"It looks like it (the twist)'ll catch on. Why don't you turn the song upside down
or sideways or whatever and do it again."
-- Dick Clark (to Bernie Lowe at Cameo records)

"Time" Man of the Year: The Scientists

Oscar for Best Picture: "The Apartment"

Oscar for Best Actor: Burt Lancester for "Elmer Gantry"

Oscar for Best Song: "Never On Sunday" Emmy for Best Actor in a Continuing Series: Robert Stack for "The Untouchables" Emmy for Best Actress in a Continuing Series: Jane Wyatt for "Father Knows Best"
Grammy for Record of the Year: "Theme From a Summer Place" by Percy Faith Oscar for Best Actress: Elizabeth Taylor for "Butterfield 8" Best Seller -- Fiction: "Advise and Consent"
-- by Allen Drury
"Save the Last Dance For Me" -- by The Drifters
The Drifters are one of my favorite groups and "Save the Last Dance For Me" is one of my favorite records -- of any year. It was a product of the second Drifters group, the first being replaced by a new lineup in 1958, and had Ben E. King singing the lead vocal (he would subsequently be replaced and his solo release, "Stand By Me," is another all-time personal favorite). "Last Dance" rose to the number one spot on October 17th, 1960. It was replaced by Brenda Lee's "I Want To Be Wanted" the next week, but returned to the top spot on October 31 for two more weeks. The rhythm of the song, King's voice, and the backup responses of the rest of the Drifters (the song is produced by Leiber and Stoller) make this my #1 song of 1960. And the lyrics (written by Doc Pomus) make it one of the best ever -- "Don't forget who's taking you home and in who's arms your gonna be; Darlin' save the last dance for me."
"The Twist" by Chubby Checker
"The Twist" is probably the best recognized dance of The Elvis Era. The only thing that could have kept it from being the #1 dance song of 1960 is that it would have even greater popularity a year and a half after its first trip to #1. The song was originally recorded by Hank Ballard & The Midnighters -- their version made it to #28. When Dick Clark saw the kids on "Bandstand" doing the dance to other records, he contacted Cameo records in Philadelphia and suggested they record some new version of the song to capitalize on the dance that he believed was going to spread. The "new" version was simply a cover of Hank Ballard's version, done by a new artist at Cameo who Dick Clark's wife, Bonnie, had named "Chubby Checker" (a takeoff on Fats Domino). But when Checker did the dance and sang his version on Bandstand, the song really took off. And it's still popular today, played at many weddings (maybe the younger generation does appreciate good music.) It's hard not to dance when you hear Chubby belt out, "Come on baby, let's do the twist."
"Georgia On My Mind" by Ray Charles
There is strong competition for the honor of "Best Slow Song" of 1960, especially from the overwhelming #1 song of the year, "Theme From a Summer Place." Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry," "He Will Break Your Heart" by Jerry Butler, and the Everly Brother's classic "Let It Be Me" are also worthy candidates. But ultimately, the prize must go to the Ray Charles' classic, "Georgia On My Mind." The song was actually written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael. It went to #1 on November 11th. Ray Charles' recording of the song was a significant departure from his rockin' R & B reputation. But with the full backing of strings and chorus and Charles voice, you can really feel the "moonlight through the pines."
"Handy Man" by Jimmy Jones
"Handy Man" by Jimmy Jones and "Stay" by Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs are the top contenders for the "Classic Rock" award of 1960 -- "Handy Man" gets the nod. "Handy Man" didn't reach #1 in 1960 -- it peaked at #2 for Jimmy Jones. Billboard ranked it aas the #8 song of the year. Jones had only one other top ten single, "Good Timin" (#4) and that was also in 1960. But the song deserves to be the "Classic Rock" representative of 1960 due to its longevity. Del Shannon made it a #22 hit in 1964 and James Taylor (with a slower version) took it to #4 in 1977. Jones' falsetto ("come-a, come-a, come-a, come, come come-a, come-a; yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-a") and the pulsating beat make it a "classic."
"A Fool In Love" by Ike & Tina Turner
Many are surprised to find Tina Turner's name in a 1960 song list. But when another singer failed to show, Tina took over the lead vocal at a recording session with Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm to sing an R & B standard, "A Fool In Love." The song went to #2 on the R & B chart and crossed over to # 27 on the pop chart. The "Ike Turner Revue" became the "Ike & Tina Turner Review" and in 1962, Tina became Mrs. Ike Turner. They continued to have R & B success and in the late 1960's and early 1970's broke through to international stardom. Later Tina escaped from her abusive marriage and had major success as a solo performer in the 1980's. This early recording with the Ikettes in the background is a great example of early rock and roll - a sharp contrast to many of the more commercial "hits" of the early sixties.
"Wonderful World" by Sam Cooke
Like many of Sam Cooke's recordings, "Wonderful World" has grown in stature since its original release. In 1960, it didn't even reach the top ten, peaking at #12. It has been featured in numerous movies ("Animal House," "Witness," "Hitch") and had successful remakes (Herman's Hermits, Art Garfunkel). The silk vocal that distinguishes Cooke as the "father of soul music" and his usual recognition of typical teenage themes in the lyrics ("don't know much about a science book; don't know much about the French I took.") make this a record that should have been #1, or at least close to it. The opening line, "Don't know much about history, .." is instantly recognized and most can sing along even if they don't remember the name of the song.
"He'll Have To Go" by Jim Reeves
The competition for "Best Country Cross-Over" of 1960 is heated. It's hard to pass on such classics as Marty Robbins' "El Paso" or Johnny Horton's "North To Alaska." Jack Scott's "Burning Bridges" rose to #3 on the pop charts. And Hank Locklin's "Please Help Me I'm Fallin'" is a country classic. But in 1960, Jim Reeves first introduced us to "phone sex" with "He'll Have To Go." "Gentleman Jim's" smooth (almost non-country sounding vocal), along with the scenario of a guy calling his girl and asking her to send the guy with her away, is irresistable. And while she's sending him away, Jim tells us he's going to "have the man here turn the juke box way down low." While it might be a little more "adult" in theme, it certainly appealed to all the teenagers and their late night phone calls ("you hang up," "no, you hang up"). Mr. Reeve's sexier version of the situation is definitely more profound.