1966: 20 songs released in 1966 you must hear

The Year 1966 summary

  • France withdraws its forces from NATO. President De Gaulle visits the USSR (June 20).
  • Sukarno leaves office in Indonesia; Suharto assumes power.
  • Botswana, Lesotho, and Guyana become independent states within the British Commonwealth.
  • India suffers the worst famine in 20 years; Lyndon Johnson asks for $1 billion in aid to the country.
  • US: Medicare begins (July 1).
  • US: Supreme Court decides Miranda v. Arizona, protecting rights of the accused.
  • Movies: A Man for All Seasons, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Alfie

My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

Again a LOT of wonderful music was released in 1966 (actually 1966 might be my fav year in music), hard to pick only 20.


  • Visions of Johanna – Bob Dylan

    Written by Dylan & released on his album “Blonde On Blonde” ~May 16, 1966 (possibly as late as July 1966).

    Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
    We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it
    And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin’ you to defy it
    Lights flicker from the opposite loft
    In this room the heat pipes just cough
    The country music station plays soft
    But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
    Just Louise and her lover so entwined
    And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind

  • Paint It Black – The Rolling Stone

    rolling stones paint it black
    Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and first released as a single on 6 May 1966. It was later included as the opening track to the U.S. version of their 1966 album, Aftermath.

    I see a red door and I want it painted black
    No colors anymore, I want them to turn black
    I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
    I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

  • Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles

    beatles elanor rigbyReleased on the 1966 album Revolver and as a 45 rpm single (5 August 1966). It was written by Paul McCartney, and credited to Lennon–McCartney.

    Ah look at all the lonely people
    Ah look at all the lonely people

    Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice
    In the church where a wedding has been
    Lives in a dream
    Waits at the window, wearing the face
    That she keeps in a jar by the door
    Who is it for

  • Substitude – The Who

    the who -substitude
    Written by Pete Townshend. It was released as a single in March 1966, when it reached number 5 in the UK, and was later included on the compilation album Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy in 1971

    You think we look pretty good together
    You think my shoes are made of leatherBut I’m a substitute for another guy
    I look pretty tall but my heels are high
    The simple things you see are all complicated
    I look pretty young, but I’m just back-dated, yeah

  • Tomorrow Is a Long Time – Elvis Presley

    elvis presley spinout
    Written by Bob Dylan & released by Elvis Presley on the soundtrack album Spinout in October 1966.

    If today was not an endless highway
    If tonight was not a crooked trail
    If tomorrow wasn’t such a long time
    Then lonesome would mean nothing to you at all
    Yes, and only if my own true love was waitin’
    Yes, and if I could hear her heart a-softly poundin’
    Only if she was lyin’ by me
    Then I’d lie in my bed once again

  • Hold On, I’m Comin’ – Sam & Dave

    sam-dave-hold-on-im-cominA 1966 single recorded by soul duo Sam & Dave, issued on the Atlantic-distributed Stax label in 1966.
    The song was written by the songwriting team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter, who came up with the title of the song spontaneously when Hayes was trying to get Porter to hurry out of the Stax Studios restroom and get back to songwriting

    Don’t you ever feel sad
    Lean on me when times are bad
    When the day comes and you’re down
    In a river of trouble and about to drownJust hold on, I’m comin’
    Hold on, I’m comin’

  • River Deep, Mountain High – Ike & Tina Turner

    Ike & tina turner Riverdeep-mountainhigh
    1966 single by Ike & Tina Turner. Considered by producer Phil Spector to be his best work.Written by Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich.

    When I was a little girl
    I had a rag doll
    Only doll I’ve ever owned
    Now I love you just the way I loved that rag doll
    But only now my love has grown

  • Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks

    kinks sunny afternoon
    Written by Ray Davies. Released as a single in June 1966 & later on the album “Face to Face”.

    The tax man’s taken all my dough
    And left me in this stately home
    Lazing on a sunny afternoon
    And I can’t sail my yacht
    He’s taken everything I got
    All I’ve got’s this sunny afternoon

  • When a Man Loves a Woman – Percy Sledge

    percy sledge when a manWritten by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright which was recorded by Percy Sledge in 1966 at Norala Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama.
    Released as a single April 1966.

    When a man loves a woman
    Can’t keep his mind on nothing else
    He’ll trade the world
    For the good thing he’s found
    If she’s bad he can’t see it
    She can do no wrong
    Turn his back on his best friend
    If he put her down

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  • Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding

    Written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Harry M. Woods, and recorded initially on December 8, 1932 by the Ray Noble Orchestra.
    Otis Redding released his version as a single November 14, 1966.

    Oh, she may be weary
    And young girls they do get weary
    Wearing, that same old, shaggy dress, yeah yeah
    But when she gets weary
    Try, a little tenderness, yeah yeah
    Oh man that……….Uh

  • The Fugitive – Merle Haggard

    the fugitive merle haggard
    “The Fugitive’ (later titled “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” on the album) is a song recorded by American country music artist Merle Haggard, written by Liz Anderson and Casey Anderson (parents of country music singer Lynn Anderson). It was released in December 1966 as the first single and title track from the album I’m a Lonesome Fugitive. The song was Haggard’s first number one hit on the U.S. country singles chart.

    Down every road there’s always one more city
    I’m on the run the highway is my homeI raised a lot a cane back in my younger days
    While mama used to pray my crops would fail
    Now I’m a hunted fugitive with just two ways
    Outrun the law or spend my life in jail

  • Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys

    Released as a single in October 1966. The song was composed and produced by Brian Wilson with lyrics by Mike Love. Initiated during the sessions for the Pet Sounds album, it was not taken from or issued as a lead single for an album, but rather as a stand-alone single.

    I-I love the colorful clothes she wears
    And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
    I hear the sound of a gentle word
    On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air

  • Reach Out I’ll Be There – Four Tops

    A 1966 song recorded by the Four Tops for the Motown label. Written and produced by Motown’s main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, the song is one of the most well-known Motown tunes of the 1960s and is today considered The Tops’ signature song.

    Now, if you feel that you can’t go on
    All your hope is gone
    Life is filled with much confusion
    Happiness is just an illusion
    And your world is tumblin’ downDarling, reach out
    Reach out

  • Don’t Come Home A Drinkin (With Lovin on Your Mind) – Loretta Lynn

    Don't Come Home A'Drinkin (With Lovin on Your Mind) - Loretta Lynn
    Written by Loretta Lynn & released as a single in November 1966. It is one her best known songs.

    Well you thought I’d be waitin’ up when you came home last night
    You’d been out with all the boys and you ended up half tight
    But liquor and love they just don’t mix leave the bottle or me behind
    And don’t come home a drinkin’ with lovin’ on your mind

  • Gimme Some Lovin’ – The Spencer Davis Group

    Gimme Some Lovin' - The Spencer Davis Group
    Written by Steve Winwood, Spencer Davis and Muff Winwood, although solely credited to “Steve Winwood” on the UK single label, and originally performed by The Spencer Davis Group. Released as a single October 1966.

    Well, my temperature is rising, got my feet on the floor
    Crazy people rocking ’cause they want to some more
    Let me in baby, I don’t know what you got
    But you better take it easy ’cause this place is hot

  • Eight Miles High – The Byrds

    Written by Gene Clark, Jim McGuinn (a.k.a. Roger McGuinn), and David Crosby and first released as a single on March 14, 1966.

    Eight miles high
    And when you touch down
    You’ll find that it’s
    Stranger than known

  • Friday On My Mind – The Easybeats

    Friday On My Mind - The Easybeats
    Written by band members George Young and Harry Vanda, the track became a worldwide hit. Released as a single in November 1966.

    Monday morning feels so bad
    Everybody seems to nag me
    Comin’ Tuesday I’ll feel better
    Even my old man looks good
    Wednesday just won’t go
    Thursday goes too slow
    I’ve got Friday on my mind

  • Land of 1000 Dances – Wilson Pickett

    wilson pickett land of 1000 dances
    “Land of a Thousand Dances” (or “Land of 1000 Dances”) is a song written and first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1963.
    Wilson Pickett recorded the song during his first set of sessions at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.(He had previously recorded in Memphis.) His recording was released as a single and appeared on his album, The Exciting Wilson Pickett. The single was released in 1966.

    One, two, three
    One, two, three
    Ow! Uh! Alright! Uh!Got to know how to Pony
    Like Bony Moronie
    Mash Potato
    Do The Alligator
    Put your hand on your hips, yeah
    Let your backbone slip
    Do the Watusi
    Like my little Lucy

  • Knock on wood – Eddie Floyd

    Knock on wood - Eddie Floyd“Knock on Wood” is a 1966 hit song written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper and originally performed by Eddie Floyd. The Eddie Floyd version peaked at #28 on the Hot 100 and spent one week at #1 on the Soul Singles chart. Released in 1966.

    I don’t want to lose you, this good thing
    that I got ’cause if I do
    I will surely,
    surely lose a lot.
    ‘Cause your love is better
    than any love I know.
    It’s like thunder, lightning,
    the way you love me is frightening.
    I’d better knock, on wood, baby.

  • Happenings Ten Years Time Ago – The YardbirdsHappenings Ten Years Time Ago - The Yardbirds

    “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” was the first single by the British rock band The Yardbirds to feature future Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page in the band.
    Written by Relf, Dreja, McCarty, Beck, Page & released as a single October 1966.

    Meeting people along my way
    Seemingly alone one day
    But in reality of things
    That my dreaming always brings

Spotify playlist:

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