15 Songs of the ’60s Whose Lyrics We Can’t Forget

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The 1960s wasn’t just a decade of bell bottoms and flower power—it was a time of music that left an indelible mark. The lyrics from some of these iconic songs remain as powerful and relevant as ever. We’re happy to share 15 tunes that capture the spirit of the age and continue to resonate with listeners across generations!

“Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan (1962)

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Do you remember this iconic folk ballad, which has poetic verses filled with unanswered questions about war, peace, and freedom? Lines like “How many deaths will it take ’til he knows that too many people have died?” remain relevant even today.

“Respect” by Aretha Franklin (1967)

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How about this anthem for equality that became a feminist rallying cry? The simple yet powerful lyrics, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me,” transcend gender and resonate with anyone seeking dignity and recognition. 

“California Dreamin'” by The Mamas & the Papas (1965)

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The lyrics of the song vividly paint a picture of longing and escape. They capture the beauty of chasing dreams on the sunny California coast. “I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A. / California dreamin’ on such a winter’s daaay” is a sentiment many can relate to, even if their dream destination differs.

“Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan (1965)

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Dylan’s poetic lyrics tell a tragic story in a song widely considered a diss. However, when you hear words like “How does it feel to be on your own, with no direction home?” you are reminded of a universal feeling of alienation that persists today. 

“Hey Jude” by The Beatles (1968)

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Originally written to support someone going through a divorce, this heartfelt ballad offers comfort and support. The simple yet reassuring lyrics, “Hey Jude, don’t make it bad / Take a sad song and make it better,” offer solace in your difficult time.

“What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong (1967)

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This timeless classic, sure to be widely listened to and loved even a hundred years from now, celebrates the beauty of life’s simple joys. “I hear babies cry, I watch children grow / They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know”—these lines remind us to appreciate the wonder in everyday moments. 

“Think” by Aretha Franklin (1968)


A chart-topping hit by the goddess of the soul and co-written with her first husband, which encourages thinking and freedom. It tells the listener to be careful not to lose their minds. The lyrics, “Let your mind go, let yourself be free,” will always be a timeless call to freedom.

“Yesterday” by The Beatles (1965)

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The most covered song ever must be on this list. The song captures the bittersweet sting of lost love. Lines like “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away / Now it looks as though they’re here to stay” perfectly express the heartbreak you’ve probably felt.

“Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys (1966)

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Fans of this kind of music may have first noticed how new instruments were used. Besides that, the repetitive lyrics make it easy to remember. Sing along to “I’m pickin’ up good vibrations / She’s giving me excitations” and see if you don’t feel good.

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones (1965)

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Here comes the song that proved to the world that this famous band was now a superstar. The lyrics are quite interesting: “I can’t get no satisfaction / ‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try / I can’t get no, I can’t get no,” and they express some frustration with some things we experience.

“Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul and Mary (1966)

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One of the songs that best captures the bittersweet emotions of goodbye, the artists for their first and only No.1 hit. You feel the yearning and uncertainty of leaving loved ones behind when you hear “I don’t know when I’ll be back again” after lines about kisses, smiles, and a promise to wait. 

“These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” by Nancy Sinatra (1965)


An interesting song for those who don’t learn, it complains about wrong behavior that can chase the listener away from a friend or partner. “These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do,” the singer says, but the singer decides that they can walk over someone and not just away from them.

“A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke (1964)

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We don’t know what Cooke planned for the song, but it became a civil rights movement anthem. Lyrics like “It’s been a long / A long time comin’, but I know / A change gon’ come” speak to the unwavering hope for a more just future, a sentiment that continues to resonate. 

“The Sounds of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel (1964)


This song, which even Simon’s father loved, touches on not communicating emotionally. “Fools…You do not know / Silence like cancer grows”, the singer says as he tries to encourage others to speak up, but they don’t.

“Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen (1963)


The garage rock version of “Louie Louie” is a 60’s classic, but shout out to Richard Berry, the original owner of the song. “A fine little girl, she waits for me / Me catch the ship across the sea,” is about a sailor who can’t wait to return to a lady’s embrace.


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