How a record will age is one of the trickiest things to predict. You can make the most jaw-dropping, influential album of you generation and then find out it sounds like a tired relic 10 years down the line. Here, however, are 10 records that have truly stood the test of time. As they hit a whopping half-century this year, we wish a happy 50th birthday to the Class of ’65: what a milestone.
The Zombies, ‘Begin Here’:
Though The Zombies’ debut LP complied with the tendency of the time to include a fair whack of cover versions (Billie Holiday’s ‘Summertime’ and a Smokey Robinson/Sam Cooke medley among them), it also gave us one of their finest ever singles – the sultry, prowling ‘She’s Not There’. As an opening statement, it did just fine.
The Rolling Stones, ‘Out Of Our Heads’:
Comprised mainly of old rhythm and blues covers, ‘Out Of Our Heads’ was demonstrative of an era of prolific releasing and constant creativity. The album was released just eight months after their previous LP and showcased the group’s musical heritage.
The Kinks, ‘Kinda Kinks’:
Though singer Ray Davies has stated that the production on ‘Kinda Kinks’ wasn’t up to par, the songs themselves were more than OK. The album’s glorious centrepiece was the whimsical lament of ‘Tired Of Waiting For You’, while the rest of the record strengthened The Kinks’ position as the country’s prime purveyors of quintessentially British storytelling.
Bob Dylan, ‘Highway 61 Revisited’:
One of the most critically-acclaimed albums of all time, ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ was one of Dylan’s masterworks: a smart and poetic analysis of America set over a driving blues pulse. ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ kicked it off and 11-minute epic ‘Desolation Row’ closed it. The middle tracks were pretty damn special, too.
The Byrds, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man:
The debut album that catapulted the US folk rock group straight into the limelight, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man”s success was largely spurred on by its Number One smash title track. No matter that the single was penned by Dylan (as were many others on the record) – The Byrds’ formula of lush, balmy melodies and layering made it entirely their own.
The Beach Boys, ‘Beach Boys’ Party!’:
Released as a tide-over Christmas LP while the band concentrated on their forthcoming masterwork ‘Pet Sounds’, ‘Beach Boys’ Party!’ was a semi-throwaway record of covers. Nevertheless, it became the band’s highest-charting UK record so far – a few handy Beatles covers (including ‘Tell Me Why’ and ‘I Should Have Known Better’) probably didn’t hurt.
The Beatles, ‘Rubber Soul’:
In 1965, The Beatles were untouchable. Following up the poppy ‘Help!’ with ‘Rubber Soul’ just four months later, it showed a band developing and progressing at an unbelievable rate. From the psychedelia-tinged ‘If I Needed Someone’ to the reflective, poignant ‘In My Life’, ‘Rubber Soul’ is still regarded as one of the group’s finest moments.
Frank Sinatra, ‘September Of My Years’:
Released in the same year as Sinatra’s 50th birthday, ‘September Of My Years’ finds Ol’ Blue Eyes in ponderous form. Featuring now-classics including ‘It Was A Very Good Year’ and the title track, it was a return to form from one of music’s finest ever voices.
The Who, ‘My Generation’:
50 years on and ‘My Generation’ is still a rallying call for youth worldwide. The debut LP for the soon-to-be Mod icons, it distilled 12 tracks of youthful vim into one golden nugget. The album would spark a legendary career that still carries on to this day.
Martha And The Vandellas, ‘Dance Party’:
Featuring the Motown group’s most noted two hits – ‘Dancing In The Street’ and ‘Nowhere To Run’ – ‘Dance Party’ did exactly what it said on the tin. Martha and the gang would go on to release another seven albums, but her joyous ’65 offering remains their peak.