Jun 04

Popular ’60

Popular16 comments • 1,140 views

The next entry is turning out to be quite a big one, so I’m pushing it back a day or two and putting up the last of our 60s polls. It’ll find its way to its proper place in the blog in time.

I give a mark out of 10 to every song on Popular. In these polls, you tick any you would have given 6 or more to. 1960 was a slim year for Number Ones – only 16. My personal high point was “Shaking All Over” (8), and my low was Lonnie’s “Dustman” (1).

Which Of The Number One Hits Of 1960 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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Over to you! And discuss the year in general in the comments too.


  1. 1
    lonepilgrim on 21 May 2014 #

    maybe it’s because it is the year I was born but I felt generally quite positive about a lot of these. There’s a sense of heightened emotion straining against the bounds of convention in a lot of the songs and occasionally bursting through – and then there’s ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman’ as well

  2. 2
    wichitalineman on 22 May 2014 #

    It’s one of those odd years when the genuinely great records rose to the top – the rest of the Top 20 in 1960 often made for a bewildering listen. I’ve ended up voting for 10, with Do You Mind and Running Bear just missing the cut.

    The American no.1s had a few more novelty (and countrypolitan) efforts…

    Frankie Avalon – Why
    Marty Robbins – El Paso
    Johnny Preston – Running Bear
    Mark Dinning – Teen Angel
    Percy Faith – Theme From ‘A Summer Place’
    Elvis Presley – Stuck On You
    Everly Brothers – Cathy’s Clown
    Connie Francis – Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool
    Hollywood Argyles – Alley Oop
    Brenda Lee – I’m Sorry
    Brian Hyland – Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini
    Elvis Presley – It’s Now or Never
    Chubby Checker – The Twist
    Connie Francis – My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own
    Larry Verne – Mr Custer
    The Drifters – Save The Last Dance For Me
    Brenda Lee – I Want to Be Wanted
    Ray Charles – Georgia On My Mind
    Maurice Williams And The Zodiacs – Stay
    Elvis Presley – Are You Lonesome Tonight

    I’d happily have seen the Drifters, Maurice Williams, Ray Charles and Percy Faith at no.1 in Britain, but quite pleased the repulsive and thoroughly unbelievable Teen Angel did nothing here. Itsy Bitsy would seek us out and destroy us a few decades later, of course.

  3. 3
    jim5et on 22 May 2014 #

    that’s a cracking year, isn’t it (and why am I not surprised that the next entry is a behemoth?)

  4. 4
    Cumbrian on 22 May 2014 #

    I’d need to actually listen to several of these before voting but a quick note to say that Cathy’s Clown and Shaking All Over are both magnificent – borderline 10s for me.

  5. 5
    punctum on 22 May 2014 #

    Didn’t vote for any of them (I’m talking about the 1960 list, not today’s election). A couple of 7s at the most if I were feeling generous which I wasn’t. And Kidd’s “Shakin’ All Over” is nowhere near as good as the Guess Who/Chad Allen & the Expressions 1964 cover. Far too polite.

  6. 6
    Mark G on 22 May 2014 #

    Conversely, I voted for all but two (I never liked “Tell Laura I love her”, the definition of “mannered”, and “Starry Eyed” I don’t know)

    Then again, if the criteria had been 8 or more, there’d only be three at the most.

  7. 7
    Tom on 22 May 2014 #

    Year-End lists are a beast of the ‘rock era’ and hard to come by for 1960, but here’s “Acclaimed Music”‘s list of the most critically fancied songs of the year.

    1 The Shirelles – “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”
    2 Roy Orbison – “Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel)”
    3 The Everly Brothers – “Cathy’s Clown”
    4 Chubby Checker – “The Twist”
    5 The Shadows – “Apache”
    6 Ray Charles – “Georgia on My Mind”
    7 The Drifters – “Save the Last Dance for Me”
    8 Etta James – “At Last”
    9 The Ventures – “Walk – Don’t Run”
    10 Sam Cooke – “Wonderful World”
    11 Brenda Lee – “I’m Sorry”
    12 Johnny Kidd and The Pirates – “Shakin’ All Over”
    13 Smokey Robinson and The Miracles – “Shop Around”
    14 Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs – “Stay”
    15 Fats Domino – “Walking to New Orleans”
    16 Wanda Jackson – “Let’s Have a Party”
    17 Elvis Presley – “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”
    18 Howlin’ Wolf – “Spoonful”
    19 The Stanley Brothers – “Rank Strangers”
    20 Howlin’ Wolf – “Back Door Man”
    21 The Drifters – “This Magic Moment”
    22 Charlie Rich – “Lonely Weekends”
    23 The Shirelles – “Tonight’s the Night”
    24 Mark Dinning – “Teen Angel”
    25 Sam Cooke – “Chain Gang”

  8. 8
    punctum on 22 May 2014 #

    My song of 1960.

  9. 9
    swanstep on 22 May 2014 #

    (The obvious) 5 only for me.

  10. 10
    Cumbrian on 22 May 2014 #

    Got up to 6 in the end – the current top 6 as voted for by everyone else as it turned out.


    Adam Faith didn’t mess around did he? His #1s are very short.

    Roy Orbison is great; even on a song that I think falls short of his best, he makes me believe him.

    Johnny Kidd – I think of this as pretty edgy, to be honest. It made me think of a serial killer through its use of sparseness, urgency and twitchiness. It actually made me a little uncomfortable.

    The Everlys – I’m a sucker for the harmonies and again benefits from a sparse arrangement. Practically drum and bass for large swathes of it – another record provoking conflicting feelings (do I feel sympathy? Or is this self pitying?).

    #8: I’ve listened to very little jazz (probably wrong-headedly, I’ve always thought of it as a bit intimidating – from my limited reading around it, there seem to be lots of things that you need to know/there are ways of listening that I have trouble understanding on the written page, to get the most out of it – so I’ve been a bit put off trying it out). Nevertheless, to my uneducated ear, that’s lovely. Thanks for the link.

  11. 11
    wichitalineman on 23 May 2014 #

    Re 6: That’s interesting. I wonder how many records get low ratings on these year-end polls because people haven’t heard them. The top six on this list are certainly the six you’re most likely to hear in 2014.

    Re 7: I wonder which critics rate Mark Dinning’s Teen Angel?!

  12. 12
    Tom on 23 May 2014 #

    #11 “Don’t know” is a problem throughout – when I was doing the ordering for my 70s countdown tumblr I really noticed that there’s a band of perfectly OK records in the bottom half whose main crime is obscurity. It’s cumulative advantage – some good things get continued radio play, so become more familiar, so are better liked, so continue to get radio play, and eventually they’re a ‘classic’.

    Acclaimed Music’s methods are somewhat oblique, btw.

  13. 13
    enitharmon on 23 May 2014 #

    Cumbrian@10 :- No need to worry about jazz, just listen and make your own mind up. That’s the trouble with pundits, especially musical pundits – there’s always an air of smug superiority about them :)

    Nowt wrong with Marcello’s choice of course, I have it here in my own collection (along with the rest of the album). I’m clueless about the musicological niceties, I just like it. I also think Shakin’ All Over is pretty spiffy too and I can see how groundbreaking it was in 1960. I even like Jimmy Jones so there! I voted for 9.

  14. 14
    Ed on 23 May 2014 #

    Some surprisingly low scores here. Is there really that little love for Lonnie Donegan? That would have been borderline for me, but earned its tick for the great terrace chant “Oh [our club’s manager]’s magic, he wears a magic hat, and when he saw the FA Cup he said ‘I’m having that’.” Maybe nobody sings that any more.

    Also, the Ricky Valance is fantastic, proto-schlock rock and proto-emo. You can hear Jim Steinman taking notes, and My Chemical Romance as well.

  15. 15
    Rory on 23 May 2014 #

    Five for me: the Big O, Shadows, Elvis, Kidd and Jimmy Jones. Never really cared for the Everlys. I listened to all of these on YouTube to see if there were any surprises lurking among them, and the only one that leapt out was Jimmy Jones – a great representative of a certain early ’60s sound, used in the American Graffiti soundtrack apparently. I suspect that track at least has lost a few votes through unfamiliarity.

  16. 16
    weej on 1 Jun 2014 #

    Only six for me – Roy O, Shadows, J. Kidd, Everly Bros, Jimmy Jones and Michael Holiday – bit of a rum year otherwise.

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