PARTY LIGHTS – Soul Singles of 1962

Apart from closely analysing 24 years worth of reggae and soul charts, my book Celebrate Good Times has an extensive historical section which looks back at the 50s, 60s and early 70s. Part of the historical archive includes listings of some of the best reggae and soul albums and singles of bygone eras that have been released in the United Kingdom. The book also includes information such as the original American and Jamaican labels these records appeared on, in addition to their original UK catalogue numbers. Because of limited space, that info. is not included here. The first History extract features what I consider to be the very best 100 soul records of 1962. Of course, they were branded ‘rhythm & blues’ back then but for the sake of continuity, I’m sticking with the ‘soul’ moniker. Incidentally, all inclusions in the History sections are indicative of the original year of release in their country of origin. That is to say, the records listed below may not have been officially released in the UK during 1962 but were certainly released in the US during that year. The Top 25 speaks for itself – these are the best of the best! – the remaining 75 are listed in no particular order.

The picks focus on a great cross-section of rhythm and blues hits (and some brilliant flops!) from 1962. In America, dance-craze numbers continued to excite the young and some of the old. The Twist had been around a couple of years but it really took off in ’62 – in fact, Chubby Checker’s original 1960 No.1 hit ‘The Twist’ was No.1 all over again at the beginning of ’62. There are a fair few ‘twisters’ in the pack including The Isley Brothers’ smash ‘Twist And Shout’ (later covered more famously by The Beatles), Sam Cooke’s phenomenal ‘Twistin’ The Night Away’, Chubby Checker’s own ‘Slow Twistin’’ (featuring Dee Dee Sharp), Johnnie Morisette’s brilliant ‘Meet Me At The Twistin’ Place’ and the cool instrumental ‘Soul Twist’ by King Curtis.

Other instrumentals are represented by Booker T. & The MGs, Cozy Cole, Jimmy McGriff, The Megatons, Les Cooper & The Soul Rockers and Dave “Baby” Cortez. In the early 60s there had been a nascent doowop revival in the US – with old 50s hits being rereleased and finding chart success, along with a brace of new tracks. By 1962 the neo-doowop phase was practically over – but a handful of records really stood out, namely those by Ronnie & The Hi-Lites, The Majors, Nathaniel Mayer & The Fabulous Twilights, The Rivingtons, The Earls, The Jive Five, The Volumes and The Corsairs. Vocal groups already converging the doowop style into soul include records by The Tams and The Showmen.

In ’62, Motown Records in the UK were released on Oriole and Fontana and were not hits in any shape or form. But of course, retrospectively we love them all! Included in the list are early records by The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Martha & The Vandellas, Eddie Holland, The Marvelettes, The Contours and Mary Wells. Burt Bacharach was already making waves in the pop world with his beautifully crafted songs – and the soulful originals of songs like ‘Don’t Make Me Over’, ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’, ‘Another Tear Falls’ and ‘Any Day Now’, three of which are all in the Top 25.

The girl-group ‘sound’ (which, conversely often featured male singers!) was still an emerging and popular sound at this time and hits by The Shirelles, The Crystals, The Sherrys, The Exciters, The Chantels and The Orlons are all stand-out tunes, in addition to The Donays’ ‘Devil In His Heart’, another track covered by The Beatles. The fab four’s championing of black music is further represented by other tunes they covered – including ‘Mr. Moonlight’, ‘Chains’, ‘Some Other Guy’, ‘Anna’, ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’ and ‘A Taste Of Honey’.

There were some fabulous soul ballads in 1962 – included here are gems by Solomon Burke, Jackie Wilson, Ben E. King and Etta James. There are also early examples of soul acts who would go on to bigger things later on in the 60s and 70s – like Freda Payne, Chuck Jackson, Wilson Pickett, Gene McDaniels (who was later known as Eugene McDaniels), The Staple Singers and Esther Phillips. The Moments’ ‘Walk Right In’ is an obscure but soulful take on the folky hit by The Rooftop Singers – but the group is not the same as Ray-Goodman-Brown.  The classic songs of Carole King and her husband Gerry Goffin – working out of New York’s famous Brill Building – are found here in ‘The Loco-Motion’, ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Baby’, ‘Chains’, ‘When My Little Girl Is Smiling’ and ‘Up On The Roof’, the latter two Drifters’ 45s covered quite superbly in the UK by Jimmy Justice and Kenny Lynch respectively.

Special mentions go to Curtis Mayfield – producer and writer of Jan Bradley’s wonderful ‘Mama Didn’t Lie’ and The Impressions’ ‘I’m The One Who Loves You’. Ketty Lester’s ‘Love Letters’ was a wonderful revival of an old song – her follow-up ‘But Not For Me’ didn’t quite make this list. Other dance-craze goodies include Johnny Thunder’s groover ‘Loop De Loop’ (slaughtered in the UK by Frankie Vaughan), Dee Dee Sharp’s ‘Mashed Potato Time’ and ‘Gravy’, Tippi & The Clovers’ ‘Bossa Nova Baby’ (covered by Elvis Presley) and Chubby Checker’s “how low can you go?” classic ‘Limbo Rock’. Carmen McCrae teamed up with the amazing Dave Brubeck to record some vocalese versions of his material – including his masterpiece ‘Take Five’ for a soulful jazzy single. It’s a winner and was a popular revive during the jazz-dance revival of the 80s.

Ray Charles has more records in the list than any other. In 1962 he released his groundbreaking and breathtaking album ‘Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music‘ and its Vol.2 follow up. Taking country songs and drenching them in soul and gospel provided some of the most luscious and influential recordings ever made – including the chart-topping (in the UK and US) ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ and my favourite ‘You Don’t Know Me‘, a staple at family parties growing up.

The No.1 record by Claudine Clark is a masterpiece of a tune – typifying the ‘girl-group’ sound and is a song full of energy and exuberance. In the song, Claudine is what we used to call ‘vex’ (or, in stronger terms ‘bex’!) because her Mom won’t allow her to go to the party across the street. Even though Claudine wails and gets angry, it is nevertheless 2-minutes and 20 seconds of unadulterated joy.

As the tagline went for the George Lucas film ‘American Graffiti’ – “Where were you in ’62?”

1. PARTY LIGHTS |  Claudine Clark | Pye Int.

2. THE LOCO-MOTION | Little Eva | London

3. ANNA | Arthur Alexander | London

4. DO YOU LOVE ME | The Contours | Oriole

5. LOOP DE LOOP | Johnny Thunder | Stateside

6. LOVE LETTERS | Ketty Lester | London

7. TWIST AND SHOUT | The Isley Brothers | Stateside

8. MAMA DIDN’T LIE | Jan Bradley | Pye Int.

9. MASHED POTATO TIME | Dee Dee Sharp | Columbia


11. I KEEP FORGETTIN’ | Chuck Jackson | Stateside

12. TAKE FIVE | Carmen McCrae & The Dave Brubeck Quartet | Fontana

13. GREEN ONIONS | Booker T. & The MGs | London

14. DON’T MAKE ME OVER | Dionne Warwick | Stateside

15. ANY DAY NOW (MY WILD BEAUTIFUL BIRD) | Chuck Jackson | Stateside

16. MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF | Jerry Butler | Stateside

17. I WISH THAT WE WERE MARRIED | Ronnie & The Hi-Lites | Pye Int.

18. THE WAH WATUSI | The Orlons | Columbia

19. SOME OTHER GUY | Ritchie Barrett | London

20. HE’S A REBEL | The Crystals | London

21. YOU BEAT ME TO THE PUNCH | Mary Wells | Oriole

22. HIDE AND GO SEEK | Bunker Hill | Stateside

23. VILLAGE OF LOVE | Nathaniel Mayer & The Fabulous Twilights | His Master’s Voice

24. DEVIL IN HIS HEART | The Donays | Oriole

25. I’M THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU | The Impressions | His Master’s Voice


The best of the rest are:


HE WHO LAUGHS LAST | Freda Payne | His Master’s Voice

MEET ME AT THE TWISTIN’ PLACE | Johnnie Morisette | Stateside

LET ME BE YOUR BOY | Wilson Pickett | MGM


WALK ON THE WILD SIDE | Brook Benton | Mercury

SNAP YOUR FINGERS | Joe Henderson | London

GRAVY (FOR MY MASHED POTATOES) | Dee Dee Sharp | Columbia


ITTY BITTY PIECES | James Ray | Pye Int.

DON’T HANG UP | The Orlons | Cameo Parkway

MY HEART SAID/BOSSA NOVA, BABY | Tippi & The Clovers | Stateside

A TASTE OF HONEY | Lenny Welch | London

SOUL BOSSA NOVA | Quincy Jones | Mercury

YOU’RE NOBODY ‘TIL SOMEBODY LOVES YOU | Dinah Washington | Columbia

I’VE GOT A WOMAN| Jimmy McGriff | Sue

STUBBORN KIND OF FELLOW | Marvin Gaye | Oriole



DANCIN’ PARTY | Chubby Checker | Columbia

I CAN’T STOP LOVING YOU | Ray Charles | His Master’s Voice

HE’S SURE THE BOY I LOVE | The Crystals | London

YOU BETTER MOVE ON | Arthur Alexander | London

RELEASE ME | Esther Phillips | Stateside

TELL HIM | The Exciters | United Artists

LIPSTICK TRACES | Benny Spellman | London

PAPA OOH MOW MOW | The Rivingtons | Liberty

CHAINS | The Cookies | London

A WONDERFUL DREAM | The Majors | London

SOLDIER BOY | The Shirelles | His Master’s Voice

NIGHT TRAIN | James Brown | Parlophone

JAMIE | Eddie Holland | Fontana

YOU DON’T KNOW ME | Ray Charles | His Master’s Voice

POP-POP-POPEYE | The Sherrys | London

I LOVE YOU | The Volumes | Fontana

I NEED YOUR LOVING | Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford | Stateside

YOU REALLY GOT A HOLD ON ME | The Miracles | Oriole

I FOUND A LOVE | The Falcons | London

DON’T PLAY THAT SONG (YOU LIED) | Ben E. King | London

BEECHWOOD 4-5789 | The Marvelettes | Oriole

LOVER PLEASE | Clyde McPhatter | Mercury

ZIP A DEE DOO DAH | Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans | London

I SOLD MY HEART TO THE JUNKMAN | The Blue Belles | His Master’s Voice


SLOW TWISTIN’ | Chubby Checker | Columbia

SOUL TWIST | King Curtis | London

UP ON THE ROOF | The Drifters | London

LIMBO ROCK/POPEYE THE HITCH-HIKER | Chubby Checker | Cameo Parkway

WIGGLE WOBBLE | Les Cooper & The Soul Rockers | Stateside

DR. FEELGOOD/MISTER MOONLIGHT | Dr. Feelgood & The Interns | Columbia

HAMMER AND NAILS | The Staple Singers | Riverside

WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE | The Miracles | Fontana

SHIMMY, SHIMMY WALK | The Megatons | Sue

I’LL HAVE TO LET HIM GO | Martha & The Vandellas | Oriole

WHAT TIME IS IT? | The Jive Five | Stateside

UNTIE ME | The Tams | Stateside

CRY TO ME | Solomon Burke | London

RINKY DINK | Dave “Baby” Cortez | Pye Int.

BOOM BOOM | John Lee Hooker | Stateside

SOMETHING’S GOT A HOLD ON ME | Etta James | Pye Int.

THE WRONG GIRL | The Showmen | London

POINT OF NO RETURN | Gene McDaniels | Liberty

THE GREATEST HURT | Jackie Wilson | Coral


TWO LOVERS | Mary Wells | Oriole

THE (BOSSA NOVA) BIRD | The Dells | Pye Int.

REMEMBER THEN  | The Earls | Stateside


RAINBOW | Gene Chandler | Stateside

WALK RIGHT IN | The Moments | London

ECSTASY | Ben E. King | London

I’LL TAKE YOU HOME | The Corsairs | Pye Int.

THE POPEYE WADDLE | Don Covay | Cameo Parkway

HERE IT COMES AGAIN | The Chantels | London

HIDE ‘NOR HAIR | Ray Charles | His Master’s Voice

AM I FALLING IN LOVE | Maxine Brown | His Master’s Voice


If you’re curious or just want to wallow in 60s soul nostalgia, practically all of the above are available to listen to on Youtube.What are your favourite soul sides from 1962?

3 Replies to “PARTY LIGHTS – Soul Singles of 1962”

  1. One of my favourites of those was Chuck Jackson ” Any Day Now “. I still think that it stands up as a very soulful tune. Quite a few of the other tracks, such as ” Night Train “, ” The Point of No Return ” and ” Green Onions ” were still being played in 1964, when I was out partying at The Last Chance, The Flamingo and The Scene, which were great clubs in London’s

  2. I agree with you Cheri – ‘Any Day Now’ is a very soulful tune which has stood the test of time. The one great thing about soul music is that so many records have appeal that is continuous. ‘Green Onions’ became something of a mod anthem didn’t it – and was even a hit all over again in the early 80s during the mod revival. Good music lasts! I love James Brown’s version of the Jimmy Forrest smash ‘Night Train’!

  3. The Quincy Jones track is one of my favourites. If I could go back in time to 1962 I would love to have heard these records in the clubs. Alas, I am too young to have been there first time around. I first heard Mama Didn’t Lie back in the Nineties. On hearing it this track grabbed me right from the word go. I never knew it was a Curtis Mayfield song! I first heard Green Onions in the film Quadrophenia when I was about 13. I loved it then and I love it now. Most definitely a great track of total brilliance! Loop De Loop is another great dance track I’ve loved for a long time. I quite liked the Frankie Vaughan version but the original is definitely better. I have total nostalgia for Sixties music and always listen to Pick Of The Pops on Saturday afternoons.

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