Liner Notes

The Year That Was: 1965

by Benjamin Ray

A stellar year for rock, 1965 saw some of the finest music from the British Invasion, some of the best Motown singles and the introduction of "folk rock" to the mainstream.

The Who debuted with The Who Sings My Generation, of which the stuttering, brilliant title track became an anthem for the youth that would soon revolt. Not to be outdone, the Rolling Stones offered "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (from the strong Out Of Our Heads), then followed that with December's Children (And Everybody's) at the end of the year. The Kinks and Them helped write the blueprint for garage rock with "You Really Got Me" and "Gloria," respectively, while the Animals offered "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" and "It's My Life," and the Yardbirds released "For Your Love."

Exhausted by Beatlemania and discovering both folk and marijuana as a basis for songwriting, the Beatles offered Rubber Soul, which threw fans for a loop. Also released was the soundtrack to Help! (featuring "Yesterday" on the British version) and the excellent "Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out" single. Clearly, the band had moved on from simple two-minute love songs, and Rubber Soul set off an unprecedented, unparalleled period of growth for the next three years.


Much of Rubber Soul's sound was owed to Bob Dylan, who released his own masterpiece Highway 61 Revisited ("Like A Rolling Stone") in this year, as well as Bringing It All Back Home, the first of his electric releases (Dylan going electric was a controversy at the time, but it benefitted the man's songwriting enormously). Other Dylan devotees the Byrds offered two albums, Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!.

Motown entered a fantastic year of singles, ranging from Marvin Gaye ("How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You") to Stevie Wonder ("Uptight (Everything's Alright)") to the Four Tops ("I Can't Help Myself," "It's The Same Old Song") to The Miracles ("Tracks of My Tears") to the Supremes ("Back In My Arms Again," "Stop! In The Name Of Love") to the Temptations ("My Girl").

James Brown scored with "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," the Righteous Brothers crooned "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," Tom Jones offered "It's Not Unusual," Sonny & Cher had "I Got You Babe" and "Baby Don't Go" and Elvis, rapidly slipping into irrelevance, released "Crying In The Chapel." The Dave Clark Five and Paul Butterfield Blues Band released good albums as well, not to mention Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream And Other Delights.


Scattered around these milestones on the radio were other hit singles, some of which have aged well, some of which have not ("Eve Of Destruction," "Ferry Cross The Mersey" and anything by Herman's Hermits). Some of the better ones included Petula Clark's "Downtown," Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger theme, Fontella Bass' "Rescue Me," the Four Seasons' "Let's Hang On," Gary Lewis' "This Diamond Ring," Jackie DeShannon's "What The World Needs Now," the McCoy's "Hang On Sloopy," Roger Miller's goofy "King Of The Road," the Strangelove's "I Want Candy" and, of course, "Wooly Bully." This also was the year the Moody Blues offered its first single, the cover of "Go Now," and the Zombies released "Tell Her No."    

And finally, John Coltrane released the best jazz album of the year and one of the top 10 of all time with A Love Supreme, a sensual, spiritual, majestic album with some of Coltrane's best playing. The four parts of the title track all work as a piece, rich in detail and without a hint of showing off, and it has influenced many artists both within and outside of the jazz world.

And that, friends, is the Year That Was in music.

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