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Webmaster's Pick of the Top Rhythm and Blues Hits of the 60s 

R&B History

R & B music has been the heart of American music it seems like forever. Its roots came from jazz, old gospel and spirtual music primarily performed by African Americans. Rhythm and Blues was coined as a marketing tool in 1947 by Jerry Wexler at Billboard Magazine.

In its first manifestation in the late 1940s, rhythm and blues was played by small combos of four or five musicians; usually a bass, drums, one or two saxophones , and possibly a rhythm guitar or piano . In 1951 it was also being called rock and roll. It was strongly influenced by jazz , jump blues and black gospel music. It also influenced jazz in return. Rhythm and blues, blues , and gospel combined with bebop to create hard bop.

In the 1950s, overlapping with other genres such as jazz and rock and roll, R&B developed regional variations. A strong, distinct style straddling the border with blues came out of New Orleans, and was based on a rolling piano style first made famous by Professor Longhair. In the late 1950s, Fats Domino hit the national charts with the songs "Blueberry Hill" and "Ain't That a Shame". Other artists who popularized this Louisiana flavor of R&B included Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Frankie Ford, Irma Thomas, The Neville Brothers and Dr. John. The first rock and roll hits consisted of R&B songs such as "Rocket 88" and "Shake, Rattle and Roll", which appeared on popular music charts as well as R&B charts. The song "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On", the first hit by Jerry Lee Lewis, was an R cover song that reached number one on the pop , R&B and country and western charts. This was an amazing feat considering that it was all done by airplay, and word of mouth long before the days of Twitter and the ability to build your own website to promote your music. Rolling Stone magazine named Jerry Lee Lewis's version the 61st greatest song of all time.

By the early 1960s, rhythm and blues had taken on more gospel-influenced elements, as pioneered by artists such as Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, James Brown and Aretha Franklin. A mix of the sacredgospel  orientated towards the spiritual) and the profane (blues praising earthly desires), this newer style was given the namesoul music. ...”This newer style was given the name soul music. A little more than a decade later, however, rhythm and blues made a comeback." The early and mid 1960s saw the rise of young white bands whose music was labelled R&B or blue-eyed soul; such as The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things, The Small Faces, The Animals, Dr. Feelgood, Deep Purple, The Spencer Davis Group and The Who. Those bands all played covers of songs by of established black performers, in addition to their own material. The Who were once considered Maximum R by their mod fans.  Around the same time in Jamaica , a local variation of R&B was emerging, called ska . Like soul music, it was also popular with mods and their ofshoots: the skinheads , suedeheads , casuals and scooterboys

These are my picks of the top R&B songs, 122 in all, of the 1960s decade by year and as always not in any particular order. Once again if you think there is a particular song that belongs on the list email me at the60sofficialsite@verizon.net.  

The 60s Official Site's Top R & B songs of the 60s decade.

1960

 

60s music - Rhythm and Blues - Fats Domino60s music - Rhythm and Blues-The Shirelles60s music - Rhythm and Blues-The Drifters60s music - Rhythm and Blues- Sam Cooke

  1. Georgia on My Mind by Ray Charles (#1 Billboard Chart)
  2. Save the Last Dance for Me by The Drifters (#1 Billboard Chart)
  3. Chain Gang by Sam Cooke (#2 Billboard Chart)
  4. Handyman by Jimmy Jones (#2 Billboard Chart)
  5. Walking to New Orleans by Fats Domino (#6 Billboard Chart)
  6. Finger Poppin' Time by Hank Ballard (#7 Billboard Chart)
  7. You Got What It Takes by Marv Johnson (#10 Billboard Chart)
  8. Wonderful World by Sam Cooke (#12 Billboard Chart)
  9. Talk that Talk by Jackie Wilson (#34 Billboard Chart)
  10. Fannie Mae by Buster Brown (#38 Billboard Chart)
  11. Tonight's the Night by The Shirelles (#39 Billboard Chart)

1961

60s music - Rhythm and Blues Ray Charles60s music - Rhythm and Blues Marvelettes60s music - Rhythm and Blues Ben E. King60s music - Rhythm and Blues The Miracles

 

  1. Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles (#1 Billboard Chart)
  2. Will You Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles (#1 Billboard Chart)
  3. Please Mr. Postman by The Marvelettes (#1 Billboard Chart)
  4. Shop Around by The Miracles (#2 Billboard Chart)
  5. Daddy's Home by Shep & The Limeliters (#2 Billboard Chart)
  6. My True Story by The Jive Five (#3 Billboard Chart)
  7. Stand by Me by Ben E. King (#4 Billboard Chart)
  8. But I Do by Clarence "Frogman" Henry (#4 Billboard Chart)
  9. Pretty Little Angel Eyes by Curtis Lee (#7 Billboard Chart)
  10. You Can Have Her by Roy Hamilton (#12 Billboard Chart)
  11. A Little Bit of Soap by The Jarmels (#12 Billboard Chart)
  12. I Count the Tears by The Drifters (#17 Billboard Chart)
  13. Cupid by Sam Cooke (#17 Billboard Chart)
  14. Some Kind of Wonderful by The Drifters (#32 Billboard Chart)

1962

60s music - Rhythm and Blues Clyde McPhatter60s music - Rhythm and Blues Solomon Burke60s music - Rhythm and Blues Booker T & The MGs60s music - Rhythm and Blues The Contours

  1. I Can't Stop Loving You by Ray Charles (#1 Billboard Chart)
  2. Do You Love Me by The Contours (#3 Billboard Chart)
  3. Green Onions by Booker T & The MGs (#3 Billboard Chart)
  4. I Know (You Don't Love Me No More) by Barbara George (#3 Billboard Chart)
  5. Lover Please by Clyde McPhatter (#7 Billboard Chart)
  6. What's Your Name by Don and Juan (#7 Billboard Chart)
  7. Baby Its You by The Shirelles (#8 Billboard Chart)
  8. Twistin' The Night Away by Sam Cooke (#9 Billboard Chart)
  9. Unchain My Heart by Ray Charles (#9 Billboard Chart)
  10. Don't Play That Song (You Lied) by Ben E. King (#11 Billboard Chart)
  11. Bring It On Home to Me by Sam Cooke (#13 Billboard Chart)
  12. A Wonderful Dream by The Majors (#22 Billboard Chart)
  13. Cry to Me by Solomon Burke (#44 Billboard Chart)

1963

60s music - Rhythm and Blues Stevie Wonder60s music - Rhythm and Blues Martha & The Vandellas60s music - Rhythm and Blues The Chiffons

60s music - Rhythm and Blues The Orlons

 

  1. Fingertips by Stevie Wonder (#1 Billboard Chart)
  2. He's So Fine by The Chiffons (#1 Billboard Chart)
  3. So Much in Love by The Tymes (#1 Billboard Chart)
  4. Hello Stranger by Barbara Lewis (#3 Billboard Chart)
  5. South Street by The Orlons (#3 Billboard Chart)
  6. Heat Wave by Martha & The Vandellas (#4 Billboard Chart)
  7. Cry Baby by Garnett Mimms & The Enchanters (#4 Billboard Chart)
  8. Foolish Little Girl by The Shirelles (#4 Billboard Chart)
  9. One Fine Day by The Chiffons (#5 Billboard Chart)
  10. Pride and Joy by Marvin Gaye (#10 Billboard Chart)
  11. I (Who Have Nothing) by Ben E. King (#29 Billboard Chart)

1964

60s music - Rhythm and Blues Little Anthony & The Imperials60s music - Rhythm and Blues The Supremes60s music - Rhythm and Blues The Tams

 

 

  1. Baby Love by The Supremes (#1 Billboard Chart)
  2. Dancing in the Street by Martha & The Vandellas (#2 Billboard Chart)
  3. Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters (#4 Billboard Chart)
  4. Let It Be Me by Betty Everett and Jerry Butler (#5 Billboard Chart)
  5. Goin' Out of My Head by Little Anthony & The Imperials (#6 Billboard Chart)
  6. I Wanna Love Him So Bad by The Jelly Beans (#9 Billboard Chart)
  7. What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am) by The Tams (#9 Billboard Chart)
  8. Baby I Need Your Loving by The Four Tops (#11 Billboard Chart)
  9. Every Little Bit Hurts by Brenda Holloway (#13 Billboard Chart)
  10. Without the One You Love (Life's Not Worth While) by The Four Tops (#43 Billboard Chart)

1965

60s music - Rhythm and Blues The Temptations60s music - Rhythm and Blues Marvin Gaye60s music - Rhythm and Blues Mel Carter60s music - Rhythm and Blues Barbara Lewis

  1. I Can't Help Myself by The Four Tops (#1 Billboard Chart)
  2. Stop! In the Name of Love by The Suprmes (#1 Billboard Chart)
  3. My Girl by The Temptations (#1 Billboard Chart)
  4. I Got You (I Feel Good) by James Brown (#3 Billboard Chart)
  5. Rescue Me by Fontella Bass (#4 Billboard Chart)
  6. Yes I'm Ready by Barbara Mason (#5 Billboard Chart)
  7. Nowhere to Run by Martha & The Vandellas (#8 Billboard Chart)
  8. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me by Mel Carter (#8 Billboard Chart)
  9. The Boy From New York City by The Ad Libs (#8 Billboard Chart)
  10. I'll Be Doggone by Marvin Gaye (#8 Billboard Chart)
  11. Hurt So Bad by Little Anthony & The Imperials (#10 Billboard Chart)
  12. Baby I'm Yours by Barbara Lewis (#11 Billboard Chart)
  13. Make Me Your Baby by Barbara Lewis (#11 Billboard Chart)
  14. The Tracks of My Tears by The Miracles (#16 Billboard Chart)
  15. In the Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett (#21 Billboard Chart)

1966

60s music - Rhythm and Blues Percy Sledge60s music - Rhythm and Blues James Brown60s music - Rhythm and Blues Isley Brothers60s music - Rhythm and Blues Wilson Pickett

  1. You Can't Hurry Love by The Supremes (#1 Billboard Chart)
  2. Reach Out I'll Be There by The Four Tops (#1 Billboard Chart)
  3. When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge (#1 Billboard Chart)
  4. I'm Your Puppet by James & Bobby Purify (#6 Billboard Chart)
  5. What Becomes of the Brokenhearted by Jimmy Ruffin (#7 Billboard Chart)
  6. It's a Man's Man's Man's World by James Brown (#8 Billboard Chart)
  7. Sweet Talkin' Guy by The Chiffons (#10 Billboard Chart)
  8. This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You) by the Isley Brothers (#12 Billboard Chart)
  9. Love is a Hurtin' Thing by Lou Rawls (#13 Billboard Chart)
  10. 634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.) by Wilson Pickett (#13 Billboard Chart)
  11. Ain't Too Proud to Beg by The Temptations (#13 Billboard Chart)
  12. Warm and Tender Love by Percy Sledge (#17 Billboard Chart)
  13. How Sweet It Is (To be Loved by You) by Jr. Walker & the All Stars) (#18 Billboard Chart)
  14. It Tears Me Up by Percy Sledge (#20 Billboard Chart)
  15. Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett (#23 Billboard Chart)

1967

60s music - Rhythm and Blues Jackie Wilson60s music - Rhythm and Blues Aretha Franklin60s music - Rhythm and Blues Otis Redding60s music - Rhythm and Blues Sam & Dave

  1. Respect by Aretha Franklin (#1 Billboard Chart)
  2. Soul Man by Sam & Dave (#2 Billboard Chart)
  3. I Was Made to Love Her by Stevie Wonder (#2 Billboard Chart)
  4. Reflections by Diana Ross & The Supremes (#2 Billboard Chart)
  5. Tell It Like It Is by Aaron Neville (#2 Billboard Chart)
  6. Sweet Soul Music by Arthur Conley (#2 Billboard Chart)
  7. I Second that Emotion by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (#4 Billboard Chart)
  8. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson (#6 Billboard Chart)
  9. Apple, Peaches and Pumpkin Pie by Jay & The Techniques (#6 Billboard Chart)
  10. A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like) by Aretha Franklin (#8 Billboard Chart)
  11. Gimme Little Sign by Brenton Wood (#9 Billboard Chart)
  12. Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (#19 Billboard Chart)
  13. Shake a Tail Feather by James & Bobby Purify (#25 Billboard Chart)
  14. Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding (#25 Billboard Chart)

1968

60s music - Rhythm and Blues Delfonics60s music - Rhythm and Blues Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell60s music - Rhythm and Blues The Intruders

 

  1. I Heard it through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye (#1 Billboard Chart)
  2. (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Baby by Otis Redding (#1 Billboard Chart)
  3. Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin (#2 Billboard Chart)
  4. I Wish it Would Rain by The Temptations (#4 Billboard Chart)
  5. La La Means I Love You by The Delfonics (#4 Billboard Chart)
  6. Girl Watcher by The O'Kaysions (#5 Billboard Chart)
  7. Slip Away by Clarence Carter (#6 Billboard Chart)
  8. Think by Aretha Franklin (#7 Billboard Chart)
  9. Cowboys to Girls by The Intruders (#6 Billboard Chart)
  10. I Thank You by Sam & Dave (#9 Billboard Chart)
  11. If I Could Build My Whole World Around You by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell (#10 Billboard Chart)
  12. Take Time to Know Her by Percy Sledge (#11 Billboard Chart)
  13. Walk Away Renee by The Four Tops (#14 Billboard Chart)

1969

60s music - Rhythm and Blues Jerry Butler60s music - Rhythm and Blues Mel & Tim60s music - Rhythm and Blues Jr. Walker

 

  1. Someday We'll Be Together by Diana Ross & The Supremes (#1 Billboard Chart)
  2. I'm Gonna Make You Love Me by Supremes & Temptations (#2 Billboard Chart)
  3. It's Your Thing by The Isley Brothers (#2 Billboard Chart)
  4. Only The Strong Survive by Jerry Butler (#4 Billboard Chart)
  5. What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) by Jr. Walker & The All Stars (#4 Billboard Chart)
  6. Baby, Baby Don't Cry by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (#8 Billboard Chart)
  7. Backfield in Motion by Mel & Tim (#10 Billboard Chart)

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