1960s Song Meanings

Contemporary music came of age in the 1960s: a decade that began in 1960, the year when Percy Faith’s gorgeous orchestral instrumental “The Theme From ‘A Summer Place'” topped the charts for nine weeks, and ended in 1969 which saw “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In” by The 5th Dimension staying at #1 for six weeks.

In between, music traveled a path marked by hit singles that encompassed the sound of teen idols, girl and R&B harmony groups…mixed in with folk and folk rock…dance, surf and drag, and British Invasion…Motown, Southern, and blue-eyed soul…garage rock, bubblegum, psychedelic, prog rock, blues rock, and jazz rock Music.

Lyrically, pop evolved from traditional boy/girl romance songs to the sophisticated rhythms and rhymes of Burt Bacharach & Hal David, and its subject matter expanded to include social commentary and political protest.

It was truly a decade unlike any other in recorded music, in which every week brought new and exciting sounds that are still popular 50+ years later.

The decade closed out with hip-hop’s ascendance to platinum sales heights and the beginning of the boy band craze.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.