The best of 1960-63 mix tapes
When I started putting together the “best of” mix tapes for the 60s, it was my intention to write an individual post for each year as I have done for most of the years in this project, but once you get in and start digging through the music, the early 1960s were really just an extension of the previous decade stylistically. It made sense then to combine the first first part of the decade into one post to match what I did with the 50s, and then start fresh with 1964, which truly marks a turning point in popular music towards a “harder” rock sound. The big elephant in the room that grows exponentially the later you get into the decade is the lack of the Beatles catalog on Spotify, so just assume there would be a Beatles tune on every playlist starting in 1963 if I had the ability to add one that wasn’t recorded by some horrible cover or tribute band.
Some things that jump out right away when looking at these playlist, other than the lack of four lads from Liverpool:
- There was a weird fascination with tragic teenage death during these years. It’s a bloody miracle anybody from that time period survived given the number of songs about young people dying tragically in automobiles.
- I like surf music probably a bit too much. I do not surf and burn like a candied ham when exposed to the sun. I do not care, however, because Jan & Dean are still awesome.
- Back-the-Army-Elvis put out a lot of schmaltzy garbage, but there’s some real gems buried there amongst the soundtrack debris.
- I broke my own rules and put a few live recordings on these lists, namely because James Brown Live at the Apollo (1962) and Muddy Waters at Newport are two of the best live recordings ever. Also, Stevie Wonder was 12 when that recording of Fingertips was made. TWELVE.
- There’s a Christmas song on the 1963 list, and it comes from one of the best albums ever made, period, Christmas music or no (A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector). How many of you would accept a Christmas gift from Phil now? Don’t all stand up at once.
- Roy Orbison could sing Dr. Seus and it would still sound beautiful and unbearably sad at the same time.
What did I miss?