1965 is credited as the year Rock and Roll grew up. Moving from more innocent pop standards to emotionally driven lyrical compositions as Bob Dylan, the Moody Blues, Jefferson Airplane, Donovan and the Yardbirds hit the stage.
Nationally, it was a time of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and police clashes in
Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
This first appeared in the 1955 movie "Unchained," starring Former football player Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch. The movie takes place in a prison, and the song was written for the movie to reflect the mood of the prisoners as they wait for time to pass. The Righteous Brothers version was a huge hit, but it was released as a B-side. The single had "Unchained Melody" (with no producer credit on the label) as the B-side to Gerry Goffin's and Carole King's "Hung on You," but many DJ's preferred to flip the single and played this instead. This infuriated Phil Spector, who subsequently left no doubt as to which side of a Philles single was the A-side. This returned to both the
My Girl – Temptations
This was written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, who were both members of The Miracles. Robinson wrote the lyrics, which were inspired by his wife, Claudette. In a 2006 NPR interview, Robinson explained that he wrote this with David Ruffin's voice in mind. It was the first Temptations single to feature Ruffin on lead vocals (Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams sang lead on previous Temptation's singles), and it led to a greater role for Ruffin, as he became their primary lead singer. Robinson went on to write many more hits for The Temptations, who were considered the most talented vocal group at Motown.
I Got You Babe - Sonny and
Sonny Bono was an up-and-coming record producer when he got
Downtown - Petula Clark
This was Petula Clark's first hit in the
Tell Her No - The Zombies
In this song, a guy knows that his girl is likely to cheat on him, and he's telling someone else to reject her advances. He's pretty emphatic about this, as the word "No" is repeated 65 times in the song. This was written by Zombies guitarist Rod Argent. "Tell Her No" has been described as a "standard Beatles" cut, and has also been called "harmonically and melodically more complex than the best Beatles stuff, and just as catchy and emotional." The Zombies featured Argent, who went on to form his own band and had the 1972 hit “Hold Your Head Up,” and Colin Blunstone, who sang the hit, “Old and Wise” for the Alan Parsons Project in 1982.
It's Not Unusual - Tom Jones
Tom Jones' real name is Thomas Jones Woodward. He was spotted supporting Mandy Rice-Davies by the manager Gordon Mills who suggested the name Tom Jones and secured him a deal with Decca. After a succession of hit singles in the
I Fought the Law – Bobby Fuller
The song is about a guy who goes to jail after a robbery spree. The phrase "I fought the law" caught on, and has remained in the American lexicon ever since. Both the song and the saying have appeared in many movies, TV shows, video games and other commercial enterprises. It's also been parodied a great deal, notably by Bob Rivers on his track "I Fought the Lawn.” Barry White, who went on to become a famous soul singer, played drums on this track. Although he was known for his distinctive bass voice, White could play a variety of instruments and was a session musician for a while. Fuller was found dead in the front seat of his mother's car a few months after this was released. He was beaten up and had swallowed gasoline. His death was ruled a suicide, but it was rumored to be the work of mobsters - he may have been having an affair with someone's wife.
Do You Believe In Magic – Lovin' Spoonful
This was written by John Sebastian, who formed The Lovin' Spoonful with his friend, Zal Yanovsky. Sebastian and Yanovsky were in a group called The Mugwumps, and made a name for themselves playing clubs in
What The World Needs Now Is Love – Jackie DeShannon
This was written by the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was offered to Dionne Warwick and Gene Pitney, who both passed on it. Bacharach (from Record Collector magazine): "Dionne (
You Won’t See Me – The Beatles
No collection from 1965 is complete without at least one song by the Beatles. The song is about a crisis in McCartney's relationship with his then-girlfriend Jane Asher. She was rejecting him by not returning phone calls and ignoring him — for once, he was in a vulnerable position. The more biting tone of the song marks a change away from his earlier, happier love songs. "You Won't See Me" was recorded during the last session for Rubber Soul. At , the song was the longest that the Beatles had recorded to that point and marked a trend by Bob Dylan and others at the time to start writing longer songs. In 1974, Canadian singer, Anne Murray, had tremendous success with her cover of this song, going to #8. John Lennon is said to have told