Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Best Songs of 1964 - Nos. 25 to 21

25. The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan (The Times They Are A-Changin’)

Bob Dylan captured his time like almost no other songwriter, especially with this protest song. Few songs more perfectly evoke the feeling of the beginning of the youth movement of the sixties. It was a truly moving number that really inspires the urge to go out and work for social change. I’m not sure if that was really Dylan’s intention, but it was certainly the result.

24. Baby, I Need Your Loving – The Four Tops (The Four Tops)

The Four Tops make their first appearance on the list with this, their first hit, which made it to number eleven on the Pop charts. Levi Stubbs belts out a beautiful love song that set a standard for many future hits from this terrific Detroit band. They were wonderfully representative of the Motown sound that was becoming so popular at the time.

23. Don’t Worry Baby – The Beach Boys (Shut Down, Vol. 2)

Sure, he’s still singing about cars, but those arrangements are getting amazing. Brian Wilson’s fantastic falsetto shows up again as the B-side to the song at number twenty-six takes a spot a few slots ahead. The song was meant as response to the Ronettes’ hit of the previous year, “Be My Baby”. It was successful in that regard as Ronnie Spector’s group eventually covered this song.

22. Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles (A Hard Day’s Night)

On April 4th, 1964, This song became the Beatles’ third consecutive number one song. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was replaced at number one by “She Loves You” which was replaced by “Can’t Buy Me Love”. While it sat at number one, the entire top five were also Beatles songs. No other artist has ever held all five spots at the top of the US Pop charts and it is unlikely that the feat will ever be duplicated.

21. Under the Boardwalk – The Drifters (Under the Boardwalk)

The Drifters created a real classic here. This song is so evocative of a certain era’s summer in the city that it makes me feel like I grew up in New York in the fifties and sixties even though I actually grew up in Alabama in the seventies and eighties.

Comments and opinions are encouraged and appreciated.

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