Top Albums of 1960
71 8.91. Sketches of Spain - Miles Davis
Sketches Of Spain by Miles Davis (1960)
Average Rating: 83/100
Sketches of Spain is considered by fans and critics alike, to be one of the most accessible albums of Davis's career. Less improvisational than much of his other work, some of Davis' contemporaries[who?] suggested that Sketches of Spain was something other than jazz. Davis replied (according to Rolling Stone magazine), "It's music, and I like it".
The Rolling Stone Album Guide calls it "a work of unparalleled grace and lyricisim."
In 2003, the album was ranked number 356 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Best album of 1960 (1st)
Top 100 albums of the 1960s (58th)
Top 500 albums of all time (468th)
57 8.22. Giant Steps - John Coltrane
Giant Steps by John Coltrane (1960)
Average Rating: 83/100
In 1959, Miles Davis' business manager Harold Lovett negotiated a record contract for Coltrane with Atlantic, the terms including a $7000 annual guarantee. Initial sessions for this album, the second recording date for Coltrane under his new contract after a January 15 date led by Milt Jackson, took place on March 26, 1959. The results of this session with Cedar Walton and Lex Humphries were not used, but appeared on subsequent compilations and reissues. Principal recording for the album took place on May 4 and 5, two weeks after Coltrane had participated in the final session for Kind of Blue. The track "Naima" was recorded on December 2 with Coltrane's bandmates, the rhythm section from the Miles Davis Quintet, who would provide the backing for most of his next album, Coltrane Jazz.
The recording exemplifies Coltrane's melodic phrasing that came to be known as sheets of sound, and features his explorations into third-related chord movements that came to be known as Coltrane changes. Jazz musicians continue to use the Giant Steps chord progression, which consists of a peculiar set of chords that often move in thirds, as a practice piece and as a gateway into modern jazz improvisation. The ability to play over the "Giant Steps" cycle remains to this day one of the benchmark standards by which a jazz musician's improvising skill is measured. Several pieces on this album went on to become jazz standards, most prominently "Naima" and "Giant Steps."
Top 5 albums of 1960 (2nd)
Top 100 albums of the 1960s (85th)
Top 1,000 albums of all time (829th)
11 8.83. Elvis Is Back! - Elvis Presley
Elvis Is Back! by Elvis Presley (1960)
Average Rating: 77/100
The first album by Presley after his military discharge from the army, the first day of its sessions were attended by the Colonel, his assistant Tom Diskin, and representatives from RCA in a show of interest regarding whether or not Elvis still "had it" after two years in uniform. His long-serving guitarist Scotty Moore, pianist Floyd Cramer, and drummer D. J. Fontana had returned, along with his back-up vocal quartet The Jordanaires, but the other musicians had only played on one previous session with Elvis. One new face at the sessions whom Presley had befriended while in the service, Charlie Hodge, would become a Presley regular, member of the Memphis Mafia and a mainstay in his return to live performance at the end of the decade. Pressure aside, the sessions were successful, the album a highlight of the entire decade and a declared favorite by Presley regarding his own work. He moved beyond his standard rock and roll sound of the 1950s, combining doo-wop, gospel, blues, and even jazzy tones from his version of "Fever" following so close to that of Peggy Lee from 1958. The results yielded a new sound for Presley, with a varied song selection, moving him further toward the pop music he would undertake as the decade progressed. Prior to this, only his second album fully derived from a specific set of sessions undertaken expressly to make a particular album.
The original twelve track album was first issued on compact disc in 1988. The May 18, 1999 reissue included six bonus tracks recorded at the same two sessions for the album and issued as the sides to three singles. Those three singles, "Stuck on You", "Are You Lonesome Tonight?", and "It's Now or Never" all topped the singles chart; the b-sides all also charted independently in the Top 40. "It's Now or Never" had been adapted from the 1898 Neapolitan song "'O Sole Mio", and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?", a ballad from 1926, had been the only time the Colonel had requested Elvis record a specific song.
On January 18, 2011, Legacy Records released a Legacy Edition with the entirety of the 1999 reissue on one disc, appending the single "Surrender." A bonus disc included the entirety of Something for Everybody along with the b-side to "Surrender" "I Feel So Bad," the singles "His Latest Flame" and "Good Luck Charm" along with their respective b-sides. Other reissues include a Steve Hoffman remastered DCC Gold CD prepared from the original tapes in 1997, and an expanded edition by the Follow That Dream collectors label on April 1, 2005.
Top 5 albums of 1960 (3rd)
14 8.14. Free Jazz - Ornette Coleman
Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman (1960)
Average Rating: 77/100
Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation is the sixth album by jazz saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman, recorded in 1960. Its title established the name of the then-nascent free jazz movement. The album features a double quartet, one in each stereo channel; the rhythm sections play simultaneously, and though there is a succession of solos as is usual in jazz, they are peppered with freeform commentaries by the other horns that often turn into full-scale collective improvisation. The pre-composed material is a series of brief, dissonant fanfares for the horns which serve as interludes between solos. Not least among the album's achievements was that it was the first LP-length improvisation, nearly forty minutes in length, which was unheard of at the time.
The album was identified by Chris Kelsey in his Allmusic essay "Free Jazz: A Subjective History" as one of the 20 Essential Free Jazz Albums. It served as the blueprint for later large-ensemble free jazz recordings such as John Coltrane's Ascension and Peter Brötzmann's Machine Gun.
Top 5 albums of 1960 (4th)
1 05. Ella in Berlin - Ella Fitzgerald
Ella In Berlin by Ella Fitzgerald (1960)
Average Rating: 73/100
Ella in Berlin is a live album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. This album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old, and that have "qualitative or historical significance."
One of Fitzgerald's most acclaimed live performances, at this concert in Berlin, Fitzgerald successfully improvised the lyrics for the song, "Mack the Knife" after forgetting them. In recognition for this, she received the Best Female Vocal Performance (Single) and the Best Vocal Performance, Female (Album) at the 3rd Grammy Awards.
During her Scat solo on "How High the Moon", Fitzgerald quotes the Charlie Parker composition "Ornithology", which is in fact based on the chord changes for "How High the Moon", as a springboard for her own scat improvisation. This recording of "How High the Moon" is considered one of Fitzgerald's best scat solos, if not one of the best in jazz, along with Betty Carter's "Sounds (Movin' On).
Top 5 albums of 1960 (5th)
7 66. Joan Baez - Joan Baez
Joan Baez by Joan Baez (1960)
Average Rating: 76/100
Though Baez was reportedly offered a contract with Columbia at the time, she chose to go instead with the independent Vanguard label, hoping for increased artistic license. Most of the songs featured only Baez' vocals and guitar, with a second guitar (played by Fred Hellerman, of The Weavers), added to some songs. Despite the lack of strings and horns, backup singers and hit singles, the album went gold, although it did not make the Billboard 200 chart until 1962, following the success of her second album, Joan Baez, Vol. 2. Joan Baez peaked at number 15 and spent 140 weeks on the chart.
In 1983 Baez described the making of the album to Rolling Stone's Kurt Loder:
"...It took four days. We recorded it in the ballroom of some hotel in New York, way up by the river. We could use the room every day except Tuesday, because they played Bingo there on Tuesdays. It was just me on this filthy rug. There were two microphones, one for the voice and one for the guitar. I just did my set. It was probably all I knew how to do at that point. I did 'Mary Hamilton' once and that was it...That's the way we made 'em in the old days. As long as a dog didn't run through the room or something, you had it..."
In 2001, Vanguard reissued Joan Baez with new liner notes and three previously unreleased songs. (Between 2001 and 2005, they reissued remastered versions of Baez' thirteen original albums with the label.)
Top 10 albums of 1960 (6th)
1 107. Muddy Waters at Newport 1960/Muddy Waters Li... - Muddy Waters,Otis Spann
At Newport 1960 by Muddy Waters (1960)
Average Rating: 78/100
After releasing his debut album The Best of Muddy Waters (1958), a greatest hits collection, and Sings Big Bill Broonzy (1969), a collection of covers of songs by blues musician Big Bill Broonzy, Waters decided to perform at the live concert Newport Jazz Festival. Waters had already been a well-known blues musician across Europe and the United States in the 50s. His successful performances with his electric blues band, consisting of half brother Otis Spann (piano, vocals), Pat Hare (guitar), James Cotton (harmonica), Andrew Stevens (bass) and Francis Clay (drums), increasingly popularized the blues in the mainstream music of United States and Europe, especially to the white audience
Top 10 albums of 1960 (7th)
16 8.48. Blues and Roots - Charles Mingus
Blues & Roots by Charles Mingus (1960)
Average Rating: 81/100
Mingus explained the birth of this record in the album's liner notes:
This record is unusual—it presents only one part of my musical world, the blues. A year ago, Nesuhi Ertegün suggested that I record an entire blues album in the style of Haitian Fight Song (in Atlantic LP 1260), because some people, particularly critics, were saying I didn't swing enough. He wanted to give them a barrage of soul music: churchy, blues, swinging, earthy. I thought it over. I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I've grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing. So I agreed.
Top 10 albums of 1960 (8th)
1 09. The Crickets and Their Buddies - Crickets,The Crickets
In Style With The Crickets by The Crickets (1960)
Average Rating: 76/100
In Style with the Crickets is an influential rock and roll album by the band, the Crickets. It's notably for being the band's first release following the departure and death of front man, Buddy Holly, yet still contained many of the band's most memorable songs. Originally released as an LP record on December 5, 1960, the album remained out of print some time later until it was re-released on CD in 1993, including bonus tracks not featured on the original record. Many tracks have also been featured on numerous compilations over the years.
The album includes covers of the songs "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu," "Great Balls of Fire," "Ting-A-Ling," "Love's Made a Fool of You," and "Peggy Sue Got Married." Buddy Holly previously performed the last three song. The album also includes many songs that would go on to be hits for other artists, including "More Than I Can Say" (made famous by Bobby Vee and Leo Sayer), "I Fought the Law (made famous by the Bobby Fuller Four) and “Someone, Someone” (made famous by the Tremeloes).
The most popular songs from the album itself are "Love's Made a Fool of You," "When You Ask About Love," "More Than I Can Say," and "Baby My Heart." While not being popular in the U.S., they received significant airplay in the U.K.
Top 10 albums of 1960 (10th)
13 910. The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery - Wes Montgomery_II
The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery by Wes Montgomery (1960)
Average Rating: 74/100
The album is considered by many fans and critics to be the pinnacle of Montgomery's recorded studio work. The Penguin Guide to Jazz selected this album as part of its suggested "Core Collection" calling it "probably the best Montgomery record currently available".
Writing for Allmusic, music critic Michael G. Nastos praised the album, writing: "Setting him apart from the rest, this recording established Montgomery as the most formidable modern guitarist of the era, and eventually its most influential... He plays forcefully but never overtly so on the bop tracks, offering up his trademark delicacy on the laid-back "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and easy-as-pie "Gone with the Wind." Montgomery is clearly talented beyond convention, consistently brilliant, and indeed incredible in the company of his sidemen, and this recording -- an essential addition to every jazz guitarist fan's collection—put him on the map."
Of the CD reissue, critic Chris May of All About Jazz wrote "The Incredible Jazz Guitar burst onto the US scene in 1960 like a benign hurricane, and it still sounds like a gale almost 50 years later... Montgomery—empathetically accompanied by pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Percy Heath (then riding high with the Modern Jazz Quartet), and drummer Albert Heath—makes the guitar sound like it never had before. It has sounded similar since, of course, thanks to the legion of Montgomery-influenced players, but rarely so close to perfection... The Incredible Jazz Guitar endures, and will continue to do so."
Top 20 albums of 1960 (11th)
2 711. The Fabulous Style of the Everly Brothers - The Everly Brothers
1 012. Walk Don't Run - Ventures
1 013. Rockin at Hops - Chuck Berry
1 014. The Sound Of Fury - Billy Fury
3 815. Miriam Makeba - Miriam Makeba
1 016. Chet Baker With Fifty Italian Strings - Chet Baker
3 1017. Nice 'n' Easy - Frank Sinatra
2 918. Now, There Was a Song! - Johnny Cash
1 019. Eden's Island - Eden Ahbez
0 020. We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite - Max Roach
5 9.821. Psycho: The Complete Original Motion Picture... - Bernard Herrmann
1 022. It s Everly Time - The Everly Brothers
4 823. Stockhausen: Kontakte - Karlheinz Stockhausen
1 024. Country Songs Old & New - Country Gentlemen
1 025. Blues & Ballads - Lonnie Johnson, Elmer Snowden
7 5.326. Ride This Train - Johnny Cash
4 827. Soul Station - Hank Mobley
7 928. Mingus Dynasty - Charles Mingus
2 1029. I Hear a New World: An Outer Space Music Fan... - Joe Meek_II
1 930. The Genius Hits the Road - Ray Charles
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