There are four sources listed for end of year rankings. Billboard magazine is considered the standard and issued several weekly charts and a Top 100 at the end of the year. Cashbox also published its own weekly charts and compiled a year end Top 50 from 1956 to 1960, and then a Top 100 after that. Gilbert & Theroux published "The Top Ten 1956 - Present" in 1981 in which they ranked the Top 40 for each of those years. The EE rank is a calculated rank based on the weekly Billboard Top Twenty which includes all weeks a record was in the top twenty, allowing credit for performance by records that crossed over from one year to another. Any record that made the top forty of at least one of these sources is listed below -- alphabetical order by title. To view the listing for a specific source, click on the appropriate button to the left.

Billboard, Gilbert & Theroux and the EE calculation all agreed that Bobby Lewis's "Tossin' And Turnin" was the best song of 1961, but Cashbox opted for "Exodus" by Ferante & Teicher. There was no agreement as to the next best song as all four charts had different records in the second slot. For Billboard it was Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces." Cashbox tabbed "Calcutta" by Lawrence Welk and Gilbert & Theroux put The Highwaymen's "Michael" in second place. The EE calculation had one of the year's biggest crossover hits in the #2 spot, "Big Bad John" by Jimmy Dean.
title artist BillBoard Rank Cashbox Rank GT Rank EE Rank
A Hundred Pounds of Clay Gene McDaniels 26 15 17 27
A Thousand Stars Kathy Young & the Innocents   20 35 22
Angel Baby Rosie & the Originals 76 46 33
Apache Jorgen Ingmann 35 30 37 35
Are You Lonesome Tonight Elvis Presley 96 6 20
Big Bad John JImmy Dean 86 43 2
Blue Moon The Marcels 40 11 26 13
Bristol Stomp The Dovells 22 36 12
But I Do Clarence Henry 43 39 48
Calcutta Lawrence Welk 11 2 3 8
Calendar Girl Neil Sedaka 33 38 46
Crying Roy Orbison 4 28 10 32
Daddy's Home Shep & the Limelites 41 27 39 49
Dedicated to the One I Love The Shirelles 14 40 28 17
Don't Bet Money Honey Linda Scott 36 76 91
Don't Worry About Me Marty Robbins 28 31 31 29
Dum Dum Brenda Lee 91 48 40
Exodus Ferrante & Teicher 17 1 5 4
Goodbye Cruel World James Darren 45 18
Hats Off to Larry Del Shannon 68 35 44
He Will Break Your Heart Jerry Butler 18 30 66
Hit the Road Jack Ray Charles 19 87 32 19
I Fall to Pieces Patsy Cline 2 96 18 124
I Like It Like That Chris Kenner 34 49 31
I've Told Every Little Star Linda Scott 74 33 53
Last Date Floyd Cramer 27 10
Last Night The Mar-Keys 15 26 16 41
Little Sister Elvis Presley 39 52 64
Michael The Highwaymen 3 8 2 10
Moody River Pat Boone 59 36 30
Mother-in-Law Ernie K-Doe 21 16 14 22
My True Story The Jive Five 6 66 22 63
North To Alaska Johnny Horton 13 29 20
On the Rebound Floyd Cramer 29 63 40 36
Please Mr. Postman The Marvelettes 39 16
Pony Time Chubby Checker 7 14 6 9
Portrait of My Love Steve Lawrence 30 81 92
Quarter to Three Gary U.S. Bonds 31 19 25 15
Raindrops Dee Clark 9 17 8 24
Run to Him Bobby Vee 33 23
Runaround Sue Dion 46 100 6
Runaway Del Shannon 5 9 4 7
Running Scared Roy Orbison 13 21 12 39
Sad Movies (Make Me Cry) Sue Thompson 20 34 57
Shop Around The Miracles 24 25 23 34
Stay Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs 98 37 40
Surrender Elvis Presley 51 32 21
Take Good Care Of Her Adam Wade 61 84 13 59
Take Good CAre of My Baby Bobby Vee 12 23 25
The Boll Weevil Song Brook Benton 25 12 15 26
The Lion Sleeps Tonight The Tokens 5
The Mountain's High Dick & Dee Dee 27 34 33 70
The Wings of a Dove Ferlin Husky 38 77 97
This Time Troy Shondell 42 38
Tossin' and Turnin' Bobby Lewis 1 4 1 1
Travelin' Man Ricky Nelson 23 7 9 11
Walk On By LeRoy Van Dyke 21 30 20
Wheels The String-a-Longs 8 24 24 37
Wheels Billy Vaughn 38 186
Where the Boys Are Connie Francis 18 29 21 43
Who Put the Bomp Barry Mann 32 78 87
Will You Love Me Tomorrow The Shirelles 16 3 7 14
Without You Johnny Tillotson 37 90
Wonderland By Night Bert Kaempfert 72 5 19 3
Wooden Heart Joe Dowell 10 22 11 28