Late Sixties & Early Seventies Playlist

Get your hippie on!

Playlist: Late Sixties & Early Eventies | A Practical Weddingby Class of 1980

I had an Late Sixties/Early Seventies Playlist that wasn’t created for a wedding, but Meg said “DO IT.” The following playlist is severely cut down from my original, and it’s still too long. But how do you narrow down the era when rock and roll exploded?

I was five years old when “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles came out. I vividly remember the first time I heard it riding in a car. So, it’s fitting that this playlist begins with that song. I narrowed the list down to the songs that feel like the sixties felt to me as a child. That time was colorful, happy, silly, optimistic, idealistic, and a little dangerous.

I remember wearing fun clothes, bell bottoms, mini dresses, maxi dresses, and white lace-up boots. I remember my “Flower Power” school notebook, the boy in sixth grade casually singing “Hey Jude” while we waited for the next class, knowing all the words to “Hair!” and “Good Morning Star Shine” because they were silly songs and we were kids…my brother and I floating on a raft at the lake singing “Joy To The World” at the top of our lungs. We grew up in Miami and delighted in spotting real hippies at the Coconut Grove Art Show. We had “Hippie Day” at our summer day camp and mom (an artist) made t-shirts with every sixties hippie slogan we could think of and a funny character on the back saying “Cool It.” The sixties was like “Laugh-In” for kids.

Apathy was nowhere to be found. Civil rights, feminism, anti-war sentiments, and the environment were all happening at once. It felt like anything was possible. As kids, we could never understand why there was any resistance to what seemed like good ideas. It seemed simple to us. We were too young to be invested in oppression and couldn’t understand older people who “didn’t get it.” There was a popular slogan “Never trust anyone over thirty.” Ha! Mom was in her twenties and thirties during this era. She said she LOVED the sixties because it was so interesting after the boring conformist fifties.

There was something wonderful in the air, but there was also the sense that there were new dangers out there. Teens and college students were taking a walk on the wild side and so adults looked to prevention. At age ten, I sat in the school auditorium and listened to a guest speaker talk about the dangers of recreational drugs…describing how teens were dropping dead on dance floors. At age eleven, we took a series of classes where we learned the scientific names and street names of recreational drugs, the physical effects, and the methods of delivery. They tried to gross us out with tales of collapsed veins and the increasingly desperate measures addicts would take to find a vein. The boys would tease the girls by shouting “Shoot it under the tongue!” because we were so queasy. On the last day of the class, the teacher burned pot in the classroom so we could know what it smelled like, which seems overly dramatic to me now.

But mostly, I remember how much more laid back we were then…and the music. It felt like the soundtrack to our lives because the music was EVERYWHERE in a way that no longer exists. The music tended to be upbeat and optimistic too. So much that we take for granted now had its beginnings in the sixties. I have always been grateful that I was born just in time to witness such a time of creativity and change.

Sixties & Seventies Playlist from practicalmaddie on 8tracks Radio.

1. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles — 1963-1964
2. “Help!” by The Beatles — 1965
3. “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks — 1964
4. “For Your Love” by The Yardbirds — 1965
5. “Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds — 1965
6. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones — 1965
7. “California Dreaming” by The Mamas & The Papas — 1965
8. “Monday, Monday” by The Mamas & The Papas — 1966
9. “I Dig Rock And Roll Music” by Peter, Paul & Mary — 1967
10. “I’m A Believer” by The Monkees — 1966
11. “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys — 1966
12. “Light My Fire” by The Doors — 1967
13. “Never My Love” by The Association — 1967
14. “The Rain, The Park And Other Things” by The Cowsills — 1967
15. “San Francisco” by Scott McKenzie — 1967
16. “Get Together” by Youngbloods — 1967
17. “Summer Rain” by Johnny Rivers — 1968
18. “Love Is All Around” by The Troggs — 1968
19. “Green Tambourine” by The Lemon Pipers — 1968
20. “Hooked On A Feeling” by B. J. Thomas — 1968
21. “Do It Again” by The Beach Boys — 1968
22. “Hello, I Love You” by The Doors — 1968
23. “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf — 1968
24. “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf — 1968
25. “Something” by The Beatles — 1969
26. “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles — 1969
27. “Love Can Make You Happy” by Mercy — 1969
28. “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam — 1969
29. “Hair!” by The Cowsills — 1969
30. “Good Morning Star Shine” by Oliver — 1969
31. “Aquarius (Let The Sunshine In)” by The 5th Dimension — 1969
32. “No Matter What” by Badfinger — 1970
33. “It Don’t Matter To Me” by Bread — 1970
34. “Carolina In My Mind” by James Taylor — 1976 (written earlier)
35. “Out In The Country” by Three Dog Night — 1970
36. “Joy To The World” by Three Dog Night — 1971
37. “All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies — 1974

Photo: Vivian Chen

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  • Lindsey

    “Never My Love” was our first dance song. I love all the songs on this playlist!

  • Alison O

    To the point about the music then being upbeat and optimistic… If you didn’t read about this study from last year of the change in pop music keys (minor/major) over the decades, you might find it interesting:

    • Class of 1980

      Very interesting Alison. I’ve been aware for a long time that the music was more upbeat in the sixties and into the early seventies.

      However, that started to change as we got further into the seventies and there was more melancoly and reflective music.

  • Amy

    My workday NEEDED this! Thanks! (And this is a millennial speaking. I’ve been educated well.)

  • k

    aw, such a fun list.

    A couple of other late 60s dance favorites for me:

    I Want You Back, Jackson 5
    Build Me Up Buttercup, The Foundations
    Second That Emotion, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

    • alpelican

      I love the Beatles and all, but yeah, this playlist needs more Motown. And Irma Thomas. And Ernie K-Doe. And Fats Domino. And Huey Smith…

      • Class of 1980

        Yeah, yeah, I know … no Motown. :(

        I adore Motown like you can’t believe. I didn’t include it because I was going for a certain feeling of what the sixties FELT like. Plus, the Motown songs I really love, are songs a lot of people wouldn’t use for a wedding because they’re political or sad.

        If I was doing a play list of the sixties in general, I would have included stuff like the songs below, some of which are Motown.

        What’s Going On? – Marvin Gaye – 1971
        Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) – Marvin Gaye – 1971
        I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye – 1968
        Revolution – The Beatles – 1968
        Superstition – Stevie Wonder – 1972
        Cloud Nine – The Temptations – 1968
        Question – The Moody Blues – 1970
        For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield – 1967

        I don’t think there’s ever been a time when so much consistently great music was produced in such a short amount of time, which makes it difficult to edit. There is far more music of this era that I love than could ever be contained in a single play list. :).

        • Class of 1980

          Also, all you Motown lovers out there, buy or rent the DVD “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown”. It’s amazing.

          ALL the Motown songs were composed and played by one band only … The Funk Brothers. It’s their long lost story and you’ll be riveted. Plus, the version of Cloud Nine sung by Meshell Ndegeocello on the DVD brings out the meaning of the song better than the original version.

          Can’t recommend this highly enough.

  • Mai

    I wish this post came out before our wedding! A lot of these songs were on our soundtrack for the reception, so more ideas would have been great! “Joy to the World” always puts me in a good mood, and was a strong contender for my Wordless Wedding sountrack song :)

  • Moe

    In case someone is looking for 60’s & 70’s inspiration for their ceremony:

    We almost played “Here Comes The Sun” for our ceremony. It makes cry every time I hear it. Instead we played “Calico Skies by Paul McCartney and “Something” by the Beatles.

    I walked down the aisle to Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman”.

    It was the perfect mix of his classic rock taste in music and my classic soul.

    • Sarah S

      I walked down the aisle to Calico Skies, everyone else walked in to Here, There and Everywhere, and my new husband and I walked out to I’ve Just Seen A Face. :) My uncle played them on acoustic guitar and without singing. Sneaking a Beatles (plus Paul solo) music-only ceremony was one of my favorite, favorite choices in wedding planning. And now the songs I already loved have even more special meaning to me!

  • H

    Oh my God. Awesome. Thank Jesus for this playlist. I know what I am doing tomorrow. :)

  • Sarah S

    Love this playlist! And thanks for the post along with it. Burning pot in the classroom? What?!? I did have a pretty thorough drug education program at my high school in Baltimore City in the early 2000’s but not quite that far! The 60s, man.

    • Class of 1980


  • Furthering my thinking that I must have been born in the wrong decade. Love love love this list.

    • Class of 1980

      I’ll always be a child of the sixties. I left my heart there.

  • lady brett

    so good! thank you =)

  • Sara P

    Great playlist! Thanks, Class of 1980!

    Per the comment above – if someone made a soul and/or motown playlist, that would be incredible :).

    • Class of 1980

      Agree about the Motown list. If only I had the energy right now. ;)

  • Class of 1980

    Thanks Meg. And thanks Maddie for doing such a good job putting the playlist together.