Songs from 1960

The King was at Number One in the US with ‘It’s Now or Never’ fifty years ago today, a song based on the old Neapolitan song, ‘O sole mio’. It would spend five weeks there in all. Elvis would enjoy further success across the pond; the track spent more than two months atop the UK chart equivalent later on in the year and also did well, as you’d expect, across Europe. It was his biggest-selling international hit single, in fact.

In the UK on this day in 1960, the guitar of Hank Marvin was likely being heard just about wherever you went, as The Shadows’ classic instrumental, ‘Apache’, was Britain’s top-selling single. It would stay at the top of the charts for five weeks in all after displacing ‘Please Don’t Tease’ by… Cliff Richard and The Shadows.

Analogous to The Shadows, this was Australia’s chart-topper fifty years ago to the day: instrumental surf rock before anyone could label it so, ‘Walk, Don’t Run’ by The Ventures.

Three hugely influential acts, I think it fair to say, to the majority of musicians we most enjoy here at a little part of the web that’s reserved for fans of David Gilmour, who himself admired all three greatly. I hope you do, too.

This is a period where it would be easier for me to pick ten tunes that I don’t like, but here are ten of my favourites from 1960 (bearing in mind that some songs charted later, if they weren’t released or even re-released on a different label later, outside the US; such as Motown’s songwriter extraordinaire Barrett Strong, whose sentiments about the pursuit of wealth seem so appropriate for today):

– Chubby Checker, ‘The Twist’
– Jimmy Clanton, ‘Go Jimmy, Go’
– Eddie Cochran, ‘Three Steps To Heaven’
– Paul Evans, ‘Happy-Go-Lucky Me’
– Everly Brothers, ‘Cathy’s Clown’
– Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, ‘Shakin’ All Over’
– Roy Orbison, ‘Only the Lonely’
– Frank Sinatra, ‘Ol’ MacDonald’
– Barrett Strong, ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’
– Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs, ‘Stay’

How about you and yours?

The chatroom will be open at 2pm (UK) today. If you’d like to talk about this fine year, or pretty much anything else, do call in. As it’s Labor Day in the States, feel free to march in and hail the workers of the world, or just celebrate the start of the football season. Perhaps you’d rather mourn the end of summer, which is something some of us have been doing for quite a while now. Whatever the day means to you, I hope it’s a good one.

Lastly, if you’re curious, crossed out below are the years we’ve looked at already, should you need some inspiration today and 1960 can’t quite cut it. Let me know which you think we should scrutinise next. It should probably be one from the Nineties, but the initial thought leaves me feeling thoroughly unfulfilled.

Sixties: 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969
Seventies: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979
Eighties: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
Nineties: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
Noughties: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009


  1. Andrew

    Ah… too bad the chat was cancelled. I was hoping to wish Michèle a happy birthday and give her lots of brandy but so it goes.


    I hope you had a fantastic birthday.



    • Michèle

      I had a great day, Andrew, thank you.

      But of course something was missing… your Brandy. Yum… 😉

      It will be for next year, same date, OK? 🙂

    • Andrew

      I don’t think I will be able to wait till next year. We will have to share some brandy before that.



  2. David D

    The main David Gilmour site is tagged with a “may harm your computer” warning on Google right now. :/

    Love the Ventures clip, by the way.

    • FEd

      Sorry about that, David; it’s being taken care of and is the reason why I cancelled today’s chat at very short notice.

      Apologies again for that, everyone. I’ll hopefully schedule another chat for later this week. Details will be on the calendar, as always.

    • ripper

      so is it a hack or google being a goat? 😕

      p.s. hi, gonna get that orb album asap!!! the tasters sound awesome!! 8)

  3. ash

    I remember this, Save The Last Dance For Me by The Drifters, because my parents had it. The Drifters are still a favourite of mine.

    The Twist by Chubby Checker. I have very fond memories of this because I used to go to the cinema on Saturday mornings and in the afternoon the Ballroom next door for what would today be called a ‘Children’s Disco’ (?). We called it ‘going dancing’. I was great at twisting, more recently I fall over trying to get down to my hunkers and back up again. :))

    Cathy’s Clown by The Everly Brothers.

    Chain Gang by Sam Cooke. These last two were also records my parents had and I still love them both.

    We also had a lot of Elvis and Cliff.

    There are loads more songs from 1960 which I love but can’t remember if I heard them at the time.


  4. Stephanie

    Some more good songs from 1960:

    Georgia On My Mind – Ray Charles
    Wonderful World – Sam Cooke
    Spanish Harlem – Ben E. King
    New Orleans – Gary U.S. Bonds
    Spoonful – Howlin´ Wolf

    On this day in 2007 was the Europe Premiere for David´s “Remember That Night”. Hey Ulli, Lorraine, Veronica, Nate, Ralph and all the others: Didn´t we have a great evening at Leicester Square?

    Michèle, Happy belated Birthday!

  5. Michèle

    Apart from ‘Apache’ by The Shadows, I’m afraid I know nothing from 1960. :!

    Being curious, I searched the web and watched some videos on YouTube.

    I quite liked these songs (but actually would never buy any album/single from 1960):

    – ‘Georgia On My Mind’, Ray Charles
    – ‘The Twist’, Chubby Checker
    – ‘Wonderful World’, Sam Cooke
    – ‘Sweet Sixteen’, B.B. King
    – ‘I’m Sorry’, Brenda Lee
    – ‘Only The Lonely’, Roy Orbison
    – ‘Today I Sing The Blues’, Aretha Franklin

    ‘Laisse les Filles’, Johnny Hallyday. I think it’s a cover of a Presley song, but don’t know which one.

    ‘Mbube’, Miriam Makeba – the real original African version of a song you love: ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’. 😛

    Oh and I think that The Beatles made their debut in 1960 in Hamburg.

    I would like to scrutinise (I love this word) the year 1994.

    • FEd

      I would like to scrutinise (I love this word) the year 1994.

      That could be OK. I feel better about that year than any other from the decade.

  6. frank par

    A very big Thank You Fed for The Ventures, they were my inspiration from the beginning to play guitar. Then came Roy Orbison and finally, David to to round it all about.

    P.S. Fed, did you know that the person who wrote the the Hokey Pokey just recently passed away at age 94? At the funeral coffin they put his left foot in… That’s when the fight started. 8|

  7. NewYorkDan

    I think that 1979 would be a great year to do a “Random Nonsense” blog about. It was a big year for music. Michael Jackson was Off The Wall, Supertramp were having Breakfast In America, Joy Division were finding a New Order, and “some other band” did a hard-edged rock opus that year.

    Hank Marvin, Elvis, and the Ventures. Three artists who did NOT have a big release in 1979. They are all amazing acts. Maybe 1960 is not the musical vacuum I often think it is. I never knew there was surf music in 1960; I usually associate it with a period a few years later than that.

    If there was a virus or something, then I am grateful that you cancelled the chat. Thanks for preventing us all from getting infected.

    • ash

      If there was a virus or something, then I am grateful that you cancelled the chat. Thanks for preventing us all from getting infected.

      Well said Dan, I’d also like to encourage everyone to remember to cover their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing in the chat room please. :))


  8. Alessandra

    My knowledge about 1960 music is very poor.

    Apart from “Apache” and “Only The Lonely” by Roy Orbison, already mentioned, some songs I know (and I like) are:

    Ray Charles – Georgia On My Mind
    Elvis – Stuck On You
    Fats Domino – Walking To New Orleans
    Gene Vincent – Wild Cat

    I didn’t know Everly Brothers’ “Cathy’s Clown”, but I knew “When Will I Be Loved” and “So Sad” and I liked them.

    As for the next year to be examined, I would suggest 1991. Of course, compared with some years in the 60s or 70s, it’s nothing, but compared with the present, it looks like a pretty good year for music. 🙂

  9. Herbert

    FEd, as you might know I’m quite an “old” man today. 8) In 1960 I was a little boy, six years old with no idea, what was happening in the world of music. A TV-set at home? Don’t even think about it… Records? Expensive black plastic discs…

    Of course, some of the artists and songs you posted, are well known to me, but that happened years later at the time, when “Beat Club” started in German TV, in 1966 or so.


    • herbert

      Hello FEd!

      Hard to say, if Beat Club was the best music show on TV for ever. I would say, it was one of the best in Germany.

      On YouTube I found a trailer, which shows the variety of this show quite good.

      Other good music shows followed, but it would take too much place to discuss them in this thread. Could be an item for its own.


  10. Bruce

    The Dave Clark Five was a band I enjoyed back in the sixties. Glad All Over and Bits and Pieces were two of their songs that got good airplay in the mid sixties.

    I hope you get the IP address of the party responsible for hacking the site. Either the IP or RIP addresses would let you know who did.

  11. lorraine

    Ella Fitzgerald – ‘Mac The Knife’
    Buddy Holly – ‘True Love Ways’
    Drifters – ‘Save The Last Dance for Me’
    Andy Stewart with The Michael Sammes Singers – ‘Donald Where’s Yer Trousers’
    Johnny Preston – ‘Running Bear’
    Bobby Rydell – ‘Wild One’

    • ash

      Mac the Knife! Good one Lorraine. My favourite version was Bobby Darin or Frank Sinatra, I think, but Ella’s is great too. Fabulous lyric, “lay a body, oozing life ” a very imaginative description.

      Somewhere around that time I heard Sammy Davis Junior perform a song called, ‘Mr Bojangles’, also really nice, made an impression and created pictures in my head which are still there today.


    • KenF

      Aahhh… Andy Stewart. I can’t help but confess to recall seeing him on ‘The White Heather Club’.

      Wasn’t TV from North of the border great back in the early sixties? 😛 What with that and Dr. Finlay’s Casebook (although that didn’t start until ’62, it seems older).

  12. Damian Cunningham

    Hi Fed,

    I do hope you are well. I too was advised of some malware on David’s site, no worries.

    I’m taking my mum to the eternal city of Rome Saturday. The pope must have heard as he has booked his holiday in the UK same time. 😀

    Take care, speak soon

  13. D.Q.

    This is slightly off topic, but during summer vacation I read the new Pink Floyd Book, “The Music and the Mystery.” As much as I loved some of it, am I the only Floyd Fan in the world who is getting tired of books that trash “It Would Be So Nice” and “See Saw?”

    I love “It Would Be So Nice”! It’s friggin brilliant!!! The reviewer doesn’t like what he thinks is the vaudevillian/trivial verses after the bombast. (Does that mean you throw out most of The Kinks’ greatest, for the same reason?) I think it’s a fabulous cut. I wouldn’t change a note. It’s gorgeous. It’s the first Floyd with David in it. It’s Joyful Wonderful!!! And as for “See Saw” being one of the most allegedly “boring” songs ever, I can imagine which band member said that–and why, when the early post-Syd jostling for dominance in the group occurred. But it’s not. Not in the least. (One need only listen to “The Final Cut”, if one wishes to hunt for a boring track.) And I’m not the only one who thinks “See Saw” is a great song. Cheeeeeriste, I have a poet friend who made good–a reputable guy who writes all kinds of critical essays who teaches at Harvard, who loves See Saw. The lyrics are beautiful, “Marigolds are very much in love…” And in the same new book there’s a review of “Summer of ’68” that never mentions it’s a brilliant, beautiful, song.

    Anyway. I’m sick of people trashing “It Would Be So Nice” and “See Saw.” They are GREAT songs.


  14. Alessandra

    I’ve just seen the David Gilmour website is still labeled as dangerous.

    Was it infected by some kind of virus? 😕

    If yes, sorry about it.

  15. NewYorkDan

    Hey FEd, remember when “On An Island” was released on David’s birthday in the UK, but on a Tuesday in the USA? Wanna know why it had to be on a Tuesday?

    This may help to answer that burning question.

  16. Michèle

    I love that ‘Name that song’ thing, so:

    Name these songs (and artists) from 1960:

    1 – She was afraid to come out in the open
    And so a blanket around she wore

    2 – You used to be my honey
    Till you spent all my money
    No use for you to cry
    I’ll see you bye and bye

    I know, I know, they are not really thought-provoking lyrics… :))

    • FEd

      Well, he told BBC World Service during a ‘Pop On the Line’ Q&A back in November 1998, in response to being asked if it was true that he’d recently become a born-again Christian, that “‘Church of England – lapsed’ is about as far as I’d go.”

    • Michèle

      David Gilmour (from the Chicago Tribune, published March 31, 2006):

      “When you get to 60, one of your preoccupations is that the life you have ahead of you is quite a lot shorter than the life you have behind you [laughs]. You can’t help thinking about that. It’s something inside all of us, even though I’m not a believer in God or an afterlife. I’m an atheist. I’m sort of resigned to my lot in life, and content in it.”

  17. KenF

    Here’s a poptastic 1960 Top Ten from me, which I don’t see previously mentioned…

    As Long As He Needs Me – Shirley Bassey
    Beyond The Sea – Bobby Darin
    Dreamin’ – Johnny Burnette
    Heartbeat – Buddy Holly
    Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini – Brian Hyland
    Rubber Ball – Bobby Vee
    Starry Eyed – Michael Holliday
    Tell Laura I Love Her – Ray Paterson
    Why – Frankie Avalon
    You’re Sixteen – Johnny Burnette

    “I would like to scrutinise (I love this word) the year 1994.”

    “That could be OK. I feel better about that year than any other from the decade.”

    Why would that be, I wonder? (I have ‘High Hopes’ that it refers to a certain album released on 30th of March that year. 😉 )

    • FEd

      Poor Frank. He was a big supporter of Kennedy, who then dropped him like a hot potato once elected. There’s a story that Sinatra had a heli-pad built on his Palm Springs home in anticipation of a planned visit from JFK. When snubbed in favour of, I think, Bing Crosby, Sinatra took to the heli-pad violently with a sledgehammer.

      Worse still, he switched political allegiance after that and became a Republican. 😉

  18. Lucia

    Hello FEd,

    how are you? Hope it’s all OK there. This is an article about research (by Glasgow University) which says that listening to Pink Floyd (Comfortably Numb, in particular) is good for health. Maybe you like to know!

    This is in English. 🙂

    I am going to publish it also in the web magazine I work for. Then, don’t say I don’t support David properly anymore!!!! 🙂

    And, of course, a pic of David in the main page!

    Take care

    • FEd

      Thanks, Lucia. How interesting.

      And if you listen with a dog while eating an apple, surely you’re sorted. 😀

  19. ash

    Google thinks the site is safe now.

    Ha! Just let them show their faces round here again. The Gilmourauders will get them!

    ash :))

  20. Thomas O'Connell

    Well, I really enjoyed The Left Bank’s Walk Away Renee and Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction. But The Beau Brummel’s Laugh, Laugh, Tell Me Why and Don’t Talk to Strangers had to be my favorites.

    By the way FEd, if you ever can find a copy of The Beau Brummel’s album Triangle, get it for I know you will really enjoy it.

    Take care and have a great weekend,

  21. Sharon Woods

    Elvis recorded these iconic songs in 1960:

    Stuck on You
    It’s Now or Never
    Are You Lonesome Tonight

    Apart from Graceland (I drove by several times), I’ve visited some treasured landmarks! Elvis’ birth home in Tupelo, Bloch Arena, Aloha Stadium, the Coco Palms, the Polynesian Cultural Center! I met an islander who booked travel for him in Hawaii. A dear friend and fellow Floydian whose fondness for Elvis has led to his scouring the countryside for Elvis sightings!

    A family friend was kissed by the King!

    Which leads me to mention the B movie Bubba Ho Tep, which nods to the crazy college town where I grew up in Texas! Coincidentally, the author of the screenplay rented the aforementioned friends’ house! And I remember a photograph of Elvis hung in a frame directly over her bed! She told me she didn’t wash her face for a week! :))

    • ash

      One of my favourite ” Elvis is still alive and living in… ” stories is the one by Douglas Adams in his book Mostly Harmless.

      Elvis is working in a bar called “The Domain of the King”, on an alien planet. He owns a large PINK spaceship with his initials on the side. :))


  22. NewYorkDan

    I just went to the Pink Floyd website, which my antivirus programs told me is infected. David’s site is fine.

  23. Sharon Woods

    Ash, don’t forget Douglas Adams fictionally superloud rockband Disaster Area: The megastar- megamillionaire Hot Black: dead for a year, and at the end of the Universe for tax purposes! :))

    Perhaps he and Elvis knew each other?

    • ash

      :)) I reckon it was Disaster Area that gave Pink Floyd the ideas for their light shows, you know, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun an’ all that. (Time travel you see, it’s perfectly possible that’s where they got the idea. 😛 )


    • NewYorkDan

      LOL, Ash. I love how you put it.

      In one of the final concerts of The Division Bell tour, Douglas Adams played a guitar solo alongside David and the rest of Floyd. It was a tradeoff for his coming up with the name for that album. After David introduced Douglas Adams to the audience, Douglas said that Floyd had been the inspiration for Disaster Area. He also said that the line from “Welcome to the Machine” that goes, “He always ate in a steak bar,” inspired The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe.

      See? David and Floyd don’t merely inspire musicians and fans. They also inspire brilliant novelists.

    • ash

      I didn’t know that about Welcome to the Machine, Dan. 🙂 It was an Earls Court (London) gig that Douglas played. I remember reading about it. Also that Stephen Hawking was at one of the Earls Court gigs, the band did several nights. Our guys also inspire brilliant physicists. 🙂

      Have you ever heard anything about the original radio series for HitchHikers? (1978 or 77.) Marvin, the paranoid android, hums Shine On You Crazy Diamond. I loved that, that Douglas was a fan.


    • ash

      Indeed it did Michèle. 🙂

      I also loved that, that Hawking and the band are fans of each other. 🙂


    • JulieD

      Time travel…

      Ah, time travel. What a glorious thing it is too. It is scary, it is exciting, it is dangerous but most of all, it’s enlightening. 😉

  24. ash

    You missed out the “Wham” Sharon. 😀

    “I mean, forget lasers and stuff, you guys are into solar flares and real sunburn!”
    — Also Douglas Adams

    ash 😀

  25. Sharon Woods

    Don’t Panic, Ash! 8| I’ve got those radio tapes! And somehow Shine On You Crazy Diamond completely escaped my attention!

    Now where’s Marvin humming?

    • ash

      Apparently none of the commercial releases of the radio series has it.

      Copyright problems the lawyers didn’t realise that Douglas and the band were friends and had an agreement. They didn’t realise the lawyers were squabbling so it was cut.

      However, some people kept their tapes and the missing bit can be tracked down on the BBC h2g2 site.