Best Songs From 1969

1969 marked the end of a decade filled with historical events, progressive movements, and flashy trends.

We’d argue the music of the 1960s was some of the most groundbreaking ever, and ’69 was no exception. We’ve compiled a list of the best songs from 1969, so enjoy this blast from the past.

“Get Back” by The Beatles

Song Year: 1969

In 1969, The Beatles were likely the most famous band in the world. However, the internal strifes within the band made the future of The Beatles a bit murky. The infamous rooftop recordings that made their way onto the 1970 album “Let It Be” cleared the way for The Beatles’ post-1960s career.

“Get Back” features keyboardist Billy Preston on an electric organ and a clever satire of anti-immigrant politics in the lyrics.

“Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by The 5th Dimension

Song Year: 1969

The duo song “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” was originally a track created for the musical “Hair” (1967) but was popularized as 1969 single recorded and released by The 5th Dimension. The song reached the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and is one of the defining songs of the year.

The song’s lyrics focus on the idea that the world was entering the astrological “Age of Aquarius” as the 1970s rolled around.

“Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone

Song Year: 1968

Sly and the Family Stone is one of the foundational groups that helped develop the genre of soul and funk and bring it to mainstream America’s ears. The song “Everyday People” was released in 1968 but made its way to the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the early months of 1969.

The soulful and deep song, composed by the band’s frontman Sly Stone, reached the number-one spot in February and lasted four weeks.

“Sugar Sugar” by The Archies

Song Year: 1969

Many people view the song “Sugar Sugar” by The Archies as the quintessential bubblegum pop song. The song features a catchy chorus and it’s performed by a fictional band consisting of the lead characters in “The Archie Show,” a TV show based on the famous Archie comics.

Archie comics have seen a cultural resurface in recent years thanks to the CW show “Riverdale,” a show that offers a modern take on the classic Archie comics characters.

“Time of the Season” by The Zombies

Song Year: 1968

The Zombies had several hits in prior years, but “Time of the Season” is likely their most long-lasting tune. The British band manages to combine the classic rock and psychedelia sound of the 1960s with some incredible funk and soul elements for a truly captivating hit.

The song’s chorus is as catchy as it gets, and the latter half of the song devolves into a fantastic keyboard solo using some heavy organ and electronic tones.

“I Can’t Get Next to You” by The Temptations

Song Year: 1969

The Temptations are one of the world’s most famous and successful rhythm and blues groups. The famous Motown Records label managed the group and combined classic blues rock themes with newer rhythm and blues and funk styles.

“I Can’t Get Next to You” perfectly showcases the group’s broad talent, combining big band sound with soulful vocals and psychedelic funk instrumentals. The song is featured on the band’s eleventh album, “Puzzle People.”

“Come Together” by The Beatles

Song Year: 1969

As the most popular band in the world at the time, it’s no surprise that The Beatles have not one but two songs on this list. The song was released in 1969 as a single paired with the soulful hit “Something.” The songs were included in the band’s penultimate album, “Abbey Road,” released later the same year.

The song blends funk beats with blues rock influence. The lyrics are inspired by John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s public protests against the Vietnam War.

“Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” by Marvin Gaye

Song Year: 1969

For Marvin Gaye fans, the song “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” couldn’t be sung by anyone else. However, the song was initially recorded by the American rhythm and blues group The Temptations. The song was put on the back burner, allowing Gaye to come in and record a version on the heels of his 1967 smash hit “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

The Temptations’ version was later released in the late 1990s but the Marvin Gaye version featuring female backing vocals is perfect to us.

“Crimson & Clover” by Tommy James & the Shondells

Song Year: 1968

The song “Crimson & Clover” is one of the most famous psychedelic pop songs of the late 1960s. The funk and psychedelic influence is incredibly clear, as the guitar and vocals frequently dip into classic funk sounds. The ambient noise and use of sound panning were prevalent in psychedelic music at the time.

The song was on the Billboard charts for an impressive sixteen weeks and is Tommy James & the Shondells’ most successful song.

“Dizzy” by Tommy Roe

Song Year: 1968

The 1960s “bubblegum pop” was a genre targeted towards the free willing, pop-loving teenagers of the time. Tommy Roe was famous in the bubblegum pop genre, so it was no surprise when “Dizzy” was released in 1968 to widespread praise.

Notably, Tommy Roe performed onstage with home appliances to play on the idea of Whirlpool washers and dryers fitting into his “Dizzy” theme.

“The Boxer” by Simon & Garfunkel

Song Year: 1969

In 1968, the art-folk duo Simon & Garfunkel saw massive success with the release of their song “Mrs. Robinson.” Just one year later, many wondered if the duo could top such a hit, but with the 1969 release of “The Boxer,” Simon & Garfunkel cemented their status as folk rock legends as it quickly jumped into Billboard’s Top 10.

The song combines ambient folk sound with the classic layered vocals and acoustic guitar that Simon & Garfunkel are known for.

“Build Me Up Buttercup” by The Foundations

Song Year: 1968

The poppy rhythm and upbeat tone of “Build Me Up Buttercup” is one of the reasons this song from The Foundations has stood the test of time. Whether you’re Gen Z, a millennial, or a product of the baby boom, you’ve heard the song’s infectious beat.

The soul and pop genres come together in this classic love song, featuring nostalgic organ tones, a poppy drum beat, and fun bongo adlibs.

“Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet” by Henry Mancini

Song Year: 1969

The “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet” is unique to other songs on our list. In fact, the song was unique to popular music in 1969. The song is entirely instrumental, featuring a full arrangement by Henry Mancini, including strings and piano. The theme was written for the 1968 film “Rome and Juliet,” based on William Shakespeare’s play.

Many people were shocked that this classical-influenced piece sat on the billboard charts next to the typical pop, rock, and psychedelia songs people enjoyed at the time.

“Get Together” by The Youngbloods

Song Year: 1967

When “Get Together” first appeared on The Youngbloods’ self-titled debut album, it wasn’t incredibly successful. The band had fans, but they wouldn’t see commercial success until 1969 when the song surprisingly jumped in the charts. The jump was likely thanks to the song’s message of peace, hopefulness, and brotherhood, values that the hippie movement held dear.

The folk rock tones of the song perfectly mimicked what hippies wanted in music at the time, even though it was two years early to the movement.

“I Started a Joke” by the Bee Gees

Song Year: 1968

Many people remember the Bee Gees for their disco hit “Stayin Alive,” so the soft rock tune “I Started A Joke” may seem completely out of the left field for the band. Pre-1970s, the band focused on the pop and soft rock genres that people enjoyed.

The song is surprisingly mellow and soulful for a band known for disco, and it’s no surprise the gentle sound of Robin Gibb’s voice secured a spot on our list.

“In the Ghetto” by Elvis Presley

Song Year: 1969

Elvis Presley is most well-known for his 1950s hits as the artist was famously drafted into the military in 1958 and then took a seven-year break from live concerts to focus on his film career. However, in 1968, Presley decided to dive back into the world of recording and performing.

“In the Ghetto” was one of Elvis Presley’s most popular songs on his comeback album. The song blends soft melodies with the story of a child born into poverty.

“One” by Three Dog Night

Song Year: 1968

“One” by Three Dog Night is an interesting addition to this list because it’s a cover of the original song “One” by Harry Nilsson. Even more interesting, the version by Three Dog Night managed to gain more popularity than the original, reaching number five on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969.

The song is famous for its opening lyrics, “One is the loneliest number,” and the fun pop-rock beat.

“Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond

Song Year: 1969

On the same page as “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” is one of those songs you can’t help but sing along to. After just a few beats into the song, you’ll find even the quietest room humming along to the song’s irresistible beat and catchy lyrics.

The song perfectly encapsulates the genres of “Easy Listening” and “Adult Contemporary,” thanks to its cheerful melody, upbeat tone, and soft rock influence.

“My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder

Song Year: 1969

Stevie Wonder is famous for fusing 1960s pop beats with smooth, soulful vocals, and “My Cherie Amour” is no exception. The song features a jazzy guitar overlaid with beautiful horns, strings, and Wonder’s upbeat vocals.

The song is a perfect, simple love song, as its lyrics and song title describes Wonder’s “dear love,” the direct translations of “Cherie Amour.” Endless compliments are peppered throughout the song, which Wonder (along with Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby) wrote about a girlfriend at the time.

“Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” by Jimi Hendrix

Song Year: 1968

1969 was a banner year for Jimi Hendrix, as the musician was not only the star of the 1969 famous and rowdy Woodstock music festival, but Hendrix was also the highest-paid musician at the time.

Although the eerie and poignant performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is typically the song everyone remembers from the music festival, Hendrix followed up with “Voodoo Child,” a single released in 1968. The song was the final track on the 1970 album, “Electric Ladyland.”

“Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Song Year: 1969

Creedence Clearwater Revival is well-known as a band specializing in Southern swamp rock heavily influenced by blues and soul rock. However, many people are surprised to find out the band’s roots aren’t in Alabama or Louisiana but in sunny California instead.

Origins aside, the band perfectly displays the “swamp rock” genre in its 1969 hit “Proud Mary.” A couple of years later, the single would see just as much success as a cover by Ike and Tina Turner.

“Honky Tonk Women” by The Rolling Stones

Song Year: 1969

As one of the most famous rock bands of all time, it’s no surprise The Rolling Stones have at least one song on this list. “Honky Tonk Women” was released as a single with the famous hit song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on its B-Side.

While the latter song fits well with the band’s classic British rock roots, “Honky Tonk Women” stood out as a song showcasing the blues and country influence of classic rock.

“It’s Your Thing” by The Isley Brothers

Song Year: 1969

The psychedelic funk hit “It’s Your Thing” from The Isley Brothers is more than a smooth tune with funky beats. The track served to call out the band’s previous record label, Motown Records. The Isley Brothers left the label after feeling consistently overlooked by the company’s management.

The song’s chorus was a testament to the group’s independence as they thrived outside of their previous management. The funk chords and psychedelic influence combine for an excellent melody.

“Fancy” by Bobbie Gentry

Song Year: 1969

Although country music was popular in the 1960s, rock, blues, and soul were more likely to find their way into the popular music charts. The previous decade was full of country legends, so country music seemed a bit dated for many young people. However, Bobbie Gentry combined classic country rhythm with the progressive women’s liberation movement in “Fancy.”

Notably, Reba McEntire’s 1990s cover of the song “Fancy” became even more popular than the original.

“My Way” by Frank Sinatra

Song Year: 1969

Although the song “My Way” is now inseparable from Frank Sinatra, the song started as a wholly different tune. The original song was French, with lyrics telling the story of a couple growing apart. The song was performed by Claude François in 1967.

A few years later, famous singer-songwriter Paul Anka got a hold of the tune, wrote English lyrics unrelated to the original, and enlisted Frank Sinatra to sing it. The song is well-known as a popular karaoke song.

“These Eyes” by The Guess Who

Song Year: 1969

The Guess Who are one of the most underrated rock bands to come out of the 1960s. The band branched out into garage rock, swamp rock, psychedelic rock, and blues rock. Their hit song “These Eyes” clearly shows the influence of early psychedelic and blues rock.

In addition to psychedelia and blues, the vocals show influence from some of the prominent soul and rhythm and blues artists at the time.

“I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” by Dionne Warwick

Song Year: 1969

Although the song “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” was written for the musical “Promises, Promises,” which debuted in 1968, the song is now synonymous with Dionne Warwick as an artist. Warwick’s version of the song is the most popular and quickly climbed the Billboard Hot 100 to number 6 in 1969.

Warwick released the song as a single in 1969, but the track appeared on an album with the same title in 1970.

Top Songs From 1969, Final Thoughts

The 1960s are one of the most iconic decades thanks to the unique fashion, progressive social movements, and historical moments. The decade was jam-packed with noteworthy events, trends, and music, from the space race to the civil rights movement to Beatlemania.

The music we’ve selected are some of the absolute best songs from 1969.

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