Fly Me to the Moon: Classic Upbeat Songs of the 60s through 80s

Featuring seven timeless songs from the sixties to the eighties, guaranteed to keep your spirits up and romancing. 

Jimmy Cliff singing “I Can See Clearly Now” in 1972

Georgy Girl (The Seekers, 1967)

There aren’t many songs that are more free-spirited than “Georgy Girl” by The Seekers. From the insouciant whistling which gets us started, through its relentless up-beat harmonies, the song defines upbeat in a way that has seldom being repeated in pop music. Written by Tom Springfield (brother of Dusty), Georgy Girl was the title tune for the 1966 British film of Georgy Girl based on the romantic-comedy novel of the same name by Margaret Forster. It became the number 1 hit on the Cashbox Top 100 on February 18-24, 1967.

Uptown Girl (Billy Joel, 1983)

Billy Joel scored a massive hit around the world with the pop anthem ‘Uptown Girl’ in 1983, and it remains one of his most popular and enduring songs. The lyrics describe a working-class “downtown man” attempting to woo a rich “uptown girl”. Joel revealed later that he wrote the song initially about his relationship with model Elle Macpherson, but it ended up also being about his soon-to-be wife, supermodel Christie Brinkley. He married Brinkley two years after the song was released.

The Way You Look Tonight (Sinatra, 1964)

“The Way You Look Tonight” is a song from the film Swing Time that was performed by Fred Astaire, the legendary actor and tap dancer. Composed by Jerome Kern with lyrics written by Dorothy Fields, the song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936. The inimitable Frank Sinatra recorded the song on his 1984 album, “Sinatra Sings Days of Wine and Roses and Other Academy Award Winners.”.  

Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond, 1969)

“Sweet Caroline” is a 1969 song written by Neil Diamond, as a ode to Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy though the two never met. Caroline was then 7, and Neil, 17 years her senior. Diamond performed the song to a huge crowd and the carefree singles track debuted in May 1969, becoming the ultimate summer hit, spending 14 weeks on the charts, peaking at No. 4 on the Hot 100.

I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Cash, 1972)

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It’s gonna be a bright, sunshiny day.

‘I Can See Clearly Now’ by Johnny Nash is one of the world’s most recognisable reggae songs, one guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Nash wrote and composed the original version, and later recorded it in London with members of the Fabulous Five Inc. The arrangements and style were both heavily influenced by reggae, and he drew strong influence from the time he worked with Bob Marley in the 1960s. The song is about hope and courage for people who have experienced adversity in their lives but have later overcome it. It reached number one in America, selling over a million copies. It also reached number 5 in the UK. Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff covered the song for the Cool Runnings film soundtrack, which went to number 18 in the US and 23 in the UK in 1994.

Fly Me to the Moon (Frank Sinatra 1964)

“Fly Me to the Moon” was written by Bart Howard in 1954 as a slow waltz, with the title “In Other Words”. While a variety of singers released recordings in the following few years, it was Peggy Lee’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1960 which greatly increased its popularity. The version I liked most is by Frank Sinatra who sung it in 1964 to a faster 4/4 beat which has been the standard for the song ever since.

What a Wonderful World’ (Louis Armstrong, 1967)

Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ is one of the most timeless songs of all time. The song was written by Bob Thiele and George Weiss and celebrates the joy of a beautiful world despite everything. Although Weiss says he wrote the tune specifically for Armstrong, it was first offered to Tony Bennett, who turned it down (though Bennett went on to cover the song several times, including a 2003 duet with K.D. Lang). Departing from his usual jazz style, Armstrong nevertheless sang the song as if it was the performance of his life, wearing the broadest smile you will ever see. Surprisingly, the song was not initially a hit in America, where it sold less than 1,000 copies because ABC Records head Larry Newton did not like it and chose not to promote it. However, it was a huge success in the UK, reaching number one and becoming the biggest-selling single of 1968. It also made Louis Armstrong the oldest male to top the UK Singles Chart at the time. The rest, as they say, is history.

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