Best Rock Albums From The Year 1960

Best Rock Albums From The Year 1960

Photo: Alacoolwiki / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

And herewe go into the wonderful decade of the 1960s. Our first article in our Best Albums of the 1960s series will look at the opening year of the decade. The concept of the rock album as we know it was still developing at the time. Many of the well known rock and roll acts released more singles than they did albums. Singles were still more popular than the album format across the board in rock and roll and pop music. There were of course exceptions and many of those were found in the jazz world. The genre of jazz was very popular in 1960. John Coltrane released his masterpiece Giant Steps album.

Bill Evans released one of the greatest jazz albums of all time with Portrait in Jazz. Miles Davis released Sketches Of Spain. These were big selling albums and we cant ignore the popularity of this music when looking back at the year 1960. We are not going to include them on the list because its a best rock albums list as opposed to just a best albums list, but it was pertinent to mention those classic records from a historical perspective.

Some of the big names from the 1950s were still going strong in 1960. Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and Bo Diddley also released new music. Some of the biggest news of the year transpired in the Elvis Presley camp as the legendary artist was discharged from the army and released his first new music since 1957. In other news, Dion went solo leaving the Belmonts behind on the streets of the Bronx. Chubby Checker released one of the all-time classic rock songs “The Twist,” which went to number one and then interestingly hit number one again the following year in 1961.

The early 1960s period from 1960 to 1963 were transition years for rock. The 1950s were fading away quickly as Happy Days would soon turn into a decade of civil unrest, war, and protests. The rock and roll would be turned upside down with the arrival of The Beatles, the British Invasion and the American response. Yet, in 1960 rock struggled to reach over the sounds of jazz and the vocals crooners such as Frank Sin atra, Bobby Darrin, Connie Francis and all those other artists whose albums filled the shelves of your parents living room.

In 1960, many of the record companies of so many very successful 50s artists were releasing compilation albums and re-recordings of the hits of the 1950s. Many artists who had released mostly singles and had never recorded any albums were having their songs pressed onto full length vinyl LPs for the first time. It became hard to distinguish between original LPs and compilations. Sadly there is not a great deal of information on certain artists.  We have done the best we could in eliminating the compilations and separating them from original vinyl LPs.

# 20 – Come Rock with Me – Johnny Preston

Come Rock with Me - Johnny Preston

In the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll, Johnny Preston brought a youthful exuberance and a touch of R&B inflection to the genre with his album Come Rock with Me. Released in 1961, this album is a testament to the rockabilly style that had swept the United States in the late 1950s and early ’60s. It had a reasonable promotional backing, and while it may not have scaled the towering heights of the charts, it remains a classic example of the period’s musical trends.

The album was produced by Bill Hall, a notable figure in the rock ‘n’ roll and country music scenes of the time. Johnny Preston, as the lead vocalist, was joined by an ensemble of musicians that added layers to the rockabilly sound he aimed to produce. Though the full list of musicians remains partially obscured by the sands of time, the arrangements often included saxophones, pianos, and guitars, which were standard instruments for rock ‘n’ roll acts in that era. Recorded at Gold Star Studios in Houston, Texas, the album captures the Southern essence and musical richness of the time and place.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Do What You Did” 2:09
  2. “Let’s Leave It That Way” 2:32
  3. “Madre De Dios” 2:28
  4. “I Want a Rock & Roll Guitar” 2:12
  5. “Broken Heart Anonymous” 2:38
  6. “Kissin’ Tree” 1:59
  7. “Let the Big Boss Man (Pull You Through)” 2:42
  8. “That’s All I Want” 2:11
  9. “Just Call Me” 2:22
  10. “I’m Starting Over” 2:07

# 19 – G.I. Blues – Elvis Presley

G.I. Blues - Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, ventured into a new realm with the soundtrack to his film G.I. Blues, released in 1960. The album was not just another record; it was part of Presley’s transition from a rebellious rocker to an all-around entertainer. The songs were geared to accompany the movie’s storyline, which was based on Presley’s own experience in the U.S. Army. This marked a shift in his career and garnered a lot of commercial success, peaking at number one on the Billboard Top Pop Album chart.

The album was produced by Joseph Lilley, known for his work in movie soundtracks during that era. Elvis, with his iconic voice and charm, was accompanied by several musicians, including Scotty Moore on guitar, D.J. Fontana on drums, and the Jordanaires providing backing vocals. Recording sessions took place at RCA’s Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as in Hollywood at Radio Recorders, from April to May 1960.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Tonight Is So Right for Love” 2:14
  2. “What’s She Really Like” 2:17
  3. “Frankfort Special” 2:54
  4. “Wooden Heart” 2:05
  5. “G.I. Blues” 2:37
  6. “Pocketful of Rainbows” 2:36
  7. “Shoppin’ Around” 2:23
  8. “Big Boots” 1:31
  9. “Didja’ Ever” 2:36
  10. “Blue Suede Shoes” 2:05
  11. “Doin’ the Best I Can” 3:12

# 18 – Haley’s Juke Box – Bill Haley and His Comets

Haley's Juke Box - Bill Haley and His Comets

Bill Haley and His Comets, known for the epochal “Rock Around the Clock,” went for a different strategy with Haley’s Juke Box, released in 1960. The album is an ode to the music that inspired Haley and his band, covering various hits of the time, a departure from their earlier work that had often emphasized their own compositions. While it didn’t capture the same commercial thunder as “Rock Around the Clock,” it nonetheless showcased the versatility and enthusiasm of Bill Haley and His Comets for American music genres, ranging from country to R&B to rock ‘n’ roll.

Bill Haley took the lead on vocals and rhythm guitar, and he was backed by a fluctuating ensemble that typically included Rudy Pompilli on saxophone, Franny Beecher on lead guitar, Al Rex on double bass, and Ralph Jones on drums. The record was produced by Milt Gabler, a veteran in the industry with a knack for fusing commercial viability with artistic merit. The album was recorded in Decca’s New York studios, capitalizing on the fine acoustics and equipment available at that time.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Tamiami” 2:42
  2. “Candy Kisses” 2:37
  3. “Wheel of Fortune” 2:38
  4. “Honky Tonk” 2:14
  5. “Corrine, Corrina” 2:24
  6. “B. B. Betty” 2:22
  7. “Marie” 2:21
  8. “The Catwalk” 2:10
  9. “Rockin’ Rollin’ Rover” 2:10
  10. “Caldonia” 2:23
  11. “Shaky” 2:10
  12. “In Apple Blossom Time” 2:22

# 17 – Eddie Cochran – Eddie Cochran

Eddie Cochran - Eddie Cochran

Eddie Cochran’s self-titled album, released in 1960, captures a seminal moment in the rock ‘n’ roll era. Cochran, known for hits like “Summertime Blues,” brought a blend of rockabilly, country, and R&B into his music. The album was especially poignant as it came out the same year Cochran tragically died in a car accident. Because of this, the album serves as both a testament to Cochran’s talent and a poignant reminder of what could have been. It features Cochran’s signature voice and guitar, blending youthful themes with an emerging rock sound.

Eddie Cochran himself handled vocals and lead guitar, with a backing band that generally consisted of Connie “Guybo” Smith on double bass, and Earl Palmer or Gene Riggio on drums. The album was produced by Snuff Garrett, who was known for crafting radio-friendly pop hits. The recording sessions mostly took place at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, a hotbed for emerging talent during that era.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “C’mon Everybody” 1:55
  2. “Three Steps to Heaven” 2:22
  3. “Cut Across Shorty” 1:58
  4. “Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie” 2:20
  5. “Pocketful of Hearts” 1:49
  6. “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” 2:19
  7. “Don’t Ever Let Me Go” 2:25
  8. “Summertime Blues” 1:58
  9. “Teresa” 2:06
  10. “Somethin’ Else” 2:05
  11. “Pretty Girl” 1:52
  12. “Teenage Heaven” 2:05

# 16 – Marty Wilde –  The Versatile Marty Wilde

Marty Wilde Versatile Mr Wilde Album

The Versatile Marty Wilde encapsulates the artist’s eclectic range in a mix of genres, showcasing his versatility from rock ‘n’ roll to pop and other styles. The album gives listeners a rich sampling of Wilde’s adaptability, featuring both original compositions and covers, revealing him as a well-rounded musical talent.

The album was produced by Marty Wilde, which gave him a level of artistic control uncommon for many artists of his time.

Track Listings:

  1. “Down The Line”
  2. “Love Of My Life”
  3. “Put Me Down”
  4. “Blue Moon Of Kentucky”
  5. “Dream Lover”
  6. “You’ve Got Love”
  7. “I Flipped”
  8. “All American Boy”
  9. “Mean Woman Blues”
  10. “Are You Sincere?”
  11. “High School Confidential”
  12. “Don’t Pity Me”
  13. “Splish Splash”

# 15 – Mr. Personality Sings the Blues – Lloyd Price

Mr. Personality Sings the Blues - Lloyd Price

When Lloyd Price, affectionately known as “Mr. Personality,” released Mr. Personality Sings the Blues, it marked a shift in his musical focus. While Price was primarily known for his pop and R&B hits, this album highlighted his ability to delve deep into the roots of the blues. Price’s unique blend of blues, along with his charismatic stage presence, made this album stand out among his contemporaries.

Lloyd Price was not only the lead vocalist but also the man behind the project, orchestrating many of the arrangements. The album was produced by Harold Battiste, a figure synonymous with New Orleans R&B and jazz. The recording details, including the specific musicians and studio locations, aren’t prominently documented, but the quality of the musicianship in both instrumentation and arrangements speaks volumes.

# 14 – Bo Diddley Is a GunslingerBo Diddley

Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger - Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger was released in December 1960 and showcases the seminal influence of Bo Diddley on the development of rock and roll. This album is an amalgamation of Diddley’s rock and roll, R&B, and blues influences. It is characterized by his distinctive use of the “Bo Diddley beat,” a rhythm that had a lasting impact on rock music. The album was not just a commercial venture but also an artistic statement, exploring the versatility of rock and roll during a transformative period in American music history.

The album features Bo Diddley on vocals and guitar, along with other musicians like Jerome Green on maracas, Clifton James on drums, and Willie Dixon on bass. Produced by Leonard and Phil Chess of the iconic Chess Records, the album was recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago, Illinois. Although specific recording dates are not publicly documented, it’s known that the sessions took place in the late 1950s and 1960, culminating in the album’s release at the end of 1960.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Gunslinger” 1:51
  2. “Ride on Josephine” 3:02
  3. “Doing the Crawdaddy” 2:48
  4. “Cadillac” 2:45
  5. “Somewhere” 2:35
  6. “Cheyenne” 2:35
  7. “Sixteen Tons” 2:29
  8. “Whoa Mule (Shine)” 2:32
  9. “No More Lovin'” 2:24
  10. “Diddling” 2:13

# 13 – Me and My ShadowsCliff Richard

Me and My Shadows - Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard’s third studio album, Me and My Shadows, marked an important phase in the British singer’s career and an evolution in British pop music as a whole. The album was predominantly rock ‘n’ roll, but it also incorporated elements of pop, helping Cliff Richard and The Shadows to further establish themselves as prominent figures in the early British pop scene. The record was immensely successful, topping the UK Album Charts and holding that position for six weeks. Notable singles like “Please Don’t Tease,” which also reached the number-one spot in the UK, contributed to its commercial success.

The album featured Cliff Richard on lead vocals, Hank Marvin on lead guitar, Bruce Welch on rhythm guitar, Jet Harris on bass, and Tony Meehan on drums. It was produced by Norrie Paramor and released by Columbia Records. The recording took place at EMI Studios in London, though the specific dates and times are not publicly documented. The Shadows’ contribution to the album was instrumental—literally and figuratively—as they were pioneers in creating the unique guitar-based sound that would define British rock ‘n’ roll in the years to come.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Fall In Love With You” 2:30
  2. “Please Don’t Tease” 2:59
  3. “Nine Times out of Ten” 2:08
  4. “Thinking of Our Love” 2:42
  5. “Evergreen Tree” 2:40
  6. “She’s Gone” 2:34
  7. “Left out Again” 2:59
  8. “You’re Just the One to Do It” 2:19
  9. “Lamp of Love” 1:49
  10. “Choppin’ ‘n’ Changin'” 2:52
  11. “We Have It Made” 2:13
  12. “Tell Me” 2:46
  13. “Gee Whizz It’s You” 2:00
  14. “I Love You So” 2:30
  15. “I’m Willing to Learn” 2:01
  16. “I Don’t Know” 2:09

# 12 – Save The Last Dance For Me – The Drifters

Save The Last Dance For Me - The Drifters

Save The Last Dance For Me, released in 1962, served as an epitome of the early 1960s doo-wop and R&B sound, encapsulating the rich harmonies and romantic themes that would come to define the era. Produced by famed songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the album features the iconic title track “Save the Last Dance for Me,” which soared to the No. 1 spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. This song alone has been covered by various artists over the years, marking its enduring legacy. The album as a whole also did remarkably well, charting high on the Billboard album charts and gaining significant radio airplay.

The album featured Ben E. King on lead vocals, along with fellow Drifters Charlie Thomas, Dock Green, and Elsbeary Hobbs. Additional session musicians, including the likes of Phil Spector in the role of a guitar player, contributed to the lush instrumental arrangements. Recorded predominantly at Atlantic Studios in New York City, the precise details of recording dates and times remain largely undocumented.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Save the Last Dance for Me” 2:27
  2. “I Count the Tears” 2:08
  3. “Somebody New Dancin’ with You” 2:21
  4. “Jackpot” 2:43
  5. “No Sweet Lovin'” 2:22
  6. “Sweets for My Sweet” 2:35
  7. “Mexican Divorce” 2:34
  8. “When My Little Girl Is Smiling” 2:34
  9. “Some Kind of Wonderful” 2:17
  10. “Please Stay” 2:15
  11. “Nobody but Me” 2:35
  12. “Room Full of Tears” 2:45

# 11 – Muddy Waters Sings “Big Bill” – Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters Sings "Big Bill" - Muddy Waters

The 1960 album Muddy Waters Sings “Big Bill” was a tribute to the influential blues musician Big Bill Broonzy, and it stands as a significant chapter in Muddy Waters’ discography. The album was released under Chess Records and was produced by the iconic Phil and Leonard Chess. Waters pays homage to Broonzy by lending his unique voice and style to the classic compositions. The album is considered a key work in preserving and interpreting traditional blues music, acting as a bridge between the old guard and the burgeoning blues revival that was emerging at that time.

Muddy Waters took the lead on vocals and slide guitar and was supported by a cast of extraordinary musicians, including James Cotton on harmonica, Otis Spann on piano, Andrew Stephenson on bass, and Francis Clay on drums. The recordings took place in Chicago, Illinois, but the exact dates and times remain elusive. The album didn’t chart upon its initial release but has since garnered critical acclaim for its role in bringing Broonzy’s work back into public consciousness.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Tell Me Baby” 2:10
  2. “Southbound Train” 2:53
  3. “When I Get to Thinking” 3:06
  4. “Just a Dream (On My Mind)” 2:31
  5. “Double Trouble” 2:42
  6. “I Feel So Good” 2:53
  7. “I Done Got Wise” 3:05
  8. “Mopper’s Blues” 2:56
  9. “Lonesome Road Blues” 3:03
  10. “Hey, Hey” 2:36

# 10 – The Genius Hits the Road  – Ray Charles

The Genius Hits the Road  - Ray Charles

In 1960, Ray Charles released the seminal album The Genius Hits the Road, a concept album focusing on various American states and cities, marking a departure from his earlier works centered around love and heartbreak. The album was released under the ABC-Paramount label and was produced by Sid Feller, who collaborated extensively with Charles. One of the album’s standout tracks, “Georgia on My Mind,” became an instant classic and was later designated the official state song of Georgia in 1979. This iconic album became a cornerstone of Ray Charles’ career and is renowned for its blend of soul, jazz, and pop elements.

Ray Charles performed vocals and piano, and he was backed by a stellar array of musicians, including members of his ensemble, The Raelettes, on backing vocals. The orchestra was arranged by Ralph Burns and conducted by Sid Feller. While the specific recording dates and locations are not widely documented, the impact of the album is indisputable. It reached number 9 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart and has since received critical acclaim for its pioneering approach to concept albums in the soul and jazz genres.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Alabamy Bound” 1:55
  2. “Georgia on My Mind” 3:35
  3. “Basin Street Blues” 2:46
  4. “Mississippi Mud” 3:24
  5. “Moonlight in Vermont” 3:02
  6. “New York’s My Home” 3:05
  7. “California, Here I Come” 2:09
  8. “Moon Over Miami” 3:20
  9. “Deep in the Heart of Texas” 2:28
  10. “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” 2:02
  11. “Blue Hawaii” 2:28
  12. “Chattanooga Choo Choo” 3:05

# 9 – Dreamin’ – Johnny Burnette

Dreamin' - Johnny Burnette

Emerging from the rockabilly scene of the 1950s, Johnny Burnette shifted gears with his 1960 album Dreamin’, embracing the burgeoning pop-rock genre. The album, released under Liberty Records, was produced by Snuff Garrett and includes the work of acclaimed session musicians like drummer Earl Palmer and guitarist Howard Roberts. Dreamin’ marked a notable evolution for Burnette, moving away from his earlier rockabilly material toward more orchestrated pop sounds. The title track “Dreamin'” reached number 11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, showcasing Burnette’s ability to captivate a broader audience.

Johnny Burnette handled lead vocals and guitar, often accompanied by The Johnny Mann Singers for backing vocals. Specific details on recording locations and times are not widely available, but the sessions produced an album that resonated deeply with its era. Dreamin’ reached #21 on the U.S. Billboard 200, solidifying Burnette’s presence in the early 1960s music scene.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Dreamin'” 2:19
  2. “Lovesick Blues” 2:05
  3. “Cincinnati Fireball” 2:42
  4. “I’m Restless” 1:53
  5. “My Special Angel” 2:58
  6. “Finders Keepers” 1:59
  7. “It’s Only Make Believe” 2:19
  8. “The Fool” 1:55
  9. “I’ve Got a Lot of Things to Do” 1:54
  10. “You’re Sixteen” 1:55
  11. “Poor Boy” 1:53
  12. “Lovesick Blues” (alternate take) 2:09

# 8 – Alone With Dion – Dion

Alone With Dion - Dion

Following his massive success as the lead singer of Dion and the Belmonts, Dion DiMucci decided to embark on a solo career, leading to the creation of the album Alone With Dion. This 1961 album was released on the Laurie Records label and was produced by Gene Schwartz. Not only did Dion contribute lead vocals, but he also played guitar. The sessions also included notable session musicians of the era, although their names aren’t explicitly documented. This album is a mix of doo-wop, early rock, and R&B, effectively blending the styles Dion had become known for while adding a more personal touch, as evinced by tracks like “Lonely Teenager” and “Kissin’ Game.”

Alone With Dion reached notable acclaim, especially for a solo debut. While not a chart-topping phenomenon, the album was well-received critically and helped to establish Dion as a solo artist, distinct from his earlier ensemble work. “Lonely Teenager,” one of the singles, reached #12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Lonely Teenager” 2:13
  2. “After the Dance” 2:05
  3. “P.S. I Love You” 2:47
  4. “Save the Last Dance for Me” 3:02
  5. “Little Miss Blue” 2:20
  6. “Havin’ Fun” 2:18
  7. “Close Your Eyes” 2:03
  8. “Fools Rush In” 2:39
  9. “My One and Only Love” 2:36
  10. “North East End of the Corner” 2:34
  11. “One for My Baby” 3:05
  12. “Then I’ll Be Tired of You” 2:57

# 7 – $1,000,000 Worth of Twang – Duane Eddy

$1,000,000 Worth of Twang - Duane Eddy

In 1959, Duane Eddy, already a household name in rock ‘n’ roll and instrumental music, released his album $1,000,000 Worth of Twang. Issued under the Jamie Records label, the album was produced by the notable Lee Hazlewood, who collaborated with Eddy on many of his big hits. The album featured Duane Eddy on lead guitar, along with key collaborators like saxophonist Steve Douglas and keyboardist Larry Knechtel. The recordings took place at Audio Recorders in Phoenix, Arizona, but exact dates for the recording sessions are not readily documented.

The album was a commercial and critical success, building upon Eddy’s “twangy” guitar sound—a style he largely pioneered. It reached #10 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. The record included hits like “Rebel Rouser,” which climbed the charts and further solidified Eddy’s reputation for producing catchy, guitar-heavy instrumentals. With this album, Eddy continued to refine and expand upon his musical style, serving as a major influence on subsequent generations of rock musicians, especially in the realm of instrumental rock.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Rebel Rouser” 2:21
  2. “Cannonball” 1:53
  3. “The Quiet Three” 1:55
  4. “Bonnie Came Back” 2:07
  5. “Because They’re Young” 1:55
  6. “Theme for Moon Children” 2:10
  7. “Moovin’ ‘N’ Groovin'” 2:03
  8. “The Lonely One” 1:38
  9. “Forty Miles of Bad Road” 1:51
  10. “Some Kind-a Earthquake” 1:15
  11. “First Love, First Tears” 2:03
  12. “Kommotion” 2:22

# 6 – It’s Everly Time  – The Everly Brothers

It's Everly Time  - The Everly Brothers

In 1960, The Everly Brothers, composed of siblings Don and Phil Everly, released their celebrated album, It’s Everly Time. Produced by Archie Bleyer and issued under the Cadence Records label, the album added yet another dimension to their already diverse repertoire. Most of the album was recorded in RCA Victor Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee, although the exact dates of the recording sessions are not publicly known.

The album was commercially successful, peaking at #9 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Albums chart. The album is often lauded for its polished vocal harmonies and its eclectic mix of country, rock ‘n’ roll, and pop elements. With a tracklist that ranges from buoyant to poignant, the album demonstrated the brothers’ vocal prowess and versatility. The Everly Brothers were backed by an array of talented musicians, including Floyd Cramer on piano and Chet Atkins on guitar, which enriched the overall sound of the album.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)” 2:33
  2. “Just in Case” 2:04
  3. “Memories Are Made of This” 2:25
  4. “That’s What You Do To Me” 1:56
  5. “Sleepless Nights” 2:22
  6. “What Kind of Girl Are You” 1:54
  7. “Oh, True Love” 2:19
  8. “Carol Jane” 1:49
  9. “Some Sweet Day” 2:23
  10. “Nashville Blues” 2:09
  11. “You Thrill Me (Through and Through)” 1:58
  12. “I Want You to Know” 2:05

# 5 – Twist With Chubby Checker – Chubby Checker

Twist With Chubby Checker - Chubby Checker

In 1960, the dance floor would never be the same as Chubby Checker introduced the world to the twist with his groundbreaking album Twist With Chubby Checker. Produced by Kal Mann and Dave Appell, and released under the Parkway label, this album not only catapulted Chubby Checker into stardom but also instigated a dance craze that swept across the nation. Recorded at Reco-Art Sound Recording Studios in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the album managed to capture the electrifying excitement and simplicity of the twist, an uncomplicated dance that anyone could enjoy.

Twist With Chubby Checker debuted to massive commercial success, with the iconic single “The Twist” peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, not once but twice—first in 1960 and then again in 1962. The album features Chubby Checker on vocals, accompanied by a session band, although the exact names of the musicians are not readily available. The track “The Twist” became so popular that it spawned countless twist dance events and even inspired films based on the twist craze.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Twistin’ U.S.A.” 2:33
  2. “The Ooh Poo Pah Doo Shimmy” 2:05
  3. “The C. C. Rider Stroll” 2:28
  4. “The Strand” 2:35
  5. “The Chicken” 2:41
  6. “The Hucklebuck” 2:26
  7. “The Twist” 2:36
  8. “The Madison” 2:45
  9. “Love Is Strange Calypso” 2:35
  10. “Mexican Hat Twist” 2:10
  11. “The Slop” 1:55
  12. “The Pony” 2:28

# 4 – Rockin’ At The Hops – Chuck Berry

Rockin' At The Hops - Chuck Berry

In the heart of the rock ‘n’ roll era, Chuck Berry, the man often credited with laying the foundation for the genre, released his fourth studio album, Rockin’ At The Hops. The album was produced by the renowned Leonard Chess and Phil Chess and was released under Chess Records. The sessions for the album took place at Chess Studios in Chicago, Illinois. The iconic Willie Dixon played the bass, Fred Below was on drums, and Johnnie Johnson provided the signature piano sounds that were a defining feature of Berry’s music.

Rockin’ At The Hops was an eclectic mix of Berry’s love for blues, R&B, and good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. While none of the songs broke into the top 10 on the charts, several became staples in Berry’s live repertoire. Among these is “Bye Bye Johnny,” a quasi-sequel to Berry’s earlier hit “Johnny B. Goode.” In terms of chart performance, “Let It Rock” managed to peak at #64 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album as a whole demonstrated Berry’s knack for storytelling, his unique guitar techniques, and his integration of blues and country elements into rock ‘n’ roll.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Bye Bye Johnny” 2:06
  2. “Worried Life Blues” 2:13
  3. “Down the Road a Piece” 2:17
  4. “Confessin’ the Blues” 2:10
  5. “Too Pooped to Pop” 2:37
  6. “Mad Lad” 2:13
  7. “I Got to Find My Baby” 2:17
  8. “Betty Jean” 2:32
  9. “Childhood Sweetheart” 2:45
  10. “Broken Arrow” 2:24
  11. “Driftin’ Blues” 2:22
  12. “Let It Rock” 1:48

# 3 – At Newport 1960Muddy Waters

At Newport 1960 - Muddy Waters

At Newport 1960 is a seminal live album by Muddy Waters, recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 3, 1960. The recording is a momentous one as it marked one of the first times a Chicago blues band was incorporated into what was largely considered a traditional jazz festival. Produced by Norman Granz, the album captured a moment in time where the blues was beginning to gain recognition and respect in broader musical circles. Chess Records, which had been Muddy Waters’ label home for years, released the album later in 1960.

The album featured Muddy Waters on vocals and guitar, with a backing band that included James Cotton on harmonica, Otis Spann on piano, Andrew Stephens on bass, and Francis Clay on drums. Pat Hare also played guitar. The live album showcased Muddy Waters’ unique electric blues style, a sharp contrast to the more acoustic Delta blues that many had been used to. Songs like “I Got My Brand on You” and “Tiger in Your Tank” are standouts, showcasing the raw power of Waters’ performance and the tightness of his band. The famous set was also notable for its finale, a sizzling rendition of “Got My Mojo Working,” a song that became one of Waters’ signatures.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “I Got My Brand on You” 4:24
  2. “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” 2:50
  3. “Baby, Please Don’t Go” 3:01
  4. “Soon Forgotten” 4:08
  5. “Tiger in Your Tank” 4:12
  6. “I Feel So Good” 2:55
  7. “Got My Mojo Working” 4:01
  8. “Got My Mojo Working, Pt. 2” 2:58
  9. “Goodbye Newport Blues” 4:38

# 2 – Elvis Is Back – Elvis Presley

Elvis Is Back - Elvis Presley

Two years after his last album and a brief hiatus due to military service, Elvis Presley returned to the music scene with Elvis Is Back!. The album marked a departure from the rockabilly roots that made him famous and showcased a more mature sound, including pop, blues, and gospel elements. The album was produced by Steve Sholes and Chet Atkins and recorded in RCA’s Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee, during March and April 1960. It was then released on April 8, 1960, and it marked a significant shift in Presley’s career, setting the stage for his more mature phase both musically and personally.

The album featured Elvis Presley on vocals, Scotty Moore and Hank Garland on guitars, Floyd Cramer on piano, Bob Moore on double bass, D.J. Fontana and Buddy Harman on drums, and The Jordanaires as backing vocalists. Songs like “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” displayed Elvis’ versatility and vocal range, demonstrating that he was not just a rock and roll singer but a multi-faceted artist. The album reached number two on the Billboard 200 chart and made its mark on the UK Albums Chart as well, solidifying its commercial success.

CD Track Listings:

  1. “Make Me Know It” 1:58
  2. “Fever” 3:33
  3. “The Girl of My Best Friend” 2:23
  4. “I Will Be Home Again” 2:35
  5. “Dirty, Dirty Feeling” 1:36
  6. “Thrill of Your Love” 3:02
  7. “Soldier Boy” 3:06
  8. “Such a Night” 3:00
  9. “It Feels So Right” 2:10
  10. “The Girl Next Door Went A’Walking” 2:14
  11. “Like a Baby” 2:40
  12. “Reconsider Baby” 3:40

# 1 – Have Gun Will Travel – Bo Diddley

Have Gun Will Travel - Bo Diddley

As the 1960s dawned, Bo Diddley was already an established force in the world of rock ‘n’ roll and R&B. Have Gun Will Travel not only fortified his standing but also showcased his multifaceted talents in the realm of rhythm and blues. The album was produced by the legendary Leonard Chess, co-founder of Chess Records, the label that released the album. The recording sessions took place at Chess Studios in Chicago, making it a homegrown project steeped in the traditions of American blues and early rock ‘n’ roll. The album’s name was inspired by the popular TV Western series of the same name, signaling Diddley’s cultural awareness and his penchant for theatricality.

On the album, Bo Diddley is backed by a cast of accomplished musicians that include Peggy Jones on guitar, Clifton James on drums, and Willie Dixon on bass. Diddley himself took on vocals and guitar. The album includes some of Diddley’s lesser-known but impactful tracks like “Craw-Dad,” which would later be covered by several other artists. Although it did not reach the top of the charts, the album was a moderate commercial success and has since gained status as one of the key releases in Diddley’s catalog.

LP Track Listings:

  1. “Gun Slinger” 1:53
  2. “Ride On Josephine” 3:10
  3. “Doing the Craw-Daddy” 2:46
  4. “Cadillac” 2:48
  5. “Somewhere” 2:35
  6. “Cheyenne” 2:37
  7. “Sixteen Tons” 2:30
  8. “Whoa Mule (Shine)” 2:34
  9. “No More Lovin'” 2:28
  10. “Diddling” 2:09

Don’t forget to check out all the rest of our Best Albums of the Year articles.

Best Albums of The Year Series

1970’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1971’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1972’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1973’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1974’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1975’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1976’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1977’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1978’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1979’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1980’s Best Rock Albums List

1981’s Best Rock Albums List

1982’s Best Rock Albums List

1983’s Best Rock Albums List

1984’s Best Rock Albums List

1985’s Best Rock Albums List

1986’s Best Rock Albums List

Updated October 30, 2023

Best Rock Albums From The Year 1960  article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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