"The Loco-Motion" wound up being a dance that I assume had something to do with locomotives? When I was younger, I used to think this song was called "The Locomotive", actually. lol. But it's another song where the lyrics are entirely about the dance itself. I usually find songs like that really inane. But I'm able to have some fun with this one because it embraces its own camp-ness. The horns, the train "ding ding" sounds, the backing vocals all add something. "C'mon baby do the loco-motion" is a great hook too. Kylie's version really capitalizes on the camp-ness as well, but I won't get to talk about hers unfortunately.
I really like the fast paced energetic drumming beat. The guitar and backing vocals are nice too. But the song is mostly Tommy bragging about his girlfriend named Sheila. And that's really about it. He also sings in some odd accents.
From "Shelia" to "Sherry". They started off as "The Four Lovers" but were met with little chart success. After line-up and band name changes, their revamp started with a bang - three #1's in a row (discounting a Christmas single in between.) And they managed to do something that a lot of acts of this time period weren't able to - endure the British Invasion. In fact, they had high charting singles right up through the late 70's (including some solo stuff from Frankie Valli). Quite impressive for an act immersed in early 60's doo-wop. "Sherry" is all about simplicity. The production and lyrics aren't complex in any way. But what this does is it makes the vocals the focus of the song. This is Frankie's opportunity to show off all his vocal tricks. And boy does he take advantage of that. His falsettos become the signature sound of this group. Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of male falsettos (see Adam Levine). But they actually don't bother me here. Wish I could say the same about their next #1. And revisiting the simplicity thing - this is one of those songs where the simplicity is exactly why I love it. It's a very tenacious song. In a good way.
I find it fascinating that this was #1 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ummmmm. I'll just say it... I've never been the biggest fan of this. Maybe it doesn't play into my sense of humour? Or maybe I just don't get into the Halloween spirit much? Idk. But it is a perennial favourite for a reason. It sounds very Halloween-y: like the sound effects, Boris' accented singing voice, the name dropping of several Halloween characters, etc. And the humorous element of it makes it unique. I mean it's a song about monster friends dancing and partying. Definitely not what you would expect Dracula and a group of zombies to be doing. It actually sounds like a skit from a radio or TV show. But like I said... I'm not really into Halloween.
These 60's girl groups are just so on point with their harmonies and melodies. This song is about falling in love with the bad boy. Everyone warns her that he's no good. But she protests. He doesn't fall into the societal stereotypes - he actually treats her well. He's just... misunderstood. And this song is sung with such defiance. She's going to stick by his side no matter what anyone says.
And this is where falsetto gets painful. "Big girls don't CRY-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y". Ugh. I get that's what makes The Four Seasons unique, but it's too over the top and silly here. This song tries to challenge the phrase "Big Girls Don't Cry"; saying that it's a lie. But it's just a very... bare song; I guess you could say? Where I appreciate "Sherry" for it simplicity, there just isn't enough going on in this one for me. It's basically just the song title repeated over and over again.
This is my favourite pre-Beatles #1 (barring any surprises in 1963). Yes, I know, it's a bit of a random choice. But there's just something so captivating about "Telstar". It holds my full attention from beginning to end. Such an odd listen and such a complex instrumental. It was born out of the 1960's space race. "Telstar" was (one of?) the first US satellites sent into outer space. It was a time period full of discovery and really wondering what the future held. JFK had made an extremely ambitious goal to put a man on the moon. And there was just so much optimism going around, I guess. "Telstar" captures the mood I just described perfectly. The wonky organ-y thing is so alien. It sounds like something recorded on a very old VHS tape. And then there's so many layers underneath that. The track continually switches up. From the build-up at the beginning to the step-back bit in the middle to the big key change at the end with the added chants. It never gets boring.
The closest I've come to a full 10/10 so far.
And that's my speeding through 1962. Didn't expect it to be my favourite year so far, but it is (going by the yearly averages). One more year til it gets fun.
"Go away, little girl, I'm not supposed to be alone with you." Major creeper vibes coming from this one. He advises this younger girl to stay away from him because he can't trust himself to keep his hands off her. He lacks self control, I guess. I doubt the song means it in a creepy way, but it just doesn't come off right. Especially since it sounds like he's blaming the little girl for enticing him.
I'm looking at these lyrics, and I have no idea what this song is about. So I looked up a few comments, and I think it's about just relaxing and letting your worries go. There's been speculation that the line "Do you want to lose your mind?" was an early subtle marijuana reference. And maybe that's what this song is about? I don't know if I buy into that as it's very subtle. But the ambiguity of it all draws me in. And I do like the relaxing folky sound of the song. It's just really repetitive and doesn't really go anywhere.
I wasn't sure what to expect with that artist and title. But a sugary sweet love song is what it is. It's a male / female duet of young two lovers, who happened to be named "Paul" and "Paula", revealing that they want to marry each other. Which is kinda cute. I like what they're attempting. But the similar names is such a weird concept. It actually makes the song seem a bit tacky. It's also an idea where there really isn't enough to milk an entire song out of. The lyrics make that apparent. And I'm pretty bored of this song before it's over.
So his girlfriend has been telling lies and stuff behind his back, and his father advises him to "walk like a man". In other words, walk away from the relationship. Later in the song, he says he's going to do just that. I'm not sure why he has to do it like a man, but whatever. When that "Walk Like A Man..." chorus comes in, sung in Frankie Valli's falsetto, it makes me wonder just how serious I'm supposed to take this song. Cuz it sounds so damn silly. The production and melody are pretty good though. Does it feel a bit too short, however.
Boring R&B ballad zzzz. No, but, really. It's a very grown-up perspective of this situation. For whatever reason, they can't be together now. But eventually their "day will come". She's very optimistic and reassuring of that fact. The chilled out production adds a dreamy like quality to it, too. But yeah, it's a bit on the boring side for me.
These "do-lang do-lang do-lang"'s. They definitely help the song become quite catchy, but they get annoying quickly for me. They're the backing beat of the whole song. Well except the bridge when it becomes "oh yeah". And I do like that switch up. But, even though I think this does a pretty decent job at being a bubbly "He's so great, I wish he were mine" song, it's kinda just there for me... Idk.
I'd say the 1960's were the decade of perfecting the art of creating a catchy pop hook. And I feel like this song is a step along that journey. Because boy does this chorus get drilled into your head. She even sings like it like a drill sergeant with that aggressive repetition at the end of every line. She's certainly dedicated to her goal. It's a simple "up and down" sort of melody, but a very catchy one at that. I like how they add that "do-do do-do-do do-do-do" backing vocal to really reinforce that melody. The verses aren't nearly as exciting, but that's no big deal. I like the breezy 60's production as well.
Some interesting advice here. The key to happiness? Marry an ugly woman. She'll cook for you too! Um.. yeah. However, I'm pretty sure this song is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. And it does get a bit of a laugh out of me. But meh.
LOL just kidding. "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to". I always like songs that find an interesting way of wording things. Even if it becomes an ubiquitous phrase later on. Who says she can't be upset during something that's supposed to be a happy occasion? It's her birthday party; she has every right to cry! And she has a perfectly valid reason to - this Judy girl stole her boyfriend Johnny. It's difficult to not sympathize with Lesley. It's definitely a song full of teenage angst. The line "You would cry too, if it happened to you" makes it a self-aware song too.
What a strange #1. The only #1 to be entirely in Japanese as well. I really don't know what to do with this one. I don't speak Japanese. The English translation makes it sound like a really sad song. And Kyu sings quite passionately. But it's also quite dull. I guess I'll just give it a 5 then?
This group consisted of 5 Marines (including a female lead vocalist and 4 male backing singers). They used the sounds of a teletype machine to create the beat; which I find pretty cool. The song itself is about how she's told to do everything she can to show her love to this guy. But she's too "timid and shy" to do so. And that makes her scared that he'll never know how she truly feels. The lyrics are subtle in that they don't say why she's "so timid and shy". Maybe she's just not comfortable showing emotions around other people? But I also wonder if this is a take on societal gender roles of the time. It was when women were "supposed" to be submissive to their male counterparts in relationships. So maybe this song is about her not wanting to conform to that. But in doing so, she risks losing this guy, and that creates a dilemma in her mind. I might be way off track, but it's an interesting way of looking at it. Otherwise, kinda boring.
Ok, some context is important here. A few months prior, there was a big hit in the charts I didn't get to cover cuz it didn't go #1: "Surfin' U.S.A." by the Beach Boys. 1962/1963 was when they really broke through (with a bunch of songs about surfing). Riding this "surfing song" craze (lame pun I know) was Jan And Dean. This was actually co-written by Brian Wilson, so no surprise that it sounds a lot like a Beach Boys song. Some laughable lyrics like "two girls for every boy" aside, this is a song that I just have fun with. Not the catchiest song ever, but it has that essence of a hot sunny day on a southern California beach.
This is pretty much an a capella song. And I always find those really dull. Snapping fingers isn't enough to hold my interest. Though I like the beach sound effects at the beginning. Other than that, it's just a cheesy love song.
The first live recording to top the Hot 100. At 13 years old, he was (and I think still is?) the youngest person to ever have a #1. Solo at least, cuz I think some of the Jacksons were younger... but we'll get to those guys in due time! Stevie, a child prodigy, was signed at just 11 years old. And it's not hard to see why. His vocals are strong for someone so young. This recording was taken from one of his concerts where he had just finished his set, but kept going for an spontaneous "goodbye" song. And you can tell he made this song up as he went along; breaking into harmonica solos and impromptu lyrics. The backing band must've been panicking lmao. The song's sole purpose is to be a showcase of his talent. So I don't really know how to rate it.
When her boyfriend leaves town, another guy tries to make an advance on her. She rejects him, and he responds by spreading rumours that she was unfaithful. Well, it sucks to be him cuz now her boyfriend is back in town! And he'll gladly take care of this asshole. I like the sassy lyrics. I also like this clappy beat and the repeated "hey-la hey-la my boyfriend's back" hook. Such a great hook that the Hess truck uses in their commercials lol.
I didn't realize Lana Del Rey's version was a cover until just now. Well, actually, Bobby's version is a cover too. The original is from 1951. I find this version incredibly dull, and don't have a lot to say about it. I pretty much have the same opinion of Lana's, though. I think this would sound better as a subtle chilled R&B ballad... Bobby's version just has no personality in it for me. The lyrics are poetic, though.
Hmmm, doesn't sound nearly as exciting as visiting the "Love Shack". So what is the "Sugar Shack"? It's basically a fantasy. The instrumental, especially that whistle-y organ, does a decent job at setting up that escapism feeling. But what does the "Sugar Shack" have to offer, exactly? Well, according to this song, a beautiful girl. Not the most original fantasy ever, but I can see the appeal. I just wish there was more of a chorus... really brings the song down.
#2 watch: The Ronettes' "Be My Baby" was blocked by this.
What is this mess? Their voices really don't complement each other well and I find Nino's vocals pretty unpleasant in general on this. This song is notable for April speaking the lyrics in the second half. Apparently, Nino forgot the words, so she was mouthing them to him. But the record label thought it sounded good the way it was (like she sounded seductive). But it doesn't work for me. Such an anti-climatic 100th #1. At least it has some poetic lyrics.
This song is basically "the ball is in his/her court now"; in regards to this relationship. I know I've been there before. It entails one half of the couple so overwhelmed by the anxiety of deciding the future of their relationship, that they let the other half decide it instead. However, in doing so, the other half now has to bare that anxiety. And since it's a duet, they keep bouncing back and forth. Which is kinda neat. The song is mostly all chorus, but that chorus has a really strong melody. And Grace's parts are a big highlight for me.
Nov 22, 1963. The president had just been shot. The country was in a state of collective shock and mourning. I've always wondered if those events led to this depressing sounding song going #1. Definitely one of the most unlikely #1's I've ever heard.
I always find it fascinating when a song not in English manages to be a big hit in the US. It brings up that debate of "how important are lyrics?". I imagine most Americans would've had no clue what this nun was singing about. We've seen foreign language songs becomes hits due to their novelty like "Gangnam Style" and a certain 1987 chart topper. But "Dominique" is hardly a novelty song. And neither was "Sukiyaki". They more or less went #1 based on the feeling they gave. And, as I said, "Dominique" gives one depressing feeling. I think a lot of that power comes from the French language itself. It just has a certain beauty to it. That chorus (which happens to repeated 8 times) has such an emotional pull that I can't quite explain. As well, the only instrument is a barely audible acoustic guitar, which definitely brings the mood down. So what is this song actually about? It chronicles the life of St Dominic (1170-1221) from Spain. The song paints him as a hero. And sort of the inspiration of The Singing Nun's faith, I think. I've said before that I don't care for songs rooted in religion, but I'm ok with this one.
The Singing Nun's rise to fame really happened by chance. The antithesis to a usual pop star, even in 1963. She was just an ordinary Belgian nun who liked to sing. An everyday "normal" person. There is a certain novelty to someone like her rising to fame, though. Unfortunately, that fame came at a tragic price. It caused her to be at odds with the Catholic church, and she wound up leaving the convent over it. They also wouldn't allow her to be called "The Singing Nun" anymore, and she struggled to escape being a one hit wonder. She also received no royalties from this song as they all went to the church. But the Belgian government still expected her to pay a huge sum in back taxes for it anyway. Sadly, these events took a toll on her mental well being, and led to her committing suicide along with her girlfriend in 1985.
This song doesn't speak to me personally, but I appreciate it for the feeling it evokes.
One of the dullest #1's I've encountered so far. I'm not surprised it's a cover of a 1945 song. It's 1964, we've already progressed from that boring era of music, I don't want to go back that, Bobby. Painful backing vocals, tempo that moves at a snail's pace, and completely monotonous from beginning to end. What a way to end the pre-British Invasion era.
Some of the icons seen in this theme are being used pursuant to a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The copyright owners of these icons are Webdesigner Depot (the announcement icon) and Iconshock (the microphone icons on the forum pages, star icon, and poll icon). The microphone icons seen on the home page are being used pursuant to a Freeware Non-Commercial License with McDo Design (Susumu Yoshida). In accordance with these licenses, redistribution of the icons is not permitted. Please visit the owners' respective sites, linked above, if you wish to use these images.