The Perfect Playlist: Sixties Rock ‘N’ Roll

Ah, the Sixties, the time of free love and the birth of rock and roll (don’t look at me like that fifties rockers… you know it’s true). Of course everything is built on something and prior to the sixties pioneers you had Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley paving the way. Yet, the sixties was when everything changed. Rock and Roll exploded, and it has never been quiet since.


Once I started to actually pay attention to music (roughly at the age of thirteen), I was exposed to a healthy diet of Rock and Roll, Northern Soul, Motown, Blues (delta, Chicago, modern, and everything in between), alongside some of the greatest guitar players the world has ever known (Clapton, Hendrix, B.B King et al.). I can’t fit all of those songs onto one playlist, so for this version of a ‘Perfect Playlist’ I decided to focus on Rock and Roll of the 1960s.

It was pretty difficult for me to pick just fourteen songs to go on this list, so therefore I tried to go for a wide spectrum of stuff, from proto-punk bands (The Kinks, The Who); to straight up rock ‘n’ roll (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones); to more pop-rock (Leonard Cohen, The Beach Boys). I’ve tried to go for a good mix of songs that you will find on pretty much any sixties playlist that I put together.


The song titles below are links to Spotify URLs. If you don’t have Spotify I strongly recommend you get it. I’m not getting paid one iota to say that, I just think it’s a great way of discovering new music and the basic version is free. I’ve had it for about four years and it’s brilliant if I’m being perfectly honest.

All Day and All Of The Night – The Kinks

This song never fails to totally change my mood and get me up and dancing. It’s just a brilliant brilliant bop. 

Layla – Derek & The Dominos

Often confused with ‘Lola’ by The Kinks. Probably. I actually cheated with this one because it came out in early 1970… so they probably wrote it in the 1960s? C’mon, give me this one! 

Twist And Shout – The Beatles

Originally recorded by The Isley Brothers in 1962, it was re-released in 1963 by The Beatles. It’s become urban music legend that John Lennon had a ridiculously sore throat the day they went into the studio to record this, so therefore he did the whole thing in one take, hence the reason it sounds a little raw and rough around the edges. Just one more reason for me to love it. 


A Whiter Shade Of Pale – Procol Harum

This is just one of the best songs ever written to be honest. I love it. It’s beautiful. 

My Generation – The Who

Everyone knows this song, and it’s been covered by everybody and their dog since. The anthem for disaffected youth the world over. 

House of the Rising Sun – The Animals

Another absolutely brilliant tune. This wasn’t the first version I ever heard, that was actually the cover by Muse (which is very good by the way). 

Itchycoo Park – Small Faces

For those days where you just want to lie in the grass and smoke a joint…

For Your Love – The Yardbirds

Another band that Eric Clapton was involved in.

Paint It, Black – The Rolling Stones

I could have picked from many, many, many Rolling Stones songs for this list, but I went for quite possibly the most well known (or is that I Can’t Get No Satisfaction?). Either way, this is a damn good tune and the opening guitar riff is probably one of the most well known in the world. 


Nights In White Satin – The Moody Blues

One of the more psychedelic of sixties tunes. We all know what they were taking at the time… 

Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream

Is there any band in the 1960/70s that Eric Clapton didn’t play with?! 

Season Of The Witch – Donovan

A slightly “heavier” sound to this one (if any songs on this list could be considered to be heavy). Metal wasn’t really born until the seventies (fight me on this one) although Led Zeppelin were kicking around in the late 1960s. Of course they all built on something and in various songs, such as they one above, we can see the beginnings of slightly heavier drum and guitar sounds. 

So Long, Marianne – Leonard Cohen

On the other end of the scale, these last two are much more on the pop side of things. This tune is a classic sixties lament about losing your love…

Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys

… and everyone knows Good Vibrations. 


What are your favourite sixties rock n roll tunes? Have you discovered new ones on this list that you’d not heard before?

If you’re not in the mood for rock and roll, you can check out my classical music playlist or my New Wave playlist for other ideas!

4 thoughts on “The Perfect Playlist: Sixties Rock ‘N’ Roll

  1. Being the right age, I could name so many…. so shall we start with:
    The Sun Aint gonna Shine Anymore – The Walker Brothers
    Youve Lost that Lovin Feelin – The Righteous Bros
    Eloise -Barry Ryan
    Im a Believer – The Monkees
    It Takes Two – Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston
    Hows that for starters ?

  2. When I think of 60’s rock & roll I think right away of Zeppelin! Paige is undoubtably one of the best guitarists of all time. His guitar does more than play music, it tells stories!

      1. Well for sure they rocked out in both the 60’s and 70’s… I guess I always just think classic rock, regardless of the decade! You know, when people had musical talent.

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