Downtown Decades: 1960s

The 1960s was an era defined by music, perspective, and change — ranging across the rock, Latin, jazz, and R&B genres.

It was a pivotal time, as rock music came of age and began to dominate the pop charts. The Beatles were significant in defining the zeitgeist of western culture in the ‘60s. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, “Love Me Do” was their first hit in the U.K. — propelling their career.

The decade was diversified by folk revival acts like Van Morrison's band, Them, as well as world music sounds. Fania Records, the famed Latin record label, sparked the Harlem salsa sound with the help of compositions like Héctor Lavoe and Willie Colón’s “La Murga.” R&B soul was also greatly influenced by the work of Don Gardener and Dee Dee Ford, with songs like “I Need Your Lovin’.” Romantic numbers like Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have To Say” helped make the decade memorable, as well.

Solomon Burke’s “Cry To Me” was a major pop culture influence, later revitalized by its feature in the classic American film Dirty Dancing in 1987.

Beyond popular love songs, songwriting in the '60s was heavily influenced by political events and an evolving collective consciousness. Iconic folk singer Joan Baez was one of many that used her music to protest the Vietnam War. 

Downtown is honored to represent the works of these featured songwriters and artists including The Beatles, Dusty Springfield, and Janis Joplin, among many others that shaped this decade of change.

Writer Samples