ Hopkins- Wimmin From Coast To Coast

 

5.  James Brown- I’ll Go Crazy

Buy I’ll Go Crazy (Single Version) – The Federal Years: 1956-1960

Buy I’ll Go CrazyAmazon

 

6. Frankie Lymon- Little Bitty Pretty One

 

7.  Jessie Hill- Ooh Pa Pa Doo (Part 2)

Buy Ooh Poo Pah Doo (Part 2) – Jessie Hill’s Ooh Poo Pah Doo (Part 1)

Buy Ooh Poo Pah Doo – Part 2Amazon

 

8.  Loretta Lynn- Honky Tonk Girl

Buy I’m a Honky Tonk Girl – Honky Tonk Girl – The Loretta Lynn Collection (Box Set)

Buy I’m A Honky Tonk GirlAmazon

 

9. George Jones- The Window Up Above

 

12.  Elvis Presley- Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Buy Are You Lonesome Tonight? – Elvis: 30 #1 Hits

Buy Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Remastered)Amazon

 

13. Joan Baez- House Of The Rising Sun

 

14.  Elmore James- The Sun Is Shining

 

15.  Smokey Robinson & the Miracles- Way Over There

Buy Way Over There – Ooo Baby Baby: The Anthology

Buy Way Over There Amazon

 

16.  Roy Orbison- Uptown

Buy Uptown – The Essential Roy Orbison

Buy UptownAmazon

 

17.  Connie Francis- Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool

Buy Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool – 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Connie Francis

Buy Everybody’s Somebody’s FoolAmazon

 

18.  Junior Wells- Little by Little

Buy Little By Little – Junior Wells (1957-1963)

Buy Little by LittleAmazon

 

19. Howlin’ Wolf- Tell Me

 

20. John Coltrane- Cousin Mary

 

21. Charles Mingus- E’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too

 

22. Ella Fitzgerald- Mack The Knife (Live In Berlin)

 

23. Bobby Darin- Artificial Flowers 

 

24.  Sam Cooke- Chain Gang

Buy Chain Gang – 30 Greatest Hits – Sam Cooke Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 (Remastered)

Buy Chain GangAmazon

 

25. The Drifters- I Count The Tears

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mixes By Year: Best of 1960 Volume 4

Best of 1960 Volume 4 (7/1/06) (Revised 3/2/24)

1.  Johnny Bond- Hot Rod Lincoln

Buy Hot Rod Lincoln – Hits for the Road
Buy Hot Rod LincolnAmazon

 

2.  Bo Diddley- Gunslinger

Buy Gun Slinger – Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger
Buy Gun SlingerAmazon

 

3.  Junior Wells- Messin’ With The Kid

 

4.  Ray Charles- Sticks and Stones

Buy Sticks and Stones – Genius – The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection
Buy Sticks And StonesAmazon

 

5. Jimmy Reed- Hush-Hush

 

6. Howlin’ Wolf- Howlin’ For My Baby

 

6.  Carla & Rufus Thomas- ‘Cause I Love You

Buy ‘Cause I Love You – Walking the Dog
Buy ‘Cause I Love YouAmazon

 

7. Babatunde Olatunji- Jin-Go-Lo-Ba

 

8. Max Roach- Driva’Man

 

9. Nina Simone- Little Liza Jane (Live)

 

10. Buddy Guy- The First Time I Ever Met The Blues

 

11. Etta James- Stormy Weather

 

12. Elmore James- Somethin’ Inside Me

 

13.  James Brown- I Know It’s True

Buy I Know It’s True – Star Time
Buy I Know It’s TrueAmazon

 

14.  Bobby Bland- Lead Me On

Buy Lead Me On (Mono Version) – Two Steps from the Blues (Bonus Tracks)
Buy Lead Me OnAmazon

 

15.  Al Johnson- Carnival Time

*Not available via iTuneds
Buy Carnival TimeAmazon

 

16. Alvin Red” Tyler & the Gyros- Peanut Vendor

Buy The Peanut Vendor – Breaking Bad (Music from the Original TV Series)
Buy Peanut Vendor Amazon

 

17. Fats Domino- My Girl Josephine

 

18. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles- Way Over There

 

19. The Shirelles- Boys

 

20. Mary Wells- Bye Bye Baby

 

21.  Connie Francis- My Heart Has A Mind of Its Own

Buy My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own – 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Connie Francis
Buy My Heart Has A Mind Of Its OwnAmazon

 

22. Roy Orbison- Uptown

 

23. The Crests- Trouble In Paradise

 

24.  Sam Cooke- Teenage Sonata

Buy Teenage Sonata – The Man Who Invented Soul
Buy Teenage SonataAmazon

 

25.  Little Willie John- Sleep

Buy You Hurt Me – Sure Things
*Not available via Amazon

 

26. Ella Fitzgerald- How High The Moon (Live In Berlin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23.  Joe Jones- You Talk Too Much

Buy You Talk Too Much – Carnival Time – The Best of Ric Records, Vol. 1
Buy You Talk Too Much Amazon

 

 

 

26.  Aaron Neville- Over You

Buy Over You – The New Orleans Hit Story, 1950-1970 (Disc 1)
Buy Over YouAmazon

 

 

28.  Charles Brown- Please Come Home for Christmas

Buy Please Come Home for Christmas – Number 1’s: Christmas

Buy Please Come Home For ChristmasAmazon

Mixes By Year: Best of 1960 Volume 5

Best of 1960 Volume 5 (2/20/11) (Revised 2/20/11)

 

  1. The Shirelles- Tonight’s The Night

 

2. Rosie & The Originals- Angel Baby

 

3. Eddie Cochran- Three Steps To Heaven

 

4.  Harold Dorman- Mountain of Love

Buy Mountain of Love – Harold Dorman’s There They Go – EP

Buy Mountain Of LoveAmazon

 

5. Kathy Young & The Innocents- A Thousand Stars

 

6. Rufus & Carla Thomas- Cause I Love You

 

7.  James Brown- Baby You’re Right

Buy Baby, You’re Right – Think!

Buy Baby You’re RightAmazon

 

8.  Albert King- Let’s Have a Natural Ball

Buy Let’s Have a Natural Ball – The Velvet Bulldozer

Buy Let’s Have A Natural BallAmazon

 

9. The Drifters- Let The Boogie Woogie Roll

 

10.  Gary “US” Bonds- New Orleans

Buy New Orleans – The Very Best of Gary U.S. Bonds

Buy New OrleansAmazon

 

11.  Joe Jones- You Talk Too Much

 

12. Howlin’ Wolf- Who’s Been Talkin’

 

13. Etta James- My Dearest Darling

 

14. Sam Cooke- Love Me

 

15.  Buddy Holly- True Love Ways

Buy True Love Ways (Stereo) – Buddy Holly: Greatest Hits (Original Recording Remastered)

Buy True Love Ways Amazon

 

16. Elvis Presley- Fever

 

17.  Frank Sinatra- Nice & Easy

Buy Nice ‘n’ Easy – Holidays & Hits: A Jolly Christmas / Classic Sinatra

Buy Nice ‘N’ Easy (1999 Digital Remaster)Amazon

 

18. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross- Main Stem

 

19. Bobby Darin- Black Coffee

 

20. John Lee Hooker- No Shoes

 

21.  Nina Simone- Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out

Buy Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (LP Version) – Anthology:The Colpix Years

Buy Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out Amazon

 

22. The Hollywood Argyles- Alley-Oop

 

23. Johnny Cash- Mean Eyed Cat

 

24. Hank Thompson- A Six Pack To Go

 

25.  The Stanley Brothers Rank Strangers

Buy Rank Strangers – 20 Bluegrass Originals – Hymns

Buy Rank StrangersAmazon

 

26. The Jesters- The Wind

 

27. Ella Fitzgerald- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

 

28. Charles Brown- Please Come Home For Christmas