May 05

Popular ’65

FT + Popular/16 comments • 1,396 views

I give a mark out of 10 to each track. These polls are for you to select any tracks that you would have given 6 or more to (by whatever criteria you fancy!)

Number One Hits Of 1965: Which Would You Have Given 6 Or More?

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Poll closes: No Expiry

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Use the comments box to talk about the year in general, if you like.


  1. 1
    mike on 5 Jun 2008 #

    The Yeh Yehs: 15.
    The Go Nows: 9.

    Good year, that.

  2. 2
    DJ Punctum on 5 Jun 2008 #

    What is this mysterious Cilla Black number one called “Long Live Love”?

  3. 3
    Tom on 5 Jun 2008 #

    Haha oops. Will modify.

  4. 4
    Tom on 5 Jun 2008 #

    This IIRC was kind of the heyday of the Haloscan comments era on Popular, so quite possibly all of these are slimly discussed now.

    The high tide of the 60s charts (well, this or 66, but even if I gave higher marks in 66 this feels just as vibrant) – before the album-as-aesthetic-unit started to really come into play. 14/24 ticks from me.

  5. 5
    Dan R on 5 Jun 2008 #

    What a wonderfulluy sunny Belle Epoque run of chart-toppers. I’ve just listened to most of them back-to-back and the air around me feels full of possibility. Remarkable, given the creeping misanthropy of the Stones, the cries for help and wistful regret of The Beatles, and the otherworldliness of The Byrds. These are harbingers of something else but for this year it appears to lock together in a tremendous sense of uplift and possibility.

    God knows whether it felt like that at the time, mind.

  6. 6
    rosie on 6 Jun 2008 #

    It felt like that at the time, Dan. And next year gets even better. The Belle Epoque indeed of my formative years. Something was definitely happening here – this list is quite different from even two years earlier.

  7. 7
    Billy Smart on 5 Aug 2008 #

    For a sense of upside-down context, here are the singles that got to number 40 on the same chart in 1965;

    7 Jan A Tribute To Jim Reeves – Larry Cunningham – 2 weeks

    4 Feb Long After Tonight Is All Over – Jimmy Radcliffe – 1

    18 Mar Stranger In Town – Del Shannon – 1

    27 May If I Ruled The World – Tony Bennett – 1

    24 Jun Back In My Arms Again – The Supremes – 1

    2 Sep You’re My Girl – The Rockin’ Berries – 1

  8. 8
    Billy Smart on 23 Feb 2010 #

    The phantom number ones of 1965, that topped the other (NME) chart;

    The Seekers – I’ll Never Find Another You (2 weeks)
    The Yardbirds – For Your Love (1)
    The Everly Brothers – The Price Of Love (1)
    Len Barry 1-2-3 (1)

  9. 9
    wichita lineman on 2 Aug 2010 #

    Those Dutch no.1s of 1965 in full:

    Beatles – I Feel Fine (5 weeks)
    Lucille Starr – The French Song (2)
    Gudrun Jankis/Stig Rauno – Let Kiss (8)
    Beatles – No Reply/Rock & Roll Music (3)
    Beatles – Ticket To Ride (9)
    Sam The Sham – Wooly Bully (4)
    Beatles – Help (6)
    Rolling Stones – Satisfaction (5)
    Dave Berry – This Strange Effect (3)
    Beatles – Yesterday (6)
    Beatles – We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper (7)

    No signs of flagging Beatlemania, then.

    Dave Berry’s hit is gorgeous, written by Ray Davies but never released by The Kinks.

  10. 10
    thefatgit on 3 Aug 2010 #

    Funny that! This is the year before i was born and yet a lot of the #1’s here are getting the big thumbs up from me. 18 of ’em!

  11. 11
    lonepilgrim on 3 Aug 2010 #

    interesting to see the success of ‘No reply’ on the Dutch chart – may explain it’s inclusion on a forthcoming 1989 hit

  12. 12
    wichita lineman on 3 Aug 2010 #

    1981 hit lonep.? I hadn’t thought of that, but as a callow teen Stars On 45 was my introduction – even though I knew a stack of Beatles records – to No Reply and I’ll Be Back. Not really the most obvious tracks to open a super-smashing Beatle medley. So melancholy!

    Almost all get my thumbs up, apart from Ken D, Carnival Is Over, G Fame and T Jones, with Unit 4+2 on the edge. Amazing year.

    Re 7: such a great year that Long After Tonight Is All Over, Stranger In Town and You’re My Girl would all have been worthy no.1s. All verrry intense and beautiful 45s.

  13. 13
    lonepilgrim on 4 Aug 2010 #

    re 12 oh yeah..I’m getting it confused with another medley, soon to be discussed

  14. 14
    lonepilgrim on 19 Dec 2010 #

    there’s a slice of 1965 pop from the NME Pollwinners Concert to be found here:


    broadcast on TV, this must have been a pretty impressive show

  15. 15
    IJGrieve on 7 Feb 2015 #

    Reviews and rates for the #1s of 1965:

    You quite possibly haven’t heard this piece of jazz-flavoured upbeat pop, but once you do you won’t forget it in a hurry as it is an earworm and a half. I’ve been humming the insistent vocal melody all week. While it can’t be said to be one of the more important #1s of the year, I’m sure it will have had a lot of toes tapping 7

    THE MOODY BLUES – “Go Now”
    Whereas the previous #1 was feather-light, “Go Now” seems to strive for gravity from the outset, with an imposing opening piano line that remains among the most recognisable in the genre. This is the first of many breakup songs to top the charts in 1965; great as the instrumentation is in places, the overall package doesn’t bear inevitable comparisons to tracks still to come 4

    THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS – “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”
    Rather than throwing in the kitchen sink as the Moody Blues did previously, The Righteous Brothers put the vocals front and centre and the resulting record is that much more convincing as a consequence. In lesser hands it could have been dismal, but the Brothers are both vocally more than up to the task. From the opening line (“You never close your eyes any more when I kiss your lips”) onwards, it’s not difficult to see why this has become a classic. Personally, it’s never going to find itself on my regular listening list, but I much prefer it to their ‘other hit’ that we’ll meet in another 25 years’ time (probably at least in part because, unlike that song, it’s remained unruined by appalling cover versions)8

    THE KINKS – “Tired Of Waiting For You”
    The Kinks’ second of four number ones is almost certainly the least well-remembered. Indeed, it is eclipsed by singles released either side of this one that are, respectively, a far stronger rock track (“All Day And All Of The Night”) and a much more interesting pop record (“Dedicated Follower Of Fashion”) but did not reach the top spot. This song is dull, doesn’t suit Davies’ voice and belongs tucked away at the tail-end of their Greatest Hits 3

    THE SEEKERS – “I’ll Never Find Another You”
    This starts off promisingly, with its bright, folky guitar intro, but quickly descends into a cloying morass. Tom mentioned in his review how ‘church-y’ this sounds, and I have to agree: listening to this is like being back in Sunday School (not for the last time in 1965). Thoroughly “wholesome” – If treacle and cod liver oil got together, and put out a single, it would sound just like this and be just as awful 1

    TOM JONES – “It’s Not Unusual”
    It’s hard to imagine now, but back in 1965 Tom Jones was an unknown, his first single, a flop. This, his second, promoted by pirate radio, was impossible to ignore. A big personality and a powerful voice, coupled with a punchy song that cannot fail to grab attention while not having a lot of substance. I’d take this over the Seekers every time and then a few more, but I can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s just ‘there’ 6

    THE ROLLING STONES – “The Last Time”
    The third #1 for the Stones and the first that Jagger and Richards wrote themselves (though they later admitted that it took a lot of inspiration from a similarly-titled traditional gospel song). But for the characteristic distortion, the influence of the Merseybeat sound is evident in the instrumentation. Aside from that, as so often with the Stones this doesn’t really work for me as a recording – it’s rock for a charismatic frontman to perform for a live audience 5

    UNIT FOUR PLUS TWO – “Concrete And Clay”
    Another one that goes to show the power that pirate radio stations (particularly Radio Caroline) had in these days. This otherwise virtually unknown British group, with about as insipid a band name as it is possible to devise, achieved this unlikely hit thanks to their support. The song itself bounces along pleasantly, a love song, with a touch of the exotic (at least for 1965) about it thanks to a flourish of Spanish guitar 6

    CLIFF RICHARD – “The Minute You’re Gone”
    Cliff attempts to outdo the Seekers in the terrible record stakes. He doesn’t quite manage it, fortunately – this doesn’t quite reach ‘actively bad’ territory, it’s just very, very dull 2

    THE BEATLES – “Ticket To Ride”
    I can imagine that someone encountering this record completely unaware of how it sounds, as Beatles fans at the time of release must have, would be taken aback somewhat – neither the song’s title nor any of their previous releases provide much indication. There’s a clear shift in style between the previous Beatles #1s and this record, which is almost low-key musically in contrast to the instrumental menagerie that is “Hard Day’s Night”. I think Lennon’s resigned “Aah” just at the start of the chorus is my favourite thing about the song, it’s so expressive without actually saying anything! 7

    ROGER MILLER – “King Of The Road”
    Many retrospective examinations of the trends and shifts in the world of popular music in the 1960s talk of the British Invasion – the crossing of the Atlantic of British groups to great success (in some cases, such as Herman’s Hermits, somewhat greater success than they did on these shores). Here’s a notable example of the reverse dynamic, for this is about as American as a song can get and yet it was a UK smash hit. “King Of The Road” is a country ode to the hobo and his self-sufficient itinerant lifestyle that clearly caught the imagination of the British public, and not because it soundtracked a hit film or anything along those lines. I’ve always liked this song a lot, ever since I heard the Proclaimers’ faithful cover version, before the original, back in the early 90s. If anything, hearing it in context makes me like it all the more 8

    JACKIE TRENT – “Where Are You Now (My Love)”
    Drab and dated lost love song that became a hit off the back of its appearance in a TV drama 2

    SANDIE SHAW – “Long Live Love”
    Lightweight, jaunty song with the hint of a Caribbean influence. The most striking thing about this song – or, at least, the recording that I have been listening to – is a particularly annoying noise in the right earpiece that sounds like someone scraping two pieces of metal together at regular intervals. You won’t be able to not hear it now! 4

    ELVIS PRESLEY – “Crying In The Chapel”
    As if it weren’t apparent by now, this is the clearest evidence yet of an unbridgeable generational divide, played out upon the battleground of the 1965 singles charts. Elvis’ star had fallen a long way by the mid-60s, but enough still revered him to give his version of this particularly supplicant gospel record a week at #1 (it would, however, turn out to be his last #1 of the decade) 2

    THE HOLLIES – “I’m Alive”
    One of those unfortunate instances of a deserving artist getting their #1 hit with the wrong song: “Just One Look”, “Stop Stop Stop” and “Bus Stop” are all much better songs than this 60s-pop-by-numbers effort 5

    THE BYRDS – “Mr Tambourine Man”
    A brief appearance on a charity collaboration aside, Bob Dylan never had a UK #1 hit. It’s likely his love-it-or-hate-it style of singing had a lot to do with that (as well as a helping of bad luck with release timings). By smoothing out the rough vocal edges, and adding the jingle-jangle that the lyrics call for, LA’s Byrds turned “Mr Tambourine Man” into an iconic record and deservedly achieve what Dylan did not. Here is as good a place as any to mark the arrival of the hippie period, representing as this song does surely the most flagrant reference to psychedelics (“Take me for a trip upon your magic swirling ship…”) up to this point 8

    THE BEATLES – “Help”
    Like “Hard Day’s Night” last year, “Help” stands apart from the year’s other two Beatles #1s in that it was written first and foremost as a film’s title song. Where “Hard Day’s Night” stands as a high point in the early Beatles’ timeline, full of innovation, “Help” represents a turning point. It’s as though they’ve ‘reached the top and had to stop’, and are looking for a new direction. The film it soundtracked may have been a rather daft comedy, but one can’t help (with some element of 20:20 hindsight) but feel that the song was also intended as a message to fans 7

    SONNY AND CHER – “I Got You Babe”
    It’s a pleasing coincidence that I happen to be covering 1965 in this particular week. February 2nd is of course Groundhog Day, and it is with this film, in which Bill Murray’s hapless character wakes up to “I Got You Babe” playing on his bedside radio every morning and which I am happy to name as my all-time favourite movie, that the song is inextricably associated. It’s perhaps inevitable, then, that I’m positively disposed towards it even if it wouldn’t normally tick my boxes. Somehow, this is one of those classic records whose whole manages to comprise so much more than the sum of its parts 9

    THE ROLLING STONES – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
    Some records stand as unassailable, so much have they been shored up and insulated by the volume of critical acclaim that has been bestowed upon them. ‘Satisfaction’ is undoubtedly one of those. It’s undoubtedly a very good record, by far the strongest of the Stones’ early #1s. We’ve seen some of the horrendous records that have been propelled to the top by the purchasing power of the older generation (and we’ll see another one of those in a couple of tracks’ time), and that the youthful kick back against them comes in this form is fitting, and telling. For me, though, it just doesn’t quite connect in the way that “Have I The Right?” did, or indeed tracks still to come that it surely influenced – the challenge (as will often be during the course of this reviewing-and-rating marathon) is to work out why and communicate it. And, I come to the conclusion that it comes down largely to Jagger’s persona. I’ve said in my comments on previous Stones #1s that they come across as vehicles for Jagger’s showmanship. While that isn’t the case here, the egotism that suffuses them is, for me, strongly in evidence and turns me off the song somewhat. Still, for its importance and impact 8

    THE WALKER BROTHERS – “Make It Easy On Yourself”
    Maybe it’s just me and mine, but the Walker Brothers got bracketed as an ‘easy listening’ oldies act – a categorisation which belies how powerful this song, and the Brothers’ performance of it, actually is. It’s a noteworthy confluence that two of the stronger #1 of 1965 are breakup songs by American acts with ‘Brothers’ in their name who were not actually brothers. Of the two, this is by a narrow margin the inferior 7

    KEN DODD – “Tears”
    One wonders how a stand-up comedian best known for his ‘tickling stick’ ended up recording this dreary 1920s number and had such a huge hit with it. Another manifestation of that clash of generations I talked about earlier, no doubt 2

    THE ROLLING STONES – “Get Off Of My Cloud”
    Another #1 already for the Stones – apparently this was a reaction to their dramatically increased popularity following the success of “Satisfaction”. This was their heyday, and that is audible in this triumphant-sounding record 7

    THE SEEKERS – “The Carnival Is Over”
    Oh no, they’re back. Fortunately this isn’t quite as dismal as their earlier chart-topper, but it’s best once it’s over 2

    THE BEATLES – “Day Tripper”
    I’ve long been fascinated by pop’s role in pushing boundaries. As well as being an iconic song with one of the most recognisable riffs in pop, “Day Tripper” stands as a landmark in that particular timeline in that it is easily the most conspicuously drug-referencing hit record up to this point. While they were understandably coy about the inspiration for the song’s lyrics at the time, McCartney later revealed what the Beatles’ ’65 listeners surely knew all along – the “Day Tripper” of the title is an occasional user of LSD. The song’s notability in this respect doesn’t stop there: the lyric “she’s a big teaser” is a quite obvious bowdlerisation of a somewhat coarser expression, just disguised enough for the song to slip onto the radio.
    Before I wrap this up, it’s worth noting that this release is a landmark in another respect. in that it is recorded by pop history as the first official double A-side, together with “We Can Work It Out”. The score is for “Day Tripper” only, however 8

    Other hits worth a mention

    Chris Andrews – ‘Yesterday Man’ – A bold, brash, brassy celebratory record, breakup as renewal. SOmething this in-your-face is never going to be to everyone’s taste, which perhaps explains why it’s taken until now for me to encounter it. My favourite discovery of this year, perhaps of the entire project up to this point.

    The Supremes – ‘Stop! In The Name Of Love – In a year of timeless intros, perhaps the greatest of all is this Motown classic. For me this perfectly-crafted would have made for a much better #1 for the Supremes than the song that did actually reach the top, but again a US girl group’s release just couldn’t get enough momentum behind it on this side of the Atlantic.

    Bob Dylan – ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ and ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ – In the year that Dylan shocked the folk music world by shifting from acoustic to electric guitar and using rock musicians for backing, two of his most celebrated songs reached the UK top 10. The rollicking “Subterranean Homesick Blues” is notable also for its accompanying film clip, sometimes said to represent the first modern music video.

    Fontella Bass – ‘Rescue Me’ – Stretching the definition of “hit” just a little here, but I couldn’t let this little gem of a pop record, one of the strongest American R&B records of the era, go without a mention. If you don’t recognise the name, or worse still have only heard the abominable 2000 dance remix, go ahead and treat yourself.

    Barry McGuire – ‘Eve Of Destruction and Hedgehoppers Anonymous – ‘It’s Good News Week’ – Dylan wasn’t the only artist bringing a political flavour to the 1965 charts. Two other top 5 hits this year reflecting the fear of the Bomb contrasted in style: the rough and raw “Eve Of Destruction” and slightly tongue-in-cheek “It’s Good News Week” (featuring perhaps the first reference to the zombie trope in pop). The former was banned by the BBC for its political content; the latter likely doesn’t get much airplay these days because it was written and produced by Jonathan King.

    Aside from the above, 1965 was a bumper year for superb hit records that didn’t quite reach the summit. All of these just missed out (some kept off #1 by decidedly inferior releases): The Who – ‘My Generation’; The Animals – ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’; Donovan – ‘Catch The Wind’; Them – ‘Here Comes The Night’; The Toys – ‘A Lover’s Concerto’…

  16. 16
    CriticSez on 28 Jul 2016 #

    All but Jackie (five for her). Brilliant year for music.

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