Relive 7 Rock Ballads Of The ’60s
via Bob Dylan/YouTube
All The Good Stuff
While not the golden era of rock ‘n roll, the ’60s had plenty to offer – from psychedelic music to hard rock and even ballads. No matter what your preference is, there’s definitely something for you. And so we’re listing down seven of the most unforgettable ballads of that era. And these songs didn’t go out of style in months. In fact, they still hold up well decades later.
Let’s check them out.
7. Procol Harum – “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (1967)
Procol Harum’s debut single, it peaked at #5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 even without too much promotion. It reached greater popularity since it became one of the anthems of the iconic Summer of Love. It sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
6. The Moody Blues – “Nights in White Satin” (1967)
Featured on their magnum opus “Days of Future Passed”, Justin Hayward wrote it when he was just 19 years old. In an interview with Daily Express Saturday magazine in 2008, Hayward said: “I wrote our most famous song, ‘Nights in White Satin’ when I was 19. It was a series of random thoughts and was quite autobiographical. It was a very emotional time as I was at the end of one big love affair and the start of another. A lot of that came out in the song.”
5. The Rolling Stones – “As Tears Go By” (1964)
It was originally recorded by Marianne Faithfull (who’d become Mick Jagger’s girlfriend 2 years later) before The Rolling Stones covered it for their album “December’s Children (And Everybody’s).” It was written by Jagger, Keith Richards, and their manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Richards called it “the most totally anti-Stones sort of song you could think of at the time.”
4. The Hollies – “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother” (1969)
The Hollies’ version of a Kelly Gordon original featured Elton John on piano. It was a hit in several countries. Guitarist Tony Hicks told Guardian, “In the 1960s when we were short of songs I used to root around publishers in Denmark Street. One afternoon, I’d been there ages and wanted to get going but this bloke said: ‘Well there’s one more song. It’s probably not for you.’ He played me the demo by the writers [Bobby Scott and Bob Russell]. It sounded like a 45rpm record played at 33rpm, the singer was slurring, like he was drunk. But it had something about it. There were frowns when I took it to the band but we speeded it up and added an orchestra.”
3. Elvis Presley – “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (1961)
While it has been recorded by other artists, Elvis Presley’s original rendition remains unrivaled. It’s one of his most popular songs but it was actually written initially for a woman. So they had to tweak the lyrics a bit.
2. Bob Dylan – “Lay Lady Lay” (1969)
It wasn’t long before this became a standard and has been covered by artists like the Byrds, the Everly Brothers, Duran Duran, and the Isley Brothers. Dylan sung this in a different singing style than what he used to do. Dylan admitted that his new voice was because he stopped smoking.
1. The Righteous Brothers – “Unchained Melody” (1965)
It may be just a cover but it’s still the most popular version of the track. Phil Spector actually regarded it as a filler to their 1965 LP “Just Once in My Life.” According to Bill Medley, “‘Unchained Melody’ was never intended to be the single… it was produced to be on the album. It was put on the B side of a Phil Spector single ‘Hung On You’ and the minute it was released ‘Unchained Melody’ just went through the roof.”