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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Top 75 Songs of 1965

The Best Songs of 1965

Da Bluez is d-dyin!  I’m sure there will be some songs here and there through the rest of time, but the blues being a powerful shapeshifting genre is no more.   Rock is here to stay and the 60s style is possibly it’s greatest.  It’s so pure, energetic and good.  You don’t have to worry about some band of longhairs putting in complex math equations trying to get the song from Part A to Part B.  The changes are natural.  I love this era. 

Also, I’m starting to know more and more songs from these years so unfortunately it takes me much longer to do these lists.  It’s probably going to be a once a week type dealio for now.  Peace. 

75.  Eve of Destruction – Barry McGuire (Folk) – 1965

This isn’t a compliment, but this guy may be the first “Over-Dramatic Performance” guy.  He’s the perfect example of “telling” vs. “showing”.  The reasons why Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs are so great are the same reasons why he’s so bad.   Joe Cocker would not have been able to embarrass himself at Woodstock without this guy.  I’m so torn between this being a putdown or not, it’s worth making the list. 

74.  Out in the Streets – The Shangri-Las (Pop) – 1965

Though I love these ladies, they are no longer in the running for “Greatest Girl Groups of the 60s”.  Though that winner is most likely the Supremes, I probably won’t break down the competition because I don’t love the genre enough. 

73.  I’m Free – The Rolling Stones (Rock) - 1965
72.  Michelle – The Beatles (Pop) - 1965
71.  For Your Love – The Yardbirds (Rock) – 1965

This is the one that made Eric Clapton quit the band because it wasn’t boring enough for him. 

70.  I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better – The Byrds (Rock) – 1965
69.  It’s the Same Old Song – The Four Tops (Rhythm & Blues) – 1965

I didn’t want to rank this song, but ignoring that change is like ignoring a Watchmacallit amongst a bunch of regular Hershey Bars. 

68.  Tired of Waiting For You – The Kinks (Rock) - 1965
67.  Girl – The Beatles (Pop) – 1965
66.  What Goes On – The Beatles (Rock) – 1965

You know a Beatles album is good when even Ringo’s song is good. 

65.  Heart of Stone – The Rolling Stones (Rhythm & Blues) - 1965
64.  You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You – Dean Martin (Crooner) – 1965

It’s so rare for me to enjoy a crooning song, but this one has what it takes.  Shit, I even cut “Beyond the Sea” and it was in Goodfellas. 

63.  You Better Move On – The Rolling Stones (rhythm & blues) – 1965
62.  We’ve Got to Get Out of this Place – The Animals (Rock) – 1965

Good tune ‘n all, but it’s not quite the Vietnam protest song I expected.   “Cause girl” are you kidding me?  It sounds more like they’re about to have sex somewhere nasty and the man decides as bad as he wants it, even he agrees they should be somewhere cleaner. 

61.  I’ve Just Seen a Face – The Beatles (country) – 1965

I never really knew this song until now.  It’s refreshing hearing the Beatles do a McCartney led country jam. 

60.  Think For Yourself – The Beatles (rock) – 1965

Rubber Soul coming out this year really helps the Beatles.  Though it doesn’t really have that one great song on it (and I’m sure some would argue otherwise), pretty much every song on this album is very good. 

59.  Highway 61 Revisted – Bob Dylan (rock) – 1965
58.  The Killing Floor – Howlin’ Wolf (Blues) – 1965

Blues are pretty much dead, yet a typically boring Howlin’ Wolf adapts to the death of blues and makes a pretty darn good tune.  This surprised me. 

57.  Wait – The Beatles (rock) – 1965
56.  Surprise, Surprise – The Rolling Stones (Rock) - 1965
55.  The Word – The Beatles (rock) - 1965
54.  Just Like Me – Paul Revere & The Raiders (Rock) – 1965

This song is perfect for that mid 60s rock sound.  

53.  Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – The Animals (Rock) – 1965

This is probably getting ranked higher than it should be because of the 70s disco remake that appeared in Kill Bill. 

52.  I Can Never Go Home Anymore – The Shangri-Las (Pop) – 1965

It doesn’t improve their girl group status, but the fact that this whole song is a voice over, and it’s still good is pretty impressive. 

51.  Resolution – John Coltrane (1965) – 1965

You know, you think you’re done with jazz as great rock is starting to take shape, but then John Coltrane just reminds you how better he is at playing his instrument than all those funny little “rockers” out there.  No one ever talks about who’s the greatest at their instrument, but if I ever decide to, Coltrane is on the short list. 

50.  Gotta Get Away – The Rolling Stones (rock) - 1965
49.  From a Buick 6 – Bob Dylan (Rock) – 1965

Dylan must have been so excited to play with a full band. 

48.  She’s About a Mover – Sir Douglas Quintet (Rock) – 1965

This sounds like a Beatles song, but I like it … or so I like it.  I definitely have uncertainty towards the proper conjunction. 

47.  I Hear a Symphony – The Supremes (Rhythm & Blues) – 1965

I’ve largely ignored the Supremes thus far because I’m not too big a fan.  It’s not a lack of respect, it’s just not my bag.  They were the Beatles biggest competitors is the early 60s though from a pop/charting perspective, so major props for that. 

46.  It’s My Life – The Animals (Rock) – (1965)

Granted it was typo, but I saw that I labeled a Byrd’s song as “rolk” which may be the perfect definition for some of this era’s songs. 

45.  Turn, Turn, Turn – The Byrds (rock) – (1965)

Score one for the Americans!  That Freedom Rock commercial damaged several songs permanently for me including this one, but it’s recovering.  Still, the Britains get the Beatles, Stones, Kinks and the Who.  We get … the Byrds (okay, and Bob Dylan). 

44.  Ballad of a Thin Man – Bob Dylan (Rock) – 1965
43.  A Well Respected Man – The Kinks (Rock) – 1965

I haven’t listened to too many Kinks song outside of the Big Two they released in 1964 and a couple of other strays through the years.  This is a nice one. 

42.  Mr. Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan (Folk) – 1965

I don’t understand how Dylan’s followers didn’t see the full band coming.  Did these people just wanna hear strumming and arpeggios over and over again? 

41.  Uptight (Everything’s Alright) – Stevie Wonder (Rhythm & Blues) – 1965

This works much better as Stevie’s “first” song than some ditty where he’s just playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the harmonica. 

40.  Day Tripper – The Beatles (Rock) – 1965

It’s nice that the Beatles have a little more balls with this one, but take away the crunching guitar riff, and the song isn’t spectacular.  Still, that guitar riff is badass. 

39.  Mystic Eyes – Them (Rock) – 1965

Van Morrison is really into that whole “mystic” thing. 

38.  Run For Your Life – The Beatles (Rock) -1965

I’ve always appreciated the psychosis of this song. 

37.  In the Midnight Hour – Wilson Pickett (Rhythm & Blues) – 1965

With all these crazy Brits and new American rock bands coming out of the woodworks, it’s nice to hear some good soul. 

36.  We Can Work It Out – The Beatles (Rock) – 1965

What’s great about the Beatles in 1965 is you can start to feel their transition into being more than just a pop band. 

35.  Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream – Bob Dylan (Folk) – 1965

This dream is his dream to have a backbeat behind him, which he does. 

34.  Yesterday – The Beatles (Pop) – 1965

This is one of Paul’s biggest songs ever, but it’s a little too pretty. 

33.  Play With Fire – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1965

The Stones are always so much better when they’re doing their own songs. 

32.  Keep On Running – The Spencer Davis Group (Rock) – 1965

I love the little taste of distortion in this song.  It’s also nice to now know not one, but two songs by the Spencer Davis Group. 

31.  I Can’t Help Myself – The Four Tops (Rhythm & Blues) – 1965

I’m not a huge fan of the whole Motown thing, but you can’t deny its soul. 

30.  Drive My Car – The Beatles (Rock) – 1965

The “beep beep, beep beep yeah” part may be a little silly, but other than that, this is more perfect song writing from the World’s Greatest Songwriting Band!

29.  Heart Full of Soul – The Yardbirds (Rock) – 1965

The most interesting thing to me about these birds is which guitar player is playing which song.  This one is Jeff Beck, you know, the 3rd best one they had.  

28.  The In Crowd – The Ramsey Lewis Trio (Rhythm & Blues) – 1965

It’s not their song, but this song jams without words even better. 

27.  You Got to Hide Your Love Away – The Beatles (Rock) – 1965

I think the Beatles invented soft rock. 

26.  The Kids Are Alright – The Who (Rock) – 1965

Before this was a movie about Annette Benning and Julianne Moore scissoring each other, it was a decent song by the Who.

25.  A Change is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke (Rhythm & Blues) – 1965

I can’t believe I listened to this as soon as Obama won the election.  Definitely one of the lamest things I’ve ever done. 

24.  I’m Looking Through You – The Beatles (rock) – 1965
23.  Stroll On – The Yardbirds (hard rock) – 1965

This isn’t the greatest song ever, but aside from what the Kinks have going on, it’s very hard for its time, and that gets you points from the Deuce my friends.  Well that and it is actually a good song. 

22.  Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues – Bob Dylan (rock) – 1965

Maybe it’s wrong that I judge some older songs by references in latter day rap music, but if the Beastie Boys don’t sample this one, it would’ve taken me longer to listen to Dylan.  There’s reasons why people use sampling, and the biggest reason is to give props.  I’m going back to New York City, I do believe I’ve had enough. 

21.  Ticket to Ride – The Beatles (rock) – 1965

I’ve heard this song numerous times and it’s one of “those” Beatles songs, but it’s still beautiful. 

20.  Help – The Beatles (Rock) – 1965

For some reason, I always think of this as a Paul song, even though it’s not.  It’s got to be the poppiness. 

19.  Tombstone Blues – Bob Dylan (Rock) - 1965
18.  It’s Alright Ma – Bob Dylan (Folk) – 1965

After all the razamataz with “instrumentation” appearing on Bringing It All Back Home, Dylan completes the album with just his million dollar poetry and guitar.  Sure this song is a little longer than I’d like, but it’s worth it. 

17.  The Last Time – The Rolling Stones (rock) – 1965

I jammed with some guy in New Britain, Connecticut to this song in the classic summer of 1995, when I would drive around town barefoot.  Freaking hippy. 

16.  See My Friend – The Kinks (Rock) – 1965

The psychedelia is happening!  This is a new discovery for me, but this is a nice trippy song.  I wish it was 7 minutes long and the Kinks decided to freak it out a bit though. 

15.  Maggie’s Farm – Bob Dylan (rock) – 1965

Since Johnny Ryall doesn’t have to work there anymore, it’s been a much nicer farm. 

14.  Get Off of My Cloud – The Rolling Stones (rock) – 1965
13.  In My Life – The Beatles (rock) – 1965

My closest thing to a memory of this song is Dave Matthews playing it at a Benefit for 9/11 … or maybe it was Katrina.  I don’t know, he played it after some tragic American event and it was pretty good. 

12.  California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and Papas (folk) – 1965

This is sort of the first hippie song.  I almost wanted to create its own genre, but though we have our “acid flashback” songs, I’m not sure it deserves its own genre. 

11.  Subterranean Homesick Blues – Bob Dylan (rock) – 1965

It’s amazing to me how much poetry can fit in a two minute long rock song.

10.  I Can’t Explain – The Who (Rock) – 1965

It’s strange how the Who have times when they’re so good, and times when they’re pretty bad, and those years happen at random times.  It’s not like you can say the Who was good from 1965-1973 … wait a minute, maybe you can, there were just lots of bad songs in between.  

9.  Norwegian Wood – The Beatles (rock) – 1965

The sitar!  I love how innocent John Lennon sounds in this song. 

8.  The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel (folk) – 1965

I love how eerie this song sounds.  I once saw this on a “worst songs ever” list somewhere, and I don’t know why someone wouldn’t like this song.  This isn’t “We Built this City” here. 

7.  Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag – James Brown (Funk) – 1965

This song is especially best when you’re young, marijuana is hard to acquire and one of your buddies just comes back home with a new sack and you all get high in his bedroom while his parents at work, all the while realizing you have several more weeks of this before the next semester of college starts. 

6.  Sinnerman – Nina Simone (Rhythm & Blues) – 1965

Nina Simone brings up many issues for me.  With the amount of passion she has involved in every song, it’s often very difficult for me to compare what she does with anyone else.    Aside from that, this passion is so powerful it transcends labels.  This really isn’t rhythm & blues.  In a previous song, she describes it has a showtune for a show that hasn’t been written yet, and that’s probably the best way to go with her. 

5.  My Generation – The Who (Rock) – 1965

I’m not sure what the deal with all the stuttering is, but get past all the commercialism and Eddie Vedder covers of this song over the years, and you have a great one. 

4.  I Ain’t Marchin Anymore – Phil Ochs (Folk) – 1965

I’m sure it gets special treatment because it’s not overplayed like most of the great songs of this era, but in genre dominated by Bob Dylan, it’s great to hear someone else that could’ve been just as good but for one reason or another, wasn’t. 

3.  I Got You (I Feel Good) – James Brown (Funk) – 1965

This is the first legitimate funk song.  I’ve never really appreciated it to its fullest due to a muffler commercial in the 80s (Bad idea James!), but wow, this song is amazing.  To this point, there’s really nothing like it.

2.  Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan (Rock) – 1965

Aside from this being one of the biggest anthems in the history of rock, Bob Dylan is pretty much rubbing it in his “acoustic folk only” fans faces with this one.  For people to boo a song like this, shows you how pretentious music fans can be. 

1.  Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1965

It’s great that no matter how brilliant Bob Dylan is with is poetry, it still doesn’t top a badass guitar riff.  

1 comment:

  1. I'm a folksinger, have a google news alert for "Phil Ochs" and your blog popped up on that list. I was 13 years old in 1965 -- it was fun reading your list and especially your comments. A real trip down memory lane. 1965 was a good year for songwriting. Thanks for compiling your list and explaining your choices.