The year 1966 was a big one for the Beatles, the Stones, the Sinatra family, the Beach Boy, the Supremes, Lovin’ Spoonful, and Donovan
Frank Sinatra, Strangers in the Night (no 1966 clip was available, this was about 15 years later.) The star of the 40’s had the year’s biggest hit, and hit gold again with “That’s Life.” His daughter Nancy had the 2nd biggest hit with “These Boots are Made for Walkin'”
Beach Boys, Good Vibrations was in 4th place after the Beatles “Yellow Submarine.”
The Beatles, Paperback Writer was 5th for the year.
Sound Of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
“The Sounds of Silence is the song that propelled the 1960s folk music duo Simon and Garfunkel to popularity. It was written on February 19, 1964 by Paul Simon in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Simon conceived of the song as a way of capturing the emotional trauma felt by many Americans.
The song features Simon on acoustic guitar and both Simon and Garfunkel singing. It was originally recorded as an acoustic piece for their first album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., but was later overdubbed with electric instruments and re-released as a single in September 1965. The single slowly climbed the charts until it reached number one on New Year’s Day 1966. The song was included in the 1966 album Sounds of Silence. Wikipedia
Bob Dylan, Just Like a Woman
Just Like a Woman is a 1966 song written by Bob Dylan. It appears on the second side of his classic 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. It was released as a single in the US and peaked at #33. The magazine Rolling Stone ranked the song as number 230 in their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
Dylan wrote this ballad on Thanksgiving Day 1965 while touring in Kansas City. It was allegedly inspired by New York socialite Edie Sedgwick, who frequented Andy Warhol’s Factory at around the same time Dylan was introduced to Warhol and had a tendency to catch the attention of musicians (The Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed wrote “Femme Fatale” about Sedgwick at about the same time, released on 1967’s The Velvet Underground and Nico).
“Just Like A Woman” has also been rumored to be written about Dylan’s relationship with fellow folk singer Joan Baez. Wikipedia
James Brown, I Feel Good (James in Hollywood!)
Of Brown’s 99 hits to reach the Billboard Hot 100 (a total second only to Elvis Presley) “I Got You (I Feel Good)” is Brown’s highest charting song, peaking at number three. The song remained at the top of the Billboard R&B singles chart for six weeks, after his previous single, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, held the number-one spot for eight weeks. Brown’s screams at the beginning and end of the song have been sampled a number of times for hip hop and dance songs. The song has also been covered many times by other performers, and is frequently played at sporting events. Wikipedia
The Beatles, We Can Work It Out
The Beatles recorded “We Can Work It Out” on 20 October 1965, four days after its accompanying single track, with an overdub session on 29 October. They spent nearly 11 hours on the song, by far the longest expenditure of studio time up to that point.
In a discussion about what song to release as a single, Lennon argued “vociferously” for “Day Tripper”, differing with the majority view that “We Can Work It Out” was a more commercial song. As a result, the single was marketed as the first “double A-side,” but airplay and point-of-sale requests soon proved “We Can Work It Out” to be more popular, and it reached No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, The Beatles’ fastest-selling single since “Can’t Buy Me Love,” their previous McCartney-led A-side in the UK. Wikipedia
Stevie Wonder – Uptight (Everything’s Alright) A comeback at 15!
“Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” is a 1965 hit single recorded by Stevie Wonder for the Tamla (Motown) label. One of his most popular early singles, “Uptight” was the first Stevie Wonder single to be co-written by the artist.
The single was a watershed in Wonder’s career for several reasons. Aside from the number-one hit “Fingertips”, only two of Wonder’s singles had reached the Top 40 of Billboard’s Pop Singles chart, (“Workout, Stevie Workout” reached # 33 in late 1963 and “Hey Harmonica Man” reached # 29 Pop in the Summer of 1964) and the fifteen-year-old artist was in danger of being let go. In addition, Wonder’s voice had begun to change, and Motown CEO Berry Gordy was worried that he would no longer be a commercially viable artist. As it turned out, however, producer Clarence Paul found it easier to work with Wonder’s now-mature tenor voice, and he and Sylvia Moy set about writing a new song for the artist, based upon an instrumental riff Wonder had devised.
The resulting song, “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”, features lyrics which depict a poor young man’s appreciation for a rich girl’s seeing beyond his poverty to his true worth. A notable success, “Uptight” peaked at number-three on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in early 1966, at the same time reaching the top of the Billboard R&B Singles chart for five weeks. Wikipedia
Donovan, Sunshine Superman (and he also had a big hit with Mellow Yellow.)
“Sunshine Superman” is a song written and recorded by Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan. The “Sunshine Superman” single was released in the United States through Epic Records (Epic 5-10045) in July 1966, but due to a contractual dispute the United Kingdom release was delayed until December 1966, where it appeared on Donovan’s previous label, Pye Records (Pye 7N 17241). The “Sunshine Superman” single was backed with “The Trip” on both the United States and United Kingdom releases.
“Sunshine Superman” reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and subsequently became the title track of Donovan’s third album, Sunshine Superman. Wikipedia
The Mamas and the Papas – California Dreamin’
They were living in New York. He dreamed about the song and woke her up to help him write. She had stopped in St. Patrick’s a few days earlier, which led to the second verse. At the time, the Phillipses were members of the folk group The New Journeymen which evolved into The Mamas and the Papas.
They earned their first record contract after being introduced to Lou Adler, the head of Dunhill Records, by the singer Barry McGuire. In thanks to Adler, they sang the backing vocals to “California Dreamin'” on McGuire’s album This Precious Time. The Mamas and the Papas then recorded their own version. The single was released in late 1965 but it was not an immediate breakthrough. After gaining little attention in Los Angeles upon its release, Michelle Phillips remembers that it took a radio station in Boston to break the song nationwide. By early 1966, the song peaked at # 4 and it stayed on the charts for 17 weeks. McGuire later claimed that you can hear his vocals in the background on the record. Wikipedia
Simon and Garfunkel – Homeward Bound
“Homeward Bound” is a 1966 song by Simon and Garfunkel, produced by Bob Johnston and recorded on December 14, 1965. Paul Simon wrote the song at Widnes railway station while waiting for his train. The song describes his longing to return home, both to Brentwood, Essex, England, and to return to the United States. The song debuted on Billboard Hot 100 Chart on February 12, 1966, peaking at #5. It remained on the charts for 12 weeks. Wikipedia
The Beach Boys – Sloop John B (extremely corny video)
“Sloop John B” is the seventh track on The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album and was also a single which was released in 1966 on Capitol Records. It was originally a traditional West Indies folk song, possibly recorded earliest by The Weavers under the title “Wreck of the John B”, the song taken from a collection by Carl Sandburg (1927). Alan Lomax made a field recording of the song in Nassau, 1935, under the title “Histe Up the John B. Sail”. This recording appears on the album Bahamas 1935: Chanteys And Anthems From Andros And Cat Island. The song was adapted by Weavers member Lee Hays. The recording of the song which directly influenced The Beach Boys was by The Kingston Trio.
The John B. was an old sponger boat whose crew were in the habit of getting notoriously merry whenever they made port. It was wrecked and sunk at Governor’s Harbour in Eleuthera, the Bahamas, in about 1900. Wikipedia
‘Monday, Monday’ – The Mamas & The Papas
“Monday, Monday” is a 1966 song (see 1966 in music) written by John Phillips and recorded by The Mamas and the Papas for their 1966 album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears. It was the group’s only number one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and the first song by a sexually integrated group to reach the top of the charts.
On March 2, 1967, The Mamas and the Papas won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for this song. wikipedia
Percy Sledge – When A Man Loves A Woman
“When a Man Loves a Woman” is a song recorded by Percy Sledge in 1966 near Muscle Shoals, Alabama in Sheffield. It made number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts. It was listed 54th in the List of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time. The sidemen for this recording included Spooner Oldham, organ; Marlin Greene, guitar; David Hood, bass and Roger Hawkins, drums. Wikipedia
The Rolling Stones, Paint it Black
“Paint It, Black” is a song recorded by The Rolling Stones in 1966. It reached number one in both the U.S. and the UK charts in 1966. It was released as a single and included on the U.S. version of the album Aftermath. In 2004 it was ranked #174 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The song began with Wyman playing organ at a recording session, in parody of the group’s former co-manager Eric Easton, who had been an organist. Charlie Watts accompanied the organ by playing a vaguely Middle Eastern drum part; Watts’ drum pattern became the basis for the final song. Brian Jones contributed the song’s signature sitar riff (having taught himself to play after a visit with George Harrison) and acoustic guitar, and Jagger contributed the lyrics, seemingly about a man mourning his dead girlfriend. The lead electric guitar and the background vocals are provided by Richards. The piano is played by Jack Nitzsche.
The bass was also overdubbed by Bill Wyman playing on the bass pedals of a Hammond B3 organ.
Richards has stated in an interview that the song was not intended to have a comma in its title, and that this was added by the record label. Wikipedia
The legend James Brown – It’s a man’s world
“It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” is a song by James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome. Brown recorded it on February 16, 1966 in a New York studio and released it as a single later that year. It reached #1 on the Billboard Top R&B Singles charts and #8 in the Billboard Hot 100. The song became a staple of Brown’s live shows.
Like Brown’s earlier ballad recording of “Prisoner of Love”, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” was recorded with a studio band that included some members of his touring band as well as a string section. Brown’s vocal group, The Famous Flames, were not used on this recording, though they did receive label credit. A female chorus was involved in the recording sessions, but their parts were edited out of the song’s final master.
In 2004, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” was ranked number 123 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. Wikipedia
The Association, Along Comes Mary (original music, video by two young ladies)
“Along Comes Mary” is a song composed by Tandyn Almer, originally recorded in 1966 by The Association, and released on their debut album And Then… Along Comes the Association. It was their first hit and reached #7 on the U.S. charts. It has been covered by several artists, most notably the The Manhattan Transfer. Leonard Bernstein admired the song, and included a short analysis of it in the “What is a Mode?” episode of his Young People’s Concerts series. Wikipedia
Los Bravos – Black is Black
Los Bravos were a Spanish beat group, formed in 1965, and based in Madrid. The band were an amalgamation of two pop groups, Los Sonor and The Runaways. Los Bravos’ lead singer, Mike Kogel, was from Germany. His vocal styling was similar to Gene Pitney’s. As the first Spanish group to do so, their single “Black is Black” reached #2 in the UK Singles Chart in July 1966 , and #4 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. The world wide sales of the song were over one million copies. The track was written by Tony Hayes and Steve Wadey, in their recording studio for cutting demo discs in Hoo St Werburgh, near Rochester, Kent, England. The song was later covered by the French based outfit Belle Epoque, and in 1977 their disco version of the song coincidentally also reached #2 in the UK. Wikipedia
Four Tops, Reach Out (I’ll Be There) in some very high water pants!
“Reach Out I’ll Be There” (also formatted as “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)”) is a 1966 hit song recorded by The Four Tops for the Motown label. Written and produced by Motown’s main production team Holland-Dozier-Holland, the song is one of the most well-known Motown tunes of the 1960s and is today considered The Tops’ signature song. It was the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, from September 24, 1966 to October 15. Wikipedia
Count Five, Psychotic Reaction (OMG I actually saw them live in 1966!)
“Psychotic Reaction” is an early psychedelic/garage rock song released by the band Count Five in 1966, and also the title of their only album. Guitarist Sean Byrne was sitting in a Health Education class in his freshman year at San Jose City College in California, learning about psychosis. His friend Ron Lamb leaned over and whispered: “You know what would be a great name for a song? Psychotic Reaction.” Byrne had been writing a tune in his head that day, and used the title to finish it, with the entire band given writing credit. The song hit number five in the Billboard charts. 
The song was modeled after the Yardbirds’s song “I’m a Man” due to the repetitious rhythm beats until it changes to a faster beat, with the electric guitar playing a hypnotic melody, going up the scales, and the percussions playing in a similar style to the Yardbird’s hit. Wikipedia
19th Nervous Breakdown – The Rolling Stones
It is rumored that the song was written about Mick Jagger’s then-girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton.
The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards during their 1965 tour of the United States. The song was recorded during the Aftermath sessions between December 3 and 8, 1965 at RCA Recording Studios in Hollywood, California, at the conclusion of their fourth North American tour. The song talks of a difficult, spoiled girl who cannot appreciate life. Mick Jagger says he came up with the title first, and then wrote the lyrics around the title. It was released as a single on February 4, 1966 and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in America, and in the U.K. Record Retailer chart. However, it hit #1 in the NME chart and the BBC’s Pick of the Pops chart, both of which were more widely recognized in Britain at the time.
The hypnotic riff Brian Jones is playing during the verses pays a tribute to Bo Diddley’s song “Diddley Daddy”, Diddley being a major influence on the Stones’ style.   The song is also well-known for Bill Wyman’s so-called “dive-bombing” bass line at the end of the song.
This was one of three songs (“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “As Tears Go By” being the other two) the Rolling Stones performed on their Ed Sullivan Show appearance in 1966, their first color broadcast on U.S. television. Wikipedia
The Kinks – A Well Respected Man
“A Well Respected Man” is a song by the British band The Kinks from 1966 (see 1966 in music). It reached #13 on the US charts. Musically, it and “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” marked the beginning of an expansion in the Kinks’ inspirations, drawing much from British music hall traditions, as well as from American rhythm and blues. It was one of three Kinks songs included on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll along with You Really Got Me and Lola. Wikipedia
The Byrds – Eight Miles High (way ahead of the curve with this one)
“Eight Miles High” is a song by Gene Clark, Jim McGuinn, and David Crosby, first appearing as a single from 1966 by the rock band The Byrds. The single peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was included as well on their album Fifth Dimension, released on July 18, 1966. In tandem with its b-side, “Why,” written by McGuinn and Crosby, the song was instrumental in ushering in a new strain of rock and roll in the mid-1960s, that of psychedelic rock.
McGuinn’s twelve string guitar playing — especially the famed introductory solo — was heavily inspired by Coltrane’s saxophone on “India” from his 1961 Village Vanguard concerts on the Impressions album of 1963. McGuinn is very guarded of the effort that went into his approximation of Coltrane’s technique to guitar. Chris Hillman’s bass line drives the song, while the rhythm guitar work by Crosby and fast drumming of Michael Clarke add dramatic turbulence. On a 1966 taped interview added to the 1996 re-issue of the album, Crosby said that the catastrophic ending made him “feel like a plane landing.” Wikipedia
Cream – I Feel Free
“I Feel Free” is a song first recorded by the British blues rock band, Cream. The song was written by Pete Brown and Jack Bruce and was the first of their many collaborations. It was the first track on the US version of their debut album, Fresh Cream (1966), and the band’s second hit single, following the surprising release of “Wrapping Paper”. Like all tracks on Cream’s first US album, the producer’s credit went to Robert Stigwood. The tracks were produced by the band, however.
“I Feel Free” was an important song for the band. The song contained one of the more brief guitar solos by Eric Clapton, and became effectively the first song to showcase what the band had to offer. Though much of Cream’s repertoire was blues-rock, this song presented straight rock and psychedelic aspects. Wikipedia
The Temptations – Get Ready (for some white shoes & high water pants)
“Get Ready” is a Motown song written by Smokey Robinson, which resulted in two hit records for the label: a U.S. #29 version by The Temptations in 1966, and a U.S. #4 version by Rare Earth in 1970. It is significant for being the last song Smokey Robinson wrote and produced for the Temptations, due to a deal Berry Gordy made with Norman Whitfield, that if Get Ready did not meet with the expected degree of success, then Whitfield’s song, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, would get the next release, which resulted in Whitfield more or less replacing Robinson as the group’s producer. Wikipedia
The Blues Magoos, We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet. This was released in late 1966 and became a hit. Interesting tidbit, Gregg and Duane Allman met these guys in NYC and became friends with them. Clearly, this climbing guitar riff made an impression on Duane and he later integrated it into the Allman Brothers’ sound.