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The Best 1960s Road Trip Playlist for 2020

Things to remember...

  • The 60s introduced the world to one of music’s most legendary bands: The Beatles
  • This hippie-era playlist will bring you plenty of good vibes as you soak up the sunshine and feel the love on your next road trip
  • Mixing things up with cross-decade playlists is a great way to keep your journey dynamic and entertaining

The 1960s mark a conflicting time in history for the United States. There was a lot of political uprising and radical social movements that gave way to greater equality and even saw many young people dropping out of the political sphere altogether and becoming part of the Free Love movement.

John Lennon of The Beatles described the decade by saying, “The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.”

Our top 60’s music playlist spotlights decade-defining artists and thought-provoking lyrics that will give you plenty to mull over and sing along to on your next road trip.

Table of Contents

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Now, onto the tunes!

The Top 1960’s Road Trip Songs


1. Everybody’s Talkin’ – Harry Nilsson

2. House of the Rising Sun – The Animals

3. These Boots are Made for Walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra

4. Surfin’ U.S.A. – The Beach Boys

America’s answer to the Beatles, the Beach Boys started as a garage band in 1961 in Hawthorne, CA. Their first top-ten single, “Surfin’ U.S.A.”, embodies the long romanticized West Cost lifestyle, and the single rode the waves of the Billboard charts for 25 weeks.

Not only did the song become quintessential to California sound, but it also made it onto The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.

5. Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison 

5. Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl

7. Come Together – The Beatles

Of course, you can’t talk about the Sixties without mentioning The Beatles. The lasting impression John, Paul, George, and Ringo left on the world is still evident today. From Liverpool, 1960, to 2020, there’s no denying that England’s crown jewel of music is still worth listening to and learning from.

“Come Together” was written by John Lennon and serves as a “political rallying cry writer, psychologist and pro-drugs activist Timothy Leary.” as explained by thebeatlesbible.com.

The open voice against Ronald Reagan’s campaign for the governor of California was something unprecedented in music, and The Beatles stood as a symbol of confidence and unification for the global youth.

8. Hit the Road Jack – Ray Charles

9. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

10. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

11. I’m a Believer – The Monkees

12. I Heard it Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

13. Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys

14. I Say a Little Prayer – Aretha Franklin

15. Do You Love Me – The Contours

16. Fly Me to the Moon – Frank Sinatra, Count Basie

17. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

18. To Love Somebody – Bee Gees

19. The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel

20. Stuck on You – Elvis Presley

“Stuck on You” was Presley’s first release after serving two-years in the U.S. Army. It went on to become his 10th #1 single of 1960 and 13th overall.

The King would go on to release two more #1 hits the same year: “Are You Lonesome To-Night?” and It’s Now or Never”.

21. Come See About Me – The Supremes

22. I Got You Babe – Sonny & Cher

23. Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head – B.J. Thomas, Burt Bacharach

24. Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys

25. Be My Baby – The Ronettes

26. You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes

The 1960s was a bright time for female artists. The rise of powerful girl groups like The Supremes gave a voice to  a new generation of women.

The Supremes were signed to Motown Records and produced a total of 12 #1 hits throughout their music career, including the 1966 pop classic “You Can’t Hurry Love”. Billboard listed the song at #19 on its “100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time” list. 

27. Happy Together – The Turtles

28. The Twist – Chubby Checker

29. Hey Jude

30. Tossin’ and Turnin’ – Bobby Lewis

31. I Want to Hold Your Hand – The Beatles

32. I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You – Ray Charles

33. Sugar, Sugar – The Archies

A digital phenomenon of the Sixties, The Archies were a virtual garage band comprised of the main characters from the Archie TV series.

Based out of the fictional town of Riverdale, the group featured Archie Andrews as the lead vocalist and guitarist alongside his friends Jughead Jones on the drums, Betty Cooper on the tambourine, Veronica Lodge on the organ, and classmate Reggie Mantle on the bass. The band was conducted by Jughead’s dog, Hot Dog.

34. My Girl – The Temptations

35. (What a) Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

36. Respect – Aretha Franklin

37. Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan

38. Let the Sunshine In – The 5th Dimension

39. It’s in the Kiss – Betty Everett

40. Leader of the Pack – The Shangri-Las

41. (Love is Like a) Heat Wave – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas

42. I Heard it Through the Grapevine – Gladys Knight & The Pips

43. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell

44. Sherry – Frank Valli & The Four Seasons

45. Stand By Me – Ben E. King

46. Down on the Corner – Creedence Clearwater Revival

47. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield

48. The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh) – The Tokens

This song has appeared in countless movies, and now it’s more ironically scream-sung than genuinely appreciated, but the truth of the matter is that The Tokens enjoyed 15 weeks on the Billboard charts in 1961, three of which were spent at the very top.

49. Sunny – Bobby Hebb

50. Everlasting Love – Love Affair 

51. Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash

52. All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

53. For Once in My Life – Stevie Wonder

54. Chapel of Love – The Dixie Cups

55. I Get Around – The Beach Boys

56. Hey Now – Lesley Gore

57. Please Mr. Postman – The Marvelettes

58. Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations

59. It’s My Party – Lesley Gore 

60. My Guy – Mary Wells

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  1. https://www.history.com/topics/1960s
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_love
  3. https://spinditty.com/genres/Defining-music-of-the-1960s-its-characteristics-and-great-songs-from-the-era
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beach_Boys
  5. https://www.billboard.com/music/the-beach-boys/chart-history/hot-100/song/338500
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surfin%27_U.S.A._(song)
  7. https://www.infoplease.com/arts-entertainment/music/lasting-influence-beatles
  8. https://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/come-together/
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvis_Presley%27s_Army_career
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuck_on_You_(Elvis_Presley_song)
  11. https://www.billboard.com/music/elvis-presley/chart-history
  12. https://www.smoothradio.com/features/1960s/the-greatest-music-divas-of-the-1960s/sandie-shaw/
  13. https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7857816/100-greatest-girl-group-songs
  14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Archies


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