Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Best Songs of 1961 - Nos. 10 to 6

10. Please Mr. Postman – The Marvelettes (Please Mr. Postman)

Gladys Horton and the rest of the Marvelettes took this song to number one. It was the first of many songs from the Motown label to reach that height. The story of a girl waiting on a letter from her distant lover has been covered numerous times, most famously by the Beatles and the Carpenters. Unfortunately, the Marvelettes didn’t have many more hits as they were soon overshadowed by the Supremes and the Vandellas.

9. Running Scared – Roy Orbison (Running Scared)

Probably the first rock song to be performed in the style of Bolero, Roy Orbison is at his operatic best as he builds “Running Scared” up to its tremendous crescendo. Asking his girl to choose between him and her ex, you can feel the fear and indecision as he doesn’t know what her ultimate choice will be. This beauty of a song made it all the way to number one.

8. I Fall To Pieces – Patsy Cline (I Fall To Pieces)

This was Patsy Cline’s first number one Country hit and the first song to be released from her new contract with Decca Records. She had one of the most perfect sounds to her voice and this track really brings out the crispness in her voice. While the song was climbing the charts, Patsy almost lost her life in a terrible automobile accident. It hit number one while she was in the hospital.

7. Unchain My Heart – Ray Charles (A Man And His Soul)

Great horn work and wonderful backing from the Raelettes really makes this hopping Ray Charles number. Ray tells a story of a woman who has him under her control and he just wants to be let go. It made it to number nine on the pop charts and number one on the R&B charts. It was another in a line of great Ray Charles songs.

6. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley (Blue Hawaii)

This song, one of the most covered in Elvis’ repertoire, was written for his 1961 film Blue Hawaii. It’s an incredibly beautiful ballad and easily one of Presley’s finest works. It peaked at number two on the pop charts. My favorite cover of this is the version that Lick the Tins did on the Some Kind of Wonderful soundtrack back in the 80s.

Comments and opinions are encouraged and appreciated.

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