2nd place – The 1960s. (37 points)
2005: 2nd place, 33 points.
2004: 1st place, 36 points.
2003: 3rd place, 28 points.
9: Tomorrow – Sandie Shaw. 4th place.
8: Keep On Running – Spencer Davis Group. 1st place.
7: Love’s Just A Broken Heart – Cilla Black. 2nd place.
6: A Groovy Kind Of Love – The Mindbenders. 3rd place.
5: Michelle – The Overlanders. 5th place, least popular.
4: Spanish Flea – Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. 2nd place.
3: You Were On My Mind – Crispian St Peters. 1st place.
2: 19th Nervous Breakdown – Rolling Stones. 1st place, most popular.
1: These Boots Are Made For Walking – Nancy Sinatra. 1st place.
For a year which is commonly held to contain some of the most ground-breaking pop music of the last half-century, our 1966 selection looks a tad under-baked. Here are Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours and The Mindbenders, trotting out the same sort of neat-n-tidy neo-Merseybeat that has been regularly charting since 1963. Here are Cilla Black and Sandie Shaw, delivering the sort of MOR ballads that would sit easily amongst the TV light entertainment shows of the day. Here’s Herb Alpert, standing right outside the prevailing pop/rock/r&b fashions with his cheesy MOR. And here are The Overlanders, pointlessly carbon-copying one of the Beatles’ sappier numbers for a quick buck.
However, the remaining four singles in our top ten do contain music that was, in some way, pushing against genre restrictions and moving things forward. There has never been an easy-listening standard quite like the gleefully perverse “These Boots Are Made For Walking” – a song which is custom-made for the epithet “kinky”. Crispian St Peters, though destined only to enjoy two UK hit singles, messes with the Roy Orbison/Everly Brothers template to agreeable effect. The Spencer Davis Group are helping to define a grittier r&b-influenced rock sound – and the Rolling Stones are right out there, rising further above the herd with every new release, and giving establishment Middle England the heebie-jeebies good and proper.
After floundering about for a bit, the top three brought the 1960s to an almost triumphant conclusion in our voting, shortening a six-point gap between winner and runner-up to a difference of just one point. That’s not bad going for a forty-year-old. But really, this year’s winner was never in any doubt…