1960’s Top 100 Hot Pop Songs & Music Hits1960’s Top 100 Hot Pop Songs & Music Hits
1. The Twist – Chubby Checker
Originally a minor hit by Hank Ballard and The Midnighters, Dick Clark recommended Chubby Checker re-do the song, and it was a craze that produced several dozen “Twist” hits through 1962.
2. Beyond The Sea – Bobby Darin
This was Bobby’s followup to last year’s Mack The Knife with ‘Beyond the Sea’ an English version of Charles Trenet’s French hit song ‘La Mer’. His hit-streak lasted well into the 1960s.
3. Are You Lonesome Tonight? – Elvis Presley
After Elvis got out of the US Army (serial number 53 310 761), he went back to the studio. This was one of three #1 Hits he had in 1960.
4. Wild One – Bobby Rydell
Bobby Rydell was born Robert Louis Ridarelli on April 26, 1942. He also appeared in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ in 1963.
5. Volare – Bobby Rydell
Although several people, including Domenico Modugno and Dean Martin, recorded this song, Bobby made it his own.
6. I’m Sorry – Brenda Lee
Brenda Mae Tarpley was born on December 11, 1944. You may know her from such songs as ‘I’m Sorry’ and ‘Rockin Around the Christmas Tree’.
7. Money (That’s What I Want) – Barrett Strong
Barrett Strong was born on February 5, 1941, and ‘Money’ alone was an amazing ‘One Hit Wonder’ given that it was also a hit for other people, but Barret was also one of the primary early writers for Motown Records through the early 1970s.
8. This Magic Moment – The Drifters
Benjamin Earl Nelson, better known as Ben E. King, was the lead singer for this ‘new’ lineup of the band. There were dozens of group member changes, additions and subtractions over the next two decades.
9. It’s Now Or Never – Elvis Presley
Was based on the Italian 1898 song ‘O Sole mio’ by Giovanni Capurro and Eduardo di Capua.
10. Wonderful World – Sam Cooke
Adapted by Sam from a song started by Lou Adler and Herb Alpert.
11. You’re Sixteen – Johnny Burnette
John Joseph “Johnny” Burnette (March 25, 1934 – August 14, 1964). ‘You’re Sixteen’ was written by brothers Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman.
12. Cathy’s Clown – The Everly Brothers
Isaac Donald ‘Don’ Everly (born February 1, 1937) and Phillip ‘Phil’ Everly (January 19, 1939 – January 3, 2014)
13. Georgia On My Mind – Ray Charles
The song was written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell. Georgia was Hoagy’s sister, according to the lyricist, Stuart.
14. Only The Lonely – Roy Orbison
Written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson, it reached #2 on the Billboard Charts, and was his first hit.
15. Hot Rod Lincoln – Johnny Bond
Cyrus Whitfield Bond (June 1, 1915 – June 12, 1978). Johnny was primarily a country western singer. This was his only Top 40 hit.
16. Tell Laura I Love Her – Ray Peterson
Ray Peterson (April 23, 1939 – January 25, 2005). This was one of the earliest teenage driving Death Songs.
17. Harbor Lights – The Platters
Originally sung by Frances Langford in 1937 and written by Hugh Williams (Will Grosz) and Jimmy Kennedy.
18. Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop – Little Anthony & the Imperials
A perfect example of R&B going Pop. DJ Alan Freed came up with the name ‘Little Anthony’.
19. Chain Gang – Sam Cooke
Based on some men Sam met while touring, working on an actual prison chain gang.
20. Save The Last Dance For Me – The Drifters
Written by Jerome Solon Felder (June 27, 1925 – March 14, 1991), known as Doc Pomus, and Mort Shuman (November 12, 1936 – November 2, 1991). They wrote many hits in the early 1960s.
21. Stuck On You – Elvis Presley
Elvis’s first #1 Hit released since he left the army.
22. Where Or When – Dion & The Belmonts
“Where or When” is a show tune from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical Babes In Arms, and written by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers.
23. Teen Angel – Mark Dinning
Was written by his sister Jean (Eugenia) (March 29, 1924 — February 22, 2011) and her husband (Mark’s brother-in-law) Red Surrey Teen automobile/train Death Song. Sweet 16 RIP.
24. Devil Or Angel – Bobby Vee
Bobby Vee was born Robert Thomas Velline on April 30, 1943. “‘Devil or Angel’ was written by Blanche Carter and originally recorded by The Clovers in 1955.
25. Stay – Maurice Williams and the Zodiaks
Originally the (Royal) Charms, the band changed its name to the Gladiolas(1957), the Excellos (1958) and the Zodiacs in 1959. The song was written by Williams in 1953 when he was 15 years old, and has been recorded by many Pop/Rock artists.
26. Swingin’ School – Bobby Rydell
Written by Kal Mann, Bernie Lowe & Dave Appell. Kal was a successful songwriter and Bernie founded Cameo Records in 1956. Dave was one of the biggest producers in music by the early 1970s. Bobby was the teen heartthrob of the day. There was no way this song would NOT be a hit.
27. New Orleans – Gary U.S. Bonds
Gary Levone Anderson was born on June 6, 1939 in Jacksonville, Florida. Producer Frank Guida changed his name to ‘Gary U.S. Bonds’ because he thought it would catch attention when it was said. Bruce Springsteen brought Gary back to the pop scene in the early 1980s.
28. Peter Gunn – Duane Eddy
Theme from TV show. Reworked with Eddie and The Art of Noise in 1986.
29. Finger Poppin Time – Hank Ballard
Hank had several hits, and this was an attempt to recapture the success of another song he wrote, ‘The Twist.’
30. Sweet Nothin’s – Brenda Lee
Released in late 1959, Brenda brought her country background into Pop/Rock, with a strong female voice.
31. Theme From The Apartment – Ferrante & Teicher
Arthur Ferrante (September 7, 1921 – September 19, 2009), and Louis Teicher (August 24, 1924 – August 3, 2008) met while studying at the Juilliard School of Music in New York
32. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini – Brian Hyland
The first Novelty/Pop song of the 1960s. One of the first Bubblegum Pop hits. Trudy Packer did the female voice.
33. Lonely Teenager – Dion
Dion DiMucci had bigger success on the charts when he left the Belmonts in 1959.
34. Poetry In Motion – Johnny Tillotson
Looking for a cheesy early 1960s song, with an old time Pop/Rock feel? This is the song you wee looking for.
35. Doggin’ Around – Jackie Wilson
Jack Leroy “Jackie” Wilson, Jr. (June 9, 1934 – January 21, 1984) helped bridge classic R&B with Soul with Doggin Around.
36. Last Date – Floyd Cramer
Instrumental piano & strings #2 Billboard hit. Not to be confused with ‘Last Kiss’.
37. Josephine – Bill Blacks’ Combo
William Patton “Bill” Black, Jr. (September 17, 1926 – October 21, 1965) was one of Elvis Presley’s first backup musicians.
38. Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes) – Dinah Washington & Brook Benton
Written by Clyde Otis, Murray Stein and Brook Benton.
39. Mack The Knife – Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996). People who can sing well, do a great version of this crowd rousing song. Ella could sing well.
40. Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go – Hank Ballard & The Midnighters
Hank’s band never fully hit the pop charts like many of their contemporaries, but Frank was one of the giants of the industry simply by bringing us The Twist, the first dance song that didn’t require a single partner.
41. Waltzing Matilda – Jimmy Rogers
Featured in the film, On The Beach. It is also Australia’s ‘unofficial national anthem.’
42. Puppy Love – Paul Anka
Puppy Love, young love – named for its resemblance to the adoring, huggy affection that may be felt for a puppy.
Young love. sigh.
43. Caravan – Santo and Johnny
Caravan is an early jazz standard composed by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington, first performed by Duke’s band in 1936.
44. When Will I Be Loved? – The Everly Brothers
I’ve been cheated. Been mistreated. I’ve been lied to. I’ve Been put down. I’ve been pushed ’round.
Linda Ronstatdt also cracked the Top 3 with the song in 1975.
45. Harlem Nocturne – The Viscounts
‘Harlem Nocturne’ was written by Earle Hagen and Dick Rogers in 1939 for the Ray Noble orchestra, but has been included with many jazz and . The melody works with Big Band and Rock instruments.
46. Walk, Don’t Run – The Ventures
One of the first hits to have the guitar instrumental ‘West Coast Surfer Sound.’
47. Nice N Easy – Frank Sinatra
While Frank’s heyday was in the 40s, with a comeback in the 50s, he was still going strong into the 1960s with the older crowd.
48. Mama – Connie Francis
Connie went from frustration, to teen pop star and actress in the 1950s, and this song presented her as a serious, adult, singer.
49. Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool – Connie Francis
Connie finally hit the #1 Billboard spot with this song.
50. Theme From “A Summer Place” – Percy Faith
9 weeks. 9 weeks at the Top of the Billboard Pop Chart. And a the Grammy for ‘Record of the Year’.
51. Running Bear – Johnny Preston
John Preston Courville (August 18, 1939 – March 4, 2011). You’ve heard the background chant.
52. I Want To Be Wanted – Brenda Lee
#1 on the Billboard Charts for one week. She also held the #1 spot for three weeks with ‘I’m Sorry.’ Pretty good for a sixteen-year-old girl from Lithonia, Georgia, USA.
53. Greenfields – The Brothers Four
Bob Flick, John Paine, Mike Kirkland, and Dick Foley met at the University of Washington, where they were members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity in 1956. Frat brothers.
54. Alley-Oop – Hollywood Argyles
Alley Oop was written and composed by Dallas Frazier, and based on the newspaper comic strip that started on December 5, 1932. Hipster before hipster even existed.
55. He’ll Have to Go – Jim Reeves
Written by husband and wife team of Joe and Audrey Allison, based on a real-life example when Joe couldn’t hear Allison on the phone.
56. My Heart Has A Mind Of It’s Own – Connie Francis
My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own was written by Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller. #1 for 2 weeks.
57. Good Timin’ – Jimmy Jones
James ‘Jimmy’ Jones (June 2, 1937 -August 2, 2012). Along with Handyman (#62 below) he did well in the first half of 1960. He continued recording, writing music and performing opportunities allowed.
58. El Paso – Marty Robbins
Martin David Robinson (September 26, 1925 – December 8, 1982) Marty also wrote this, his only #1 Hit record.
59. Burning Bridges – Jack Scott
Jack Scott was born Giovanni Domenico Scafone, Jr. on January 24, 1936. Burning Bridges is one of the first ‘getting over it’ Break Up Songs.
60. Let The Little Girl Dance – Billy Bland
Billy Bland was born April 5, 1932 in Wilmington, North Carolina. One hit wonder, although did record for a year or two after this song reached #7.
61. Sixteen Reasons – Connie Stevens
Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia was born on August 8, 1938. She has been a starlet, a singer, pinup and actress on TV and in films.
62. Handy Man – Jimmy Jones
James Taylor also cracked the Top 10 with this song, in 1977.
63. Sink The Bismark – Johnny Horton
John Gale “Johnny” Horton (April 30, 1925 – November 5, 1960). Based on the 1960 film ‘Sink the Bismarck!’
64. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans – Freddie Cannon
This was written by John Turner Layton, Jr. and Henry Creamer and featured in the Broadway musical production Spice of 1922.
65. Night – Jackie Wilson
This was actually the “A-SIDE” of ‘Doggin Around’ (#35 above) and a totally different, lounge-type sound than most associate with Jackie Wilson.
66. A Thousand Stars – Kathy Young and the Innocents
Kathy Young (born October 21, 1945) was 15 when this hit the radio airwaves. Session musician Sandy Nelson played drums on the record.
67. North To Alaska – Johnny Horton
Theme from the soundtrack of the 1960 film.
68. Stairway To Heaven – Neil Sedaka
In no way affiliated with Led Zeppelin’s song of the same title.
69. Paper Roses – Anita Bryant
Anita Jane Bryant was born on March 25, 1940. She performed the National Anthem at Super Bowl III in 1969.
70. Mission Bell – Donnie Brooks
John Dee Abohosh (February 6, 1936 – February 23, 2007). He also recorded as Johnny Jordan, Dick Bush and Johnny Faire.
71. Sailor (Your Home Is The Sea) – Lolita
Sailor (Your Home is the Sea) is a song originally written in German by Werner Scharfenberger and Fini Busch as ‘Seemann (Deine Heimat ist das Meer).’ You probably can’t name another Top 5 US hit sung in German, except maybe Nena’s ’99 Luftballoons’ in 1983.
72. Walking To New Orleans – Fats Domino
The song by Bobby Charles, written for and recorded by Fats Domino. New Orleans tunes rocked the 1960 Charts.
73. Image of a Girl – Safaris
There was another ‘Safaris’ that had a single called ‘Kick Out’ in 1963. Different band altogether.
74. Mr. Custer – Bobby Verne
Written by written by Al DeLory, Fred Darian, and Joseph Van Winkle. #1 Novelty song about Custer’s loss at Battle of the Little Bighorn, against the Sioux
75. Let It Be Me – The Everly Brothers
Every generation has it’s own ‘sibling teen idol band’. This generation had The Everly Brothers.
76. Brontosaurus Stomp – The Piltdown Men
The band name was inspired by the 1912 Piltdown Man hoax. Belive it or not, they never had another US hit, but you can find some other recordings by the group.
77. Love You So – Ron Holden
Rolan Webster Holden (August 7, 1939 – January 22, 1997) Ron toured with many acts through the mid 1960s. A nice song to mix into a ‘cha-cha’ music set.
78. My Girl Josephine – Fats Domino
My Girl Josephine was written by Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. As a producer and arranger, Dave was responsible for a lot of the New Orleans influence on R&B/Pop.
79. Please Help Me, I’m Falling – Hank Locklin
There is a difference between Country and Western style music. Honky Tonk is closer to Country Music.
80. Am I That Easy To Forget – Debbie Reynolds
Debbie Reynolds was born Mary Frances Reynolds on April 1, 1932. Singer, actress and movie memorabilia collector.
81. Pretty Blue Eyes – Steve Lawrence
Steven “Steve” Lawrence was born ‘Sidney Liebowitz’ on July 8, 1935. TV personality/guest star on TV talk shows and film.
82. Lucky Devil – Carl Dobkins Jr.
This was Carl’s second (at last) foray into the Top 40.
83. Blue Angel – Roy Orbison
Roy wrote nad performed most of his own songs, and was a member of The Traveling Wilburys in 1988/89.
84. A Fool In Love – Ike & Tuna Turner
Although they had many near-hits, and a handful of Top 40 songs, they were best known for thier live shows. Tina had a successful ‘comback’ in the 1980s.
85. You Got What it Takes – Marv Johnson
Marvin Earl Johnson (October 15, 1938 – May 16, 1993). Listen this song, and you can hear the sound that he and Berry Gordy used to found Motown Records. Berry Gordy, Gwen Gordy and Billy Davis also listed as co-writers of this song.
86. The Twist – Hank Ballard
It must have been frustrating for Hank to be in the shadow of Chubby Checker’s version of this society-changing song.
87. Dreamin’ – Johnny Burnette
Dreamin’ was written by Barry De Vorzon and Ted Ellis. Barry continued writing songs for soundracks and other artists into the late 1970s.
88. Ooh Poo Pah Doo part II – Jessie Hill
Jessie Hill (December 9, 1932 – September 17, 1996) New Orleans born, raised, and buried in Holt Cemetery in New Orleans, in a pauper’s grave for the poorest citizens of the city.
89. Down By The Station – The Four Preps
Classic uptempo vocal love song. It has also become a children’s song.
90. Anymore – Teresa Brewer
This was Teresa’s final Top 40 Pop Hit, but she did continue making country music.
91. Sleep – Little Willie John
William Edward John (November 15, 1937 – May 26, 1968). He died at at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Washington, shorty after being convicted of manslaughter.
92. Diamonds and Pearls – The Paradons
One of the last Doo Wop ‘One Hit Wonders’.
93. Never On Sunday – Don Costa
Dominick P. ‘Don’Costa (June 10, 1925 -January 19, 1983) The song won an Oscar for ‘Best Song’ – based on the film of the same name. Don also discovered Paul Anka, and helped make Frank Sinatra’s sound for the 1960s through his arrangement and orchestration of Frank’s new releases.
94. Lonely Weekends – Charlie Rich
Charles Allan ‘Charlie’ Rich (December 14, 1932 – July 25, 1995). Charlie played between Country and Pop throughout his career.
95. Rockin Little Angel – Ray Smith
Rockin’ Little Angel” took a portion of its melody from the 1844 song ‘Buffalo Gals’ – which was spotlighted in the Film ‘What A Wonderful Life’.
96. You Talk Too Much – Joe Jones
Joe Jones (August 12, 1926 – November 27, 2005). Joe was the original artist to record California Sun’ – written by Henry Glover and Morris Levy, and made well known by The Rivieras in 1964.
97. (There Was A) Tall Oak Tree – Dorsey Burnette
With his brother, Johnny Burnette, and friend Paul Burlison, he was a founder member of The Rock and Roll Trio. A somewhat legendary group that never really had chart success.
98. He’ll Have To Stay – Jeanne Black
Gloria Jeanne Black (October 25, 1937 – October 23, 2014) This song was an answer record to Jim Reeves’s hit ‘He’ll Have to Go’.
99. This Bitter Earth – Dinah Washington
Written and produced by Clyde Otis.
100. Because They’re Young – Duane Eddy
From the film ‘Because They’re Young’ starring Dick Clark & Tuesday Weld. Also, Eddie’s biggest hit – reaching #4.