The best of 1966 mix tape
1966 wasn’t quite the juggernaut that 1965 was, but only just. It did, however, likely boast the best single day in music history, as both Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and The Beach Boys’ revelatory Pet Sounds were released on May 16 of that year. What are the odds of two top 15 albums in history getting turned loose on the same day? It’s the equivalent of Point Break and Roadhouse being released into theaters on the same day. Just unfathomable.
I also just spent more time than anybody in their right mind should spend debating whether to include I Am A Rock or Homeward Bound as the Simon & Garfunkel entry for the year. In the end I went with the latter since it is 30 seconds shorter and fit the mix slightly better. It’s not quite flipping a coin, but I probably would have ended up there eventually.
As always, I’m pouring a 40 on the curb in honor of the missing Beatles song that would have made this list. This one hurts a lot since it would have come from Revolver. Then again, that just means that I don’t have to choose just one song from it, so maybe it’s for the best (though it totally would have been She Said She Said).
Secret Agent Man – Johnny Rivers
Kicking things off with a killer guitar riff. A great tune, even if it appeared on both the Bowfinger soundtrack AND Bruce Willis’ The Return of Bruno.
Under My Thumb – The Rolling Stones
One of truly iconic Stones’ tunes.
God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
The story goes that Brian Wilson heard The Beatles’ Rubber Soul, and was so blown away by it that he was inspired to make Pet Sounds, which in turn inspired Lennon and McCartney to make Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. I’m not convinced that Pet Sounds isn’t the best of the three.
Visions of Johanna – Bob Dylan
Who knows who or what inspired Dylan to write this 1000 pound bolder of awesome, but frankly I don’t care, because I still get to listen to it anytime that I want, and that’s all that matters.
Hold On! I’m Comin’ – Sam & Dave
A straight up R&B classic.
I Fought the Law – The Bobby Fuller Four
The definitive version of one rock’s great songs, though it’s a cover of a post-Buddy Holly Crickets’ recording. Personally I’ll take The Clash version though.
Uptight (Everything’s Alright) – Stevie Wonder
What were you doing when you were 15? Stevie was recording songs like this. Makes you feel good about your life, no?
Homeward Bound – Simon & Garfunkel
Congratulation for being 30 seconds shorter, Homeward Bound! You take the prize.
Ain’t Too Proud to Beg – The Temptations
This tune is all about those horns. It’s kind of ridiculous how many great songs the Temps had. This could just as easily have been Get Ready.
Last Train to Clarksville – The Monkees
Yes, I know all about how The Monkees came to be, and I don’t care. This song is great, plain and simple.
When A Man Loves a Woman – Percy Sledge
Just a massive, massive song from a huge talent.
Eight Miles High – The Byrds
Psychedelic, daddy-o! Something like that, though I think I may be mixing my 50s/60s lingo.
You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes
Another monster Motown hit.
I Can’t Control Myself – The Troggs
It’s kind of mind boggling to me that the same guy who wrote this and Love is All Around also wrote “Wild thing, you make my heart sing.”
Try A Little Tenderness – Otis Redding
I’ve long since gotten over hearing my favorite songs used to shill products in TV commercials, but McDonalds using this one to hawk chicken strips recently was especially harsh.
These Boots Are Made For Walking – Nancy Sinatra
Both Frank and Nancy had records out in 1966, and Nancy wins going away.
Reach Out (I’ll Be There) – The Four Tops
Another Motown hit factory with just a crazy number of great songs.
Tell It Like It Is – Aaron Neville
Hands down one of my favorite songs ever. Few have possessed a sweeter voice than this man.
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – The Walker Brothers
An early taste of greatness from Scott Walker and his “brothers.”
There it is, 1966 in all of its glory. Only three more playlists to go! Here’s the Spotify playlist for for listening/subscribing pleasure.
Which one of your favorites did I miss (I Am A Rock, I know, I know)?