Best #1 single of the year retrospective: 1960

Our retrospective series now takes us to 1960, the beginning (apologies to Alex Trebek) of one of the most interesting decades in the history of pop music. IMO, it starts off kind of slow - of the 19 songs that made #1 this year, I know less than half of them, and it was difficult for me to pick one that I liked better than the rest.

(On a side note, does anyone know if there’s an upper limit on how many options you can have in a poll? We’re going to be coming up eventually on some years with 30+ songs in the running, and I’m wondering if I might have to do two threads for some of those.)

Anyway, which of these songs was/is your favorite?

Previous polls: 1955-56 1957 1958 1959 2012 2013

I really wanted to say “Teen Angel” – one of the great comic rock songs – but you can’t ignore “Georgia on My Mind.”

Tough call for me between The Twist and Stay. I went with Stay but it could have gone either way.

Not caring much for any of the candidates, I won’t vote.
However… my favorite record from that year is on the list, sort of: Go-Go-Po-Go, which was the B Side of the Theme From A Summer Place single. GGPG used to have me shaking my booty whilst cutting the rug.

I still have that record, and I’m embarrassed to admit that it still makes me want to dance like a ten-year old.

I much prefer this Go Go Pogo from a few years earlier.

As soon as I saw “Georgia on My Mind,” I didn’t need to read any further.

I was going to go with El Paso, but instead went with Georgia on My Mind because, you know, Ray Freakin’ Charles.

I have been waiting for this poll to say that “El Paso” is one of the greatest songs ever.

And I was glad that Jasper remembers the lyrics of “Theme From ‘A Summer Place’” exactly like I’ve always sung them, down to the “It’s the theme” filler. It just scans better.

Chubby Checker and the Fat Boys… We’re doing the twist!

I have a soft spot for ‘El Paso’ and voted for it knowing full well I’d be its only fan.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Wow, I didn’t expect this to be ahard year for me to pick from, the novelty songs hold their own with the “serious” pop.

I went with Alley Oop (he got a chauffeur that’s a gen-u-ine din-O-Sau-r).

Went with Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind*.” Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” and some guy’s “Teen Angel” (interesting we remember the song but not the singer for that one) were a close second and third, for me.

Notice how Elvis is getting very little love since the mid '50s. Most years up to the Beatles – including this one (1960) – he’s getting hits in there, but he’s no longer shaking the youth popular music world as he had been.

*I once read a musicology thesis on how Paul McCartney probably unintentionally borrowed from “Georgia on My Mind” when he wrote “Yesterday.” (Nothing evil about it – everyone great is inspired by other greats, and the thesis writer praised the creative directions in which Paul took the initial ideas).

Man, I remember that year well and was knocked out by most of the music back then. El Paso led me to buy Mary Robbins’ Gunfighter Ballads album. Alley Oop had us all laughing, Little Miss Dynamite had us in awe of so much power from such a tiny woman, Elvis was at the peak of his game, and The Everly’s harmony even had boys swooning.

Stay gets a big nod from me because it’s classic doo-wop, with some falsetto thrown in for good measure. But in retrospect, I have to go with Georgia On My Mind. Lyrically, it stands tall above all the others, and Ray’s vocals are sublime.

Wow. What a poor list. I really like the dreamy strings of Summer Place" and “Cathy’s Clown” is a classic song that defines the Everly Brothers. I like too many other Ray Charles songs better to go with “Georgia on My Mind.” Nothing stands out, so I’m passing.

Interesting, though, that so many of the titles have a western theme. “Running Bear,” “El Paso,” “Mr. Custer.” Especially when the best song of that year never charted at all, in fact I believe never got released in the U.S. The Shadows, “Apache.”

The faithful but slightly more relaxed (a fatal difference) cover by Jorgen Ingmann made it to #2 here.

Wiki sez It’s Now Or Never was second only to Hound Dog on the all-time list of Presley’s best-selling singles – such that the Beatles only beat either single once.

Huh. I was never into Pogo (sadly), and never knew about this. I wonder if that’s the reason for all the hyphenation in the name of the Percy Faith song, rendering the titles not quite identical.

Lot of good stuff there with Ray Charles, Elvis, et. al, but I just had to give some props to** Brenda Lee.** I’m Sorry is a great song.

But not until 1961.

First thing I was struck by. Agree with Apache, too.

Love Georgia and a few others, but overall meh.