In order to hear the music you liked when you wanted to hear it, you would visit your local record shop where for a fee they would sell you either a big record with quite a few songs on it or a little record with only two songs with one being particularly good and the other not so hot. Occasionally, you got lucky and both tracks were excellent.
Today, we'll focus on the songs that were #1 on the charts during the summer months of 1964 through 1966, a time when most artists were less concerned with the big record format (the LP, long player) than the little record format (the 45 -- for the speed at which the record turned on the electric turntable).
Doesn't this sound exciting? And, kids, don't forget to keep asking your parents if they were ever caught necking to this music! Or maybe your grandparents! One of these fine songs could even be the reason you're here today!
24) Chapel of Love -- The Dixie Cups (1964): A Brill Building specialty, written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, "Chapel of Love" was recorded by a number of nice folks, like Darlene Love, The Ronettes, the Blossoms, Bette Midler, the Beach Boys and Elton John. Most recently, it was covered by Holly Beth Vincent for a 2011 episode of American Idol. The Dixie Cups had the hit version that was heard in the film Full Metal Jacket.
22) I Get Around -- The Beach Boys (1964): The Beach Boys' first #1 hit in the US was also their first top ten hit in the UK, where drafty young Brits got their first inkling of sunshine on a faraway coast. The single featured "Don't Worry Baby" as its B-side, being one of those times I spoke about when you got full value for a single. Some may be inclined to say you got more than full value here -- though mathematically that's not possible.
20) A Hard Day's Night -- The Beatles (1964): The Beatles were looking to get as much done as they could in their first year of worldwide fame, still thinking they were on an 18-month schedule of fame, with Ringo eyeballing those hair salons!
18) Where Did Our Love Go? -- The Supremes (1964): The song peaked weeks after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yes, that Civil Rights Act of 1964.
16) Help Me, Rhonda -- The Beach Boys (1964): The single version included on Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!!) is the revolutionary version that captures the magic and the innocence of an era that would be over sooner than anyone could've predicted.
14) I Can't Help Myself -- The Four Tops (1965): This single was their third to chart and their first #1. Though the group would continue to have many hits, only "Reach Out I'll Be There" would also make it to the #1 slot.
12) (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction -- The Rolling Stones (1965): Surely, this sounds less revolutionary today, but if you listen consciously to the track, you can still hear a snarl that most music of the time does not have. Those lips make be trademarked into a corporate logo, but there was a time when it sounded like they were up to no good. What teenager couldn't love that?
10) I Got You Babe -- Sonny and Cher (1965): Folk rock might seem like a made-up function, but most hyphenated genres are dubious at best. Heck, most genres are dubious. There aren't many of us who would admit to liking "Crap Rock."
8) When A Man Loves A Woman -- Percy Sledge (1966): This song became his signature tune and for it he went into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You might think people would care a bit more about a singer who landed such an iconic track, yet whether it was "Out of Left Field," "Take Time To Know Her" or "True Love Travels On A Gravel Road," the results were never the same. Shame on us!
6) Paperback Writer -- The Beatles (1966): Amp manufacturers and tech wizards deserve much of the credit for the revolutionary sounds of the day. No fuzz boxes, slower progress. Of course, leave it to McCartney to put a pretty smile on it, so everyone could like it and feel safe. In the back of his head, Lennon heard another way to express his anger.
4) Hanky Panky -- Tommy James and the Shondells (1966): If you haven't read Tommy James' autobiography Me, The Mob, and The Music, by all means please do so.
2) Summer In the City -- The Lovin' Spoonful (1966): The Spoonful had already had four top ten hits, including two that reached #2, when this became their only #1 hit, surely due in part to being released in time for the summer! Like comedy and sex, music is all about timing!
Interesting to note that the original single version was 3 minutes and 15 seconds, with each version on a Greatest Hits collection getting longer until it's now clocking in at 4 minutes, 41 seconds. If all songs grew like this, it's possible that most Don Henley hit singles are now seven minutes in length. And "Sunshine Superman" will be six minutes itself by 2031. We must stop music from growing in this way! Write your congressman!
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