21 Best Songs From 1962

1962 was a diverse year for music. With standouts in rock and roll, jazz, rhythm and blues and more, it’s hard to narrow down all the good music from '62. Hard, but not impossible, as I’ve done just that below! Here are the best songs from 1962.

1. “Green Onions” by Booker T. & the MG's

Song year: 1962

You have heard “Green Onions” before. The song remains one of the most popular pieces of instrumental soul music ever recorded and appears in many adverts, platforms and venues around the world.

Booker T. Jones said the band improvised the song in the studio while recording. “Green Onions” has a unique sound thanks to an organ line that gives the track its beat and charm. This song is perhaps the most enduring piece of music of 1962.

2. “I Can't Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles

Song year: 1962

Ray Charles took a classic country-western tune and gave it his spin with “I Can't Stop Loving You.” Charles added an R&B and soul bend to the song that made it unique from the original version Don Gibson recorded.

The song's lyrics describe a person looking back on a lost love. No matter how long they spend apart, they cannot let go of the person they love.

3. “Stranger On The Shore” by Acker Bilk

Song year: 1962

“Stranger On The Shore” was the biggest song of 1962 and put Acker Bilk on the map. The song began as a clarinet arrangement that Bilk wrote on a napkin before producer Leon Young added strings to complete the track.

“Stranger On The Shore” was so popular that in 1969, the astronauts of the Apollo 10 mission took the song with them and played it as they orbited the moon.

4. “Mashed Potato Time” by Dee Dee Sharp

Song year: 1962

Pop music was still in its infancy in 1962, and there was no formula for success. “Mashed Potato Time” borrowed from R&B and dance music of the era to create a song perfect for sock hops.

Dee Dee Sharp performed the song, and it was one of the biggest songs of the year. Its popularity lived on more than 30 years later thanks to a Campbell Soup advertisement campaign with a new version of the song sung by Sharp.

5. “Bring It On Home to Me” by Sam Cooke

Song year: 1962

“Bring It On Home to Me” is a pop standard today with countless covers and variations. In 1962, however, it established Sam Cooke as a significant player in rhythm in blues music.

Critics have said the song helped shape the direction of rock and roll music to follow. “Bring It On Home to Me” saw Cooke reworking a gospel song with a secular bent to excellent effect.

6. “Twist and Shout” by The Isley Brothers

Song year: 1962

You likely know “Twist and Shout” as a classic of the early Beatles catalog. Before the lads from Liverpool recorded their version, the Isley Brothers recorded “Twist and Shout.” The Isley Brothers were not the original artists either, as the Top Notes claim the first rendition of this popular tune.

The Isley Brothers made “Twist and Shout” into a hit, and it is a classic rock and roll song about love.

7. “You've Really Got a Hold On Me” by The Miracles

Song year: 1962

“You've Really Got a Hold On Me” is another song you may remember from a Beatles cover. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles recorded the original version the year before with a soul twist to it.

Despite being released as a B-side, “You've Really Got a Hold On Me” proved to be the bigger hit and was one of the highest-charting songs of the year.

8. “Return to Sender” by Elvis Presley

Song year: 1962

Elvis Presley was an icon by 1962, and everything he touched seemingly turned to gold. So it should not be surprising that “Return to Sender” was another hit for the King of Rock and Roll.

“Return to Sender” sees the singer in a messy relationship with little love. They keep sending their partner cards but get no response, and the singer questions if the relationship has any chance of working out.

9. “Love Me Do” by The Beatles

Song year: 1962

No list of best songs from 1962 would be complete without the Beatles. “Love Me Do” was a standout single for the Fab Four during the band's early days and assisted with getting the Beatles on the radar in England.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney crafted this love song inspired by skiff rock and blues. “Love Me Do” is one of the first joint songs the two would create.

10. “Big Girls Don't Cry” by The Four Seasons

Song year: 1962

Another classic of rhythm and blues, “Big Girls Don't Cry” by The Four Seasons, was a big chart mover for the group. The song has a doo-wop tune with falsetto singing to open the track.

The origins of the title have several stories. Bob Gaudio claimed he fell asleep watching the movie Tennessee's Partner and heard the line in it when he woke up. Co-songwriter said he heard the line from the movie Slightly Scarlet.

11. “Roses Are Red (My Love)” by Bobby Vinton

Song year: 1962

“Roses Are Red (My Love)” is the kind of song you may expect to have heard at a high-school dance in 1962. The song tells of two high school sweethearts as one of them reminiscences about how they met and writes about how roses are red in the other's yearbook.

Vinton drew on country music for the instrumentation of the song, but it remains decidedly pop.

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