This is the second in my series, as we approach the 300th list. This is the first of three lists I will be doing for the 1960's. I realised that there were three distinct genres of music that I love from the Era. The first is the Rock/Pop and Psychedelic. My next list will be 1960's Ska. The thirds will be my soul selection. I start with Rock/Pop/Psychedlic as this was the first music I really got into.
I start the list with Living in the USA by The Steve Miller Band. Taken from the Album Sailor, my Brother Laurie assured me as a six year old that this was the best album ever made. This is the best track on the Album, so I guess it is the best song in the World? Well it is certainly up there in being evocative of the sound of the USA West coast in 1968. I love everything about it, from the Drag race at the beginning, the funky drum beat at the start with the Harmonica, the sentiments about inequality and at the end where Steve Miller shouts "Somebody get me a cheeseburger". In many ways the perfect track
Next up, possibly the only Pink Floyd track I really like. It is completely bonkers, a slice of Syd Barratt at his best. I found later Floyd to be very stuffy and controlled, this is out there. It is my favourite piece of British psychedelia. A gloriously fine pop song.
We move on to the Muswell Hillbillies, The Kinks and You really got me. I always liked the Kinks most when they rocked and this rocked. I wasn't so keen on the more reflective material. This is a song that makes you want to go back to Carnaby Street in 1968. One of the very finest British Pop Songs.
Next up we have The Standells, A US proto punk band, with their homage to Boston. The simplicity of the guitar riff and the attitude that drip from every pore of this number. I first heard it being played by a DJ at a punk gig in 1977, asking him what it was. It took me years to track down a recording of it. It was included in a Capitol records compilation called Back on The Road, released to celebrate the labels anniversary. A fine album.
Which brings us nicely to "Who do you love" by the Quicksilver Messenger Service. This track was also on that album. I loved it and immediately tracked down a copy of Happy Trails from which the single was taken. A Bo Diddley cover, but a very extensive reworking. If you like good blues guitar playing, you will like this a lot.
We hop on a plane back across the pond for the next song. It's the Rolling Stones with "The Last Time". I think that this was the first Stones song I really liked. I love the reverb on the lead guitar riff. Mick Jagger was still really finding himself as a vocalist at this time and I prefer the slightly less trademark Jagger style of delivery. I love the Rolling Stones, you don't have such a long career without being just a bit good, this was more or less where it all started as it was the first Jagger/Richards penned single. Well worth a listen.
Another great British band from that period was The Who. They set their stall out in My Generation. If you like rock and roll, you will love this song. It reached no 2 in the charts which is the highest position The Who reached in the UK charts. Maybe they should have written a few more like this. A developed an aversion to The Who in the Punk era, as I couldn't stand the whole concept of Rock Opera's like Tommy, however when I listen to this song, all is forgiven.
The Small Faces hold a place of special affection for me. My sister was a big fan of Rod Stewart and bought the Small faces albums to complete her Rod Stewart education (they morphed into The Faces when Stewart joined). When I heard this and Lazy Sunday, I found a band that I could really appreciate as an adolescent. Many of the hardcore Mods I know are not too keen of this cheeky ragamuffin period of Steve Marriott, I love it. I saw one of Marriotts last gigs at The Torrington and was gutted he didn't play this, seeming keener on his more rock orientated catalogue.
As I mentioned earlier, my brother was a big aficionado of psychedelic rock and had a massive vinyl collection. I used to baby sit his kids when they were small. He'd leave me a bottle of cider and a list of records he suggested I listen to. Electric Music for the mind and body was pretty near the top of the list. This is far and away the best track. It has a great Hammond organ sound and like many on this list is just a bit bonkers. I am a massive fan of Country Joe McDonald, who is a lifelong anti war campaigner.
We finish with another one of my brothers recommendations. Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground is a lovely song. As a punk, many friends were into the Velvet Underground, they preferred the more noisy racket of songs like "I heard her call my name" or the nihilism of "Heroin", but personally, give me a good tune any day. This is one of the best. My Dad used to like this song, he was a big fan of Sunday mornings, as he could lie in bed even longer than usual.
I hope you enjoy these.