Here are the Best 28 Songs from the 60s that You need to Include on Your Playlist

Updated on June 15, 2024

Travel back to a time when music was revolutionary and changed the world. The 60s was a decade filled with rock 'n' roll, folk, and soul music. With so many classic songs to choose from, it's hard to know where to start. But don't worry, we've got you covered!

1. “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

“Hey Jude,” released in 1968, remains one of The Beatles' most beloved and influential songs. 

Written by Paul McCartney to offer support to John Lennon's son, Julian, during his parents' divorce, the song swiftly gained worldwide recognition.

It topped the charts for nine weeks and became The Beatles' most successful song in the United States.

It has a catchy chorus that everyone can sing along to.

This song exemplified the band's transition from their earlier pop sound to a more mature and experimental style.

2. “I'm Still in Love With You” by Alton Ellis

“I'm Still in Love With You” is a timeless reggae song by Jamaican singer Alton Ellis, released in 1967.

The song has a relaxing beat, emotional horns, and Ellis singing from the heart. 

Its catchy rhythm makes it a classic in the rocksteady genre.

This song helped people all over the world to start thinking of reggae as a real and important type of music. 

3. “Happy Together” by The Turtles

“Happy Together” has an upbeat and infectious sound that captures the spirit of the 60s.

It talks about the joy of being in love and the feeling of being on top of the world. 

The song's energetic tempo and cheerful lyrics make it a favorite for many people.

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A Reddit user comments “This is one of my all time happy songs”

Its enduring appeal is demonstrated by its continued use in films, commercials and pop culture references.

4. “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys 

“God Only Knows” is considered one of the greatest songs ever written.

The song is filled with rich harmonies, complex instrumental arrangements, and an uplifting melody.

Its lyrics reveal deep emotions, self-reflection, and a profound sense of love. 

The use of unusual instruments resulted in a distinctive soundscape that expanded the horizons of popular music.

5. “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5

The Jackson 5’s song, "I Want You Back," showcased Michael Jackson's extraordinary talent.

It has a lively and catchy tune, with a memorable guitar riff and energetic singing. 

Michael Jackson's young and charming voice, along with the group's strong harmonies, gave the Motown sound a youthful spark.

Its success helped to break down racial barriers in popular music.

The Jackson 5 became one of the first African American groups to be popular with mostly white listeners.

6. “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

Cooke wrote the song in 1964, during a time when many African Americans were fighting for equal rights. 

Its slow pace and thoughtful words have a deep impact, exploring themes of racial injustice, endurance, and hope.

“A Change Is Gonna Come” became a symbol of hope and determination for the civil rights movement. 

It spoke to the hearts of activists and supporters, encouraging them to keep fighting for equality. 

7. “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" is a 1965 song that changed the music world. 

Dylan used electric instruments and a rebellious attitude to challenge musical norms and become a voice for his generation.

The chorus is like a battle cry, and its tune is full of energy. 

X users continue to create editions based on this song. 

The song is a famous reminder of the 60s, capturing the rebellious spirit and social changes of that time.

8. “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones

“(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” criticizes the way popular culture was becoming more focused on making money than creating meaningful art. 

It also reflects the feeling of loneliness and disappointment that many people were feeling in the 60s.

This song reached number one on the music charts and made The Rolling Stones very famous.

It is still a symbol today of rock music's rebellion against traditional norms and the way it can change society's values.

9. “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas & the Papas

This song captures the yearning and romanticized image of California as a place of escape and boundless freedom.

The melody is full of lovely harmonies and folk-inspired instruments.

Its dreamy atmosphere and vivid storytelling make it a favorite of many, even today.

“California Dreamin'” became an anthem for the counterculture movement, which was against the traditional values of society.

10. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin

Franklin's powerful rendition transformed  “Respect” into a timeless anthem for women's rights and a celebration of self-respect.

It is known for the soulful horns, and her strong vocals. 

The song highlights the importance of treating each other with respect, especially in romantic relationships. 

It was especially popular with women, minorities, and people fighting for equal rights. 

“Respect” is still popular today and has influenced many other musicians. 

11. “At Last” by Etta James

This song was written in 1941 but gained immense popularity after James' rendition. 

This song has a beautiful melody with strings. 

It talks about finding someone who really understands you. 

The way Etta James sings the song and the way the music is arranged makes it feel very romantic and emotional.

“At Last” has become an enduring symbol of love and connection, touching hearts across generations

12. “Everybody's Talkin'” by Harry Nilsson

“Everybody's Talkin'” became popular after being featured in the film “Midnight Cowboy.”

Nilsson's gentle guitar strumming and soothing vocals create a reflective mood.

The lyrics express the feeling of isolation and longing for escape that many people felt during the tumultuous 60s.

Including it in your playlist will evoke the desire for personal expression and self-discovery that defined the decade. 

13. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles

“I Want To Hold Your Hand” was a huge hit in the United States and helped start the craze known as Beatlemania. 

It is one of the best examples of the Beatles' early pop sound and shows off their catchy tunes and perfect harmonies.

The melody is cheerful and has a fun guitar part. 

The singers' voices blend very well and the lyrics describe the happiness of falling in love when you are young.

This track was a success from the start and continues to be cherished by people around the world.

14. “I'm A Believer” by The Monkees

“I'm A Believer” is a catchy pop-rock song that came out in 1966. 

It was sung by The Monkees, a group of musicians put together for a TV show. 

It has a catchy guitar-driven melody and upbeat vocals from the band. 

The lyrics capture the excitement and disbelief of finding true love.

Its memorable chorus and infectious rhythm make it a must-have for any 60s music collection.

15. “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole

Written in 1964, “L-O-V-E” is a jazz-pop song sung by the great Nat King Cole. 

It talks about the power of love and sends a message of unity during a time of social and political unrest. 

The song has a lively jazz tune with a catchy piano solo.

Also, it shows Cole's warm vocals and his ability to mix jazz and pop music.

Even today, “L-O-V-E” remains a timeless classic, celebrating love and togetherness.

16. “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies

“Sugar, Sugar” is a catchy pop song released in 1969 by The Archies

The song quickly became a big hit, and it helped to define the bubblegum pop genre that was popular in the late 60s.

It features a catchy chorus and upbeat tune with handclaps.

Its lyrics are joyful and celebrate sweet love.

Also, it has been used in memes and some films or series.

The song's cheerful and melodic nature made it a popular hit, appealing to a wide audience.

17. “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye

“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” became a timeless classic with Marvin Gaye's rendition in 1968. 

The song's powerful bass line and Gaye's soulful vocals create an atmosphere of tension and suspense.

Its universal popularity as one of the best songs ever written proves how deeply it has influenced our culture.

18. “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison's “Oh, Pretty Woman” iis a classic rock and roll song that was released in 1964. 

It features a memorable guitar riff that creates an addictive melody for everyone.

The lyrics are about a man who is captivated by a beautiful woman, expressing both admiration and desire. 

A Twitter user created a poll about the favorite song of the 60's and this song was the most voted.

Orbison's dynamic vocal range and the song's irresistible charm make it an iconic rock anthem.

19. “These Boots Were Made For Walkin'” by Nancy Sinatra

“These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”, released in 1966, is an empowering pop song.

This song became a symbol of female independence and confidence during a time when gender roles were changing.

Its catchy refrain and Sinatra's confident vocals create a bold and unforgettable tune.

Adding it to your playlist will capture the essence of female liberation that characterized the 60s. 

20. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles

Ray Charles' soulful and expressive singing, along with a rich orchestral backing, brings the song “I Can't Stop Loving You” to life. 

This song rapidly gained popularity and became one of Charles' most well-known and lasting successes.

It explores the intense feelings of love and loss, creating a strong emotional connection with the listeners. 

Adding this song to your collection will take you back to an era when soul music was flourishing. 

21. “I'm Sorry” by Brenda Lee

In 1960, the soulful song “I'm Sorry” was released and became one of Lee's most popular tunes.

It is a beautiful and moving piece that expresses a deep regret for causing hurt in a relationship. 

The song's heartfelt lyrics create a powerful emotional connection with the listener.

This track is still popular today because it speaks to people's emotions and is a classic love song.

22. “Can't Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli

“Can't Take My Eyes Off You” is a love song released in 1967 and sung by Frankie Valli. 

This track was written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, who were members of the group The Four Seasons. 

Frankie Valli's unique high-pitched voice and the song's catchy melody helped make it popular.

Also, the song's structure, with its slow build-up to a high point, makes it even more moving.

Its ability to capture the very essence of romance is what makes it so special.

23. “My Guy” by Mary Wells

This song was written by Smokey Robinson, a well-known songwriter and producer for Motown Records. 

“My Guy” became Wells' biggest hit and established her as one of Motown's top female singers.

The song talks about a strong and lasting love for a special man, expressing feelings of happiness and loyalty. 

It has a lovely message and memorable chorus that make it a classic love song from the 60s.

24. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons' 1962 hit song “Big Girls Don't Cry” is a pop tune with doo-wop influences. 

The song's distinctive harmonies and melodies helped shape the sound of the 60s.

Its lyrics talk about how hard it is to deal with emotions after a breakup. 

They also challenge the idea that girls are not supposed to cry. 

This song is still popular today because it is catchy and relatable.

25. “Who's Lovin' You” by The Jackson 5

The Jackson 5's soulful song “Who's Lovin' You” was released in 1969 and features the young Michael Jackson on lead vocals. 

The lyrics express the sadness and desire of one-sided love, and Jackson's honest singing expresses the strong feelings.

The catchy melody and Jackson's wide vocal range make for a captivating and 

heartfelt performance.

“Who's Lovin' You” had a strong influence on future musicians' work. 

26. “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher

Sonny & Cher's “I Got You Babe” was a huge hit in the 60s and helped launch their career.

This song is a folk rock ballad that features a back-and-forth conversation between the two singers, expressing their love and devotion for each other. 

It captures the spirit of the hippie movement and counterculture of the time. 

The melody is simple and catchy, making it easy to sing along to.

Sonny Bono wrote the song for himself and Cher to perform as a duo act, and it proved to be a major success for them.

27. “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks

This song is known as one of the earliest hard rock singles. 

Dave Davies' powerful guitar riffs made a lasting impact. 

To achieve the loud distortion, Davies used a razor blade to slice his speaker cone. 

The song's lyrics convey themes of unrequited love and desire. 

The energetic sound broke away from the popular music trends of the time and influenced the development of punk rock.

28. “Heartbreaker” by Led Zeppelin

This catchy hard rock song with bluesy undertones is featured on Led Zeppelin's second album from 1969. 

It showcases Jimmy Page's skilled guitar playing and Robert Plant's powerful vocals. 

Its lyrics talk about an irresistible and alluring woman, often referred to as a "heartbreaker." 

“Heartbreaker” blends traditional blues with modern amplification techniques, adding a touch of psychedelic flair. 

Their innovative approach earned them the title of heavy metal pioneers and established them as one of the most influential bands of all time. 

The 60s was a golden era for music, producing some of the most memorable and impactful tunes ever written. This article features just a few gems from that incredible period. So, grab your dancing shoes, let the music take you back in time, and relive the era when music was truly revolutionary.