Top 100

(John Leo Waters' Top 100 tunes from back in the day)


John Leo WatersI have tried to be objective in my choices. Whilst I love every track listed I have picked tracks that take me back to that period between 1964 and 1967 when I felt that the Mod influence was at its peak.

Every song personally takes me back to that period whether they were featured in clubs, on jukeboxes, pirate radio or just on someone’s Dansette. I am sure that other Mods from the same period would probably pick completely different tracks but all these tracks relate specifically to my own Mod experience. And so, as they say – in no particular order...Mods



James Brown
Night Train (1962)
Papa’s got A Brand New Bag
(1965)
Two from the man who must rate as the most influential Soul artist of the sixties. I could have included ‘I got you’ 'Cold Sweat’ and many others – all huge Mod faves

Otis Redding
Mr. Pitiful (1965)
Respect (1965)
Every Mod loved this man with a passion!

Chubby Checker
At the Discotheque (1965)
This was the B side of ‘The Freddie’ a big tune at La Discotheque – no surprise there!

Eddie Floyd
Things get Better (1965)
Very popular in the clubs probably more so than ‘Knock on Wood’

The Ethiopians
Train to Skaville (1966)
As Blue Beat became known as Ska this was a classic

Martha and the Vandellas
Nowhere to Run (1965)
Motown at its very best – huge in the clubs

Charlie and Inez Foxx
Tightrope (1967)
They always suffered a little in the shadow of Ike and Tina but they were appreciated far more by many music lovers – classic dance track.

Mary Wells
My Guy (1964)
The one that really put Motown on the map in the UK.

Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
Wooly Bully (1965)
A garage classic with a driving beat. Great for the dancefloor

Wilson Pickett
The Midnight Hour (1965)
Don’t Fight It (1965)
Two huge club classics from the Wicked One. I could have picked 6345789,Mustang Sally or any one of several others.

Solomon Burke
Everybody Needs Somebody
(1964)
My first abiding memory of a classic Soul artist live at the Flamingo – A precious memory!

Joe Tex
Hold on to What You’ve Got (1965)
Another artist who is sadly often neglected when great Soul singers are discussed

The Skatelites
Guns of Navarone (1967)
Another Ska monster track

Don Covay
Sookie Sookie (1965)
Don wrote some great stuff and was no slouch when it came to cutting a few classics himself!

Darrell Banks
Open the Door to Your Heart
(1966)
I said that my tracks are in no particular order – but if there were a No1 this would be it!!

Eric Morris & the Drumbago All Stars
Humpty Dumpty (1961)
Early Blue Beat which was very popular – Georgie Fame did a great cover on his ‘Blue Beat’ EP

Homer Banks
A Lot of Love (1966)
I can remember rushing out to buy this at Broadmeads (they were a chain of shops back in the day!!)

Chuck Wood
Seven Days is Too Long (1966)
Fantastic dance track that became a Northern favourite some years later

Four Tops
I Can’t Help Myself (1965)
Something About You (1965)
Hugely popular. I remember these two tracks in particular but could have picked any one of half a dozen

Jimmy Smith
Walk on the Wild Side Pts 1 & 2 (1962)
Got my Mojo Working (1966)
When it came to the Hammond organ he was the master. A major influence on so many keyboard players and a big Mod hero

Junior Walker
Shotgun (1965)
Shake and Fingerpop (1965)
I think if any one artist personified the music of the clubs in the sixties it would be Junior Walker – Pure class

Isley Brothers
This Old Heart of Mine (1966)
Sounds a fresh today as it did forty odd years ago!

Rufus Thomas
Walking the Dog (1963)
Can Your Monkey do the Dog
(1964)
Did anybody make more ‘dance’ records that Rufus? I doubt it. These were the ones I remember as being particularly popular

The Miracles
Going to a Go Go (1966)
The title says it all – impossible to sit still to this!

The Impressions
I Cant Satisfy (1966)
Another hugely influential group (those mohair suits!) and in Curtis Mayfield they possessed one of Soul music’s true geniuses.

Phil Upchurch
You Can’t Sit Down (1961)
Another instrumental classic

Brother Jack McDuff
A Change Gonna Come/
Down in the Valley (1966)
A double headed classic from another master of the Hammond. If anyone ever asks how instrumental music can be classed as Soul tell them to listen to Bro. Jack’s version of ‘Change’.

Derek Martin
Daddy Rollin Stone (1962)
I never really knew what to make of this but it was hugely popular. I know the Who featured this number on stage and Entwhistle added a mean bass line.

Hank Jacobs
So Far Away (1964)
Another organ classic. Brilliant!

Prince Buster
Ten Commandments (1965)
I wonder what feminists would make of this. The king of Blue Beat. The Prince was loved by Mods. So many classic tracks – ‘Al Capone’ ‘Madness ‘Judge Dread’ etc. This was his only track to make the US R&B charts!

Rex Garvin
Sock it to em JB (1966)
There was a plethora of James Bond/Spy records around at the time but this one was a big hit on the floor.

The Elgins
Heaven Must Have Sent You
(1966)
Another classic Motown track that was a hit on more than one occasion over the years.

Four Seasons
Lets Hang On (1965)
Frankie’s boys made several great records over the years but this neo-Motown track was the one that got the punters dancing.

Roland Alphonso
Phoenix City (1966)
Coxsone Dodd production – Immensely popular.

Billy Butler
Right Track (1966)
Another favourite that went on to become a Northern monster.

Lee Dorsey
Ride Your Pony (1965)
Lee had a few hits in the UK but this was the one that was played in clubs

Fontella Bass
Rescue Me (1965)
It was and is played to death but still gets the old toes tapping!

Bessie Banks
Go Now (1964)
A true Soul classic. Am I alone in thinking the Moody Blues did a pretty good version of this?

The Drifters
Baby What I mean (1966)
The Drifters do Motown! They had many club classics back in the day but this was a huge club fave.

Ikettes
Peaches and Cream (1965)
Ike and Tinas backing group on an excellent number

Mel Torme
I’m Comin Home (1962)
A strange one. Torme was a Jazz/Crooner in the Sinatra style but he cut this great slab of Ray Charles styled R&B and Mods took it to heart.

Dobie Gray
The In Crowd (1965)
The ultimate Mod song. Every related to every line – we were the Incrowd (in our mind’s anyway!)

The Kingsmen
Louie Louie (1963)
Everyone and his brother cut a version of the Richard Berry classic (including a good version by The Kinks) but this version got the nod.

Roy Head and Traits
Treat Her Right (1965)
Storming track. I remember seeing Roy feature this on TV (TOTP I think). He was some performer!

Marvin Gaye
Aint That Peculiar (1965)
It would be impossible to pick 100 best 60’s tunes without including at least one Marvin track. This was the one that did it for us.

Nina Simone
Don’t Let me be misunderstood
(1964)
The High Priestess of Soul’, a fitting epithet and Soul with a capital ‘S’

Sam Cooke
Shake (1965)
Along with Ray Charles he probably did more to bring what came to be known as Soul music to public awareness. This track perhaps gave a hint of what would have come had he not been so tragically taken from us.

Arthur Alexander
You Better Move On (1961)
Early classic which was brought to our initial attention courtesy of the Stones cover. A complex character who suffered greatly with nerves by all accounts. Apparently ‘did a runner’ at his gig at the Flamingo?

Billy Preston
Billys Bag (1965)
A great organ instrumental from the man with the huge grin! Massive in the clubs

Bob and Earl
Harlem Shuffle (1963)
Dance classic that made several return visits. I caught them live at the Mayfair in Newcastle. I can also recall seeing them on TOTP once when one of them vanished halfway through the song. The same thing apparently happened to one of the Tams (he fell off the stage!!)

Roy C
Shotgun Wedding (1965)
Another artist who had problems performing live apparently. A great songwriter though.

Gene Chandler
Nothing Can Stop Me (1965)
The ever reliable Gene Chandler! I still want to get up and dance when I hear this one!

Betty Everett
Getting Mighty Crowded (1964)
This was a real favourite. The best thing Betty ever did!

Ben E. King
Stand By Me (1961)
The term ‘classic’ is bandied about very freely but if ever a track deserved the title this one does.

Major Lance
Um Um Um Um Um (1964)
His thunder was stolen by Wayne Fontana’s cover version but there is no comparison once you hear the original.

Willie Mitchell
Everythings Gonna Be Allright (1965)
Storming dancer that still evokes memories

Lovin Spoonful
Do You Believe in Magic (1965)
The Spoonful were not Mod favourites by any means but this track (their first hit) ticked all the right boxes.

Bo Diddley
Cant Judge a Book by the Cover
(1965)
Another track that was covered by countless R&B bands but the original is still the best.

McKinley Soul Mitchell
The Town I Live in (1962)
A real left field number but had quite a lot of play on the pirate stations.

Jimmy Reed
Shame Shame Shame (1963)
Great bluesman. ‘Big Boss Man’ was also very popular with Mods.

Roscoe Gordon
Just a Little Bit (1960)
R&B (that’s the original R&B!) as it should be. Liverpool’s Undertakers did a good version of this backed by Solomon Burke’s ‘Stupidity’.

The Anglos
Incense (1965)
Is it or ain’t it? The question of whether this is actually Stevie Winwood has never been fully answered but who cares – a great track

Oscar Toney Jnr.
Your Precious Love (1967)
Would bring tears to a glass eye! One of the few cases when a cover is better than the original. We loved this record.

Booker T and MG’s
Bootleg (1965)
Green Onions (1962)
The backbone of the Memphis sound. Two wonderful slabs of Stax.

The Pyramids
Train Tour to Rainbow City (1967)
Ska had arrived by the time Eddie Grant put his stamp all over this great record.

Tommy Tucker
High Heel Sneakers (1964)
They don’t make them like this anymore. R&B gem. His ‘Long Tall Shorty’ was very popular as was the Kinks cover version

Shirley Ellis
The Name Game (1965)
No one did a ‘nonsense’ song like Shirley. Not as popular chartwise as ‘The Clapping Song’ but we preferred this.

Small Faces
What’cha Gonna Do About it
(1965)
The best and possibly the only thing they ever did that really appealed to the Mod generation. A rip off of ‘Everbody Needs Somebody’ perhaps but a great dance track. Unfortunately as soon as they hit the big time they kissed goodbye to their R&B roots and became a ‘pop’ band with a legion of teenybopper girl fans!! (Am I jealous? You bet!)

Donnie Elbert
Little Piece of Leather (1965)
The UK Sue label was a big favourite with Mods and this is one of the best tracks they ever put out.

Folkes Brothers
Oh Carolina (1960)
Probably the first Blue Beat record most of us ever came across and indelibly imprinted in our minds forever.

Stevie Wonder
Uptight (1966)
Little Stevie with his first big UK hit

Sam and Dave
You Don’t Know Like I Know
(1966)
Stonking record – say no more. I can remember dancing with an umbrella at a blues party to this!! Well, I had to dance with someone or something. I have a feeling drink might have been involved!!

Georgie Fame
Yeah Yeah (1964)
A real Mod hero in the early days. A great version of the Jon Hendricks number.

Mongo Santamaria
Watermelon Man (1963)
Much beloved number although I remember hearing a version by Trini Lopez (?) which I preferred?

Ike and Tina Turner
I Can’t Believe What You Say
(1964)
A real stormer on Sue. Oh for the Tina of old!

Charlie Rich
Mohair Sam (1965)
Mod anthem –‘who is the coolest cat? That is what I am’ That was us!

Ad Libs
Boy From New York City (1965)
Another song that mentioned mohair suits! Had to be a fave!

Len Barry
123/Bullseye (1965)
A touch of blue eyed Soul. The B side was very popular also

John Lee Hooker
Dimples (1956)
My God – 1956! Absolute Blues classic still sounding fresh to my ears.

Howlin Wolf
Smokestack Lightning (1956)
Talking of Blues classics – here’s another just as old and just as popular with sixties Mods.

Sonny Boy Williamson
Help Me (1963)
A big following in the UK. Appeared on RSG and this was his biggest record. A touch of ‘Green Onions’ in the background?

Rolling Stones
Little Red Rooster (1964)
Yes the Stones were very popular with many Mods in the early days as they were a premier R&B band. Their early Lp’s brought many great tracks to our attention for the first time and to be fair they have always acknowledged their debt to R&B adding artists such as Bobby Womack and Ike and Tina Turner to their earlier tours. This is a classic. Brilliant slide guitar from Brian Jones.

Spencer Davis Group
Keep On Running (1966)
Excellent band that did much to keep the flag flying for UK R&B a lot longer than many contemporaries (although they succumbed eventually). Great version of Jackie Edwards number.

Righteous Brothers
You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
(1965)
We could be romantic if we wanted! This was/is great record in anybody’s book surely

Ezz Reco & Launchers with Boysie Grant
King of Kings (1964)
Ezz Reco and Launchers with Boysie Grant– King of Kings 64 – Great Blue Beat track. Cover of early Jimmy Cliff number. Even made the UK charts!

The Toys
Lovers Concerto (1965)
This was very popular in the clubs and still fills the floor today

The Animals
We Gotta Get Out of this Place
(1965)
Newcastle’s finest were never a Mod band as such but they were very popular due to their no nonsense R&B sound. In Eric Burdon they possessed one of the best voices the UK ever produced

Lou Johnson
Always Something There to Remind Me (1964)
Lou Johnson never achieved any great measure of success which is a great shame as he certainly had the right credentials! We loved this by Sandie Shaw until we heard the original – no comparison!

Kim Weston
Helpless (1966)
Kim really hit the spot with this cover of the Tops classic.

The Velvelettes
Needle in a Haystack (1964)
Classic Motown. I defy anyone to sit still to this. A huge favourite. All together now –‘Do lang, do lang, do lang ….

Desmond Decker and the Aces
007 (1967)
Massive track. A big Mod hit if we hadn’t a clue what he was singing about!!

The Who
My Generation (1965)
They may have been a ‘manufactured’ band in the Mod sense and soon moved away from the scene once popularity had been attained but in ‘My generation’ they captured the essence of a whole youth movement

I know John would love to hear any feedback on this article. You can discuss it with him in the forum here or I will pass on any messages to him using the contact address.