Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? (Bob Dylan)

31 JANUARY 1966


Bob Dylan’s generally overlooked single ‘Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?’ entered the UK charts at #17 (its highest position) during this week. It reached #58 on the US Billboard chart. Hardly a massive hit, but a splendid bit of music nonetheless.

The studio backing band here was the Hawks, later to become The Band, and a classic Dylan sound, all richly-layered guitars, organ, xylophone, piano and harmonica, with inventive but cryptic lyrics.  .
'He looks so truthful, is this how he feels
Trying to peel the moon and expose it
With his businesslike anger and his bloodhounds that kneel
If he needs a third eye he just grows it
He just needs you to talk or to pick up his chalk
Or remember where he throws it.'
This song was included in Nick Hornby's book '31 Songs'. The excellent version here in the video above is from ‘The Bootleg Series’.

Recorded: 30 November 1965
Released: 21 December 1965
Highest chart position: #17 (UK), #58 (US)
Length: 3:32
Writer: Bob Dylan
Producer: Bob Johnston


'He sits in your room, his tomb with a fist full of tacks
Preoccupied with his vengeance
Cursin' the dead that can't answer him back
You know that he has no intentions
Of looking your way, unless it's to say
That he needs you to test his inventions

Hey, come crawl out your window
Use your hands and legs it won't ruin you
How can you say he will haunt you?
You can go back to him any time you want to

He looks so truthful, is this how he feels?
Trying to peel the moon and expose it
With his business-like anger and bloodhounds that kneel
If he needs a third eye he just grows it
He just needs you to talk or to hand him his chalk
Or pick it up after he throws it

Hey, please crawl out your window
Oh, use your hands and legs it won't ruin you
How can you say he will haunt you?
You can go back to him any time you want to

He looks so righteous while your face is so changed
As you sit on the box you keep him in
While his genocide fools and friends rearrange
Their religion of the little ten women
That backs up their views but your face is so bruised
Come on out the dark is just beginning

Hey, please come out your window
Oh, use your hands and legs it won't ruin you
How can you say he will haunt you?
When you can go back to him any time that you want to

You've got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend
If you won't come out your window
Yes, come out your window'

Michelle (David and Jonathan)

30 JANUARY 1966


Bristol pop duo David and Jonathan were at #12 in the UK this week with their version of the Beatles’ ‘Michelle’. Another version of this same song (by the Overlanders) was already at #1, and to tell the truth there’s not a lot of difference between these covers and the original.

There was also two versions of 'Girl', from Rubber Soul, in the charts around this time. I get the impression that producers would run from the record shop to the recording studio with a copy of the latest Beatles' album in their hand and say 'quick, let's put out a single of one of these songs!'

The Overlanders' version of 'Michelle' spent three weeks at #1, and would no doubt have sold even if the same song hadn't also been at #11.

This one was David and Jonathan’s first charting single, peaking at #11 in the UK and #18 in the US. They had one more hit in the UK during 1966 but that was the sum total of the duo's chart success, although they went on to have more songwriting successes under their real names Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook (with big hits for Gene Pitney, the Hollies, Blue Mink, Englebert Humperdinck, among others).

Michelle (David and Jonathan)

'Michelle, ma belle
These are words that go together well
My Michelle

Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble

I love you, I love you, I love you
That's all I want to say
Until I find a way
I will say the only words I know that
You'll understand

Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble

I need to, I need to, I need to
I need to make you see
Oh, what you mean to me
Until I do I'm hoping you will
Know what I mean

I love you

I want you, I want you, I want you
I think you know by now
I'll get to you somehow
Until I do I'm telling you so
You'll understand

Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble

I will say the only words I know
That you'll understand, my Michelle'

Thunderball (Tom Jones)

29 JANUARY 1966


This was not a ‘James Bond year’ as there was no Bond movie released between 1965’s 'Thunderball' and 1967’s 'You Only Live Twice'. However, the ‘Thunderball’ theme song, as recorded by Tom Jones, peaked at #35 in the UK during this week.

This was Jones' eighth single, and he'd already had big hits with 'It's Not Unusual' and 'What's New Pussycat?', but the two singles that preceded this - and the three that followed it - were all flops. His biggest run of success wouldn't begin until the end of 1966 and the 'Green, Green Grass of Home'.

Despite thaving a stirring Bond-style backing and arrangement, and a strong performance from Jones, this is one of the franchise's weaker efforts (although they had the tough job of following up Goldfinger), but the underwater opening titles are quite groovy and very sixties.

Thunderball (Tom Jones)

'He always runs while others walk.
He acts while other men just talk.
He looks at this world, and wants it all,
So he strikes, like Thunderball.
He knows the meaning of success.
His needs are more, so he gives less.
They call him the winner who takes all.
And he strikes, like Thunderball.

Any woman he wants, he'll get.
He will break any heart without regret.
His days of asking are all gone.
His fight goes on and on and on.
But he thinks that the fight is worth it all.
So he strikes like Thunderball.'

Ebb Tide (The Righteous Brothers)

28 JANUARY 1966


‘Ebb Tide’ by the Righteous Brothers (their follow-up to 'Unchained Melody') was at its peak UK chart position of #48 this week. It reached #5 in the US, becoming the best-selling version (but not particularly inspired choice) of a song that had already been recorded many times before (by artists such as the Platters).

Bobby Hatfield recorded this song without Bill Medley. He could not use his own name on the record because under their contract all their songs had to be by the ‘Righteous Brothers’. Earlier singles such as ‘You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling’ prominently featured Medley’s voice, which caused some friction between the duo, and apparently releases like this helped smooth things over. It was produced by Phil Spector.

Ebb Tide (Righteous Brothers)

'First the tide rushes in
Plants a kiss on the shore
Then rolls out to sea and the sea is very still once more
So I rush to your side
Like the oncoming tide with one burning thought
Will your arms open wide?
At last we're face to face
And as we kiss through an embrace
I can tell, I can feel
You are love, you are real
Really mine in the rain, in the dark, in the sun
Like the tide at its ebb
I'm at peace in the web of your arms
Ebb tide'

Michelle (The Overlanders)

27 JANUARY 1966


The Overlanders’ cover of the Beatles song ‘Michelle’ (from the Rubber Soul album) reached #1 in the UK, where it stayed for three weeks.

This was one of those strange mid-’60s cases in which artists rushed to cover songs off new albums by big acts such as the Beatles, and you’d get the same song from different artists in the charts at the same time. In this case, folk/beat group the Overlanders were one of two acts high in the charts with ‘Michelle’ (the other being the duo ‘Jonathan and David’, who were at #12 with this song during this week).

Although the song itself can be a bit dreary, the two covers of it in the top 12 at the same time shows just how popular it was. This was the Overlanders only big hit, although they were actually pretty good and released better material than this.

Michelle (The Overlanders)

'Michelle, ma belle
These are words that go together well
My Michelle

Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble

I love you, I love you, I love you
That's all I want to say
Until I find a way
I will say the only words I know that
You'll understand

Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble

I need to, I need to, I need to
I need to make you see
Oh, what you mean to me
Until I do I'm hoping you will
Know what I mean

I love you

I want you, I want you, I want you
I think you know by now
I'll get to you somehow
Until I do I'm telling you so
You'll understand

Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble

I will say the only words I know
That you'll understand, my Michelle'

My Ship is Coming In (The Walker Brothers)

26 JANUARY 1966


The Walker Brothers’ fourth single (and follow up to their epic #1 'Make It Easy on Yourself') was 'My Ship is Coming In’, which reached its peak UK chart position of #3 this week. It only reached #63 in the US where, despite being an American band, they never enjoyed anywhere near the kind of success they had in the UK.

This song - one of my favourites of theirs - had previously been released in the US in 1965 by soul singer Jimmy Radcliffe but had only reached #163. The Walker Brothers were at their peak during this time, and they totally nail this song with great vocals and brilliant production.

As with most Walker Brothers' video clips, the drummer (Gary Leeds/Walker) with his tiny drum kit looks lost here beside the two singers miming to such a heavily orchestrated song. Then again, he didn’t even play much on their actual recordings.

B-side: 'You're All Around Me'
Recorded: 1965
Released: 26 November 1965 (UK), January 1966 (US)
Highest chart position: #3 (UK), #63 (US)
Length: 3:15 (mono), 2:56 (stereo)
Writer: Joey Brooks
Producer: Ivor Raymonde

My Ship is Coming In (The Walker Brothers)

Wind Me Up (Let Me Go) (Cliff Richard and the Shadows)

25 JANUARY 1966


Cliff Richard and the Shadows' single ‘Wind Me Up (Let Me Go)’ was still in its nine-week run in the UK top 10 (having previously spent three weeks at #2).

They had over twenty Top-5 hits in the UK through this decade, despite making minimal changes to their style and sound since the late 1950s, especially on ballads like this. In 1966, some recording artists were intent on pushing the sonic envelope. Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention both recorded this year, and of course the Beatles would make 'Tomorrow Never Knows', which all sounded like it came from a completely different decade (or planet) to Cliff's material, but there was clearly still a big market for clean-cut, old-fashioned, almost-nursery-rhyme pop like this. And, truth be told, it had its own charms.

Wind Me Up (Let Me Go) (Cliff Richard and the Shadows)

It Won't Be Wrong (The Byrds)

24 JANUARY 1966


‘It Won’t Be Wrong’ was the B-side on the Byrds’ single ‘Set You Free This Time’, as mentioned in an earlier post. After the A-side song had peaked at #79 on the US charts, some radio stations started playing this more up-tempo B-side and the record climbed to #63. 

This was simply a case of releasing further tracks from an album to perk up sales of that album, and while this was a decent track it was never going to be big hit material. The Byrds had two #1 hits in 1965, but they would never breach the top ten again despite continuing to release quality material throughout the 1960s.

The video here is from 5 February 1966 and shows the Byrds looking great while miming ‘It Won’t Be Wrong’ on the very crowded set of the TV show ‘Hollywood A Go Go’ (they kick in around the 1:15 mark.

Recorded: 10, 14-16 September 1965, Columbia Studios, Hollywood
Released: 18 February 1966
Highest chart position: #63 (US)
Length: 1:58
Label: CBS
Writers: Jim McGuinn, Harvey Gerst
Producer: Terry Melcher

It Won’t Be Wrong (The Byrds)

Night Train (James Brown)

23 JANUARY 1966


This record had actually been something of a hit single back in 1962, but when James Brown released his ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ album in January 1966, he included ‘Night Train’ on the A side.

This song had been recorded by various other people since 1951, but Brown used it extensively on tour, changing the lyrics to a shouted list of the places on his tour itinerary.

The garish album cover features the real sentence 'I Got You (I Feel Good) sung by James Brown from his movie Ski Party'. Judging by this clip, there weren't too many soul brothers at that ski lodge.

Anyway, as the YouTube video title above suggests, this is a bit of a ‘soul mod dancer classic’!

B-side: 'Why Does Everything Happen to Me'
Recorded: 9 February 1961, King Studios, Cincinnati
Released: March 1962
Highest chart position: #35 (US, 1962)
Length: 3:35
Label: King 5614
Writer: Oscar Washington, Lewis P. Simpkins, Jimmy Forrest

Night Train (James Brown)

Just Like Me (Paul Revere and the Raiders)

22 JANUARY 1966


Paul Revere and the Raiders’ very solid bit of quality garage rock, ‘Just Like Me’, was at its peak position of #11 on the US Billboard charts this week. It was taken from their album 'Just Like Us'.

The Raiders were the most successful of the garage rock bands from the north-west US scene, and had a string of reasonable hits into the early 1970s (including a #1).

The video above shows them dressed in their trademark Revolutionary War attire while engaging in their usual zany goofball onstage antics. This kind of shtick seems lame (and annoying) today, but it was an approach that earned them several hundred TV appearances, including performing as themselves in an episode of the ‘Batman’ series. It probably also prevented them from being taking too seriously as a rock act, which is a shame because they had one of the heavier guitar sounds of the mid '60s.

B-side: 'B.F.D.R.F. Blues' 
Released: 1965
Highest chart position: #11 (US)
Length: 2:23
Label: Columbia
Writers: Rick Dey and Rich Brown

Just Like Me (Paul Revere and the Raiders)

Coldest Night of the Year (Twice As Much [with Vashti Bunyan])

21 JANUARY 1966


The English sike-pop duo Twice as Much recorded the gorgeous track ‘Coldest Night of the Year’ with folk singer Vashti Bunyan in 1966, although it was not released as an album track until 1968. Even then the album (‘That’s All’) bombed. This song really deserved much better.

One of the great things about this period in music history is going back to discover the large amount of genuinely good songs that you never hear now because they failed to chart, for one reason or other. Maybe it was bad marketing, bad timing, muddy production, whatever. Songs that, if they were re-recorded by a mainstream artist now, would probably sell a million.

This song was written by Mann and Wiel (‘On Broadway’, ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’). Vashti’s vocal performance is what makes this recording so good, although she had zero success as an artist until being ‘rediscovered’ in the 2000s.

Coldest Night of the Year (Twice As Much [with Vashti Bunyan])

Keep on Running (Spencer Davis Group)

20 JANUARY 1966


The Spencer Davis Group reached #1 in the UK charts with the classic mod-rocker ‘Keep on Running’. This was their fifth single and first big hit.

Written by Jamaican songwriter Jackie Edwards, this was originally intended to be a ska track but was transformed during the creative process into a hard R&B song with fuzz guitar.

The group had a string of hit singles before Steve Winwood left the band in 1967 to expand his musical horizons with the psychedelic band Traffic. Check out the voice on Winwood in this video, he was only 17 years old at the time but already sounded like Ray Charles.

B-side: 'High Time Baby'
Released: November 1965
Highest chart position: #1 (UK), #76 (US)
Label: Fontana TF632 (UK); Atco 45-6400 (US)
Writer: Jackie Edwards
Producer: Chris Blackwell

Keep on Running (Spencer Davis Group)

If I Needed Someone (The Hollies)

19 JANUARY 1966


The Hollies’ version of the Beatles ‘If I Needed Someone’ (from the ‘Rubber Soul’ album) was at its peak UK chart position of #20.

George Harrison, who wrote this song, publicly criticised it, saying: 
'They’ve spoilt it. The Hollies are all right musically, but the way they do their records, they sound like session men who’ve just got together in a studio without ever seeing each other before.'
Graham Nash of the Hollies replied by saying: 
'Not only do these comments disappoint and hurt us, but we are sick of everything the Beatles say or do being taken as law. The thing that hurts us most is George Harrison’s knock at us as musicians. And I would like to ask this. If we have made such a disgusting mess of his brainchild song, will he give all the royalties from our record to charity?'
Harrison’s criticism was probably a bit harsh, given that his own standard as a singer/songwriter (to this point) was no better than merely ‘alright’. ‘If I Needed Someone’ was his first decent songwriting effort and even then he nicked the guitar hook from the Byrds’ ‘Bells of Rhymney’. Still, the Hollies' version does sound a bit under-produced and failed to hit their usual Top 10 placing on the charts. They would, however, be releasing much better material later in the year.

B-side: 'I've Got a Way of My Own'
Recorded: 17 November 1965, EMI Studios, London
Released: 3 December 1965
Highest chart positions: #20 (UK)
Length: 2:19
Label: Parlophone
Writer: George Harrison
Producer: Ron Richards

 If I Needed Someone (The Hollies)

Can't Help Thinking About Me (David Bowie and the Lower Third)

18 JANUARY 1966


An 18-year-old singer named David Bowie and his band The Lower Third released their single ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’ on 14 January 1966. The mod-freakbeat band split up a few weeks later, and the single failed to chart.

This was actually Bowie's fourth single release since his failed debut in 1964. He kept plugging away but was still three years away from his first hit song 'Space Oddity' (which was actually his tenth release), and which he followed up with another seven non-charting singles. So Bowie had just one hit out of his first 17 singles released, which shows some remarkable persistence. His breakthrough to super-stardom with 'Ziggy Stardust' did not happen until 1972.
B-side: 'And I Say to Myself'
Recorded: 10 December 1965, Pye Studios, London
Released: 14 January 1966
Highest chart position: Did not chart
Length: 2:47
Label: Pye Records (UK) / Warner Bros. (US)
Pye 7N 17020 (UK) WB 5815 (US)
Writer: David Bowie
Producer: Tony Hatch

Can’t Help Thinking About Me (David Bowie and the Lower Third)

The Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel)

17 JANUARY 1966


Simon and Garfunkel’s breakthrough album ‘The Sounds of Silence’ was released in the USA on this date. The UK version featured such tracks as ‘Kathy’s Song, ‘Homeward Bound’ and ‘I am a Rock’.

The title track had already been released on their 1964 album, which had flopped and led to the break-up of the duo in early 1965. However, the song continued to receive airplay and grew in popularity, and was released as a remixed single in October 1965 without Simon or Garfunkel’s knowledge. It climbed the charts, leading to the reformation of the duo and the recording of the new album. The single ‘The Sound of Silence’ (not 'Sounds') hit #1 in the US at the beginning of 1966 and has become an undisputed classic.

The song has since been used in numerous movie soundtracks since then, mostly famously in 'The Graduate' in 1968.

B-side: 'We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin''
Recorded: 10 March 1964, Columbia Studios, New York City; 15 June 1965
Released: Original recording: October 1964; Overdubbed version: 13 September 1965
Highest chart positions: #9 (UK), #1 (US) (overdubbed version) 
Length: 3:05
Label: Columbia
Writer: Paul Simon
Producer: Tom Wilson

The Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel)

Five O'Clock World (The Vogues)

16 JANUARY 1966


Pennsylvanian vocal band The Vogues’ very splendid single ‘Five O’Clock World’ was at its peak position of #4 on the US Billboard charts during this week.

As far as I know, this was not a hit in the UK. If true, this shows how songs that are considered great now could sometimes fly under the radar on the international market.

The popularity of ‘Five O’Clock World’ has gained much-deserved longevity after being featured in movies such as ‘Good Morning Vietnam’, and on TV as the theme for the ‘Drew Carey Show’.

B-side: 'Nothing to Offer You'
Released: October 1965
Highest chart position: #4 (US)
Length: 2:19
Label: Co & Ce
Writer: Allen Reynolds
Producers: Nick Cenci / Tony Moon

Five O’Clock World (The Vogues)

Tears (Ken Dodd)

15 JANUARY 1966


In the 1960s, you were just as likely to find Ken Dodd or Val Doonican in the Top Ten as you were to find the Beatles or the Stones there. In fact, this song ‘Tears’ spent SEVENTEEN WEEKS in the Top Ten, five of them at #1, and it was the top-selling UK single of 1965. It seems incredible now, but this was also the third best-selling UK record of the entire 1960s. 

'Tears' sounded very much like a 1940s-style arrangement, which just goes to show that not only young people bought records. This was the kind of thing grandmothers around Britain would have listened to over a nice cup of tea.

Ken's career as a zany comedian and children’s TV entertainer continued long after he scored almost twenty Top-40 hits over 15 years.

B-side: 'You and I'
Released: August 1965
Highest chart position: #1 (UK)
Length: 2:52
Label: Columbia DB 7659
Writers: Billy Uhr, Frank Capano
Producer: Norman Newell

Tears (Ken Dodd)

I Left My Heart in San Francisco (Tony Bennett)

14 JANUARY 1966


Tony Bennett’s landmark hit ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’ was at its peak UK chart position of #25. It was a bit of a slow burner, having been released there about six months earlier. If Tony ever dies - and I’m not convinced that he will - you can bet that this song will feature prominently in the news bulletins.

This song had been written back in 1953 (by Cory and Cross in Brooklyn, New York) but it was not recorded and released until 1962 (by Bennett), when it reached #7 in the US charts. This 'Adult Contemporary' track was a nice enough bit of tinkly-piano crooning from Bennett, but sounded like it could easily have been released ten years earlier.

This is just one of dozens of songs about the city (the name does roll nicely off the tongue), with quite a few being hits emerging in the late 1960s as San Francisco famously became the centre of the hippy movement.

B-side: 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco'
Recorded: 23 January 1962
Released: 2 February 1962
Highest chart position: #25 (UK, 1966), #7 (US, 1962)
Length: 2:52
Label: Columbia
Writers: George Cory, Douglass Cross
Producer: Ernie Altschuler

I Left My Heart in San Francisco (Tony Bennett)

We Can Work it Out (The Beatles)

13 JANUARY 1966


The Beatles’ ‘Day Tripper’/’We Can Work it Out’ double-A side was still at No.1 in the UK. It has been claimed that this was the first ever double-A side record. It was also the band’s 11th #1 hit in under two years!

‘We Can Work It Out’ was their most ‘mature’ single release to date, and was in keeping with the general tone of their recent ‘Rubber Soul’ album. It probably wouldn't have made #1 without being packaged with 'Day Tripper'. 

As he later recalled, McCartney wrote the words and music to the verses and the chorus, and then took the song to Lennon:
‘I took it to John to finish it off, and we wrote the middle together. Which is nice: 'Life is very short. There's no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.' Then it was George Harrison's idea to put the middle into 3/4 time, like a German waltz.’
A-side: 'Day Tripper'
Recorded: 16 October 1965, EMI Studios, London
Released: 3 December 1965 (UK), 6 December 1965 (US)
Highest chart position: #1 (UK), #5 (US)
Length: 2:50
Label: Parlophone (UK), Capitol (US)
Writers: Lennon-McCartney
Producer: George Martin

We Can Work it Out (The Beatles)

I Hear a Symphony (The Supremes)

12 JANUARY 1966


The Supremes’ single ‘I Hear a Symphony’ reached its peak UK chart position of #39 on this day, a surprisingly low position since it had been their sixth #1 hit over on the US Hot 100 Billboard charts.

This song was a follow-up to ‘Nothing But Heartaches’ which had ‘only’ reached #11 in the US and prompted Motown boss Berry Gordy to circulate this memo to his staff:
‘We will release nothing less than Top Ten product on any artist; and because the Supremes' world-wide acceptance is greater than the other artists, on them we will only release number-one records.’
Judging by their subsequent successes, it looks like the memo worked. This song was nice enough, but probably slightly overproduced, as though Motown were trying just a bit too hard with the Supremes.

B-side: 'Who Could Ever Doubt My Love'
Recorded: Hitsville U.S.A. (Studio A); 22, 28-30 September 1965
Released: 6 October 1965
Highest chart positions: #39 (UK), #11 (US)
Length: 2:40 (original), 3:55 (remastered) 
Label: Motown, M 1083
I Hear a Symphony (The Supremes)

The Carnival is Over (The Seekers)

11 JANUARY 1966


A song that can occasionally reduce Australians of a certain age to a blubbering mess, the Seekers’ ‘The Carnival is Over’ was still in the UK charts on this day, having been #1 prior to the release of ‘Day Tripper’.

The band was rather conservative in style but sounded very good together, had great arrangements, and of course Judith Durham was a brilliant singer. In later decades they would draw emotional responses from audiences whenever they played this song at the end of each concert in what seemed to be a long sequence of ‘farewell tours’ (the group first disbanded in 1968 but have reformed for tours and special events many times, the latest being in 2014).

This video, shot in 1967, shows the band determinedly holding on to their sensible side-parting haircuts and suburban middle-class mannerisms as the pop world went crazy around them.

Released: 1965
Highest chart position: #1 (UK), #105 (US), #1 (Aus)
Label: Columbia DB 7711
Writer: Tom Springfield (lyrics only)
Producer: Tom Springfield

The Carnival is Over (The Seekers)

Set You Free This Time (The Byrds)

10 JANUARY 1966


The ballad ‘Set You Free This Time’ - a country-tinged song from the Byrds’ album ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ - was released in the USA, where it only reached #79 on the charts. Some reviewers felt this song was perhaps a bit too slow and understated to ever be a big hit and that the up-tempo B-side ‘It Won’t Be Wrong’ was better, and so most radio stations started playing the other side instead of this and the single subsequently climbed to #63.

In the UK the record was initially released with 'Set You Free This Time’ as the A-side before being reissued two weeks later with 'It Won't Be Wrong' as the A-side, causing confusion at radio stations that contributed to the song not charting there.

‘Set You Free’ was written and gorgeously sung by the late great Gene Clark, who was at the time the Byrds' chief songwriter, baritone, and general tambourine man. He left the group in early 1966 because of internal squabbles and his chronic fear of flying. The Byrds were never quite as good without him. They still put out some excellent material, but 1965-'66 with Clark was their commercial and critical heyday.

Recorded: 16 September 1965, Columbia Studios, Hollywood
Released: 10 January 1966
Highest chart position: #63 (US)
Length: 2:49
Label: Columbia
Writer: Gene Clark
Producer: Terry Melcher

Set You Free This Time (The Byrds)

Here it Comes Again (The Fortunes)

9 JANUARY 1966


Birmingham band The Fortunes' ‘Here it Comes Again’ was a sumptuous and superbly-produced piece of dramatic heartbreak pop, on its way out of the UK charts during this week. It had previously peaked at #4 (and #27 on the US Billboard chart).

This was just about the last of their short string of hits (in the 1960s at least), and is more Dusty Springfield than Rolling Stones, but this kind of dramatic, orchestrated guitar pop is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine.

True story: Their manager, Reginald Calvert, ran a pirate radio station, and in 1966 he was killed (in self defence) by the owner of a rival offshore radio station.

B-side: 'Things I Should Have Known'
Released: 10 September 1965
Highest chart positions: #4 (UK), #27 (US)
Length: 03:13
Label: Decca
Writers: Barry Mason, Les Reed
Producer: Noel Walker

Here it Comes Again (The Fortunes)

It's My Life (The Animals)

8 JANUARY 1966


The Animals’ excellent ‘It’s My Life’ was still in the UK Top 30. The cool and moody musical arrangement has strange and edgy lyrics that I always thought were about a young poor man setting out to be something of a gigolo for old rich women. After all, Eric Burdon sings about -
‘It’s a hard world, to get a break in
All the good things have been taken
But girl there are ways
To make certain things pay’
He goes on to say -

‘There'll be women and their fortunes
Who just want to mother orphans
Are you gonna cry
When I'm squeezing them dry?
Taking all I can get
No regrets.’
This performance clip from the US show ‘Hullabaloo’ is a bit weird, with women’s heads ‘mounted’ on the wall like trophies.

B-side: 'I'm Going to Change the World'
Recorded: 1965
Released: October 1965
Highest chart position: #7 (UK), #23 (US)
Length: 3:09
Label: Columbia (UK), MGM (US)
Writers: Roger Atkins, Carl D'Errico
Producer: Mickie Most

It's My Life (The Animals)

Rescue Me (Fontella Bass)

7 JANUARY 1966


Fontella Bass’ single ‘Rescue Me’ dipped out of the UK Top 10. This great slab of brassy and bassy Chicago soul reached #4 on the US Billboard charts (and #1 on the R&B charts).

‘Rescue Me' was recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago, and with its heavy bass and brass, the sound was much more Stax than Motown.

Fontella had a handful of top 30 hits in the US during ’65-’66, and this was her biggest seller.

The video above features an excellent live vocal performance from Fontella.

B-side: 'Soul of the Man'
Recorded: Chess Studios, Chicago
Released: 25 September 1965
Highest chart position: #11 (UK), #4 (US)
Length: 2:51
Label: Chess
Writers: Raynard Miner, Carl Smith; Fontella Bass (disputed)
Producer: Billy Davis

Rescue Me (Fontella Bass)

Get Off Of My Cloud (The Rolling Stones)

6 JANUARY 1966


The Rolling Stones' single ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’ was still in the UK Top 30. One of my favourite Stones' tracks, mainly because of the excellent rapid-fire drumming, but apparently Keith Richards never thought much of this song, which he felt was rushed out as a follow-up to their classic hit 'Satisfaction'.

Lyrically, it was a typically negative (for the time) Stones' song, and Jagger said that ‘It's a stop-bugging-me, post-teenage-alienation song. The grown-up world was a very ordered society in the early '60s, and I was coming out of it. America was even more ordered than anywhere else. I found it was a very restrictive society in thought and behavior and dress.’

The video performance shown above is from 1965.

B-side: 'I'm Free' (US), 'The Singer Not the Song' (UK)
Recorded: 6–7 September 1965, RCA Studios, Hollywood
Released: 25 September 1965 (US), 22 October 1965 (UK)
Highest chart positions: #1 in UK and US
Length: 2:55
Label: Decca F12263; London 45-LON 9792
Writers: Jagger/Richards
Producer: Andrew Loog Oldham

Get Off My Cloud (Rolling Stones)

Positively 4th Street (Bob Dylan)

5 JANUARY 1966


Bob Dylan’s ‘Positively 4th Street’ was now moving down the UK charts after peaking at #8. Much like his previous single - ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ - this was a gorgeous bit of music matched with bitter and derisive lyrics. It felt like Dylan was using his stardom to settle old scores and put people down. It was obviously aimed at someone he knew, but nobody was quite sure who and so it ended up offending a lot of people who thought it was about them.

In terms of contemporary influence, Dylan was very much royalty at this time, and the UK and US charts of 1966 were full of songs he had written, with their gorgeously rich music and biting lyrics, although most of these were cover versions by other artists.

Dylan’s people work hard to keep his stuff off YouTube, so here is Johnny Rivers' 1968 version of ‘Positively 4th Street’, the one that Dylan actually preferred to his own.

B-side: 'From a Buick 6'
Released: September 7, 1965
Highest chart positions: #8 (UK), #7 (US)
Recorded: July 29, 1965
Length: 3:54
Label: Columbia 43389
Writer: Bob Dylan
Producer: Bob Johnston

Positively 4th Street (Bob Dylan)

Turn, Turn, Turn (The Byrds)

4 JANUARY 1966


The Byrd’s ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ was still in the UK Top 50 charts. It had peaked at a surprisingly low #26 there, and had been #1 on the US Billboard charts.

This song was written by the great Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. The lyrics, except for the title, and the final verse of the song, are adapted word-for-word from Chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. It holds a record as being the US #1 hit with the oldest lyrics, theoretically being authored by King Solomon himself.

The ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ album was their second album after ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ and their last 'straight' folk-rock album in that style. After this time the band personnel changed with vocalist and chief songwriter Gene Clark leaving, and the band exploring new sounds, most notably psychedelia and country-rock. They did turn out some excellent songs later, but 1965-'66 was their commercial peak and the time when they made some of the most gorgeous folk-rock jangle music of the 1960s. And they looked great, too.

Released: October 1, 1965
Highest chart position: #26 (UK), #1 (US)
Recorded: September 1, 10, 14–16, 1965, Columbia Studios, Hollywood, California
Length: 3:49
Label: Columbia
Writer: Pete Seeger (words from the Book of Ecclesiastes)
Producer: Terry Melcher

Turn, Turn, Turn (The Byrds)

A Lover's Concerto (The Toys)

3 JANUARY 1966


New York girl group The Toys enjoyed the biggest hit of their career with this song in late 1965, and it was still high in the charts at the start of 1966, reaching #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart (and #1 on Cashbox), and #5 in the UK.

The melody was based on Minuet in G major by 18th-century composer Christian Petzold. That had been popularised in the 1940s by bandleader Freddy Martin under the title 'A Lover's Concerto'. The songwriters Linzer and Randell simply added the lyrics and gave it a slight Motown lilt.

This proved to be the Toys only Top Ten hit and the group disbanded in 1968.

B-side: 'This Night'
Released: 24 August 1965
Highest chart position: #5 (UK), #2 (US)
Length: 2:36
Producers: Linzer and Randell

A Lover's Concerto (The Toys)

My Generation (The Who)

2 JANUARY 1966


The Who’s wild single ‘My Generation’ was still in the UK Top 10, after peaking at #2 some weeks before. Despite only reaching #74 in the US, this is one of the legendary songs of the ‘60s, embodying the heavy turn that rock was taking at that time. Punk before punk. Elvis would never have sung ‘Hope I die before I get old’.

Why did Daltrey sing this song with a stutter? One story is that the song began as a slow-talking blues number without the stutter, but Townshend reworked the song after being inspired by John Lee Hooker's ‘Stuttering Blues’. Another story is that it was intended to sound like a Mod on speed. It has also been suggested that the stutter implied an expletive in the lyrics: ‘Why don't you all fff... fade away!’ Daltrey has also said that he had not rehearsed prior to recording, was nervous, and was unable to hear his own voice through the monitors. The stutter came about as he tried to fit the lyrics to the music as best he could, and the band decided it worked well. The BBC initially refused to play ‘My Generation’ because it did not want to offend people who stutter, but reversed its decision after the song became more popular.

B-side: 'Shout and Shimmy' (UK), 'Out in the Street' (USA) 
Recorded: 13 October 1965, IBC Studios, London
Released: 29 October 1965 (UK), 5 November 1965 (US)
Highest chart positions: #2 (UK), #74 (US)
Length: 3:18
Label: Brunswick 05944 (UK), Decca 31877 (US) 
Writer: Pete Townshend
Producer: Shel Talmy

My Generation (The Who)

Day Tripper (The Beatles)

1 JANUARY 1966


The year opened as it always should, with the Beatles at #1 in the charts. Their ‘Day Tripper’/’We Can Work it Out’ double-A side was now in its third of five weeks at the top. This was apparently the first double-A side single ever released, the result of a dispute over which song to feature.

This single came out on the same day as their album ‘Rubber Soul’, yet neither of these songs were on that album. The creative output of the Beatles was so prolific that a lot of their biggest hit singles usually weren't even on albums.

‘Day Tripper’ did not sound like any other song on the acoustic-tinged ‘Rubber Soul’, with its prominent guitar lead following the earlier style of 'I Feel Fine' and 'Ticket To Ride'. The lyrics were also thematically similar to the latter song - at least on the surface. McCartney later admitted it was about drugs:
'Day Tripper was to do with tripping. Acid was coming in on the scene, and often we'd do these songs about 'the girl who thought she was it'... But this was just a tongue-in-cheek song about someone who was a day tripper, a Sunday painter, Sunday driver, somebody who was committed only in part to the idea. Whereas we saw ourselves as full-time trippers, fully committed drivers, she was just a day tripper.'
Recorded: 16 October 1965, EMI Studios, London
Released: 3 December 1965 (UK), 6 December 1965 (US)
Highest chart position: #1 (UK), #5 (US)
Length: 2:50
Label: Parlophone (UK), Capitol (US)
Writers: Lennon-McCartney
Producer: George Martin

Day Tripper (The Beatles)

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