5 Songs You Missed:1962

Meticulous music collector Adam Picard-Park shares some of his favorite hidden gems from 1962, pop’s last year before Beatlemania.



I’m quite meticulous with my music. I often find myself archiving and sorting my music into giant playlists, most recently making a timeline of my digital collection. In this segment of COPY I’ll be looking at a certain year and picking some of my lesser-known favorites and deep cuts by bigger artists to introduce you to. Not all of the songs will be that unknown but hopefully you’ll find some new music here you enjoy!

Here I’ll cover 1962, pop’s last year before Beatlemania.

I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) by Nina Simone

There’s a deep sorrow that resonates in Nina Simone’s voice unmatched by almost any other artist. She can sing great songs of joy and anger too but when she expresses sadness it can take hold of you. It’s strange that I found this song because of the soundtracks of The Big Lebowski and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The song certainly doesn’t quite fit the tone of either but because it was so strikingly different I had to seek it out. Since then it has become a favorite Simone track. A song for those solemn, full moon nights when you just stare out the window at the empty streets.

You Win Again by Ray Charles

Ray Charles will be inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame this year, an honor that’s been a long time coming. His masterpiece The Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music is an early example of genre crossover. Listening to the album now it may not sound much different from Charles’ other music but in 1962 his switch from country to soul was shocking to his audience. “You Win Again” is one of the lesser-known songs but no less beautiful than any others. It gives off this deeply forlorn feeling that soaks through the whole project. Charles puts the soul in country music, mastering the grace and power of both genres.

She Wears My Ring by Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison always has to be deeply longing for something. It’s ingrained in his voice. He has such an interesting place in pop history coming after Elvis and the early rock and roll craze but also right before the British Invasion. He’s still undoubtedly a legend with a voice that makes him the definition of a crooner. “She Wears My Ring” is a great example of the longing, the crooner voice and the silky but giant production that would back Orbison. It’s like Phil Spector’s wall of sound sans Spector. Orbison has so many delightful tracks on Crying and this is one of the finest.

I Count the Tears by The Drifters

The lyrics of this song are pretty miserable but you wouldn’t know by first listen because The Drifters make it so jumpy and fun. The skuttle of the percussion and the “na-na-na” backing vocals make it hard not to swing just a little to this sobbing narrator. The Drifters have always been great at making music that’ll make you want to twist a little no matter the story they were telling in the song. The Leiber/Stoller production on this one gives it a lively punch that keeps it from being a downer, with a subtle string arrangement that adds a whole lot. The track is short and sweet but catchy as hell. You might have to play it twice.

Let’s Dance by Chris Montez

This song is a bit more popular than the rest of the songs on the list but I rarely find people who mention it nowadays. First off, this is not the Bowie song. I came across this song when my dad and I would watch Animal House when I was younger. The food fight scene began and this funky tune came on. The Ramones would cover this song on their debut followed by many other punk covers that I’ve briefly run into over time. “Let’s Dance” is pure exuberance. Some songs exist simply to have fun. It’s the frosting on a birthday cake. It's a beach party in yellow sands and blue waves. It’s summer vacation when you’re a kid. If you wanna feel good just dance along, it worked for me!

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