1967: 20 songs released in 1967 you must hear

Our series of posts on the best music from specific years continues.. this is 1967.

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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

A lot of wonderful music was released in 1967, here are my 20 chosen songs.

  • All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan

    Written and recorded by Bob Dylan. The song initially appeared on his 1967 album John Wesley Harding, and it has been included on most of Dylan’s subsequent greatest hits compilations. Since the late 1970s, he has performed it in concert more than any of his other songs. Different versions appear on four of Dylan’s live albums.

    There must be some kind of way outta here
    Said the joker to the thief
    There’s too much confusion
    I can’t get no relief

  • A Day in the Life – The Beatles

    A song by The Beatles that was released as the final track of their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Credited to Lennon–McCartney, the verses were written mainly by John Lennon, with Paul McCartney primarily contributing the song’s middle section. Lennon’s lyrics were inspired by contemporary newspaper articles, including a report on the death of Guinness heir Tara Browne. The recording includes two passages of orchestral glissandos that were partly improvised in the avant-garde style. As with the sustained piano chord that closes the song, the orchestral passages were added after the Beatles had recorded the main rhythm track.

    I read the news today, oh boy
    About a lucky man who made the grade
    And though the news was rather sad
    Well I just had to laugh

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  • Purple Haze – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

    A song written by Jimi Hendrix and released as the second record single by the Jimi Hendrix Experience on March 17, 1967. As a record chart hit in several countries and the opening number on the Experience’s debut American album, it was many people’s first exposure to Hendrix’s psychedelic rock sound.

    Purple haze, all in my brain
    Lately things they don’t seem the same
    Actin’ funny, but I don’t know why
    Excuse me while I kiss the sky

    Could not find the original on youtube, so here is a great live version:


  • I Can See for Miles – The Who

    A song written by Pete Townshend of The Who, recorded for the band’s 1967 album, The Who Sell Out. It was the only song from the album to be released as a single. It remains The Who’s biggest hit single in the US, and, after debuting on the Hot 100 at #72 on 14 October 1967, their only one to reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, at #9 on 25 November – 2 December 1967.

    I know you’ve deceived me, now here’s a surprise
    I know that you have ’cause there’s magic in my eyes
    I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
    Oh yeah

  • Suzanne – Leonard Cohen

    A song written by Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen in the 1960s. First published as a poem in 1966, it was recorded as a song by Judy Collins in the same year, and Cohen performed it as his debut single, from his 1967 album Songs of Leonard Cohen. Many other artists have recorded versions, and it has become one of the most-covered songs in Cohen’s catalogue.
    In 2006, Pitchfork Media listed the song #41 on their list of “The Top Songs of the 1960s”.

    Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
    You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night forever
    And you know that she’s half-crazy but that’s why you want to be there
    And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China

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  • Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks

    A song by British rock band The Kinks. It was released as a single in 1967, and featured on their album Something Else by The Kinks. Composed and produced by Kinks frontman Ray Davies, “Waterloo Sunset” is one of the band’s best known and most acclaimed songs in most territories, later being ranked number 42 on “Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. It is also their first single that is available in true stereo.

    Dirty old river, must you keep rolling
    Flowing into the night
    People so busy, makes me feel dizzy
    Taxi light shines so bright
    But I don’t need no friends
    As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset
    I am in paradise

  • Respect – Aretha Franklin

    A song written and originally released by American recording artist Otis Redding in 1965. The song became a 1967 hit and signature song for R&B singer Aretha Franklin.
    Franklin’s cover was a landmark for the feminist movement, and is often considered as one of the best songs of the R&B era, earning her two Grammy Awards in 1968 for “Best Rhythm & Blues Recording” and “Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Female”, and was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2002, the Library of Congress honored Franklin’s version by adding it to the National Recording Registry. It was placed number five on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

    What you want
    Baby, I got it
    What you need
    Do you know I got it
    All I’m askin’
    Is for a little respect when you get home (just a little bit)
    Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home

  • T.B. Sheets – Van Morrison

    A blues-influenced song written and recorded by Northern Irish singer-lyricist Van Morrison, recorded for the Bang Records label in 1967 and included on his first solo album, Blowin’ Your Mind!.

    Now listen, Julie baby,
    It ain’t natural for you to cry in the midnight.
    It ain’t natural for you to cry way into midnight through,
    Until the wee small hours long ‘fore the break of dawn,
    Oh Lord, huh uh ha. Ha.

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  • Let’s Spend the Night Together – The Rolling Stones

    A song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and originally released by The Rolling Stones as a double A-sided single together with “Ruby Tuesday” in 1967. It also appeared as the opening track on the American version of their album Between the Buttons.

    My, my, my, my
    Don’t you worry ’bout what’s on your mind (oh my)
    I’m in no hurry I can take my time (oh my)
    I’m going red and my tongue’s getting tied (tongues’ getting tied)
    I’m off my head and my mouth’s getting dry
    I’m high, but I try, try, try (oh my)
    Let’s spend the night together
    Now I need you more than ever
    Let’s spend the night together now

  • The Dark end of the street – James Carr

    A 1967 soul song written by songwriters Dan Penn and Chips Moman and first recorded by James Carr.

    At the dark end of the street
    That’s where we always meet
    Hiding in shadows where we don’t belong
    Living in darkness to hide our wrong
    You and me, at the dark end of the street
    You and me

  • Sunshine of Your Love – Cream

    A 1967 song by the British rock band Cream. With elements of hard rock, psychedelia, and pop, it is one of Cream’s best-known and most popular songs. Cream bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce based it on a distinctive bass riff or repeated musical phrase he developed after attending a Jimi Hendrix concert. Guitarist Eric Clapton and lyricist Pete Brown later contributed to the song. Recording engineer Tom Dowd suggested the rhythm arrangement in which drummer Ginger Baker plays a distinctive tom-tom drum rhythm, although Baker has claimed it was his idea.

    It’s getting near dawn,
    When lights close their tired eyes
    I’ll soon be with you my love,
    To give you my dawn surprise
    I’ll be with you darling soon,
    I’ll be with you when the stars start falling

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  • Born under a bad sign – Albert King

    A blues song recorded by American blues singer and guitarist Albert King in 1967. Called “a timeless staple of the blues”, the song also had strong crossover appeal to the rock audience with its bass and guitar harmony line and topical astrology reference. “Born Under a Bad Sign” became an R&B chart hit for King and numerous blues and other musicians have made it perhaps the most recorded Albert King song.

    Born under a bad sign
    Been down since I began to crawl
    If it wasn’t for bad luck, you know I wouldn’t have no luck at all

  • Cold sweat (part 1 & 2) – James Brown

    A song performed by James Brown and written with his bandleader Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis. Brown recorded it in May 1967. An edited version of “Cold Sweat” released as a two-part single on King Records was a #1 R&B hit, and reached number seven on the Pop Singles chart. The complete recording, over 7 minutes long, was included on an album of the same name.

    I don’t care ha about your past
    I just want ho our love to last dee
    I don’t care darlin’ about your faults huh
    I just want to satisfy your pulse

  • Branded Man – Merle Haggard and The Strangers

    A song written and recorded by American country music artist Merle Haggard. It was released in July 1967 as the second single and title track from the album Branded Man. The song was Haggard’s second number one on the country charts. The single stayed at number one for a single week and spent 15 weeks on the chart.

    I’d like to hold my head up and be proud of who I am
    But they won’t let my secret go untold
    I paid the debt I owed them, but they’re still not satisfied
    Now I’m a branded man out in the cold

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  • Ode to Billy Joe – Bobbie Gentry

    A 1967 song written and recorded by Bobbie Gentry, a singer-songwriter from Chickasaw County, Mississippi. The single, released in late July, was a number-one hit in the United States, and became a big international seller. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 3 song for 1967. The song is ranked #412 on Rolling Stone’s list of “the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

    It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
    I was out choppin’ cotton, and my brother was balin’ hay
    And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
    And mama hollered out the back door, y’all, remember to wipe your feet
    And then she said, I got some news this mornin’ from Choctaw Ridge
    Today, Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

  • Soul man – Sam & Dave

    A 1967 song written and composed by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, first successful as a number 2 hit single by Atlantic Records soul duo Sam & Dave, which consisted of Samuel “Sam” Moore and David “Dave” Prater.

    Comin’ to you on a dust road
    Good lovin’, I got a truck load
    And when you get it, you got something
    So don’t worry, cause I’m coming

  • For what’s it worth – Buffalo Springfield


    A song written by Stephen Stills. It was performed by Buffalo Springfield, recorded on December 5, 1966, and released as a single on Atco Records in January 1967. The single peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This song is currently ranked #63 on Rolling Stone‘s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time as well as the eighth best song of 1967 by Acclaimed Music.

    There’s something happening here
    But what it is ain’t exactly clear
    There’s a man with a gun over there
    Telling me I got to beware

  • Heroin – The Velvet Underground

    A song by the Velvet Underground, released on their 1967 debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico. Written by Lou Reed in 1964, the song, which overtly depicts heroin use and abuse, is one of the band’s most celebrated compositions. Critic Mark Deming writes, “While ‘Heroin’ hardly endorses drug use, it doesn’t clearly condemn it, either, which made it all the more troubling in the eyes of many listeners”. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it #455 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song is included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

    I don’t know just where I’m going
    But I’m gonna try for the kingdom, if I can
    ‘Cause it makes me feel like I’m a man
    When I put a spike into my vein
    And I tell you things aren’t quite the same

  • Electricity – Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band

    A song by Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band on the 1967 album Safe as Milk. Beefheart claimed the label he and his band were signed to, A&M Records, dropped them after co-owner Jerry Moss heard the song and declared it “too negative” for his teenage daughter to listen to. Beefheart’s vocals, while recording the final version for the album, shattered the microphone.

    Singin through you to me
    Thunder-bolts caught easily
    Shouts the truth peacefully

  • Circle – Miles Davis

    Released on Miles Smiles (album by jazz musician Miles Davis), in January 1967 on Columbia Records.


These came close:

  • Tramp – Otis Redding and Carla Thomas
  • Ain’t no mountain high enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  • The Tears of a Clown – The Miracles
  • The End – The Doors
  • Heroes and Villains – The Beach Boys
  • See Emily Play – Pink Floyd
  • Tin Solider – The Small Faces
  • Alone Again Or – LOVE
  • Your Good Girl Gonna Go Bad – Tammy Wynette
  • So you want to be a rock and roll star – The Byrds
  • Big Boss Man – Elvis Presley
  • Gentle on My Mind – Glen Campbell
  • Skinny legs and all – Joe Tex

Spotify playlist:


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