100 Greatest Songs From 1961

Criteria: These songs were chosen and ranked based on their initial and lasting popularity, and on their impact on the overall scope of musical history.

Note: Yearly song lists go by earliest 'release date' (Single, Album, or Country of first release). Not necessarily the year a song peaked in the U.S. charts.

  1. Stand By Me - Ben E. King
  2. Crazy - Patsy Cline
  3. The Wanderer - Dion
  4. Runaround Sue - Dion
  5. Crying - Roy Orbison
  6. Hit The Road Jack - Ray Charles
  7. Runaway - Del Shannon
  8. Quarter To Three - Gary U.S. Bonds
  9. It Will Stand - Showmen
10. Running Scared - Roy Orbison
11. Please Mr. Postman - Marvelettes
12. Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley
13. Hello Mary Lou - Ricky Nelson
14. Blue Moon - Marcels
15. Hey Baby - Bruce Channel
16. Duke Of Earl - Gene Chandler (Dukays)
17. Mother-In-Law - Ernie K. Doe
18. Unchain My Heart - Ray Charles
19. Cupid - Sam Cooke
20. Daddy's Home - Shep & the Limelites
21. I Like It Like That - Chris Kenner
22. The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Tokens
23. I Don't Want To Cry - Chuck Jackson
24. Last Night - Mar-Keys
25. Gypsy Woman - Impressions
26. You Better Move On - Arthur Alexander
27. Let's Go Trippin' - Dick Dale & His Del-Tones
28. The Red Rooster - Howlin' Wolf
29. Baby It's You - Shirelles
30. Barbara Ann - Regents
31. Hurt - Timi Yuro
32. Raindrops - Dee Clark
33. Walk Right Back - Everly Brothers
34. Tossin' And Turnin' - Bobby Lewis
35. Peppermint Twist - Joey Dee & the Starliters
36. Bristol Stomp - Dovells
37. Pony Time - Chubby Checker
38. Let The Four Winds Blow - Fats Domino
39. (Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame - Elvis Presley
40. Night Train - James Brown
41. School Is Out - Gary U.S. Bonds
42. Ya Ya - Lee Dorsey
43. Every Beat of My Heart - Gladys Knight & the Pips
44. Pretty Little Angel Eyes - Curtis Lee
45. Soothe Me - Sims Twins
46. Turn On Your Love Light - Bobby "Blue" Bland
47. My True Story - Jive Five
48. Heart And Soul - Cleftones / Jan & Dean
49. Dear Lady (Twist) - Gary U.S. Bonds
50. Smoky Places - Corsairs
51. Mama Said - Shirelles
52. The Mountain's High - Dick & Dee Dee
53. There's No Other - Crystals
54. I Know - Barbara George
55. Little Sister - Elvis Presley
56. Travelin' Man - Ricky Nelson
57. Moon River - Jerry Butler
58. Please Stay - Drifters
59. Lost Someone - James Brown
60. Surfin' - Beach Boys
61. You Don't Miss Your Water - William Bell
62. It's Gonna Work Out Fine - Ike & Tina Turner
63. Shake Your Moneymaker - Elmore James
64. I Fall To Pieces - Patsy Cline
65. Break It To Me Gently - Brenda Lee
66. Some Kind Of Wonderful - Drifters
67. A Certain Girl - Ernie K-Doe
68. Let's Twist Again - Chubby Checker
69. Hats Off To Larry - Del Shannon
70. Crying In The Rain - Everly Brothers
71. Hideaway - Freddy King
72. Peanut Butter - Marathons
73. A Little Bit of Soap - Jarmels
74. What's Your Name - Don & Juan
75. Let Me In - Sensations
76. Heartaches - Marcels
77. Every Breath I Take - Gene Pitney
78. Look In My Eyes - Chantels
79. Little Egypt - Coasters
80. Bright Lights, Big City - Jimmy Reed
81. I Pity The Fool - Bobby "Blue" Bland
82. Rainin' in My Heart - Slim Harpo
83. Just Out of Reach - Solomon Burke
84. Jambalaya - Fats Domino
85. Sweets For My Sweet - Drifters
86. Watch Your Step - Bobby Parker
87. One Mint Julep - Ray Charles
88. I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song) - Ikettes
89. Poor Fool - Ike & Tina Turner
90. 'Til - Angels
91. When We Get Married - Dreamlovers
92. Tonight (Could Be The Night) - Velvets
93. I Really Love You - Stereos
94. Saved - Lavern Baker
95. Footstompin' - Flares
96. I Hear You Knocking - Fats Domino
97. Dum Dum - Brenda Lee
98. Town Without Pity - Gene Pitney
99. That's What Girls Are Made For - Spinners
100. Take Good Care of My Baby - Bobby Vee
20 more worth mentioning.
101. A Hundred Pounds of Clay - Gene McDaniels
102. You Don't Know What You've Got - Ral Donnner
103. The Boll Weevil Song - Brook Benton
104. This Time - Troy Shondell
105. I Feel So Bad - Elvis Presley
106. If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody - James Ray
107. Trust in Me - Etta James
108. Just Got To Know - Jimmy McCracklin
109. Who Put The Bomp - Barry Mann
110. Buzz Buzz A-Diddle-It - Freddy Cannon
111. Those Oldies But Goodies - Little Caesar & the Romans
112. Tower Of Strength - Gene McDaniels
113. I Love How You Love Me - Paris Sisters
114. Surrender - Elvis Presley
115. Tonight I Fell In Love - Tokens
116. What A Price - Fats Domino
117. Nag - Halos
118. Lover's Island - Blue Jays
119. The Fly - Chubby Checker
120. I Don't Mind - James Brown
DigitalDreamDoor Editor Picks for 1961
An unheralded great record from 1961
Bruce's choice -
* Sweet Jelly Roll - Jessie Hill
Adam's choice -
* Free Me - Johnny Preston
Brett's choice -
* California Sun - Joe Jones

Edited By:
Last Updated: 2009-01-03