And of we 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 form 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 form 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 with 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 transitions 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 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 Sinatra, 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
# 19 – G.I. Blues – Elvis Presley
# 18 – Haley’s Juke Box – Bill Haley and His Comets
# 17 – Eddie Cochran – Eddie Cochran
# 16 – Marty Wilde – Marty Wilde
# 15 – Mr. Personality Sings the Blues – Lloyd Price
# 14 – Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger – Bo Diddley
# 13 – Me and My Shadows – Cliff Richard
# 12 – Save The Last Dance For Me – The Drifters
# 11 – Muddy Waters Sings “Big Bill” – Muddy Waters
# 10 – The Genius Hits the Road – Ray Charles
# 9 – Dreamin’ – Johnny Burnette
# 8 – Alone With Dion – Dion
# 7 – $1,000,000 Worth of Twang – Duane Eddy
# 6 – It’s Everly Time – The Everly Brothers
# 5 – Twist With Chubby Checker – Chubby Checker
# 4 – Rockin’ At The Hops – Chuck Berry
# 3 – At Newport 1960 – Muddy Waters
# 2 – Elvis Is Back – Elvis Presley
# 1 – Have Gun Will Travel – Bo Diddley
Don’t forget to check out all the rest of our Best Albums of the Year articles.