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Wednesday, August 30

The Greatest Songs & Albums of 1966

It's no exaggeration when I say that 1966 was the best year ever in the history of rock music. The three artists that dominated the sixties (Dylan, Beatles, Beach Boys) each made what is argubly their best album in 1966. Debuts from this year included The Monkees and If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears by The Mamas and The Papas. Many of the most memorable songs of Motown seem to fall around 1966. The Who and Simon and Garfunkle both put out second albums that improved on their firsts this year.

It was an emergence for experimentation, seen in "Tomorrow Never Knows" and the use of sitar in both Revolver and The Rolling Stone's Aftermath. It was also a year for sun-drenched songs of summer like "California Dreamin'", "Red Rubber Ball", and "Good Lovin'". It seems that every week a new single or album was released that is still remembered 40 years later. This was the year that saw last tour of The Beatles and transitioned Brian Wilson into becoming a studio-only artist. It was the first year that Bob Dylan jammed with The Band. 1966 was the year that music became alive. Yes, it's no exaggeration to call this year the greatest for rock music.

I made a couple of lists (who doesn't love lists) to attempt to rank my favorite music from 1966. For the first list I only allowed myslef two songs per artist. See also: Pitchfork's 200 greatest songs of the 60's.

The 20 Greatest songs of 1966.
20. The Supremes - You Keep Me Hanging On
19. The Cyrkle - Red Rubber Ball
18. Spencer Davis Group - Gimme Some Lovin’
17. ? and the Mysterians - 96 Tears MP3
16. Lovin' Spoonful - Summer in the City
15. The Who - A Quick One While He's Away
14. The Mamas and the Papas - California Dreamin'
13. The Monkees - Last Train To Clarksville
12. The Rascals - Good Lovin’
11. The Byrds - Eight Miles High
10. Bob Dylan - I Want You MP3
9. The Mamas and the Papas - Monday Monday
8. The Rolling Stones - Paint It Black
7. The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows
6. The Four Tops - Reach Out! I'll Be There MP3
5. Bob Dylan - Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
5. The Who - Substitute
4. The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
3. Simon and Garfunkel - The 59th Street Bridge Song MP3
2. The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby
1. The Beach Boys - God Only Knows MP3

Top 5 Greatest Albums of 1966
5. The Mamas and the Papas - If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Your Ears
4. Simon and Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme
3. Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde
2. The Beatles - Revolver
1. The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

Agree? Disagree? Discuss your favorite '66 albums and songs in the comments.
posted by Taylor, 8/30/2006 08:41:00 AM | link 7 comments


Totally agree with you that '66 was the best year for music - been saying it for years, but this post does lack without the inclusion of the Kinks' "Face to Face" album and/or their "Dead End Street" b/w "Big Black Smoke" single - arguably one of the greatest 45s ever released.

Nevertheless, kudos for raising further '66 awareness! Thanks.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 8/30/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Just a quick nit-pick: it's ? and the Mysterians, not "Mysterious."

Great list, otherwise.
i gotta say i do love the song "god only knows"... but pet sounds beating out revolver? revolver has always been my favorite beatles and i feel like it's more substantial that the (also excellent) pet sounds.
commented by Anonymous jen, 8/30/2006 05:32:00 PM  
"Everyone knows rock n' roll attained perfection in 1974. It's a scientific fact!" Homer Simpsons
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 8/30/2006 06:12:00 PM  
I've always been more partial to 1968 -- The White Album, The Velvet Underground, Hendrix, etc.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 8/31/2006 10:02:00 AM  
1966 was a great year. "Pet Sounds" and "Revolver" top my list for any year. I would probably lose the Mamas and the Papas and add either "Aftermath" by The Rolling Stones, or "5D" by The Byrds.
commented by Blogger Side3, 9/02/2006 04:27:00 PM  
I would put forward 1972 as the year of rock perfection:

Bowie's Ziggy
Drake's Pink Moon
Allman's Eat A Peach
Young's Harvest
The Stones' Exile
Reed's Transformer
Big Star's #1

I think that we can maybe agree that 66 - 72 was the best half-decade in rock history anyway :)
commented by Anonymous Adam, 9/05/2006 08:33:00 AM  

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