The British Invasion has begun! The Kinks and Animals have the most going on. The Beatles’ Hard Days Night album makes up for some lackluster stuff, and oh, we have the birth of the Rolling Stones. Unfortunately, they’re just doing covers. Rock ‘n roll has morphed into so much, I’m having trouble labeling a lot of it. Especially the Beatles because they have so many borderline songs that aren’t pop enough to be pop, rock enough to be rock, country enough to be country, folk enough to be folk … you know what I’m saying, but that’s why they’re the Beatles!
40. As Tears Go By – Marianne Faithfull (Pop) – (1964)
I stand corrected. It is possible to do a cover before an original, as is the case here with this Stones’ song that doesn’t come out until 1965.
39. Get Your Kicks on Route 66 – The Rolling Stones (Rock ‘n Roll) - (1964)**
The Stones sound dirtier than anything that’s been done thus far. I know it’s still only rock ‘n roll, but I that doesn’t mean I don’t like it.
38. Walking In the Rain – The Ronettes (Pop) – (1964)
37. Only A Pawn in their Game – Bob Dylan (Folk) – (1964)
36. Little Honda – The Hondells (Surf Rock) – (1964)
I know this song because Yo La Tengo covered it. I didn’t count too many Beach Boys songs on this because I just can’t stand them, but this song gives you the idea of surf rock with lyrics.
35. Little Red Rooster – The Rolling Stones (Blues) – (1964)
After a debut album of mostly covers, the single came out ahead of their second album, and is a refreshing take on the Howlin Wolf tune.
34. Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison (Pop) – (1964)
Finally, the Elvisy Crooner makes my list! The reason he hasn’t made it thus far is I don’t see how he’s any different than Elvis aside from the fact that he was Travelling Wilbury.
33. Things We Said Today – The Beatles (Rock) – (1964)
It’s rare to find Paul this dark early on.
32. Eight Days a Week – The Beatles (Pop) – (1964)
A reality of the early Beatles is they aren’t much more than a boy band, albeit a very talented one. Thank god they started doing drugs.
31. Do Wah Diddy Diddy – Manfred Mann (Rock) – (1964)
I’ve always wanted to see this band’s initial reaction when they found out how “nasty” 2 Live Crew made this song. Tears may have been shed.
30. Keep Searchin’ – Del Shannon (Rock) – (1964)
Although the organ isn’t as cool as his previous hits, the more annoying things he does aren’t done either so it forms a nice mature song.
29. With God On Our Side – Bob Dylan (Folk) - 1964
28. All I Really Want to Do – Bob Dylan (Folk) – 1964
27. To Ramona – Bob Dylan (Folk) – 1964
26. I Should Have Known Better – The Beatles (Rock) – 1964
25. Ballad of Hollis Brown – Bob Dylan (Folk) – 1964
24. I Don’t Believe You – Bob Dylan (Folk) – (1964)
Every now and then, Dylan comes up with a great melody. I always prefer these songs to his longer ones where he’s just going off lyrically.
23. The Times They Are A-Changin – Bob Dylan (Folk) – (1964)
It’s incredible at the amount of anthems or sayings that come from Bob Dylan.
22. The Lonesome Death of Hattie – Bob Dylan (Folk) – (1964)
21. I Feel Fine – The Beatles (Rock) – 1964
20. She’s Not There – The Zombies (Rock) – (1964)
The Zombies were one of the first dark bands. The music is still a little poppy, but compared to the Beatles, it’s pretty dark.
19. Tobacco Road – Nashville Teens (Rock) – (1964)
This is one of those songs I’ve heard covered my whole life and never found it too interesting. Well, this original version is great. I see why Jefferson Airplane and David Lee Roth have covered this one amongst others.
18. Walk on By – Dionne Warwick (Rhythm & Blues) – (1964)
This song has a nice soothing affect on me. It’s kind of like listening to the Five Stairsteps or Bill Withers. I feels like a 4 o’clock in the afternoon nap.
17. Time Is On My Side – The Rolling Stones (Rhythm & Blues) - 1964
It’s still crazy to think a song was just “out there” and people would just perform it and make money off of it even though they didn’t write it. Could you imagine Pearl Jam and Nirvana playing the same song in the 90s?
16. The Girl From Ipanema – Stan Getz & Asturd Gilbert (Pop) – 1964
The great thing about the “pop” genre is that it’s not really a genre at all. This is actually a bossa nova song, but I’m not really going to label it like that on my ipod. I mean Bossa Nova? Isn’t that like a beat on a Casio keyboard or something?
15. Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles (Rock ‘n Roll) – (1964)
14. A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles (Rock) – (1964)
Finally, there are some great Beatles tunes that came out in 1964. Album #3, Beatles for Sale is not a very good album.
13. It’s All Over Now – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – (1964)
As great as it is starting to hear some Stones song that I know and love, (and even knew they were covers), I still get disappointed knowing 90% of the first few albums was someone else’s work. This is what the Beatles had over them more than anything. The Beatles were mostly writing their own tunes, while the Stones were just a really cool cover band.
12. She’s A Woman – The Beatles (Rock) – (1964)
This is a very underrated Beatles song. It follows the “I Saw Her Standing There” model with a groovy baseline too.
11. Time Is on My Side – Irma Thomas (Rhythm & Blues) – (1964)
This version is a little better than the Stones, but sadly, she didn’t write it either.
10. Mississippi Goddamn – Nina Simone (Showtune) – (1964)
This is a showtune for a show that hasn’t been written yet. In a way completely different from Bob Dylan, she just sounds so different than anything else going on at the time.
9. Laisse Tomber Les Filles – France Gall (Pop) – 1964
This is my favorite song in another language, yes, even better than ” Voules-Vous Coucher Avec Moi.”
8. Remember (Walking in the Sand) – The Shangri-Las – 1964
Complete with ocean effects to give you that illusion that you are indeed walking in the sand.
7. My Back Pages – Bob Dylan (Folk) – 1964
6. It Ain’t Me Babe – Bob Dylan (Folk) – 1964
These are Dylan’s two greatest gems off of Another Side of Bob Dylan.
5. Tell Me – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1964
This is such a great broken hearted song we’ve all been able to relate to at some point in our lives. More importantly, is the first great Stones original.
4. All Day and All of the Night – The Kinks (Hard Rock) – 1964
The Kinks are the stamp on the British Invasion, and the first hard rock band. They really turned it up a notch.
3. Gloria – Them (Rock) – 1964
I didn’t know Van Morrison started out as a singer for a group. This song is a great one.
2. You Really Got Me – The Kinks (Hard Rock) – 1964
How can one not love the meaty distortion power chords? The Kinks have something going on better than any of other band of this year.
1. House of the Rising Sun – The Animals (Rock) – 1964
1964 is the year it finally all seems to be happening for rock. After the death of rock ‘n roll, bands start coming out embodying everything that’s great about it. The music is harder and darker and the instrumentation is cooler. The organ in this is incredible.