Mixtape: Swinging 60s
If I had a time machine I would go back and murder Mike Myers so that Austin Powers could never have been made. The trilogy (oh, god, remember? he made THREE OF THOSE THINGS) beat the whole swinging super-sexy spy thing into the ground and probably made you hate it forever. But you shouldn’t. Musically at least, because a ton of the music from that time, with that vibe, is so great.
Swinging 60s music is difficult to pin down. You could dance to it, definitely, but it was pretty…white. In fact, the first song on the playlist below, Georgie Fame’s cover of “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag,” is a perfect example. Fame’s version isn’t completely without soul, but most of the soul has been replaced with a peppy feeling that, well, swings. Georgie Fame is sort of the textbook example of Swinging 60s, and the only artist that appears twice on the playlist below.
A lot of times, swinging had organs. Really really awesome organs. Below, Billy Preston works his magic on a cover of “Goldfinger,” while Earl Van Dyke and the Motown Brass go full organ on “There Is No Greater Love.”
Swinging had a lot of ladies. In fact, the era was arguably peak awesome for solo lady singers. Brits Lulu, Sandie Shaw, AND Petula Clark are all represented below, and they all swing so much they could each have their own playlist, really. Nancy Sinatra is there too, because how could she not be?
There are stalwarts of the British mod scene – Amen Corner and Chris Farlowe – but not at their most R&B-drenched. There’s music you or your parents listened to (depending on your age) that you thought aged poorly, like Sergio Mendes, but you now realize is pretty awesome. There’s Quincy Jones, whose reputation suffered the most under the terrifying reign of Mike Myers.
Best of all, there’s Sammy Davis, Jr. singing “Up, Up, and Away.” Yes the one made famous by the Fifth Dimension. Yes, the one about the beautiful balloon. Yes, it is amazing. I play it at least once every week.
Give the playlist a shot and see if you can’t undo your own Austin Powers-related damage.
We’re dual-format playlist friendly up in here, so there’s both a Spotify and a Rdio link below, so you have no excuse not to listen.