Best Song Of The 60s? Musicians Reveal Their Favourites

As part of NME’s 60th birthday celebrations, we announced our top 100 Greatest Songs Of The 60s. Head over now for as definitive a countdown it’s possible to make in perhaps the greatest decade of music. And don’t forget our 100 best songs of the 50s list too. Here some familiar faces offer their picks for the best 60s track.

Matt Helders

The Beatles, ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’
I like the feel of it. It’s a good one to sing along to, too. I like all the Beatles tracks so that will probably change tomorrow. I like the Beatles and the Stones, but if it came down to it I’d choose the Beatles.


Happiness is a warm gun from Martin Levi on Vimeo.

Bethany Cosentino, Best Coast
Patsy Cline, ‘Crazy’
She’s my favourite artist from the sixties. Her voice is what draws me to her. She wrote songs that were very honest and very relatable. A lot of her songs were about relationships and heartache and life, and I think that I feel a connection to that because that’s what I lean towards writing about as well, but if anything her voice is just one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard.

John Lydon

The Kinks, ‘You Really Got Me’
My favourite record from the 60s? No, I couldn’t do that. I love so much so consistently, but there are some records I don’t play for years and years and years, and then suddenly on a whim it’s the most perfect opportunity.

I love The Kinks. I think Ray Davies is a stunning lyricist, a proper British poet. Amazing, fine, pen-to-paper, fantastic stuff. So it would be probably heading towards him. Yet The Kinks aren’t a band I play a lot at home. I just rate his words so highly. They’re up there with some of the finest writing. They have a very poignant place in music for me. If you’re saying lyric writing and we’re on The Kinks, though, the best lyric isn’t a lyric, it’s the guitar playing in ‘You Really Got Me’, which is a lyric in itself. The words become secondary to that tour de force sound.

James Allan

The Ronettes, ‘Be My Baby’
This is not only my favourite song of the 1960s, but my favourite song in popular music history. Between Ronnie’s words, the bass line, the strings, the drum beat and castanets, the song is a window to the youth culture of the day. All hail Phil Spector.
Jack Steadman, Bombay Bicycle Club

Jone Mitchell, ‘Cactus Tree’

What I found so refreshing about it is that she was just so confident in her record. You can hear it in the way she sings. She’s saying ‘this is me, I’m fucking badass and I’m a genius and these are my songs’ and there’s this sort of assurance she has and it’s really inspiring. It takes a lot of bands a long time to get that confident.

I’ve watched videos of her from before she released any records and you can just see it in her face and her emotion. She knows what she’s got.

But to be honest, that’s not really what I like about the song, I think it’s just reminds me of someone I liked when I was like 16. You know when you sort of attach a song to a person, and you feel like if you listen to it you feel like you can never betray the connection between the song and the person. You promise yourself that whenever you listen to it, it belongs to that person in your life. So that’s why it’s my favourite song.

NME’s 100 Best Tracks Of The 60s

NME’s 100 Best Tracks Of The 50s