1962’s Top 100 Hot Pop Songs & Music Hits
1962’s Top 100 Hot Pop Songs & Music Hits
Note: The Twist by Chubby Checker was a #1 Hit in 1960, but reached #1 (again!) in 1962 created an entirely new experience in Popular Culture.
Instead of including it here, we have an entire page dedicated to the song and Chubby Checker.
1. Miserlou – Dick Dale
Surf guitar instrumental, originally a soft big band tune by Harry James.
2. Twist and Shout – Isley Brothers
Twist and Shout was written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns (later credited as “Bert Russell”) in 1961. They were also the first to have a hit with Shout, in 1959.
3. Do You Love Me – Contours
This was one of Motown Records’ earliest hits, and the biggest hit for the group.
4. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley
From the film ‘Blue Hawaii’ this is Elvis’ most well known Love Song.
5. You Belong To Me – The Duprees
First a hit for Jo Stafford in 1952, this has become the most remembered version of the song, and the biggest hit for the group.
6. The Loco-motion – Little Eva
Eva Narcissus Boyd (June 29, 1943 – April 10, 2003). The song was # 1 for Little Eva in 1962, #1 for Grand Funk in 1974 and # 3 for Kylie Minogue in 1988.
7. Let’s Dance – Chris Montez
Ezekiel Christopher Montanez was born on January 17, 1943. Was he popular? Well, The Beatles opened for him (and Tommy Roe) in 1962.
8. Return To Sender – Elvis Presley
Presley performed ‘Return to Sender’ in the film Girls! Girls! Girls! Elvis’ # 30 Top Ten Song,
9. Limbo Rock – Chubby Checker
This peaked #2 for Chubby Checker, just another Chubby line dance song in the scheme of things. Everybody else was doing their own version of The Twist in 1962.
10. Big Girls Don’t Cry – Four Seasons
INspired by a line from the film ‘Tennessee’s Partner’ and written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio.
11. Party Lights – Claudine Clark
Claudine Clark was born on April 26, 1941 in Macon, Georgia.
12. Twistin’ The Night Away – Sam Cooke
Twistin’ the Night Away was written by Sam Cooke, and one of the longest-lasting “Twist’ response songs.
13. The Wah Watusi – The Orlons
Philly’s biggest ‘girl group’ of the 1960s, included Rosetta Hightower, Shirley Brickley, Marlena Davis and Stephen Caldwell.
14. Duke of Earl – Gene Chandler
Gene Chandler was born Eugene Dixon on July 6, 1937, and he wrote ‘Duke of Earl’.
15. Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen – Neil Sedaka
Sedaka wrote the music and performed the song, and the lyrics were written by Howard Greenfield, who also wrote many other hits and even TV theme songs.
16. Surfin’ Safari – Beach Boys
Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, from the album of the same name. FLIP-SIDE was ‘409’. This was their first Top 20 Hit.
17. Good Luck Charm – Elvis Presley
Written by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold.
18. Hey! Baby – Bruce Channel
His last name is pronounced “sh-NELL” and he was born Bruce McMeans on November 28, 1940. Delbert McClinton played harmica on the track. DJ Ötzi did an updated version in 2000.
19. Alley Cat – Bent Fabric
Bent Fabricius-Bjerre was born on December 7, 1924 in Frederiksberg, Denmark, so that’s pretty much his real name. This instrumental track also won the Grammy for ‘Best Contemporary Song.’
20. Shout! Sh’ut! (Knock Yourself Out) – Ernie Maresca
Ernest Peter “Ernie’ Maresca (August 21, 1938 – July 8, 2015) was primarily a songwriter and record executive.
21. Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream) – Roy Orbison
The ‘Big O’ Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988) had an incredible vocal range, and that’s why he wrote most of his own songs. But not this one. Cindy Walker, a songwriter, country music singer, and dancer, wrote it.
22. The Stripper – David Rose
David led an orchestra for years, and wrote many tunes and TV themes. This was his biggest hit, and, in case anyone asks, he was also Judy Garland’s first husband. It was his second marriage – previously he was married to the actress Martha Raye.
23. Desafinado – Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd
‘Desafinado’ is a Portuguese word (meaning ‘Out of Tune’ or ‘Off Key’). One of the Top 5 most well known instrumental jazz songs of all time.
24. Unchain My Heart – Ray Charles
Written by Bobby Sharp (1924-2013) Sharp sold the song to Teddy Powell for $50. There was some wrangling over the deal for 20-odd years, and Teddy ended up with 1/2 of the songwriting credit.
Songwriting credit is important – that is where royalties (and the real profit of popular music comes in.)
25. The Wanderer – Dion
Written by Ernie Maresca, Dion described the song best: ‘At its roots, it’s more than meets the eye. ‘The Wanderer’ is black music filtered through an Italian neighborhood that comes out with an attitude. It’s my perception of a lot of songs like ‘I’m A Man’ by Bo Diddley or ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ by Muddy Waters. But you know, ‘The Wanderer’ is really a sad song. A lot of guys don’t understand that. Bruce Springsteen was the only guy who accurately expressed what that song was about. It’s ‘I roam from town to town and go through life without a care, I’m as happy as a clown with my two fists of iron, but I’m going nowhere.’ In the fifties, you didn’t get that dark. It sounds like a lot of fun but it’s about going nowhere.’
26. Town Without Pity – Gene Pitney
Gene Francis Alan Pitney (17 February 1940 – 5 April 2006) The song comes from the film of the same name.
27. Green Onions – Booker T. and the MG’s
Booker T. Jones, born on November 12, 1944, wrote Green Onions at age 17. “MG”officially stood for ‘Memphis Group’ – they were from Memphis and were Stax Records’ house band.
28. Sherry – Four Seasons
Officially they are the Four Seasons Partnership, owned by Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli 50/50. Since in 1969 they have been called Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
29. Having A Party – Sam Cooke
Sam went to the same High School in Chicago that Nat King Cole graduated from – Wendell Phillips Academy High School.
30. I Can’t Stop Loving You – Ray Charles
Written by country legend Don Gibson, this was Ray’s last #1 Hit, and was included on his Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music album.
31. Soldier Boy – Shirelles
#1 for the girls – Addie “Micki” Harris, Shirley Owens, Beverly Lee, and Doris Coley.
In 1963, it was discovered that the record label and their manger DID NOT have the trust fund with their earnings promised after they became age 21.
32. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do – Neil Sedaka
#1 in 1962, and re-arranged and recorded in 1975 to reach #8 on the US charts. The Cookies did background vocals.
33. Peppermint Twist – Joey Dee and the Starlighters
This was the only version of The Twist that came close in popularity to the original in 1962. It was actually in two parts, with Part 2 pretty much being an instrumental extension of the song.
34. Lovers Who Wander – Dion
Dion Francis DiMucci (born July 18, 1939) This was written by Dion DiMucci himself and Ernie Maresca.
35. Surfin’ – Beach Boys
This was the first Hot 100 song by the band. It sounds a lot like… an early Beach Boys song.
36. Whats Your Name – Don and Juan
The Doo Wop Duo were Roland “Don” Trone and Claude “Juan” Johnson.
37. Bobby’s Girl – Marcie Blaine
Marcie Blane was born Marcia Blank on May 21, 1944 in Brooklyn, New York.
38. Baby Elephant Walk – Lawrence Welk
Although released by several people – Lawrence and Henry Mancini for example, it is known from being used in several TV shows and films, including the film Henry wrote it for – 1962’s ‘Hatari!’
39. Johnny Angel – Shelley Fabares
Michele Ann Marie ‘Shelley’ Fabares was born on January 19, 1944, and was probably better known as a television actress. Or three films with Elvis Presley.
40. Baby, It’s You – The Shirelles
Released in late 1961, Baby It’s You was written by Burt Bacharach, Luther Dixon and Mack David.
41. Bring It On Home To Me – Sam Cooke
This was the B-SIDE of the single with ‘Having a Party’ and actually got more play in 1962 than the A-SIDE.
42. Bongo Stomp – Little Joey & The Flips
Little Joseph Hall was from Philadelphia, and The Flips were from Upper Darby, a Philly suburb. Upper Darby is also known for being the home to singer/songwriters Todd Rundgren and Jim Croce.
43. Palisades Park – Freddy Cannon
Written by TV show producer and ‘Gong Show’ host Chuck Barris, the song is a tribute to New Jersey’s Palisades Amusement Park.
44. Where Have All The Flowers Gone? – The Kingston Trio
Written by Pete Seeger in 1955, with some additional lyrics added by Joe Hickerson in 1960, it was one of the first political ‘hippie’ songs, although it was released several years before any counterculture or youth movement in the United States.
45. I Left My Heart In San Francisco – Tony Bennett
Anthony Dominick ‘Tony’ Benedetto was born on August 3, 1926, and this is his Signature Song.
46. Route 66 Theme – Nelson Riddle
CBS television had Nelson write this for the television show of the same name. It was either that or use Bobby Troup’s 1946 song ‘(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.’
Hiring Nelson Riddle was cheaper.
Route 66 (US 66) traversed from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California from 1926 through 1985. People probably just stole too many street signs.
I think my uncle had one.
47. The One Who Really Loves You – Mary Wells
Smokey Robinson wrote most of her hits, and she never regained the success she had with the label when she left Motown in 1964.
48. I Sold My Heart To The Junkman – The Blue-Belles
I Sold My Heart to the Junkman’ is a 1946 song originally recorded by The Basin Street Boys featuring Ormonde Wilson, written by Leon René. In 1962 it put Patti Labelle on the Pop Music Map. The ‘Blue-Belles’ were actually ‘The Starlets’.
49. Beechwood 4-5789 – The Marvelettes
In the early days of telephones, the first two digits were the exchanges through which the call would go. Beechwood = BE (the letters on the phone) or 234-5789.
50. Telstar – The Tornadoes
The song was a tribute to the Telstar Satellite, and the band was from England, not be confused with the California surf band who had a near-hit with ‘Bustin’ Surfboards’ the same year. The English Tornadoes did have another track called ‘Jungle Fever” that is worth a listen. Also, these guys were the first English band to reach #1 in the USA.
51. Me and My Shadow – Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr
Originally written in 1927 by Al Jolson, Billy Rose, and Dave Dreyer. Actually, Al Jolson did not write it or co-write the song. As the biggest star in the world (late 1920s), he often wanted writer credit if he’d sing it, to increase his share of the residual profit.
52. Stranger On The Shore – Mr Acker Bilk
Bernard Stanley “Acker” Bilk ( January 28, 1929 – November 2, 2014) If you were wondering in a clarinet-based song from an English television show called ‘Jenny’ could be a #1 Hit in America in 1962, the answer is yes.
53. Shiela – Tommy Roe
Thomas David ‘Tommy’ Roe was born on May 9, 1942. Tommy reached #1 with Shiela, and in 1969 with ‘Dizzy’. Few people had a number one song BEFORE The Beatles, than AFTER the Beatles. Tommy Roe did.
54. Don’t Break The Heart that Loves You – Connie Francis
Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero was born on December 12, 1938. This was Connie’s last #1 Hit, and she had moderate success through the 1960s, including starring in several movies.
55. Papa-oom-Mow-Mow – The Rivingtons
‘Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow’ was a Top 50 Hit, but the followup ‘Mama-Oom-Mow-Mow’ didn’t fare as well. In 1963, The Trashmen reworked it into ‘Surfin Bird’ into a Top 5 Hit.
Everybody knows – The Bird is the word.
56. Midnight In Moscow – Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen
Kenneth Daniel ‘Kenny’ Ball (May 22, 1930 – March 7, 2013) Kenny Played the trumpet. Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi and Mikhail Matusovsky wrote the song in Russia in 1955.
57. Vacation – Connie Francis
Connie’s last Top Ten Hit, played constantly in the Summer of ’62, when a Twist Song wasn’t playing. She does mention the ‘Mashed Potato’ – another dance (and song) of 1962.
58. You Don’t Know Me – Ray Charles
Another #1 Hit from album ‘Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music’. Also written by Cindy Walker, who also wrote Roy Orbison’s Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream).
59. Shout – Joey Dee and the Starlighters
In addition to the huge hit ‘Peppermint Twist’ Joey Dee and the boys also reached #6 with The Isley Brother’s ‘Shout’.
…and he starred in the 1962 film ‘Hey, Let’s Twist!’.
60. Norman – Sue Thompson
John D. Loudermilk wrote all five of Sue’s biggest hits – Sad Movies Make Me Cry, Norman, Paper Tiger, Have A Good Time, and James (Hold The Ladder Steady).
61. Roses are Red (My Love) – Bobby Vinton
Roses are Red was written by Al Byron and Paul Evans. Stanley Robert Bobby Vinton, Jr. was born on April 16, 1935, and this was the first of four #1 Hits for the ‘The Polish Prince of Poch’.
62. I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More) – Barbara George
Barbara George was born Barbara Ann Smith (August 16, 1942 – August 10, 2006). Barbara wrote most of her own music, including this.
63. She Cried – Jay and the Americans
A post-50’s style band that carried on through several personnel changes through the 1960s.
“And when I told her I didn’t lover her anymore… she cried.” COLD.
64. He’s A Rebel – The Crystals
Barbara Alston, Mary Thomas, Dolores “Dee Dee” Kenniebrew, Myrna Giraud and Patricia “Patsy” Wright formed The Crystals in 1961. Phil Spector added Darlene Love, without the original Crystals for this track. Then the originals started recording, then they didn’t when Phil started giving all his attention to The Ronettes. Confused? Then you understand what happened as well as we do.
65. What Kind Of Fool Am I – Sammy Davis, Jr
Won a Grammy for ‘Song of the Year’ for Sammy.
66. Young World – Rick Nelson
Ricky changed his name to ‘Rick’ in 1961. The song was written by Jerry Fuller, who wrote 23 songs for Rick (and Ricky).
67. Mashed Potato Time – Dee Dee Sharp
The Mashed Potato was a dance before the song came out, but this became Dee Dee’s (Dione LaRue) Signature Song.
68. 409 – Beach Boys
The ‘409’ referenced is the Chevrolet 409. This was the FLIP-SIDE of the 45 RPM Single. Jukeboxes often made both sides playable, which could make both sides ‘hits’.
69. Chains – The Cookies
Chains was written by the husband and wife songwriting team Gerry Goffin and Carole King. We could say that about a lot of hits from the early (and even late) 1960s. The Cookies actually started as a group in 1953, and had several personnel changes.
70. Speedy Gonzales – Pat Boone
Written by Buddy Kaye, Ethel Lee and David Hess, and referenced the Warner Brothers cartoon character. Robin Ward did the female vocal and Mel Blanc was the voice of Speedy.
71. Don’t Hang Up – the Orlons
The girls started out as Audrey and the Teenettes in the late 50s, but since Audrey was only 13, her mother didn’t allow her to perform in nightclubs. There were personal changes and The Orlons were born.
72. Wolverton Mountain – Claude King
Claude King (February 5, 1923 – March 7, 2013) Wolverton Mountain is in Arkansas.
73. You Are My Sunshine – Ray Charles
Written by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell in 1939, and Ray’s version is the most popular.
74. Playboy – The Marvelettes
Through the 1960s, members included Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman (deceased), Wanda Rogers, Ann Bogan, Juanita Cowart and Georgia Dobbins.
75. Ride! – Dee Dee Sharp
Dee Dee Sharp was born Dione LaRue on September 9, 1945. She was 17 in 1962 when she had 4 Top 10 Hits, including her upbeat duet with the PopStar of the Year, Chubby Checker.
Good for her.
I’m not jealous.
Not at all.
76. Lover Please – Clyde McPhatter
Q: Who was the most influential an underrated R&B performers of the 1950s and 1960s?
A: Clyde Lensley McPhatter (November 15, 1932 – June 13, 1972)
77. ‘Til – The Angels
Released in late 1961, this was the first Top 20 Hit for the girls, who included Barbara Allbut, Phyllis Allbut, Peggy Santiglia, Bernadette Carroll, Lynda Malzone, Linda Jansen (Jankowski), Toni Mason and Debra Swisher. There was a lot of turnover for the early girl groups.
78. Release Me – Little Esther Phillips
This was the biggest hit for Esther Mae Jones (December 23, 1935 – August 7, 1984). At 14, she won an amateur singing contest at the Barrelhouse Club owned by Johnny Otis. Johnny added her to his touring show, and she recorded and toured until shortly before her death. Englebert Humperdink ( real name: Arnold George Dorsey) also scored a Top Ten Hit with ‘Release Me’.
79. Sealed With A Kiss – Brian Hyland
Bubblegum Pop started in the mid-1960s. Brian Hyland (born November 12, 1943) could be considered the ‘Grandfather of Bubblegum Pop’ like Neil Young is the Grandfather of Grunge.
80. If I Had A Hammer – Peter, Paul & Mary
Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey and Mary Travers sang it and Pete Seeger and Lee Hays wrote ‘If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)’ in 1949.
81. Ramblin’ Rose – Nat King Cole
Written by brothers Noel Sherman and Joe Sherman, there were two other songs named ‘Ramblin’ Rose’ written in the past hundred years, but Nat’s is the most well known.
82. Dear Lady Twist – Gary U.S. Bonds
Gary U.S. Bonds (born Gary Levone Anderson on June 6, 1939 in Jacksonville, Florida) took advantage of the ‘Twist Frenzy of 1962’.
83. Slow Twistin’ – Chubby Checker and Dee Dee Sharp
Kal Mann wrote this and several other Twist Songs for Chubby and Dee Dee.
84. Rinky Dink – Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez
Dave “Baby” Cortez (born August 13, 1938, Detroit, Michigan) The riff sounds much like “Love Is Strange” by Mickey & Sylvia, with just a touch of ‘Stay’ by Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs.
85. Only Love Can Break A Heart – Gene Pitney
The song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Gene Pitney was created by Mr & Mrs. Pitney in the spring of 1939/
86. The Lonely Bull (El Solo Torro) – Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass
Herbert ‘Herb’ Alpert (born March 31, 1935) is also the ‘A’ in ‘A&M Records’.
87. . . . And Then There Were Drums – Sandy Nelson
Sander L. ‘Sandy’ Nelson (born December 1, 1938) is probably the most famous Pop/Rock drummer of all time, next to Ringo Starr. He was also a session/guest drummer for many 60s artists.
88. Come On Little Angel – The Belmonts
The original group consisted of Fred Milano, Angelo D’Aleo, and Carlo Mastrangelo. They took their name from Belmont Avenue, the Bronx, NYC. After Dion left, the group carried on without him.
Lyrics include “…and now you’;re gonna tell me your doin’ the Twist?”
89. Patches – Dickey Lee
Royden Dickey Lipscomb (born September 21, 1936) started his career in the late 1950s. An early Teen-Age Death Song, he promises to join his girl who committed suicide in ‘the dirty old river’.
90. Jamie – Eddie Holland
Eddie was part of the Motown Super Production/Songwriting Team of Holland/Dozier/Holland
91. Little Black Book – Jimmy Dean
Jimmy Ray Dean (August 10, 1928 – June 13, 2010) The Country/Pop Star also did some acting and even guest-hosted The Tonight Show for Johnny Carson.
92. Hide & Go Seek – Bunker Hill
David Walker was born May 5, 1941, and went by Bunker Hill. This song was recorded with a ‘live’ party R&B sound.
93. The Theme From Dr. Kildare (Three Stars Will Shine Tonight) – Richard Chamberlain
George Richard Chamberlain (born March 31, 1934) started as a stage actor and singer, moved up to TV, and even sang the theme for his show, Dr. Kildare.
94. Cotton Fields – The Highwaymen
Cotton Fields was Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly in 1940. Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson also formed a ‘Country Supergroup’ with the same name and they had to license the name.
95. Lemon Tree – Peter, Paul & Mary
‘Lemon Tree’ is a folk song written by Will Holt in the late 1950s.
96. Tuff – Ace Cannon
John ‘Ace’ Cannon was born May 5, 1934 in Grenada, Mississippi. Honky Tonk piano, guitar picking and saxophone instrumental.
97. Ahab, The Arab – Ray Stevens
They write or perform songs like this any more. Ray is best known for 1974’s ‘The Streak’.
98. Dear One – Larry Finnegan
John Lawrence Finneran (October 10, 1938 – July 22, 1973) Larry had a Beatlemania near-hit with ‘The Other Ringo’ in 1964.
99. Smokey Places – The Corsairs
Some people say this is the first ‘Gay Anthem’
100. Let Me In – The Sensations
They broke up in the late 1950s, Yvonne Mills Baker, Sam Armstrong, Richard Curtain and Alphonso Howell regrouped in 1961. This song is due for a remake, I think.