As we come to the end of 2015 we also come to the end of the 50th anniversary of 1965. That was a very important year in my life. I had the first true love of my life, I graduated from high school, started college away from home and had to register for the draft. There was one other important element in 1965 and that is the music from that year. That's what this post is about, not my love life, high school graduation, college initiation or draft status.
It was a very good musical year. Top 40 radio was thriving. It was still AM radio that ruled. FM was really just getting started. There were other music radio stations. The Oldies stations of the day mostly played big band stuff. There were easy listening stations that played pop music by Perry Como, Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Rosemary Clooney, Sinatra, etc. There were also Country-centric radio stations. Even some classical music spots on the radio dial. Those Top 40 stations really did play whatever songs were on the music charts. That meant that there could be a rock song followed by country followed by Sinatra followed by folk followed by Soul. Rinse and repeat. I'll get into some of the specifics of that diversity shortly. Many of the pop stars of the 40's and 50's were still performing live and selling records. Country moved toward pop and rock and had several crossover stars and songs. The British Invasion was firmly entrenched. Motown was spitting out new groups and new hits every week. The Surf/Beach music wave was breaking on the charts. The Folk explosion of the early 60's was still hanging on. I am grateful that I was exposed to many genres of music. Although I primarily listen to the various forms of rock music, I enjoy mixing it with the other genres. My normal way to listen to Pandora is to shuffle several stations together. My music library is made up of numerous types of music. I usually shuffle that too and build diverse playlists.
So on to some specifics. I will be citing Billboard and Tunecaster music charts from 1965. The first #1 song of the year was either I Feel Fine by The Beatles or Come See About Me by The Supremes depending on which chart you look at. The last #1 hit of 1965 was Over and Over by The Dave Clark Five or We Can Work It Out by The Beatles. So the Beatles opened the year and wrapped it up. They had a few other hits in the middle too. There is a dispute about what was the top song of the year. Billboard says it was Wooly Bully by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. Tunecaster picked (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. Another poll selected I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) by The Four Tops. All good but I think the Stones' song has proved to have much more staying power. There were some surprises to me in the year's top 100. Herman's Hermits has five songs on the year-end chart and The Beatles had four. Gary Lewis and the Playboys had three entries. The Beach Boys and Rolling Stones only two each. In retrospect, I think The Beatles, Stones and Beach Boys contributed way more to our song catalog than Gary and Herman.
You can peruse the charts yourself. Tunecaster's year-end Pop 100 is here. Billboard's year-end Hot 100 is here. The list of weekly #1s on Tunecaster can be found here. Billboard's list of #1s is here. You will notice that the two weekly charts start on different days of the week. That explains some of the discrepancies.
There were a few one hit wonders in 1965 too. Boy From New York City by The Ad Libs, Land Of 1000 Dances by Cannibal and the Headhunters reached #2 in May, Liar, Liar by The Castaways, and Keep On Dancing by The Gentrys climbed to #3,
The top-selling album of the year was the soundtrack from Mary Poppins. Looks like moms were buying most of the albums. This is also somewhat misleading since many of the top artists released multiple albums in a year. The Beatles released four. Most teens probably couldn't afford to buy all four. It didn't take long to produce an album back then. Singers or groups went into the studio with all the supporting musicians assembled and sang the songs. The tracks weren't all recorded individually in separate locations and then run through several computer programs, synthesizers, cut, spliced, rearranged, enhanced, etc.
1965 was a very good year for music and not a bad year for me. I still listen to a lot of the songs from that year. For most people, the music of our teens becomes our favorite. I like some of the contemporary music but I always go back to the songs of the 60's. Music brings back memories and 1965 was mostly good times so listening to that music is also mostly memories of good times.
So crank up the volume on the old AM radio, cruise the burger joint and enjoy some very good music from 1965.