Friday, June 01, 2007

The Best Songs of 1964 - Nos. 30 to 26

30. I’m Crying – The Animals (I’m Crying)

The Animals were a group that was most well known for their covers of great blues songs. This one has that same sound, but it’s an original by Eric Burdon and Alan Price. These guys played a hard-edged blues that only the Rolling Stones could match at the time among British bands. Eric Burdon sings it forcefully and with soul. It only made the top twenty in the States, but it should have done better.

29. She Loves You – The Beatles (The Beatles’ Second Album)

This was a massive number one hit for the Beatles, both in the UK and in the States. In fact, it was the best-selling single in Britain for fourteen years. After the band’s famous appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, the song shot to the top of the charts in the US. It is widely considered to be the quintessential song of the early-period Beatles. The British Invasion starts here.

28. Dancing in the Street – Martha & the Vandellas (Dance Party)

This modest little dance number that listed off city names in a time-honored rock tradition of trying to get lots of play on those same cities’ radio stations took on a life of its own when it was adopted as an anthem by the Civil Rights Movement. Martha Reeves sang it very well and the backing music, particularly those drums, was incredible. The Motown sound was great American competition for that British Invasion.

27. Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley (Viva Las Vegas)

Elvis Presley’s sixties output wasn’t a match for what he did in the fifties, but he certainly did record several great songs during his sojourn in Hollywood. This song had a tremendous beat and terrific lyrics. It was only a minor hit at the time, but over the years it has grown to be one of the most popular tracks in the Presley catalog. It’s been covered several times, notably by The Dead Kennedys.

26. I Get Around – The Beach Boys (All Summer Long)

Brian Wilson really had a beautiful falsetto, didn’t he? This was the first number one hit for The Beach Boys and the arrangement really showed amazing growth for Wilson as a songwriter. While remaining within his milieu of hot rods and cool kids in Southern California, he showed amazing originality. This was the beginning of a run of tremendous work.

Comments and opinions are encouraged and appreciated.

No comments: