Let’s journey back to the 1960s to see what music your parents were listening to on their hi-fi. That piece of furniture with a turntable and radio; maybe even a built-in television.
How many of these tunes do you remember? Not all of these were huge hits, but iconic songs of the era. You know the singers, many of them were guests in your home on variety programs. Before that pesky British Invasion, these folks ruled the pop chart.
Perry Como – “Magic Moments” 1958. Covered many times by other artists, I’ll sneak this onto the 1960s list because it remained very popular into the decade.
Dean Martin – “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” 1960. Music by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics by Sammy Cahn. Written for the film, Oceans 11. Strangely, this song did not chart but became one of Martin’s most popular songs. Dino was known for more popular songs than this one, but it seemed to fit him well.
Jimmy Dean – “Big Bad John” 1961. Written by Dean and Roy Acuff. Grammy Award for Best Country Song. When he wasn’t peddling sausage, Dean hosted his own variety show and acted in a few television series and films.
Andy Williams – “Moon River” 1962. Written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer for the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The song won two Grammy Awards (Record of the Year and Song of the Year) and the Academy Award for Best Original Song. This would be Andy Williams’ signature song.
Ray Charles – “I Can’t Stop Loving You” 1962. Written by Don Gibson, Charles’ version reached number one on several charts.
Sammy Davis, Jr. – “What Kind of Fool Am I?” 1962. Written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, from the Broadway show, Stop the World – I Want to Get Off. Covered by many artists including Robert Goulet.
Tony Bennett – “The Best is Yet to Come” 1962. Number five on the Pop Chart and winner of two Grammy Awards. Overshadowed by another song on the album, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
Nat King Cole – “Ramblin’ Rose” 1962. Reached number two on the chart. Personally, I never liked this song, but it was hugely popular.
Bing Crosby – “Do You Hear What I Hear” 1963. This became a popular Christmas song. Bing’s chart days were behind him, but this song resonated with fans of many generations.
Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto – “The Girl from Ipanema” 1964. Number five on Billboard, number one on adult contemporary chart. One of the cool, iconic songs of the early decade.
Frank Sinatra – “It Was a Very Good Year” 1965. Number 28 on the Pop Chart and number one on the easy listening chart. The Kingston Trio originally recorded Ervin Drakes’s song in 1961. Sinatra’s version won two Grammy Awards.
Roger Miller – “King of the Road” 1965. Number one the country and easy listening charts, number 4 on Billboard Pop Chart. Miller’s signature song. Miller was a very likeable guy who wrote many story songs.
Eddy Arnold – “Make the World Go Away” 1965. Arnold’s best known song, number one on the country and easy listening charts, number six on the Billboard Pop Chart. In the 1950s, crooner Arnold shifted to country music, in a easy-going style.
Ray Conniff Singers – “Somewhere My Love” 1966. From the film Doctor Zhivago, adapted from Lara’s Theme. Grammy Award winning version. Orchestra leader/arranger Conniff moved from backing other performers to hiring singers to front his own music and covers. This was one of his most famous.
Roger Williams – “Born Free” 1966. Written by John Barry and Don Black for the film of the same name. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Williams was an instrumentalist and found great success with a variety of styles, performing into his 80s. He has another huge hit with “Autumn Leaves.”
Robert Goulet – “The Impossible Dream” 1967. Originally from the Broadway production of Man of La Mancha. Goulet appears in many Broadway plays including Camelot.
Ed Ames – “My Cup Runneth Over” 1967. Written Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones. From the Broadway show, I Do! I Do! Ames’ version reached number eight on the Billboard Chart. Ames portrayed Mingo on Daniel Boone during the 1960s and was famous for his famous axe throw on The Tonight Show.
Vikki Carr – “It Must Be Him” 1967. Carr’s version reached number three on the Pop Chart. Originally, the film was written with French lyrics. Carr went on to have a variety of hits and found her greatest success in Latin music.
Bobby Goldsboro – “Honey” 1968. A million selling and number one song. This was his biggest hit, but he also penned songs for other singers.
Herb Alpert – “This Guy’s in Love With You” 1968. Produced by Alpert, who sang this as a solo record. Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Number one on the Pop Chart for four weeks. Not a singer by trade, this was one of his vocal efforts.
Claudine Longet – “Love is Blue” 1968. Many versions of the song were recorded. Longet’s version was not the most successful, but it is the one I remember. An actress, she appeared in many television shows and films in the 1960s and married Andy Williams, appearing on his variety show.
Glen Campbell – “Wichita Lineman” 1968. Number one country record, three on the pop chart and million selling single. Written by Jimmy Webb.
Henry Mancini – “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet” 1969. Topped the Pop Chart for two weeks. Mancini wrote for television and film, collecting for Academy Awards, a Golden Globe and 20 Grammy Awards.
Peggy Lee – “Is That All There Is?” 1969. Many versions recorded, Lee’s version with the smoky voice, reached number 11 on the Pop Chart. Peggy Lee’s career spanned six decades, from the big band era to a lengthy solo career in radio, nightclubs and a few film appearances.