It was in the early 1990s when I realized that almost every television commercial had a theme from a 60s pop song. It was disconcerting to have the memory of your first kiss commingled with images of toilet paper and drain cleaner. In part, this project may serve as a correction.
The mix tape, or playlist, has never been easier to make. Practically everything that has ever been commercially released is available on one or more of the streaming services.
The idea was to make playlist of songs from the 60s songs that hadn't already been heard to death.
After a bit of free associative dragging and dropping, I had a three hour playlist and was not even halfway to 1970. I conceded that there was a need to edit and organize the process, and decided to do it by year. I’ve started with 1960, somewhat arbitrarily.
Songs will be grouped by the year in which they were released, and to make it a little easier, each playlist will include three or four years worth of music.
One of the things I want to re-create is the experience of listening to a radio or a jukebox in the 60s . There would be Bing Crosby crooners, R&B, which was later renamed soul, a little bit of rockabilly/country-western and lots of sappy teenage love songs. I remember riding the school bus in the morning and listening to Wilson Pickett followed by the Rolling Stones, Sgt. Barry Sadler and The Left Banke; all in the space of about 15 minutes. In a sense this is what 60’s radio was all about. Conflicting viewpoints trying to co-exist in the same playing field; just not playing the same game.
As the focus is on things that were either on the radio or readily available in record stores, but each playlist will have an ancillary playlist entitled “Extra credit.” The Extra Credit list will include things that were probably not on the radio or easily obtained on record. These will not necessarily be easy listening. I will include truncated timeline of each year’s significant events lifted from Wikipedia.
Baby What You Want Me To Do - Jimmy Reed
The Twist - Chubby Checker
Walk Don't Run - The Ventures
Let's Live - Aaron Neville
Chain Gang - Sam Cooke
He’ll Have To Go - Jim Reeves
Stay - Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs
Kathy's Clown - The Everly Brothers (Actually written by the Everlys. Rare in those days.)
The Lion Sleeps Tonight - The Tokens
Telstar - The Tornados
Today And Tomorrow - Charlie Feathers
Excuse Me (I Think I've Got a Heartache)
Buck Owens And The Buckeroos
Sukiyaki - Kyu Sakamoto
No More Hot Dogs - Hasil Adkins
Hello Walls - Faron Young
Every Beat Of My Heart - Gladys Knight And the Pips
Quarter To Three - Gary U.S. Bonds
Take My Love - Little Willie John
Take Five - Dave Brubeck
Let’s Dance - Chris Montez
409 - The Beach Boys
I Can't Stop Loving You - Ray Charles
Green Onions - Booker T And the M.G.’s
Bring It On Home To Me - Sam Cooke
The Wanderer - Dion And The Belmonts
Duke of Earl - Dean Chandler
Twist And Shout - The Isley Brothers
You Beat Me To The Punch - Mary Wells
Moon River - Audrey Hepburn/ Henry Mancini
Wipe Out - The Surfaris
Fingertips - Stevie Wonder
The Monkey Time - Major Lance
Rhythm Of The Rain - The Cascades
Walk Like A Man - Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons
Pipeline - The Ventures
24 Hours From Tulsa - Gene Pitney
Be My Baby - The Ronettes
In Dreams - Roy Orbison
1960 is referred to as the Year of Africa because of a series of events that took place during the year—namely the independence of seventeen African nations—that highlighted the growing Pan-African sentiments in the continent. The year brought about the culmination of African independence movements and the subsequent emergence of Africa as a major force in the United Nations. These rapid political development led to speculation and hope about the future of Africa as a whole; yet at the same time, the continent was beginning to face the realities of postcolonial violence. This year also saw the beginning of armed opposition to South African Apartheid government, with political ramifications across Africa and around the world.
The Year of Africa altered the symbolic status of Africans worldwide, by having the world recognize the existence of African nations as a force to be reckoned with on the international arena. It marked the beginning of a new, more Afrocentric era in African studies, marked by the founding of theCahiers d'Études africaines and the Journal of African History.
February 1 – In Greensboro, North Carolina, four black students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University begin a sit-inat a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. Although they are refused service, they are allowed to stay at the counter. The event triggers many similar non-violent protests throughout the Southern United States, and six months later the original four protesters are served lunch at the same counter.
Sputnik program: The Soviet Union launches the satellite Sputnik 5, with the dogs Belka and Strelka (the Russian for "Squirrel" and "Little Arrow"), 40 mice, two rats and a variety of plants. This satellite returns to earth the next day and all animals are recovered safely.
Cold War: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a table at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, his way of protesting the discussion of the Soviet Union's policies toward Eastern Europe.
Inejiro Asanuma, chairman of the Japan Socialist Party, is assassinated by Otoya Yamaguchi using a wakizashi (samuraisword) during a political debate in Tokyo being taped for broadcast on Japanese television.
November 8 – United States presidential election, 1960: In a close race, Democratic U. S. Senator John F. Kennedy is elected over Republican U. S. Vice President Richard Nixon, to become (at 43) the second youngest man to serve as President of the United States, and the youngest man elected to this position.
December 8 – For the first time, Mary Martin's Peter Pan is presented as a stand-alone two-hour special on NBC instead of as part of an anthology series. This version, rather than being presented live, is shown on videotape, enabling NBC to repeat it as often as they wish without having to restage it. Although nearly all of the adult actors repeat their original Broadway roles, all of the original children have, ironically, outgrown their roles and are replaced by new actors.
I experience my “shopkeeperness” (I’m sure there is a German word for this) most vividly while cleaning the fingerprints off glass surfaces or when sweeping the sidewalk outside the store. Sweeping and polishing are both honest work, not too difficult, but important.They are also jobs that can be done perfectly.
Growing up a Minnesotan of Norwegian descent, there was a big emphasis on the Christmas holiday. After all, when it's that cold and dark you can see appeal of anything that smacks of light, warmth and levity. Unfortunately, in my extended family, there were a lot of teetotalers and so I had to learn some of the Scandinavian traditions from friends. One of those traditions is the Aquavit toast...