The Zombies – “She’s Not There”
Ranked number 297 on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list, it’s easy to see why. Blunstone’s smooth as butter vocals and Argent’s mellow yet bouncy electric piano makes this one a real ditty. Fun Fact: The opening line comes from a John Lee Hooker song called, “No One Told Me.”
The Animals – “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”
While The Animals are famous for their hit, “House of the Rising Sun,” this pop cover of Nina Simone’s soulful song is one of their best. Equal parts dark and hopeful, it’s like you’re riding an emotional roller coaster right along with Burdon as he croons.
Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders – “Game Of Love”
Another great beat group from the 60s, this Mindbenders song is just a classic example of music from the black and white era. Upbeat guitar, strong drums, simple (but problematic) lyrics and a trusty tambourine.
Ricky Nelson – “Travelin’ Man”
Playful lyrics and a sweet, swelling tempo makes this Ricky Nelson tune one of the best to slow dance to at the sock hop. That background “bum-bum-bum-bum” just jams too. And if we’re being honest, now we know who influenced indie band, The Growlers.
The Searchers – “Love Potion Number 9”
Starting out as a skiffle band (playing common objects as instruments), The Searchers were just as big as The Beatles in their own right. This cover of The Clovers’ doo-wop song got them banned from quite a few radio stations in their day (for talk of kissing a male cop). It’s one of my favorite story-songs of all time.
Shirley Ellis – “The Nitty Gritty”
Because who can resist acclaimed dancer Bobby Banas (West Side Story, Mary Poppins) in this amazing clip from the Judy Garland Show circa 1964. Fun in its purest form.