Do You Know the Opening Lyrics of These ’60s Songs?

Lauren Lubas

This dance song changed America. What are the opening lyrics of Chubby Checker's "The Twist" (1960)?

Though most songs that had specific dances that went along with them didn't last long, "The Twist" made its way into our hearts, and everyone now knows how to swing their hips and knees around to this beat.

The Ronettes pleaded in "Be My Baby" (1964), but how did the song begin?

In the 1960s, it was totally normal for women to beg men for love. Of course, a song like this wouldn't make it very far these days, but the sound the Ronettes gave us was good enough to help this one become timeless.

What are the first words to "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals?

Though this is a rock anthem, it really is just about a bar that was on fire. We suppose inspiration can come from anywhere, and sometimes it comes from watching a bar burn and smoke cover the river.

"Stand By Me" is a song that has stood the test of time. Do you know its first lines?

Ben E. King brought this song to us in 1961, and we soon realized that gorgeous music comes from all walks of life. This song touched many people, and it still does today, because whenever life's troubles get to be too much for us, we can turn it up loud.

Do you know the opening line of "I'm a Believer" (1967) by the Monkees?

Any list of pop songs of the 1960s would not be complete without this song by The Monkees. Alright, they weren't great at spelling, but they were amazing at creating catchy tunes with fun lyrics.

"Build Me Up Buttercup" is one of the most singable songs ever written. Do you know the opening lyrics?

The Foundations had a big hit with "Build Me Up Buttercup" in 1968. This song has been used in countless movies for actors to lip sync to, and it also works as an excellent karaoke tune.

The Mamas and the Papas made everyone dream of California, but can you find the first line of the song, "California Dreamin'" (1966)?

The 1960s were a tumultuous time. Children were running away from home to sing in the streets and "fight the power." Songs like this inspired people to leave their small towns behind and start anew.

You might not recognize this one right off the bat, but do you know the first words from "I Can't Help Myself" by The Four Tops?

Everyone knows this song as "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch," but it was actually called "I Can't Help Myself" when it was released in 1965. When you really think about the lyrics, it's quite a sad song about love and loss.

Can you guess the opening line of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" (1969)?

Elvis was huge in the 1960s. Not only did he serve in the military, but he also gave us some of the most memorable music released back then. While some believe that he is still alive, others just enjoy listening to his music.

In 1966, The Rolling Stones had a hit with "Paint It Black." Do you know the opening lyrics?

The Rolling Stones had quite a few hits over the years, and as their later songs became more popular, many forgot about this 1966 classic. It was bold and a little weird, but that is what rock music needed at the time.

Do you know the first lyrics of "Wild Thing" by The Troggs?

This song made a comeback in the 1990s (actually, we don't think it ever really left), and it is clear that this wild music gave everyone a little jolt. It showed people of 1966 that you could have a simple song with simple lyrics, and it could be great.

"My Girl" was a hit by The Temptations in 1965. Can you pick the opening lyrics?

If you're looking for a wholesome song to sing to your child, this is the one for you. It is so perfectly pure, and it is simply about how much a man loves his girl and how happy she makes him.

Can you guess the opening lyrics to "Stop! In The Name Of Love" by Diana Ross & The Supremes?

Diana Ross was something special, and everyone in the 1960s saw it. She was bold and had a voice that just wouldn't quit. This song really helped her gain traction in the pop world.

In the 1960s, The Temptations weren't too proud to beg, but do you know the opening lyrics to "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" (1966)?

Though 1960s pop was full of women begging men, The Temptations flipped the script and sang a song about how they needed the woman, and crying was totally cool, as long as she stayed.

The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" (1965) is considered one of the best love songs of all time. Can you spot the opening lyrics?

"... I hunger for your touch" ... eh hem, sorry, we couldn't not finish that line. This song has been in dozens of movies, but none so memorable as that crazy scene in "Ghost" (1990). Yas.

The Shirelles made this one famous. What are the opening lyrics of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" (1960)?

Alright, we'll admit that The Shirelles weren't the greatest performers, but their voices were unique (and hey, dancing around stages wasn't super important at the time). This song reminds us that people don't necessarily have to love you forever.

We all know that The Doors were controversial in the '60s, but do you remember the opening lyrics to "Light My Fire" (1967)?

Jim Morrison changed the way we look at music, rock music to be more specific. It didn't have to bend or bow to the masses; it just had to be art. The Doors always seemed to give us exactly what we needed.

Do you know the opening lyrics to The Beatles' hit, "Eight Days A Week" (1964)?

The Beatles were the very definition of cool when it came to the 1960s. They were chased and followed by screaming mobs. It's a miracle the remaining members can hear anything, as just watching videos of them back then is an all-out assault on the eardrums.

In 1968, Marvin Gaye heard it through the grapevine . Do you know the opening lyrics to that song?

Anyone who has learned about a breakup from rumors and gossip holds this song deep in their hearts. It's all about heartbreak and the difficulty of young love. The sound and the lyrics still hold up today.

Sonny and Cher were an unstoppable duo. Do you know the opening lyrics to their hit, "I Got You Babe" (1965)?

Sonny and Cher were the ultimate duo, and we just loved seeing them. Even after they divorced, this song was heard quite a bit on the airwaves, and Cher even sings it at her Las Vegas shows to this day.

Can you guess the opening lyrics to The Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man" (1965)?

There's nothing like a song about a guy who walks around with a tambourine. We'll admit, some of the songs of the 1960s were a little odd, but that was art trying to find itself in a way.

What are the first lyrics to "Jumpin' Jack Flash" by The Rolling Stones?

All of these things happened to the character in this song, of course, but it was totally alright, because he was Jumpin' Jack Flash. This song was weird and had some odd lyrics, but it is always worthy of a crank up when you hear it played.

The Kinks made "You Really Got Me" famous. Do you know the opening lyrics?

The Kinks were way ahead of their time (as far as sound goes). While some didn't know what to do with this new sound, other's brought it into the light and made it quite famous. This song is unique and original.

"Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond is a karaoke sensation. Do you know its opening line?

Few songs could make it as college go-tos the way that "Sweet Caroline" (1969) did. It was (and still is) a song that everyone can wrap their heads around and actually relate to on a deeper level.

Some say Bob Dylan was the king of the 1960s. Do you know the first lyrics to "Like a Rolling Stone" (1965)?

Bob Dylan wrote poetry and sang it with an acoustic guitar in the background. He wrote complete stories and wasn't concerned with how long the song was going to end up being. It was finished when it was finished, and there is no purer form of music.

Do you remember the opening lyrics from "Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes?

When it came to pop music, the 1960s gave us various sounds by various artists. "Please Mr. Postman" was the kind of song that you sang out loud as a child and as an adult. It held a yearning that we all remember having at one point in our lives.

Can you spot the opening lyrics to Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" (1968)?

So maybe "Magic Carpet Ride" was a better song, but "Born to Be Wild" was probably the most famous song by Steppenwolf. While it seems like a nice song now, it was a powerful rock hit when it was released in 1968.

Of all the political music of the 1960s, Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" (1966) seems to be the leader of it all. What are the first words of the song?

"Nobody's right if everybody's wrong," are lyrics that we could stand to put on repeat for a while. There is a lot we can all learn from American folk music of the 1960s, and if nothing else, we can just enjoy the sound.

In "Fortunate Son" (1969), Creedence Clearwater Revival made a bold political statement. Do you know the song's opening line?

Creedence Clearwater Revival had many different sounds, and it seemed like they had a song for every mood you were in. Are you feeling political? "Fortunate Son" is available. Need to dance? "Suzie Q" is always ready.

Sam Cooke had some amazing hits. What are the opening lyrics to "A Change is Gonna Come" (1964)?

Sam Cooke had one of the most unique voices of his generation (and it was a generation of some pretty unique voices). While only a few of his songs have stood the test of time, his entire library is always nice to revisit.

The Who gave us some great music in the 1960s. Do you know the opening lyrics to "I Can See For Miles" (1967)?

When you boil down the lyrics to this song, they seem rather creepy. It's about a guy who knows a little too much. Alright, maybe he's hurt, but that doesn't make stalking acceptable.

We can't have a '60s music quiz without a little Jimi Hendrix. What are the opening lyrics to "All Along the Watchtower" (1968)?

Jimi Hendrix had some powerful lyrics, and let's be honest, many great singers have tried to recreate this song, but nothing compares to Jimi's rendition. He was a musical god, and we all bowed to him.

The James Brown hit, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," (1966) has interesting lyrics. Do you know the first few?

It might just be impossible to listen to this song without starting to dance (or at the very least bob your head and tap your feet to the beat). It's just such a fantastic song all around. The music, the beat, the lyrics and James Brown. How could anything be wrong with this song?

Van Morrison sang "Brown Eyed Girl" in 1967. Do you know the first line?

When you listen to the lyrics of this song, it tells the story of young love, change and memories. "Brown Eyed Girl" might have some of the most powerful lyrics produced in music, but it is also punchy and fun to dance to.

The Beach Boys were all about those "Good Vibrations," but do you know the opening lyrics to that song?

There is something about how The Beach Boys worked together to create beautiful harmonies that makes their music pure and wholesome. This is definitely a signature song of 1966, and we still listen to it today.

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Image: Wiki Commons by Elektra Records-Joel Brodsky

About This Quiz

Music is an outlet for people. Many people even have different genres and time periods they crank up depending on their moods. You may find that a little rap is great when you're in the car on a bright sunny day, or you might notice how classic rock takes you back in time when you want to sit on the porch with a cold one.

There is one decade, however, when the music was so good, so pure and so on point that you could probably listen to it at any time, in any mood. That decade is the 1960s. Rock and roll was a burgeoning genre. People had no idea what to do when dancing replaced toe-tapping, and some of them protested the sounds that emerged. But we all know that when the adults complain, youth rebel. From the British invasion to the gloriously political rock and roll sounds that came out of the 1960s, music made a definite change, and it wasn't about to apologize.

If you grew up in the '60s, or you have a special place in your heart for the music that changed the world, you probably know a few lyrics to a few songs. But can you tell us the opening lines to all of these hits?

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