Hit Singles

60s Hit Singles (Top 40 / Top 100) Charts

Guide to the Sixties Hit Singles Charts

This comprehensive tabulation is a unique assembly of all the major 1960s hit single listings from the English-speaking world. It allows not only an understanding of the hit-making record of every charted performer in the decade, but also a direct comparison across countries, publications, and genres. Information has been assembled from a variety of public sources. The table is largely complete but additional information and refinements will continue to be added over time.

The following notes will help you to understand the sources and format of the data, column-by-column:

Artist: Duets are only listed once, under the name of the first credited performer. Groups that changed their name mid-career (e.g. The Young Rascals became The Rascals) are listed in one place (under Rascals), with a note referring to that location under the “Young Rascals” entry. Groups with a lead singer credited are listed under that singer (Reparata and The Delrons is listed under R). The brief descriptive notes are not intended to be comprehensive; other resources are available for the detailed makeup and history of most recording artists. References herein to performers who have their own listings are bolded.

City: Where known, either the location where the performer grew up (not necessarily the town of birth) or the city where the performer was based and/or recorded. Duets with artists from different locations are not given a location (usually they can be found in the artist’s individual listing).

Country: Nationality is defined mainly by origin; for example, Paul Anka, The Band, and Steppenwolf are defined as Canadian despite spending most of their careers living and recording in the US. The Bee Gees are defined as UK despite beginning their career in Australia. For ease of reference, the Country of each performer is colour coded:

Canada – RED
Australia – ORANGE
Others – GREEN

Record – Hit Side: Listed chronologically, per the song’s earliest appearance in any chart

Songwriter(s): Credited songwriter(s) where known; taken directly from the record label where possible. Note that some producers and label executives may take songwriters’ credit for financial reasons.

Producer(s): Producer as credited on label, where shown. Otherwise drawn from reliable discographies and research documents. Where a pseudonym is known to be used on the record, the producer’s real name is noted. As with songwriting credits, a label head may be listed as a Producer without having actually worked on the recording. Some singles may not have producer information available.

Flip Side: Typically the “B” side of a hit single. If the “B” side charted in its own right, it is marked by -.

Album: The original album on which the hit single can be found. This does not include compilations, Greatest Hits, rereleases, or CDs. If the hit was only released in 45 rpm format, it is noted as a “single”, even if it was later included in a hits album. Extended Play discs (EPs) are not all listed. The album is listed first as released in the artist’s base country. Albums in other countries may vary in content from the home country, but these foreign LPs are not listed here. However, for significant LPs that vary between US and UK releases (e.g. some Beatles releases), both US and UK LP titles are noted.

US: Charts for the two major US publications (Cashbox and Billboard) are included, along with a separate chart for a major radio station, WLS in Chicago to illustrate how a local chart might differ from a national one.

US Label: Record label and release number of the US single, where known. Only basic label and number info is shown, e.g. DEF Records FV45-98122 is listed as DEF 98122. If a single was released on a local label and then picked up and made a hit on a different label, only the hit label is shown here; additional label information may be included in the Notes column.

Date: Date of the first chart published containing the hit single. Hits are listed in chronological order of charting in the artist’s home country. The order of charting in other countries or lists may vary. For a single that charts in multiple listings (e.g. Pop, Country, R&B) the order is based on the charting date of the primary genre in which the artist worked. A single that first charted in late 1959 is listed here, as long as it was on a chart as of January 1, 1960. The actual day of the week that a chart was published may vary among publishers.

Weeks: Total number of weeks the single appeared on the chart. These are almost always consecutive. Singles that charted in late 1959 (and hence were on the chart in January 1960) or entered the chart in late 1969 and extended into 1970 have their full number of weeks shown. The future chart run of a song that re-entered a chart in another decade is not considered here. Occasionally a chart missed a week (holiday or printing problem), in which case the listing from the previous week is held over.

Peak #: Highest placing on the chart achieved by the hit during the period noted. The peak placing may extend for two or more weeks. If a song re-entered the charts in subsequent years, that entry is listed separately. Only chart listings in the 1960s are considered.

Billboard: This weekly publication used a combination of radio airplay reports and sales reports to compile a national chart for various genres. Billboard represents the “standard” reference in US charts.

Billboard Pop 100: Billboard Magazine published a weekly chart that included both a “Hot 100” singles and a 30-song “Bubbling Under” section. They are combined here. The “Hot 100” singles ranking was based on radio airplay and sales reports across the US. All singles making the Top 100 are shown with the number of weeks in the Top 100, but do not include any weeks spent in the “Bubbling Under” chart. Singles that only “Bubbled Under” will have a Peak # of between 130 and 101. The number of weeks shown for those songs is only the time spent in the “Bubbling Under” chart.

Billboard R&B: Billboard Magazine compiled a Top 30 of songs defined as “R&B” (although not all charted songs were what would be now recognized as rhythm and blues music or performers) up to Nov. 30, 1963. The chart had a gap until re-starting as an R&B Top 40 on Jan. 30, 1965. The focus shifted to sales (from radio play) as of June 5, 1965, and expanded to Top 50 on Aug. 6, 1966. The chart was renamed “Best Selling Soul Singles” on Aug. 23, 1969. R&B singles that charted on the Hot 100 list during the 1964 hiatus (e.g. a few Supremes songs) are shown here as “same as pop”.

Billboard Country: Billboard’s listing of “Hot Country Singles” came from radio and sales reports. The first four years of the decade listed a Top 30, which changed to a Top 50 on Jan. 11, 1964. The chart expanded to a Top 75 on Oct. 15, 1966.

Billboard Easy Listening: This chart of “middle-of-the-road” singles began on as a Top 20 on July 17, 1961. Between Oct. 1964 and June 1965 the chart varied between 15 and 25 songs. As of June 5, 1965, the Easy Listening chart settled on a Top 40 list.

Cashbox: Cashbox was a weekly publication aimed at the music industry. Cashbox charts were based strictly on record sales. A “million seller” or “gold record” would therefore be defined using Cashbox figures. Some singles sold well (for example in different parts of the country) without making an impact on the national chart. For this reason, Cashbox singles may vary substantially from Billboard hits. Furthermore, up to September 11, 1965, Cashbox ranked multiple versions of the same hit song as the same, so several Top 100 charts have more than 100 entries.

UK Charts: There were several competing music publications in the UK which created their own charts. Two of the most-referenced ones are tabulated here: Record Retailer (later Music Week) and New Musical Express (NME). Although a few EPs and LPs made the UK charts, this compilation lists only hit singles.

UK Label: Almost all US recordings were leased to UK record labels for release there (and vice versa). Record label and release number of the UK single, where known.

U.K. Record Retailer / Music Week: Record Retailer magazine began a Top 50 chart on Mar 10, 1960. The NME chart is used up to this point. Chart was originally compiled based on phone calls to record stores; in 1964 the system changed to rely on submissions from 75 – 85 record stores. In 1969 the chart became more explicitly based on national sales. 

NME: The NME chart was based on reports from numerous record stores. The NME chart often varies from Record Retailer, as different stores were used. The NME chart was based on record sales as of close of business Saturday each week.

Canada Charts: RPM Magazine provided a national overview. Individual radio stations had their own charts, which could vary considerably from city to city. Some “national” hits were limited to a few cities.

RPM: RPM magazine initiated its weekly Top 40 chart on June 22, 1964. The chart was expanded to a Top 100 on March 21, 1966. It drew on a combination of record company, sales, and radio station reports from across Canada. The RPM chart used English-speaking radio stations only; RPM’s Hit Singles chart did not include French-language songs that were hits in Quebec. During the Top 40 era, once a song peaked (even at #1), RPM tended to drop it from the chart the next week. Chart positions for “missing” weeks are interpolated.

CHUM Toronto: Canada’s premier AM hit radio station, CHUM began its influential Top 50 chart in 1957. It was the most important Canadian chart until RPM’s debut chart in 1964. As of August 10, 1968, the CHUM list was reduced to a Top 30.

Vancouver: CKWX, CFUN, and CKLG battled for pop radio supremacy in the west coast market. WX’s Top 40 list ended in March 1962, so is not included here. CKLG initiated their chart with a Top 60 on October 19, 1964. From Jan 3, 1965 to Mar 18, 1967 it was a Top 40, then it dropped to a Top 30. CFUN varied between 40 and 60 hits until Aug 20, 1960, when it settled on a Top 50. CFUN stopped its chart on Sept 16, 1967. For songs that made both CKLG and CFUN charts in their period of overlap (1964-67), the “date” used here is the earliest chart entry; hits usually charted within a couple of weeks of one another.

Australia: There was no national Australian hit singles list in the 1960s; radio stations in each major city created their own lists. Charts may vary considerably from city to city. The Top 40 data tabulated here is drawn from Sydney lists.

New Zealand: New Zealand charts began on March 26, 1966 and listed a Top 20. The chart was compiled by the New Zealand Listener magazine’s “pop-o-meter” poll, in which readers voted for their top 5 songs. The chart was not based on sales or radio play, and may vary from other countries as a result.

Cover Versions: If the song is a version of someone else’s original, or if the song was covered by another artist(s), it is noted here. This list is not exhaustive; it mentions significant 60s versions and notable hit versions from other decades.

Notes: Any additional comments or points of interest on the song or recording. This is not a comprehensive or rigorous set of comments.

The Charts

Canadian 60s Hit Singles Chart

Canadian pop music struggled in the 1960s against unprotected competition and promotion from US and UK acts. Gradually a homegrown record industry evolved, with the support of tireless cheerleaders, companies, and audiences. The limited impact of Canadian records on the outside world is evident, although some impact was beginning to be felt by the latter part of the decade. This Sixties Chart excerpt focuses on all performers classified as Canadian, although arguably it could exclude people like Percy Faith, Paul Anka, and Hank Snow who spent most or all of their careers based in the US. It uncovers a long list of local heroes, national recording artists, obscurities, and international breakouts in the pop, country, and R&B genres.

This is the only comprehensive international chart of Canadian 1960s singles; it lists every song that made the Canadian (RPM and CHUM), US (Cashbox and Billboard), UK, Australian, and New Zealand charts.

CHUM (Toronto radio) began its Top 50 chart in the 1950s and was the premier Canadian chart until RPM Magazine initiated its national Top 40 chart in March 1964. RPM went to a Top 100 in March 1966, while CHUM tightened their list to a Top 30 in August 1968.

It should be remembered that the RPM and CHUM listings focused on English-language records and do not represent the French-language pop music scene in Canada.

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The chart is an excerpt of the overall Sixties Chart; refer to those notes for more guidance.