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WHY MUSIC WAS BETTER IN THE 60S

I'm 20 years old, and in the words of Brian Wilson: "I just wasn't made for these times." I think I was made for the Sixties. Not for hippy-dom or for any cultural changes that were birthed during that era (down with feminism!), but rather for the MUSIC!!! Instead of scantily clad girls gyrating to voices that aren't even theirs, or a guy who is hailed as "brilliant" because he can rhyme, give me the groups who actually knew how to make music. Here is a short but sturdy list of songs, bands and albums that have firmly convinced me that music was far better in the groovy days of our Fathers:
  1. The Beatles
    They hit their stride in the mid 60's They were past the lovey-dovey "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" stage, and they hadn't been corrupted by all that Hare-Krishna rot that tainted the work of latter years. Songs like "Eleanor Rigby," "Day Tripper," and "Paperback Writer" are simply huge. Most would say that The Beatles were by far the most influential band in the history of music, and any that disagree are just, well, wrong.
  2. The Monkees
    The only knock-off band that was ever worth their salt. They were charmingly shameless. Two of the four couldn't even play instruments, but all the same, they were infectious. Toss in an overly kitschy TV show, a feature film directed by Jack Nicholson that has been described as "A Hard Day's Night on acid," and you have a group of guys that still have huge fans. Including me. Highlights: "Monkees Theme (Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees)" "Words," "Randy Scouse Git" and the ever-amazing "Porpoise Song."
  3. Simon and Garfunkel
    The men are kings. No one else found that perfect blend of spine-tingling harmony, meaningful but humorous lyrics, and the big hair. Just "The Sound of Silence" alone is enough to put them on my "admired artist" list, but add to that "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)," "Mrs. Robinson," "I Am a Rock," and "Homeward Bound," and you've got a musical haven.
  4. The Turtles
    Classic, fun, catchy rock. The cowbell on "Outside Chance" gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. Their sound varies deliciously from song to song, not allowing any sort of musical sediment. They also showed us that any song can be improved with a few "Ba ba ba's" in the bridge. Try humming a few bars of "Happy Together" and see what happens.
  5. The Beach Boys
    Ok, so bypass all the "Surfer Dude" stuff, and Brian Wilson is a master at creating sheer magic in a California studio. His music was nothing hyped, nothing extremely technical, just the rambling of a guy who knew what sounded good. Get "Pet Sounds" and listen to it through some good, loud speakers. The details boggle the mind. Wonderful creative inspiration without artsy fluff. Priceless.
I could go on, listing amazing artists like Herman's Hermits, The Guess Who (although they barely caught the end of the 60's), James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and other genii of musical bliss, but I did say at the beginning that it was going to be a short list. Go raid your parents' old records, (or grandparents' if need be) and discover what GOOD music sounds like. Peace out.
- Melissa Miles
August 2003
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