9 of the Best Feel-Good Songs from the ’60s

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Coming into the decade, things looked bleak for music in the 1960s. On February 3, 1959, a plane crashed, killing Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. It was the day the music died. And even before that, Elvis Presley, “The King,” had been drafted in 1958. To put it simply, music needed new heroes. And thankfully, the ’60s delivered.

So, in honor of the triumphant return of music in the ’60s, check out just nine of the best feel-good songs from those 10 years below.

1. “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison (1967)

We’re just laughin’ and a-runnin’, skippin’ and a-jumpin’ when we hear this song. “Brown Eyed Girl” is 55 years old this year, and it has remained widely popular as Morrison’s signature song. There’s simply no excuse for not dancing, or at least wiggling a little, to this tune.

2. “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles (1969)

Talk about a song that will get stuck in your head. “Here Comes The Sun” dropped at the end of the decade and those doo-doo-doo-doos have lingered long since then. So everyone, thank the late George Harrison for writing the tune and bringing us a slice of the sun.

3. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (1967)

Who doesn’t love this duet between Gaye and Terrell? It has all the emotional highs and lows like the mountains and valleys its lyrics boast of. ‘Cause baby, there ain’t no mountain high enough/ Ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough/ To keep me from getting to you, baby.

4. “Surfin’ U.S.A.” by The Beach Boys (1963)

The Beach Boys. One of the only American pop/rock bands to survive and thrive in the midst of the British Invasion. (Yes, we’re talking about you Brits again, John, Paul, George, and Ringo.) This song in particular, “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” helped boost The Beach Boys’ popularity in the ’60s as it became synonymous with the California sound.

5. “Do You Believe in Magic” by the Lovin’ Spoonful (1965)

Oh, we believe in the magic of music. Do you?

6. “Build Me Up Buttercup” by The Foundations (1968)

This song by The Foundations tells the story of a narrator who loves a woman more than she can reciprocate. So, while the lyrics aren’t necessarily the most uplifting, its sound is so bubbly that we just can’t help but root for the lovesick singer.

7. “This Magic Moment” by The Drifters (1960)

The song captures a mere moment between two lovers, but it was a moment that transcended time. “This Magic Moment,” written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, has persisted in popular culture for generations thanks to its perfectly sweet account of love.

This magic moment
While your lips are close to mine
Will last forever
Forever, ’til the end of time
.

8. “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond (1969)

This is a song wholeheartedly embraced by nearly everyone. You often hear “Sweet Caroline” at sports games, packed bars and breweries, weddings, and father-daughter dances. No one can escape the chant of so good, so good, so good, and why would you want to?

9. “I Say a Little Prayer” by Aretha Franklin (1968)

Franklin covered “I Say a Little Prayer” in 1968, just a year after Dionne Warwick released the original version. Both versions made it to the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remain fan favorites for both singers.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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