If I were to list the songs I remember from my childhood, it would number about a half a jillion. Still, these stood out.
Twist and Shout – The Beatles, #2 for four weeks in 1964; #23 in 1986 upon reissue.
Not only is this the best cover version by the group, I consider this to be one of the greatest cover songs EVER. It was a revision of a song recorded by the Top Notes in 1961, and then a hit by the Isley Brothers in 1962. It was kept out of the #1 slot by Can’t Buy Me Love.
The story goes that when the group recorded the Please Please Me album, they saved this song for last because John Lennon’s voice had only one or two takes in him. They got it on take #1.
Summer in the City – Lovin’ Spoonful, #1 for three weeks pop.
I could play a VERY rudimentary version of this on my grandmother’s piano. At the time, the sound effects were revolutionary.
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – Rolling Stones, #1 for four weeks pop, #19 RB in 1965.
It seemed as though every other band would end their live version of other songs with the hook from this one. As a child, I was appalled by the double negative in the title, but I’ve gotten over it.
Uptight – Stevie Wonder, #3 for two weeks pop, #1 for five weeks RB in 1966.
I have a couple of Stevie compilation albums from the period. Most of the songs before this one sounded “old-fashioned”, but this was fresh and new.
Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart – the Supremes, #9 pop, #7 RB in 1966
This is my favorite Supremes song, and I don’t know why it did so relatively poorly on the pop charts when lesser songs – The Happening, for one – fared much better.
I Saw Her Again– Mamas and the Papas, #5 pop in 1966
There’s an album called Farewell To The First Golden Era which came out in 1967. It contained their hits from the first three albums, plus Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon).
For some reason, when I played I Saw Her Again, and no other track, Denny Doherty’s lead vocal would often drop out, leaving the harmonies of Cass Elliot and Michele Phillips. You’d think this would be annoying. It was not. It was fascinating to hear the harmony vocals with the instrumentation. If I wanted to hear the song as it was intended, I’d just play their second album.