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.

Stand By Me - Ben E. King single cover
The Wanderer - Dion single cover
Crying - Roy Orbison single cover
Hit The Road Jack - Ray Charles single cover
Runaway - Del Shannon single cover
Quarter To Three - Gary U.S. Bonds single cover
Please Mr. Postman - Marvelettes single cover
Hello Mary Lou - Ricky Nelson single cover
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
Bruce's Choice: An unheralded great record from 1961
* Sweet Jelly Roll Jessie Hill
Adam's Choice:
* Free Me Johnny Preston
Brett's Choice:
* California Sun Joe Jones
Lew's Choice:
* Like, Long Hair Paul Revere & the Raiders

More Music Lists