Look at some of the names who had hits in 1960: Elvis Presley, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly, Ella Fitzgerald, The Everly Bros., Roy Orbison, Fats Domino, The Drifters, Ike & Tina Turner, Dion, Jackie Wilson, Bobby Darin, Chubby Checker, Brenda Lee. It’s like the radio only played superstars. Here are 30 of that year’s best:
The years between 1958 and 1963 are often thought of as a sleepy time for rock and roll, a quiet time between the genre’s initial burst onto the charts and the onslaught of the British Invasion. However, lots of great records were charting during those years. Check out this playlist of thirty hits from 1961 for proof.
Here’s a fun fact (or three): In the history of the Billboard Hot 100, nine songs have hit #1 performed by different artists. The first two songs to achieve this feat were “Go Away Little Girl” (Steve Lawrence in 1963 and Donny Osmond in 1971) and “The Loco-motion” (Little Eva in 1962 and Grand Funk in 1974). Both of those were written by Carole King (b. February 9, 1942) and the late Gerry Goffin, who she married. To date Carole King has a writing credit on 118 Hot 100 hits. 118. One hundred eighteen.
I’ve been immortalized in print! And thankfully not in a book called The Twenty-First Century’s Biggest Garbage People!
In 2019, acclaimed singer-songwriter Amy Rigby published her memoir, Girl to City, and I have a cameo therein. In the middle part of the 1990s, Amy was my assistant at Sony Music. I remember her visiting a few months after she left the company (her leaving having nothing to do with me, and something to do with a mishap involving FedEx and Julio Iglesias), bringing me an advance copy of her debut CD Diary of a Mod Housewife and a promotional potholder. The potholder was good; the CD was (is) great. The Village Voice placed it as the eighth best album of 1996 in their annual survey of music critics.
She’s released more great music in the years since. We got to catch up again a few months before COVID restrictions went into place, when she came to L.A. while doing a book tour promoting her memoir. I recommend the book – it’s an entertaining read. I also recommend checking out her music. There’s a playlist below.
Inspired by the season and the November 28 birthdays of Randy Newman, En Vogue/Lucy Pearl’s Dawn Robinson, The 5 Royales’ Johnny Tanner, The Fleetwoods’ Gary Troxel, Chamillionaire, R.B. Greaves, William DeVaughn, Bruce Channel, The Foundations’ Clem Curtis and Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr.
Inspired by the November 20 birthdays of Beastie Boys‘ Mike D, Eagles’ Joe Walsh, Future, Esquerita, Norman Greenbaum, King, and Nu Shooz’s Valerie Day; and the November 19 birthdays of Ofra Haza and Tommy Stewart.
Inspired by the November 11 birthdays of XTC’s Andy Partridge, LaVern Baker, Wu-Tang Clan’s U-God, Marshall Crenshaw, Stubby Kaye, Peaches, Mose Allison, Raveonettes’ Sharin Foo, Dennis Coffey, Chris Smither, Static Major, The Ides of March’s Jim Peterik, and The Blasters’ Dave Alvin.
Inspired by the October 3 birthdays of Fleetwood Mac‘s Lindsey Buckingham, No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, A$AP Rocky, Chubby Checker, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Fountains of Wayne’s Chris Collingwood, Eddie Cochran, Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee, P.P. Arnold, Jimmy Ray, and India.Arie.