31 Best 60s Songs (Music from the 60s)

The music of the 1960s is synonymous with the cultural revolution, artistic experimentation, and timeless classics.

From the electrifying rock n’ roll to the soulful melodies, the ’60s witnessed the rise of various genres that shaped the musical landscape for generations to come.

In this article, we will explore some of the best 60s songs that continue to captivate audiences and hold their place in the annals of music history.

The 1960s were a time of immense social and cultural change, and the music of that era reflected the shifting sentiments and aspirations of the youth.

The 60s brought forth a wave of groundbreaking artists who pushed boundaries, challenged conventions and created music that resonated with the masses.

Let’s embark on a journey through the iconic songs that defined this transformative decade.

“Eight Miles High” – The Byrds

“Eight Miles High” stands as a testament to the influence of Indian ragas and jazz experimentation on the ’60s pop/rock scene.

Written by Gene Clark, Jim McGuinn (a.k.a. Roger McGuinn), and David Crosby, this psychedelic rock masterpiece by The Byrds was released on March 14, 1966.

While some interpret the song as an ode to drugs, the band denies such claims.

“Where Did Our Love Go” – The Supremes

A cornerstone of the Motown sound, “Where Did Our Love Go” remains one of the greatest hits of the 1960s.

Written and produced by the legendary songwriting team of Holland–Dozier–Holland, this track topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks, cementing The Supremes’ status as one of the era’s most successful groups.

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“The Sound of Silence” – Simon & Garfunkel

Penned by Paul Simon, “The Sound of Silence” started as an acoustic composition but transformed into a folk-rock anthem when producer Tom Wilson added electric instrumentation.

Released in 1964, this hauntingly beautiful song encapsulates the introspective and poetic nature of Simon & Garfunkel’s music.

“All You Need is Love” – The Beatles

As the epitome of the Summer of Love in 1967, “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles captures the essence of the era.

Premiering on the first worldwide live TV broadcast, this song’s cultural impact cannot be overstated. Its universal message of love and unity resonated with a generation seeking social change.

“Stop In The Name Of Love” – Diana Ross & The Supremes

A legendary girl group anthem, “Stop! In the Name of Love” became one of the most recognizable songs of the ’60s.

Written and produced by the famous Motown songwriting trio Holland–Dozier–Holland, this track topped the Billboard pop singles chart and solidified The Supremes’ reign as the queens of Motown.

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“White Room” – Cream

Written by Cream bassist Jack Bruce and lyricist Pete Brown, “White Room” remains an iconic ’60s song.

Featured on Cream’s 1968 album Wheels of Fire, this composition captivates listeners with its memorable intro and powerful lyrics. Its enduring popularity is a testament to the band’s musical prowess.

“Dancing In The Street” – Martha and the Vandellas

Among the most famous Motown songs of all time, “Dancing in the Street” holds a special place in the hearts of music lovers.

Written by Marvin Gaye, William “Mickey” Stevenson, and Ivy Jo Hunter, this energetic track recorded by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas climbed the charts and became an instant classic.

“Cinnamon Girl” – Crazy Horse and Neil Young

Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” emerged as a defining moment in his career. Released on his 1969 album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, this song showcases Young’s signature guitar work and a captivating bridge that remains a standout moment in rock history.

“We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” – The Animals

Following their success with “House of the Rising Sun,” The Animals delivered another gem with “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”.

Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, this powerful anthem resonated with the frustrations and aspirations of the youth, solidifying its place among the best 60s songs.

“Dazed And Confused” – Jake Holmes

Often associated with Led Zeppelin, “Dazed and Confused” was originally written and performed by American singer-songwriter Jake Holmes in 1967.

While some interpretations suggest drug references, Holmes insists the lyrics reflect the breakdown of a relationship, adding depth to this enigmatic song.

“Alone Again Or” – Love

The baroque pop masterpiece “Alone Again Or” showcases Love’s artistic brilliance. Released on their critically acclaimed album Forever Changes in 1967, this song’s lush orchestration and poetic lyrics perfectly embody the spirit of the Summer of Love.

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“I’m A Believer” – The Monkees

The Monkees burst onto the music scene in the 1960s, captivating audiences with their catchy pop tunes. “I’m a Believer,” originally written by Neil Diamond, became one of their most successful songs.

With its infectious chorus and lively rhythm, it topped the charts in late 1966 and early 1967, showcasing the Monkees’ vocal harmonies and irresistible charm.

“Light My Fire” – The Doors

The Doors, led by the enigmatic Jim Morrison, left an indelible mark on the music world with their self-titled debut album.

Among the standout tracks, “Light My Fire” captivated audiences with its mesmerizing organ melodies and poetic lyrics. Penned by guitarist Robby Krieger, this iconic song became an anthem for a generation seeking to break free from societal constraints.

“Venus In Furs” – The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground and Nico considered a seminal album of the 1960s, introduced the world to experimental and avant-garde music.

“Venus in Furs,” penned by Lou Reed, stands out as a haunting and provocative composition.

Its edgy lyrics exploring themes of sadomasochism and submission challenged societal norms, making it an emblematic song of the counterculture movement.

“A Whiter Shade Of Pale” – Procol Harum

Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” is a timeless classic that continues to captivate listeners with its mesmerizing organ-driven sound.

Released in 1967, the song topped the UK singles chart for six weeks and achieved significant success worldwide. Its dreamlike atmosphere and poetic lyrics, combined with the soulful vocals, make it an unforgettable piece of music.

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“Paint It, Black” – The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll, and “Paint It, Black” stands as one of their most distinctive songs from the 1960s.

Released in 1966, it was the first rock single to incorporate a sitar, adding a unique Eastern flavor to the band’s signature sound. Brian Jones’s sitar playing and Mick Jagger’s haunting vocals combined to create a powerful and brooding composition.

“Waterloo Sunset” – The Kinks

The Kinks, led by the talented Ray Davies, produced a string of hits in the 1960s, but “Waterloo Sunset” remains one of their most beloved songs.

Released in 1967, it captivated audiences with its beautiful melodies and nostalgic lyrics that vividly painted a picture of life in London. Its timeless appeal continues to resonate with listeners across generations.

“River Man” – Nick Drake

Nick Drake’s hauntingly beautiful song, “River Man,” showcases his poetic songwriting and unique guitar playing.

Released in 1969 as part of his critically acclaimed album Five Leaves Left, the track captures the introspective and melancholic spirit that defined Drake’s music. Though underappreciated during his lifetime, Drake’s music has gained a cult following and continues to inspire artists today.

“The Witch” – The Sonics

The Sonics’ “The Witch” stands out as a fierce and energetic song that epitomizes the garage rock sound of the 1960s.

Released in 1965, it features relentless guitar riffs, pounding drums, and gritty vocals. With its raw and rebellious spirit, “The Witch” paved the way for the punk rock movement that would emerge in the years to come.

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“So Long, Marianne” – Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, renowned for his poetic lyrics and soul-stirring music, released “So Long, Marianne” in 1967.

The song, featured on his debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, embodies his distinctive style. Cohen’s deep voice, heartfelt lyrics, and melodic composition create an emotional connection with the listener, earning its place as one of the greatest songs of the 1960s.

Hey Jude – The Beatles

One of the most iconic songs of the 1960s, “Hey Jude” by The Beatles, holds a special place in music history. Originally titled “Hey Jules,” Paul McCartney wrote this song to comfort John Lennon’s son, Julian, during his parents’ divorce.

Paul McCartney believed that changing the name to “Hey Jude” would make it more melodious. The emotional depth and catchy melody of the song touched the hearts of millions, and it quickly became a chart-topping hit.

Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival became an anthem for the anti-Vietnam War movement.

Released in 1969, this counterculture song expressed the frustration and disillusionment felt by many young people at the time. Its powerful lyrics and energetic rock sound resonated with listeners and reflected the growing opposition to the war.

The song’s cultural impact was so significant that it was added to the United States Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2013.

Ring Of Fire – Johnny Cash

“Ring Of Fire” is one of Johnny Cash’s most recognizable songs, known for its unique mariachi-inspired sound and heartfelt lyrics. Surprisingly, the song was written by Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash.

Released in 1963, it tells the story of passionate and intense love, capturing the essence of the country and folk genres. With its captivating melody and Johnny Cash’s distinct voice, “Ring Of Fire” became a timeless classic that continues to resonate with audiences.

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Somebody To Love – Jefferson Airplane

Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody To Love” perfectly embodies the spirit of the free-love era. Released in 1967, this psychedelic rock song captured the passion and urgency of seeking love and connection.

It stood out from the typical breakup songs of the time, delivering a powerful and rebellious message. With its catchy melody and Grace Slick’s dynamic vocals, “Somebody To Love” became an instant classic and remains an essential part of the ’60s music scene.

What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” is a beautiful and uplifting song that reminds us of the simple joys in life. Released in 1967, the song didn’t receive much promotion in the United States initially but gained immense popularity in the UK.

Its timeless message of hope and appreciation for the world we live in struck a chord with audiences around the globe. In 1999, “What A Wonderful World” was rightfully inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys

The opening track of the iconic album “Pet Sounds,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys, is a harmonious blend of pop and rock.

Released in 1966, the song captured the dreams and aspirations of youth, imagining a world where everything falls into place. Its catchy melody and innovative production techniques made it a groundbreaking hit.

Over the years, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” has become synonymous with The Beach Boys and remains a beloved song in their repertoire.

Son Of A Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield’s “Son Of A Preacher Man” is a soulful and seductive song that made a lasting impact in the late 1960s.

Its groovy melodies and Dusty Springfield’s powerful vocals captivated listeners and showcased her versatility as an artist.

The song gained renewed popularity when it was prominently featured in Quentin Tarantino’s film “Pulp Fiction.” With its timeless appeal, “Son Of A Preacher Man” continues to be a staple of ’60s music.

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Stand By Me – Ben E. King

“Stand By Me” by Ben E. King is an R&B anthem that has left an indelible impact on popular culture. Released in the early 1960s, this timeless song has been referenced in various forms of media, including novels, films, and video games.

Its heartfelt lyrics and soulful melody continue to resonate with audiences, making it a true classic that transcends time.

Little Sister – Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, delivers a classic rock hit with “Little Sister.” In this song, Elvis sings about his interest in dating a younger sister, expressing his concerns about being treated the same way as her older sister did.

The playful nature of the song leaves listeners wondering about the outcome, adding an element of intrigue to the catchy tune.

All Along The Watchtower – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

“All Along The Watchtower” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience showcases the virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

This song, originally written by Bob Dylan, takes on a new life with Hendrix’s incredible performance and mesmerizing guitar skills. Its trippy rock sound and captivating energy make it a standout track of the 60s.

The Twist – Chubby Checker

“The Twist” by Chubby Checker is a song that epitomizes the dance crazes of the 60s. Paying homage to the popular dance of the time, this upbeat track became a sensation, inspiring people to hit the dance floor and show off their twisting moves. \

Even today, this song continues to captivate new audiences, with its catchy rhythm and infectious energy.


The 1960s witnessed a musical revolution that transformed the world and gave birth to some of the most iconic songs of all time.

From the infectious pop tunes of The Monkees to the introspective ballads of Leonard Cohen, each song we explored in this article carries a unique essence that defined the era.

These songs continue to inspire, evoke emotions, and transport us back to a time of cultural change and artistic innovation. The era’s blend of social change, cultural revolution, and musical experimentation gave birth to timeless classics that will be cherished for generations to come.

What was the #1 song of the 60s?

The #1 song of the 1960s was “The Twist” by Chubby Checker. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1960 and then again in 1962, making it one of the most popular songs of the decade.

What were the top 20 songs of 1960?

1 “Theme from A Summer Place” Percy Faith
2 “He’ll Have to Go” Jim Reeves
3 “Cathy’s Clown” The Everly Brothers
4 “Running Bear” Johnny Preston
5 “Teen Angel” Mark Dinning
6 “I’m Sorry” Brenda Lee
7 “It’s Now or Never” Elvis Presley
8 “Handy Man” Jimmy Jones
9 “Stuck on You” Elvis Presley
10 “The Twist” Chubby Checker
11 “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” Connie Francis
12 “Wild One” Bobby Rydell
13 “Greenfields” The Brothers Four
14 “What in the World’s Come Over You” Jack Scott
15 “El Paso” Marty Robbins
16 “Alley Oop” The Hollywood Argyles
17 “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” Connie Francis
18 “Sweet Nothin’s” Brenda Lee
19 “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” Brian Hyland
20 “Only the Lonely” Roy Orbison


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