61UEUo6rZzLThe ’60s were fabulous! It was a decade of colorful joy, vividness, liberation and creativity. It was also a time of crossing lines, adventuring, experimenting and taking pride in being different. The ’60s were bold, eager, visionary and prolific! The ’60s were “swell”!

I definitely love this period from the musical and whimsical points of view, so I was very excited to discover this gem – a ’60s music compendium. It carefully lists and analyzes 6,886 Hot 100 hits from this decade, classifying them according to various (and, in my opinion, creative) criteria.

As the author Dave Kinzer writes, the book includes “over 550 instrumental songs, 163 novelty song, and over 600 one-hit wonders; with dozens of hits from Bobby (Bland, Darin, Goldsboro, Rydell, Vee, and Vinton), guitar legends like Duane Eddy and Jimi Hendrix, British invaders like the Who and the Rolling Stones, country legends like Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins, teen idols like Annette and Paul Anka, family groups like the Beach Boys and the Cowsills, duos (Simon & Garfunkel), trios (Peter, Paul & Mary), quartets (the Four Tops), quintets (the Temptations), and entire choirs (Harry Simeone Chorale). And let’s not forget 1964. That was the year the Supremes started their number one hit streak, the Beach Boys hit their stride, and the Beatles took over the world. You could have a mini-music Hall of Fame with the artists who debuted that year: the Rolling Stones, Herman’s Hermits, the Temptations, Petula Clark, the Kinks, and the Four Tops.”

Amazing period, amazing book! I admire Dave Kinzer’s patience, perseverance and resourcefulness to find and listen the songs and then categorize them. Just to name a few lists mentioned in the book: country songs, car songs, comedy songs, patriotic songs, medleys, jazz, blues, and even miscellaneous songs, songs of extreme duration, songs that borrow from classical works etc. You can also find out interesting tops like “Songs That Deserved To Make The Top 40”, “The Best Instrumental Songs of the 1960s”, “One-Hit Wonders” or “The Worst Songs of the 1960s” (e.g.:  Neil Sedaka -“Run Samson Run“, Frankie Avalon – “The Puppet Song“, Gene Pitney – “Billy You’re My Friend“).

Dave Kinzer also classifies the artists: “Artists Who Used a Stage Name” (e.g.: Cher – Cherilyn Sarkisian; Patsy Cline – Virginia Patterson Hensley; Manfred Mann – Michael Lubowitz; Bobby Darin – Walden Robert Cassotto; Nina Simone – Eunice Waymon; Frankie Valli – Francis Castellucio), “Artists with the Most Hits, Only in the 1960s” (Otis Redding – 28; Dave Clark Five – 24; Gene Pitney – 24) or even “Groups with Strange Names” (e.g.: “Cat Mother and The All Night News Boys”, “The Peanut Butter Conspiracy”, “Dr. West’s Medicine Show and Junk Band”, “Every Father’s Teenage Son”).

For all the ’60s enthusiasts, here are some other fascinating facts:

The Isley Brothers had hits in 6 decades (50s-2001).

Little Richard had hits in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. Five years passed between last 50s hit and his first 60s hit.

Darlene Love‘s fourth hit was 30 years after her third hit.

• There were two different groups called “The Temptations“. The group from New York had only one hit in 1960. The group from Michigan had 55 hits between 1964-1991.

Bobby Vinton had 44 hits. His first 15 hits all made the top 40.

• All five of Bing Crosby‘s 60s hits were Christmas songs.

The Five Satins had seven hits. Three of them were “In the Still of the Nite”. It charted in 1956, 1960, and 1961. Their last hit was a medley in 1982 that featured “In the Still of the Nite”.

The Four Seasons released songs under three different names. For their first hit, in 1956, they called themselves “The Four Lovers”. For almost all of their other hits, they used the name “The Four Seasons”, or some similar variation like “Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons”, but they also had three hits using the name “The Wonder Who?”.

Interested? You can find this book here and enjoy many more fun, strange & cool facts!

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