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Number One Songs - 1960s


by Amy Gold

The number one songs of the 1960s, which total 204, are listed in the table below in descending order by the total number of weeks they stayed on the Billboard Pop/Rock charts. Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" tops the list at 23 weeks, and at the bottom is the Beatles' "Penny Lane" which was on the charts for only 10 weeks. During the 1960s, a record was set by Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” for being the only song of the rock and roll era to ever top the charts twice.

By far, the band with the most #1 hits in the 1960s was the Beatles. This seminal group made lasting changes to the American musical landscape, along with many other top charting British Invasion bands and artists that included the Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Dave Clark Five, Herman’s Hermits, the Mindbenders, Freddie and the Dreamers, the New Vaudeville Band, the Troggs, Manfred Mann, Peter and Gordon, Lulu, Donovan, and Petula Clark.

Elvis Presley, the top artist of the 1950s, continued to top the charts throughout the 1960s. Other top acts from the 1950s who also had at least one #1 hit in the 1960s were Pat Boone, the Everly Brothers, Percy Faith and His Orchestra, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra (his #1 hits from the 1960s included “Somethin’ Stupid” (1967), performed as a duet with daughter Nancy Sinatra). A top teen idol from the late 1950s, Ricky Nelson topped the charts in 1961 with “Travelin’ Man.” Shortly thereafter, he shortened his first name to Rick and continued to record a long string of hits up through the early 1970s. Lawrence Welk topped the charts only once with “Calcutta” in 1960, but he had a long string of chart hits dating back to 1938 and a huge following due to his immensely popular TV show. The great Louis Armstrong, who had a very long string of hits dating back to 1926, also topped the charts only once (with “Hello Dolly!” in 1964).

In the early 1960s, girl groups and solo female singers with a girl group sound were all the rage. Top charting acts included the Shirelles, the Angels, the Marvellettes, Shelley Fabares, Lesley Gore, Little Peggy March, the Chiffons, the Crystals, the Dixie Cups, and the Shangri-Las. Little Eva started a dance craze with “Loco-motion,” a song that later also topped the charts for Grand Funk. Surf rock was also very popular at that time, and the top charting groups were the Beach Boys, the Tornadoes, and Jan and Dean. Besides Chubby Checker, early 1960s teenagers also danced to the tunes of Joey Dee and the Starliters, Del Shannon, Dion, Gary (U.S.) Bonds, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, the Marcels, and Bobby Lewis.

Movie music of the 1960s had its fair share of top charting songs that included these movie title themes: “The Happening” (the Supremes), "The Theme From 'A Summer Place'" (Percy Faith and His Orchestra), "Love Theme From 'Romeo And Juliet'" (Henry Mancini and His Orchestra), and "To Sir, With Love" (Lulu). The movies, “Blue Velvet” (1986), "Ode To Billie Joe" (1976), and Harper Valley P.T.A." (1978), were all inspired by songs of the same name that topped the charts in 1963, 1967 and 1968, respectively. “The Graduate” (1967) became a permanent pop culture fixture due in large part to the many songs by Simon and Garfunkel that made up the film score, many of which became top chart hits.

Motown was a large part of the musical landscape of the mid-late 1960s. The Motown group with the largest number of #1 hits was, by far, Diana Ross and the Supremes. Other top charting Motown acts were Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Four Tops, and the Jackson 5, many of which went on to score #1 hits in the 1970s and beyond. Non-Motown R&B bands and artists who also topped the charts included Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin (a.k.a. “the Queen of Soul”), Archie Bell and the Drells, and Percy Sledge, whose heartfelt “When A Man Loves A Woman” also topped the charts years later for Michael Bolton. The late 1960s also gave birth to blue-eyed soul as heard in the Rascals and the Box Tops.

The 1960s was a time of music experimentation and a number of different rock genres originated during that era, especially in the latter part of the decade. Rock bands that topped the charts included the Doors, the Byrds, the Turtles, the Association, the Lemon Pipers, the Lovin' Spoonful, the Mamas and the Papas, Strawberry Alarm Clock, and ? (Question Mark) and the Mysterians. Other top late-1960s pop-rock bands included the Monkees and Tommy James and the Shondells.

As rock music was evolving and branching out, traditional pop continued to flourish on the charts. Chart topping bands and artists that hearkened to earlier times included Bobby Vinton, Ray Charles, Steve Lawrence, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, the Four Seasons, the Righteous Brothers, Bert Kaempfert and His Orchestra, and David Rose and His Orchestra.

Other types of pop and rock music also flourished throughout the 1960s, including folk, novelty tunes, country pop, and protest songs, all of which are fairly well represented by the number one songs of the 1960s.

Back to: Top Songs By Decade


Notes: C#1 = COUNTRY #1; AC#1 = ADULT CONTEMPORARY #1
SONGARTISTCHART
DEBUT
DATE
R&B#1C#1AC#1
I'm SorryBrenda Lee5/30/1960
Tossin' And Turnin'Bobby Lewis4/24/1961
*
Please Mr. PostmanThe Marvelettes9/4/1961
*
Hello, Dolly!Louis Armstrong2/15/1964
*
Sugar, SugarThe Archies7/26/1969
Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My HeadB.J. Thomas11/1/1969
*
The Theme From "A Summer Place"Percy Faith And His Orchestra1/11/1960
The TwistChubby Checker11/13/1961
Stranger On The ShoreMr. Acker Bilk3/17/1962
*
It's Now Or NeverElvis Presley7/18/1960
Will You Love Me TomorrowThe Shirelles11/21/1960
Hey JudeThe Beatles9/14/1968
Everyday PeopleSly And The Family Stone11/30/1968
*
I Want You BackJackson 511/15/1969
*
Everybody's Somebody's FoolConnie Francis5/9/1960
The TwistChubby Checker8/1/1960
Save The Last Dance For MeThe Drifters9/5/1960
*
StayMaurice Williams And The Zodiacs10/3/1960
Peppermint Twist - Part IJoey Dee And The Starliters11/20/1961
I Can't Stop Loving YouRay Charles5/5/1962
*
*
He's A RebelThe Crystals9/8/1962
Love Is BluePaul Mauriat And His Orchestra1/6/1968
*
Cathy's ClownThe Everly Brothers4/18/1960
*
My Heart Has A Mind Of Its OwnConnie Francis8/15/1960
Wonderland By NightBert Kaempfert And His Orchestra11/14/1960
CalcuttaLawrence Welk12/12/1960
RunawayDel Shannon3/6/1961
Running ScaredRoy Orbison4/10/1961
MichaelThe Highwaymen7/10/1961
*
The StripperDavid Rose And His Orchestra5/12/1962
*
Go Away Little GirlSteve Lawrence11/10/1962
*
Light My FireThe Doors6/3/1967
To Sir, With LoveLulu9/9/1967
Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)The 5th Dimension3/8/1969
*
I Can't Get Next To YouThe Temptations8/16/1969
*
Leaving On A Jet PlanePeter, Paul And Mary10/25/1969
*
Stuck On YouElvis Presley4/4/1960
Are You Lonesome To-night?Elvis Presley11/14/1960
Pony TimeChubby Checker1/23/1961
*
Travelin' ManRicky Nelson4/24/1961
Wooden HeartJoe Dowell6/26/1961
*
Big Bad JohnJimmy Dean10/2/1961
*
*
The Loco-MotionLittle Eva6/30/1962
*
Big Girls Don't CryThe 4 Seasons10/20/1962
*
TelstarThe Tornadoes11/3/1962
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'The Righteous Brothers12/12/1964
The LetterThe Box Tops8/12/1967
Incense And PeppermintsStrawberry Alarm Clock9/30/1967
Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)John Fred And His Playboy Band11/25/1967
(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The BayOtis Redding1/27/1968
*
Love ChildDiana Ross And The Supremes10/19/1968
Crimson And CloverTommy James And The Shondells12/14/1968
Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him GoodbyeSteam10/18/1969
Come TogetherThe Beatles10/18/1969
Someday We'll Be TogetherDiana Ross And The Supremes11/8/1969
*
Alley-OopHollywood Argyles5/30/1960
Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot BikiniBrian Hyland7/4/1960
I Want To Be WantedBrenda Lee9/12/1960
Moody RiverPat Boone5/1/1961
Quarter To ThreeGary (U.S.) Bonds5/22/1961
Take Good Care Of My BabyBobby Vee8/7/1961
The Lion Sleeps TonightThe Tokens11/13/1961
Duke Of EarlGene Chandler1/13/1962
*
Hey! BabyBruce Channel1/27/1962
Johnny AngelShelley Fabares3/3/1962
Roses Are Red (My Love)Bobby Vinton6/9/1962
*
Hey PaulaPaul And Paula12/29/1962
*
He's So FineThe Chiffons2/23/1963
*
So Much In LoveThe Tymes6/1/1963
Fingertips - Pt. 2Stevie Wonder6/22/1963
*
Blue VelvetBobby Vinton8/10/1963
*
Deep PurpleNino Tempo And April Stevens9/14/1963
Sugar ShackThe Fireballs9/21/1963
*
I'm Leaving It Up To YouDale And Grace10/5/1963
*
I Want To Hold Your HandThe Beatles1/18/1964
She Loves YouThe Beatles1/25/1964
My GuyMary Wells4/4/1964
*
I Get AroundThe Beach Boys5/23/1964
Oh, Pretty WomanRoy Orbison And The Candy Men8/29/1964
Mr. LonelyBobby Vinton10/31/1964
DowntownPetula Clark12/19/1964
Lightnin' StrikesLou Christie12/25/1965
Strangers In The NightFrank Sinatra5/7/1966
*
96 Tears? (Question Mark) And The Mysterians9/3/1966
Reach Out I'll Be ThereFour Tops9/3/1966
*
Last Train To ClarksvilleThe Monkees9/10/1966
Poor Side Of TownJohnny Rivers9/17/1966
Winchester CathedralThe New Vaudeville Band10/29/1966
*
I'm A BelieverThe Monkees12/10/1966
Happy TogetherThe Turtles2/11/1967
HoneyBobby Goldsboro3/23/1968
*
*
Tighten UpArchie Bell And The Drells3/30/1968
*
I Heard It Through The GrapevineMarvin Gaye11/23/1968
*
DizzyTommy Roe2/1/1969
Honky Tonk WomenThe Rolling Stones7/19/1969
Suspicious MindsElvis Presley9/13/1969
Blue MoonThe Marcels3/6/1961
*
Mother-In-LawErnie K-Doe3/27/1961
*
Runaround SueDion9/25/1961
Soldier BoyThe Shirelles3/24/1962
Breaking Up Is Hard To DoNeil Sedaka6/30/1962
* (1975 remake)
SheilaTommy Roe7/28/1962
SherryThe 4 Seasons8/25/1962
*
Monster MashBobby "Boris" Pickett9/8/1962
I Will Follow HimLittle Peggy March3/23/1963
*
If You Wanna Be HappyJimmy Soul3/30/1963
*
SukiyakiKyu Sakamoto5/11/1963
*
My Boyfriend's BackThe Angels8/3/1963
Love Me DoThe Beatles4/11/1964
Everybody Loves SomebodyDean Martin6/27/1964
*
Where Did Our Love GoThe Supremes7/11/1964
*
Come See About MeThe Supremes11/14/1964
Help Me RhondaThe Beach Boys4/17/1965
I Can't Help MyselfFour Tops5/15/1965
*
(I Can't Get No) SatisfactionThe Rolling Stones6/12/1965
I Got You BabeSonny And Cher7/10/1965
Hang On SloopyThe McCoys8/14/1965
Turn! Turn! Turn!The Byrds10/23/1965
Sounds Of SilenceSimon And Garfunkel11/20/1965
These Boots Are Made For Walkin'Nancy Sinatra1/22/1966
Good Lovin'The Young Rascals3/12/1966
CherishThe Association8/27/1966
Good VibrationsThe Beach Boys10/22/1966
WindyThe Association5/27/1967
Ode To Billie JoeBobbie Gentry8/5/1967
This Guy's In Love With YouHerb Alpert5/18/1968
*
People Got To Be FreeThe Rascals7/20/1968
Love Theme From "Romeo And Juliet"Henry Mancini And His Orchestra5/10/1969
*
Wedding Bell BluesThe 5th Dimension9/27/1969
*
VenusThe Shocking Blue12/13/1969
Mr. CusterLarry Verne8/29/1960
Georgia On My MindRay Charles9/26/1960
Hit The Road JackRay Charles9/11/1961
*
Don't Break The Heart That Loves YouConnie Francis2/10/1962
*
Good Luck CharmElvis Presley3/17/1962
Walk Right InThe Rooftop Singers1/5/1963
*
Walk Like A ManThe 4 Seasons1/26/1963
Our Day Will ComeRuby And The Romantics2/9/1963
*
It's My PartyLesley Gore5/11/1963
*
Easier Said Than DoneThe Essex6/8/1963
*
Surf CityJan And Dean6/15/1963
DominiqueThe Singing Nun11/9/1963
*
There! I've Said It AgainBobby Vinton11/30/1963
*
Chapel Of LoveThe Dixie Cups5/2/1964
*
A Hard Day's NightThe Beatles7/18/1964
Do Wah Diddy DiddyManfred Mann9/5/1964
Baby LoveThe Supremes10/3/1964
*
My GirlThe Temptations1/16/1965
*
Mr. Tambourine ManThe Byrds5/15/1965
Help!The Beatles8/7/1965
My LovePetula Clark12/25/1965
The Ballad Of The Green BeretsSSgt. Barry Sadler2/5/1966
*
(You're My) Soul And InspirationThe Righteous Brothers3/5/1966
When A Man Loves A WomanPercy Sledge4/9/1966
*
Sunshine SupermanDonovan7/30/1966
You Can't Hurry LoveThe Supremes8/13/1966
*
Kind Of A DragThe Buckinghams12/31/1966
Somethin' StupidNancy Sinatra And Frank Sinatra3/18/1967
*
Groovin'The Young Rascals4/22/1967
Green TambourineThe Lemon Pipers12/16/1967
Mrs. RobinsonSimon And Garfunkel4/27/1968
Harper Valley P.T.A.Jeannie C. Riley8/24/1968
*
In The Year 2525 (Exordium And Terminus)Zager And Evans6/21/1969
*
SurrenderElvis Presley2/20/1961
A World Without LovePeter And Gordon5/9/1964
Rag DollThe 4 Seasons6/20/1964
Leader Of The PackThe Shangri-Las10/10/1964
*
RingoLorne Greene10/31/1964
*
This Diamond RingGary Lewis And The Playboys1/16/1965
Stop! In The Name Of LoveThe Supremes2/20/1965
Get Off Of My CloudThe Rolling Stones10/9/1965
Over And OverDave Clark Five11/13/1965
We Can Work It OutThe Beatles12/18/1965
Monday, MondayThe Mamas And The Papas4/9/1966
Hanky PankyTommy James And The Shondells6/4/1966
You Keep Me Hangin' OnThe Supremes10/29/1966
*
Ruby TuesdayThe Rolling Stones1/21/1967
RespectAretha Franklin4/29/1967
*
Daydream BelieverThe Monkees11/18/1967
Grazing In The GrassHugh Masekela6/8/1968
*
Hello, I Love YouThe Doors7/6/1968
Get BackThe Beatles With Billy Preston5/10/1969
The House Of The Rising SunThe Animals8/8/1964
I Feel FineThe Beatles12/5/1964
I'm Telling You NowFreddie And The Dreamers3/13/1965
Game Of LoveThe Mindbenders3/20/1965
Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely DaughterHerman's Hermits4/17/1965
Ticket To RideThe Beatles4/24/1965
Back In My Arms AgainThe Supremes5/1/1965
*
Eve Of DestructionBarry McGuire8/21/1965
YesterdayThe Beatles9/25/1965
Paint It, BlackThe Rolling Stones5/14/1966
Wild ThingThe Troggs6/25/1966
Summer In The CityThe Lovin' Spoonful7/16/1966
Love Is Here And Now You're GoneThe Supremes1/28/1967
*
The HappeningThe Supremes4/8/1967
All You Need Is LoveThe Beatles7/22/1967
Hello GoodbyeThe Beatles12/2/1967
Can't Buy Me LoveThe Beatles3/28/1964
Eight Days A WeekThe Beatles2/20/1965
I'm Henry VIII, I AmHerman's Hermits7/3/1965
I Hear A SymphonyThe Supremes10/30/1965
Paperback WriterThe Beatles6/11/1966
Penny LaneThe Beatles2/25/1967