Retro Dee writes about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s on this site. Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every Wednesday.
Hello folks! It’s Retro Dee, and Surprise! This time I’ll be taking about songs from the 60’s! That’s right!
Although the 1950’s decade is by and large my passion, when it comes to music, the “Best Era Ever” doesn’t only include the 1950’s; it also includes the first few years of the 1960’s, too. So, I figure, why not give the early 60’s some love?
Most Oldies stations, shows and album compilations define the “Malt Shop” era to be from 1954 (the dawn of Rock n Roll) to 1963 (just before the British Invasion.) Certainly by 1964, you’ll notice music underwent a big change as new styles of music began to take over.
Today I’m gonna showcase five of my absolute favorites tunes from the early 1960’s. I’m going to list them in the order I remember first hearing them… So check them out. Maybe they’re some of your favorites too!
“Duke of Earl” (1962) Gene Chandler
This is one of the first “oldies” I remember hearing. I probably thought it was from the 50’s since it sounded entirely 50’s to me. It’s a fun song and one of the top hits of 1962. I used to like playing it on the jukebox at those retro-themed diners. And I especially liked when Sam, Frasier and Cliff Clavin did their version on a rerun I saw of “Cheers”.
“Hey Baby” (1961) Bruce Channel
At some point I saw the classic movie Dirty Dancing on TV… I remember I was quite young and it had already been in theaters years before I saw it. I especially liked that movie because of its retro soundtrack, which includes this hit as one of my favorites.
Years later, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if Buddy Holly sang this song. Although Bruce Channel did a fantastic job, his similarities to Buddy’s style gives me this overwhelming desire to hear Buddy sing it instead. It’s like an itch I can’t scratch. It just drives me crazy! Of course, when this song came out at the end of 1961, Buddy Holly had already been gone for nearly three years. I wonder if he influenced Channel in the writing of this song, although I’ve never heard that to be the case.
In addition to becoming popular with Dirty Dancing, this song was also a popular one to cover for many artists. Still, I can’t help but think of Buddy Holly and what might have been.
“Do You Love Me?” (1962) The Contours
This is the next oldie I remember hearing that came out of the 1960’s, and it was also featured in Dirty Dancing. For some reason, I used to think it was by The Beatles! I also used to think it said: “Do you love me ?/ Now that I’ve been bad” Hmm. Misunderstood lyrics strike again. Well, whatever I used to think, I finally know the facts. It’s by The Contours, it says “Now that I can dance“ and it’s a great jam!
“Runaround Sue” (1961) Dion
Next is Dion DiMucci, who broke away from Dion and the Belmonts to begin a solo career in 1960. This and “The Wanderer” are his most popular hits, and have been jukebox favorites for several decades. I can’t say when I first heard “Runaround Sue”, since I’ve been listening to it my entire life. I can’t imagine anyone not liking this song! Even though I knew it was 1960’s, I was surprised to find out it was so early in the decade.
“Pretty Little Angel Eyes” (1961) Curtis Lee
This song is a good example of doo wop and the Malt Shop era “sound” as a whole. It truly doesn’t get more 1950’s sounding than this, but it’s actually a hit from 1961. It just goes to show that an era isn’t necessarily defined by a decade. I just love this upbeat little song!
I hope you enjoyed this post… and guess what?! This was only part one! So stay tuned for my next post when I’ll have 5 MORE of my favorite hits from the early 60’s!
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