Surprisingly oldies, but goodies?
March 4, 2014 5:15 PM   Subscribe

I learned recently that Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline was first released back in 1969. What are other examples of old, popular songs? (Where old means more than 40 years, and popular means that a crowd of people would be capable of singing at least the chorus.)
posted by FreelanceBureaucrat to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Leaving on a Jet Plane. (Perhaps other Peter, Paul and Mary too.)
posted by Melismata at 5:20 PM on March 4, 2014

I Say A Little Prayer For You (1967) - not sure if I know that song only from My Best Friend's Wedding, though!
posted by coupdefoudre at 5:24 PM on March 4, 2014

google frank sinatra. carole king. melismata already hit the carpenters. woody guthrie, pete seeger...
posted by bruce at 5:24 PM on March 4, 2014

American Pie
probably a lot of the Beatles
We Will Rock You turns 37 this year
Happy Together
Born to Be Wild
posted by phunniemee at 5:25 PM on March 4, 2014

Another Neil Diamond - Red Red Wine. A lot of people attribute it to UB40 in the 80s, but Neil released it in 1968.
posted by cecic at 5:26 PM on March 4, 2014 [5 favorites]

Lean on Me
posted by ODiV at 5:27 PM on March 4, 2014

Oh, also a lot of the Stones:
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", recorded in May 1965
"Get Off of My Cloud" was released in the autumn of 1965
"Paint It, Black" (May 1966)
"Under My Thumb" 1966
posted by coupdefoudre at 5:27 PM on March 4, 2014

Hey Jude
posted by Requiax at 5:28 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

build me up buttercup
posted by freakazoid at 5:33 PM on March 4, 2014

Everything on the Beatles White Album.
posted by Houstonian at 5:36 PM on March 4, 2014

Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone, and quite a bit more from Dylan.

Roy Orbison, Pretty Woman.

The more I think of this: This is a really, really broad question. Songs have been popular for a long time. Can you narrow down your request at all?
posted by Houstonian at 5:40 PM on March 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

I assume Christmas carols are out of the running? Many popular Christmas songs were written in the 1940s or earlier.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:41 PM on March 4, 2014

Quite a few Beach Boys songs. Chuck Berry's Johnnie B. Goode. Quite a bit of Johnny Cash. Little Richard's Tutti Fruitti.
posted by Houstonian at 5:47 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Beach Boy's Sloop John B is very singable
posted by Flashman at 5:52 PM on March 4, 2014

You Are My Sunshine, Tammy Wynette's Stand My Your Man, I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair from South Pacific, the more popular Hank Williams such as Hey Good Lookin'.
posted by Houstonian at 5:53 PM on March 4, 2014

Bill Haley and the Comets, Rock Around the Clock, which probably benefits from a boost in knowledge among audiences around my age thanks to serving as the opening song for Happy Days.
posted by drlith at 6:04 PM on March 4, 2014

Happy Birthday To You
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:16 PM on March 4, 2014

great list so far! thanks!
posted by FreelanceBureaucrat at 6:27 PM on March 4, 2014

Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere.
Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques, dormez vous? Dormez vous?
Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb.
posted by Houstonian at 6:28 PM on March 4, 2014

It's only 39 right now, but in my experience, with a sufficiently intoxicated motivated crowd of almost any age distribution, if you start singing "Is this the real life... Is this just fantasy?" you will get the entire 6 minute song word for word, including the guitar solo.

Depending on the crowd, many hymns and religious songs also work. TV theme songs are also a good source.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:34 PM on March 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

"The Weight".
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:50 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammy Terrell
Dancing in the Street - Martha Reeves
Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
Everyday People - Sly and Family Stone
Hang On Sloopy - The McCoys
Hit The Road, Jack - Ray Charles
How Sweet It Is - Marvin Gaye/James Taylor
I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
I Feel Good - James Brown
I'm A Believer - The Monkees
Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye
Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin
Midnight Hour - Wilson Picket
My Girl - Temptations
Mustang Sally - Wilson Picket
Save The Last Dance For Me - The Drifters
Signed Sealed Delivered - Stevie Wonder
Soul Man - Sam & Dave
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
Twist and Shout - The Isley Brothers/The Beatles
Wild Thing - The Troggs
posted by soundguy99 at 7:16 PM on March 4, 2014

Brandy by Looking Glass
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:20 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

The playlist from the Giant Sing Along at the Minnesota State Fair may help.
posted by lakeroon at 7:50 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Puff the Magic Dragon
posted by Sukey Says at 7:55 PM on March 4, 2014

cecilia, Simon and Garfunkel, 1970. Simon and Fallon in 2012.
posted by Jahaza at 7:56 PM on March 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hotel California, duh. I guess it's just sliding in your 40-year mark (35 years), but I'll be damned if it isn't - in my very international experience - one of the only English songs that beginning guitar players and karaoke singers can do no matter where in the world you are.
posted by whatzit at 12:09 AM on March 5, 2014

John Denver, "Take Me Home, Country Roads" (1971)
Also, damn, Jackson 5, "I'll Be There" and "ABC" (1970)

OK now I'm straight up looking at the Billboard charts for 1970. "O-o-h Child"
I am always amazed at how I know songs from before I was born.
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:43 AM on March 5, 2014

OMG, how could I forget Aretha Franklin, "Respect"
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:52 AM on March 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

one last one. Johnny Nash, "I Can See Clearly Now" (1972)
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:55 AM on March 5, 2014

I've read the music you'll always prefer is what you liked before your 23rd birthday. And I'll add, from personal experience: and/or you were infatuated with someone.
posted by RichardS at 3:10 AM on March 5, 2014

Mac the Knife
Runaround Sue
posted by interplanetjanet at 5:44 AM on March 5, 2014

More from Neil Diamond

I Am I Said
Cracklin Rosie
posted by Billiken at 11:58 AM on March 5, 2014

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