74 for ’74: 1960-1962

My classic rock and roll playlist of songs from 1955-1974 continues with 1960-1962.

10. When Will I Be Loved, The Everly Brothers (1960). I love the Linda Ronstadt version even more, but it came after graduation (November of 1974) and is thus ineligible for this list. The John Fogerty/Bruce Springsteen (countrified) duet on it in 2009 is excellent too.

11. Stand By Me, Ben E. King (1961). A solo song from the lead singer of The Drifters – kings of what we called “beach music” at Duke.  It has been covered by everyone from John Lennon to Green Day.  In 1999, BMI named it the fourth most-performed song of the 20th century, with about seven million performances. It was also the first recording made by the Playing for Change project in 2004, with interpretations of the song by musicians around the world being compiled into a video version that has had tens of millions of YouTube hits.

12. Up on the Roof, The Drifters (1962).  As Rolling Stone has noted, from the internal rhyme of “stairs” and “cares” to the image of ascending from the street to the stars by way of an apartment staircase, this song’s writing by Carole King and Gerry Goffin is both sophisticated and strong. I also love the James Taylor version, and I’ve been privileged to be in the audience a couple of times for his live performance of it.

13. Sherry, The Four Seasons (1962). Frankie Valli probably has the most distinctive voice in popular music history.  This song was the group’s first #1 single and is perhaps their most recognizable song.  I didn’t get to hear Frankie sing it live until many years later, but his voice was still original and unique, even if he couldn’t get quite as high.

Other great songs from 1960, 1961 and 1962 follow.

1960: The Twist, Chubby Checker; Only The Lonely, Roy Orbison; Harbor Lights, The Platters; Walking To New Orleans, Fats Domino; Teen Angel, Mark Dinning; Georgia On My Mind, Ray Charles; (What A) Wonderful World, Sam Cooke; Shop Around, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

1961: Crazy, Patsy Cline; Please Stay, The Drifters; Hit the Road Jack, Ray Charles; Runaround Sue, Dion; Crying, Roy Orbison.

1962: Johnny Angel, Shelley Fabares; Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, Neil Sedaka; Twistin’ the Night Away, Sam Cooke; Walk On the Wild Side, Jimmy Smith; Crying in the Rain, The Everly Brothers (another nice Carole King song).

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