Downtown Decades: 1960s

The 1960’s was an era defined by music, perspective, and change — ranging across genres of Rock, Latin, Jazz, to R&B.

It was a pivotal time, as rock music came of age and began to dominate the pop music charts. The Beatles were significant to 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 UK, propelling their career.

The decade was diversified by folk revival artists like Van Morrison's band, Them, and world music sounds. Fania Records, the famed Latin record label, sparked the Harlem Salsa sound with the help of compositions like, Hector Lavoe’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” and feel good hits like Cy Coleman's “The Best is Yet to Come” performed by Ella Fitzgerald made the decade memorable.

Solomon Burke’s “Cry To Me” from the 60’s was a major pop culture influence and was later revitalized by its feature in American classic film Dirty Dancing in 1987.

Moving beyond popular love songs, songwriting in the 60’s was heavily influenced by political events and social consciousness. Iconic folk singer Joan Baez was one of many that turned to music to in protest of 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 the decade of change.

Writer Samples