Pop Rock

The Beatles
If you wanted to find inventive and joyful pop in the sixties, you could usually find it in the B's. Beatles! Beach Boys! Byrds! And... Bob? They all made entrancing albums or singles, with layers of strings, horns, early synthesizers and remarkable pop songwriting prowess.

When it comes to the Beatles please don't pass the _Pepper_. Enough has been said about that o­ne. It's the slightly earlier albums _Rubber Soul_ and _Revolver_ when the lads were producing their best short, catchy pop. George Harrison's "If I Needed Someone" and Paul McCartney's "For No o­ne" will have you singing all day. McCartney himself has given the highest praise to the Beach Boys' "You Still Believe in Me." The unusual sound of a bicycle bell punctuates unearthly harmonies from the Wilson brothers in this song's thrilling conclusion.

The Reagans with the Beach Boys
And who is this Bob, you ask? It's Bob Dylan, of course. His poppy moments go overlooked because of his historical importance in the context of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war in particular. But Dylan was a defiant artist and wasn't willing to be pigeonholed. "My Back Pages" is a pop song - the Byrds did a cheerful cover version - that also throws down the gauntlet: the folk-singer Dylan is nobody's dancing bear. Dylan also retreated to a big house in upstate New York with his buddies, the Band. They recorded the music that would later be known as the Basement Tapes. With silly lyrics ("the comic book and me, just us, we caught the bus,") Dylan shows off the way weird American music, full of pop hooks, defies what 'folk' was supposed to mean. You might even say he flipped us the Byrds.

Bonus: For unexpectedly poppy Dylan in the seventies, check out _Desire_.