I’ve always felt A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum is the song that most clearly defines everything the ’60s represented.
It’s always been my go-to ’60s song when someone asks me to pick a fave. (Supposedly, it was also one of John Lennon’s favorites, for what it’s worth.) It was released in May 1967 and eventually stayed at #1 for several weeks. In In 1977, it was a co-winner of The Brit Awards’ Best British Pop Single 1952–1977, along with Bohemian Rhapsody.
A trippy song, it essentially made no sense, which is part of its appeal, I suppose. Anyone who majored in English Lit probably connects it to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (“as the Miller told his tale”), but there are a lot of various interpretations. An omitted verse referenced the sea, and, of course, who were those vestal virgins?