Ah, the 60s! The decade that birthed rock & roll as we know it today — so many legendary music moments and bands and albums and, most importantly today, songs!
Castles Made Of Sand – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)
Out of all the “essential” artists to listen to (you know, your Beatles and your Stones and your Zeppelins), I can safely say, after to listening to them all, that The Experience are easily my favourite and, big surprise, their titular frontman is one of the greatest musicians of all time. You know this. It was tough to pick just one Hendrix track for this category, but I’ve gone for this deep cut from Axis: Bold As Love – the psychedelic instrumental, pervaded by the virtuoso guitar weaving, couples with the rich and often emotional lyricism; simply bliss.
Helter Skelter – The Beatles (1968) – This hard rocker from White Album is hands down my favourite Beatles song, mixing raucous guitars with the vocal harmonies that defined their touring years — Paul’s screaming and Ringo’s fill-heavy, cymbal-crashin’ drums highlighting.
God Only Knows – The Beach Boys (1966) – Slowing it down a notch, the dream-like peak of Pet Sounds ranks as one of my favourite love songs, with the vocal arrangements that brought the group fame being on prime display.
Dazed And Confused – Led Zeppelin (1969) – BEEN DAYYYZED N CONFUUSEDDD FOR SO LONG IT’S NOT TRUE — show me a better opening. This, one of Led Zep’s heaviest tracks, seeps blues and pain through Plant’s wails, whilst the instrumental is a clear precursor for a lil’ thing called heavy fucking metal.
Space Oddity – David Bowie (1969) – David Bowie wrote this when he was 22. TWENTY-TWO. There was nothing like it when it was released and there isn’t really anything like it now. As soon as Major Tom stepped through the door, so did young Davy Jones, into music legend.
Ramble On – Led Zeppelin (1969)
My original favourite Led Zeppelin song and possibly still, this was an easy pick for me to make. The journeyman’s song, I love the Lord of the Rings theme in the lyrics and the, quite fittingly, rambling instrumental with those soft acoustic guitars battling with the jabbing electrics and working alongside the varied percussion and that backbone of the jumping bass work, which is some of the greatest I’ve ever heard. Robert Plant, as per, is on absolute top form here too, and with his passionate performance and lyrical content, it’s pretty emotionally potent too, in a roundabout way.
Love or Confusion (1967) / All Along the Watchtower (1968) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience – These two are my favourite Jimi Hendrix songs. The king of psychedelia’s most awesome psychedelic song for me is Love or Confusion, with an unfathomable smorgasbord of fuzzy guitar leads smashing through its meandering song structure to make it an unforgettable three minutes. Possibly his most famous song, All Along the Watchtower, is as famous as it is for very good reason, so don’t call me a pleb. It just gives me goosebumps from start to finish, and that’s always a very good sign.
Dazed and Confused – Led Zeppelin (1969) – ANOTHER Led Zeppelin song?? Shock horror. I’d say this song is basically the mother of metal – it didn’t come from the fiery depths of hell, no, it came from some studio in London where a few gentlemen who were quite high and rather good at what they did recorded this awesomeness. Almost 7 minutes of it, in fact. It’s just such a cool song. *also nice choice Milo*
A Day in the Life – The Beatles (1967) – This is my personal favourite Beatles song, and while it took me a while to understand all the hype and fame surrounding the band, it didn’t take me a while to start loving this song. There’s something profoundly emotive about John Lennon’s vocals and lyrics here, and it’s just such a calming and pleasant listen with those pondering instrumentals.
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones (1965)
Light My Fire – The Doors (1967)
Sympathy For The Devil – The Rolling Stones (1968)
I recently called this something like the national anthem of the alternative nation. I can sound like a right tosser sometimes and yet I’m bang on with that one… whoo whoo whoo whoo
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1968) – “I stand up next to a mountain and I chop it down with the edge of hand” I challenge anyone to find a more bombastic opening to a song than the first 30 seconds of this.
Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks (1967) – This is the ideal English pop song. Slice of life 60’s summer fun All by those nice boys who invented heavy metal. We are all Terry and Julie
The Age of Aquarius – The 5th Dimension (1969) – Get off my lawn ya dirty hippies. Or don’t… woodstock the place up. I don’t mind. This is bonkers magic flower child lunacy and deserves it’s place as a short hand for an entire decade.
Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat – Bob Dylan (1966) – The first time I realised Old Zimmerman was able to be funny and whale on the guitar was when I got to listening to Blonde On Blonde and discovered this little beauty.
Stay tuned for more Best Thangs of All Time!