Top Ten Tunes- 1961

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1961.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017


Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space

In 1961, the farthing ceases to be legal tender, the Beatles perform at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool for the first time, Sierra Leone gains independence from the UK, betting shops become legal, the act of suicide is decriminalised, the first Mothercare store is opened, police arrest over 1,300 people during a CND rally in London, a volcanic eruption on the South Atlantic British territory Tristan de Cunha causes the entire island population to be evacuated and rehomed in…Surrey, the first edition of Private Eye is published, birth control pills first become available on the NHS, the border between East and West Germany closes and the construction of the Berlin Wall starts, Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space, US Cuban exiles and the CIA attempts and fails to overthrow Fidel Castro, John F Kennedy is inaugurated as the new US President, the USSR tests the largest nuclear bomb ever and America is instructed to build bomb shelters by Kennedy, South Africa becomes an independent republic and the films Breakfast at Tiffany’s, West Side Story, The Misfits, The Parent Trap and Babes in Toyland are all released. 


Don’t squish the cat!

What a year! I love 1961 for music, lots of strong choices. Here they are, in no particular order. Spotify playlist at the end as per.

1. At Last by Etta James


2. Will You Love Me Tomorrow by the Shirelles

3. Blue Moon by the Marcels


4. Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles

5. September in the Rain by Dinah Washington


6. Runaway by Del Shannon


7. Take Good Care of My Baby by Bobby Vee


8. Save the Last Dance For Me by the Drifters


9. Cupid by Sam Cooke


10. Moon River (Choral Version) by Henry Mancini


While At Last is a stunner, it’s Ray Charles that’s my favourite this week. Let me know below, which one is yours.

See you next week for 1962!


  1. gigglingfattie · October 12

    Ooo so many great songs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. angelanoelauthor · October 12

    This is a great year for music and a big one for history too! One of my favorite movies as a child was The Parent Trap. I had no idea it was made years before I was even born

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · October 12

      A long time before you were born indeed. I’m really enjoying researching the 60s. Such a fantastic decade.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. samfiftysomething · October 12

    I love 60’s music! One of my favourite films is West Side Story, the dancing was brilliant

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · October 12

      I love the 60s music too. And it just gets better & better. LOVE the West Side Story….“I like to be in America” 💃🏻

      Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 · October 12

    Omg I love them all..can’t choose, won’t choose 💜😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I must have been born in the wrong era. This year has been my favorite so far!! I can not pick a favorite out of this list. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. April Munday · October 12

    What great songs, with the exception of Take Good Care of My Baby. It’s between Blue Moon and Hit the Road Jack. I probably wasn’t very aware of this music in 1961, but this is very much the stuff I grew up with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · October 13

      Love those two songs so much. Ah fantastic, I hope enjoy the rest of these top tens.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Scrum_Jet · October 13

    At Last is amazing – love Etta James. I remember being really shocked when I finally realised what ‘Will you love me tomorrow?’ is about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · October 13

      At Last is gorgeous, isn’t it? And yes Will You Love Me Tomorrow was actually banned on some radio stations!


  8. mydangblog · October 13

    Although I’m not a huge fan of 60s music, Etta James will always be a treasure!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Life after Sixty-Five · October 14

    Some of my real favourites there!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Losing the Plot · October 14

    Oooo some good’uns there, however Etta James’ At Last is one of my all time favourites. So that’s my choice x

    Liked by 1 person

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