The Kinks – “Waterlou Sunset”: mp3
I discovered this song thanks to hearing Elliott Smith cover it. In his hands, it was a gentle, nostalgic meditation, a narrative of small scope and big heart – thankfully, the Kinks’ original did Smith one better.
The Lovin’ Spoonful – “Darling Be Home Soon”: mp3
What an overlooked, underrated band. “Summer In The City,” “Do You Believe In Magic” – dudes had ’60s proto-soul down cold. “Darling” is my personal favorite, one that leans heavily but gloriously on a Beach Boys-style 3-2-1 melody triplet and features a fantastic lyric. The best line is the one that’ll turn your heart to butter: “And now, a quarter of my life is almost past / I think I’ve come to see myself at last / And I see that the time spent confused / Was the time that I spent without you.” Excuse me, there’s a piece of toast over there with my name on it.
Stan Getz, Joao and Astrud Gilberto – “Girl From Ipanema”: mp3
All my jazz musician friends hate this song because they’ve had to play it so many times. You know why, guys? Because it’s incredible. Expect a lengthy article on bossa nova here on this blog, some summer’s day when tan, long-legged women roam the streets of Rio de Janeiro, hair wafting in the cool breeze.
Bonus: Frank Sinatra – “Girl From Ipanema”: mp3
The Righteous Brothers – “Unchained Melody”: mp3
One of the few songs in the pop catalog that lives up to the title. Sheer, unfaltering song. This is the culmination of all the best aspects of ’50s pop in a song that could’ve only been recorded in the 1960s.
That’s enough. I can’t pick my favorite Supremes track, but they’d be on here too.
(Check out the rest of my favorite songs of the ’60s here and here.)