The Top 20 Billboard Hot 100 Hits of the 1960s

Harry Hammond/V&A Images/Getty Images, Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
The Beatles and Elvis Presley

In honor of Billboard magazine's 120th anniversary on Nov. 1, we're revealing the top 20 Billboard Hot 100 hits from each decade since the 1960s (for a total of 120 songs). 

The '60s was the first full decade of rock and roll, and the top twenty singles of the decade reflect a battle between old and new forms. Elvis Presley and Ray Charles, who helped lay the foundation for the explosion of rock and soul in the '50s, each appear on the list; so does the smooth doo-wop of the Four Seasons. Louis Armstrong, the famous jazz musician who had been recording since the 1920s, had one of the biggest hit singles of the '60s.

But the new era arrived quickly. The biggest hit from the decade? Chubby Checker's rock-indebted dance track "The Twist," the only song ever to hit No. 1 in two separate runs (in 1960 and again in 1962, due to its revival in its pop culture). Sounds were changing. The Beatles landed two entries on the top twenty -- an early number, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," and the expansive "Hey Jude," from later in their career. Soul came on strong at the end of the decade: Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay," from 1967, and Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," from 1968.

Check out the Spotify playlist of the top 20 below -- except for the Beatles, whose music isn't on Spotify -- and read on to see when each hit peaked.

1. "The Twist" - Chubby Checker
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: September 24, 1960

2."Hey Jude" - The Beatles
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: September 28, 1968

3."The Theme From 'A Summer Place'" - Percy Faith And His Orchestra 
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: February 27, 1960

4."Tossin' And Turnin'" - Bobby Lewis
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: July 15, 1961

5."I Want To Hold Your Hand" - The Beatles 
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: February 1, 1964

6."I'm A Believer" - The Monkees
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: December 31, 1966

7."Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" - The 5th Dimension
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: April 12, 1969

8."Sugar, Sugar" - The Archies
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: September 20, 1969

9."I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Marvin Gaye
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: December 14, 1968

10."Are You Lonesome Tonight?" - Elvis Presley With The Jordanaires 
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: December 3, 1960

11."It's Now Or Never" - Elvis Presley With The Jordanaires
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: August 20, 1960

12."I Can't Stop Loving You" - Ray Charles
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: June 02, 1962

13."I'm Sorry" - Brenda Lee
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: July 23, 1960

14."Love Is Blue (L'amour Est Bleu)" - Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: February 10, 1968

15."Hello, Dolly!" - Louis Armstrong And The All Stars
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: May 9, 1964

16."Big Girls Don't Cry" - The Four Seasons
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: November 17, 1962

17."Sugar Shack" - Jimmy Gilmer And The Fireballs 
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: October 12, 1963

18."Honky Tonk Women" - The Rolling Stones
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: August 23, 1969

19."(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" - Otis Redding
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: March 16, 1968

20."Big Bad John" - Jimmy Dean
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: November 11, 1961

This top Billboard Hot 100 songs of each decade is ranked based on each title's performance on the Hot 100 through the chart dated Nov. 1, 2014. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits across multiple decades, time frames are weighted to account for fluctuating chart turnover rates due to different methodologies utilized.