Chart Music Through The Years – 1963

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here – https://carlosnightman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-uk-top-40/

‘I wish it was the sixties, I wish we could be happy, I wish, I wish, I wish that something would happen’. But what did happen in 1963, Mr Spindly Yorke? Things, that’s what! These things – In Asia, there were troubling rumblings in Vietnam, Japan saw it’s first Anime show hit the screens; in Europe Lamborghini was born, James Bond made his first official movie, and Hindley and Brady began terrorizing the Moors, while in the US the Civil Rights movement saw important moments amidst violence and riots with Martin Luther King telling us he had a dream, and JFK being assassinated.

In music, the world was about to be shocked into rock and roll goodness by four lads from Liverpool as The Beatles released their first singles and album, leading to a massive influx of British bands. The Rolling Stones were signed, Patsy Cline died, and both The Beach Boys and Bob Dylan released their second albums. The music industry was still dominated by old school jazz and country artists, each covering and re-recording each others’ songs, but that was all due to change thanks to the British Invasion and numerous cultural shifts across the globe. The times they were a changing. What of October’s Top 10 singles? Read on, my young Padawan.

1. Brian Poole And The Tremeloes: Do You Love Me

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If it was good for Jazz and Country, then why not R’n’B? British Invasion bands were in such demand at this time that most of them supplemented their own material with covers of recent hits, this one being a fairly a standard attempt. It’s energetic and fast, but all of these covers begin to merge into one after a while.

2. Crystals: Then He Kissed Me

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I’ve never heard of the group or the song from the title, but that opening riff sounds familiar. It sounds quite dated, but has a Supremes feel too. Ahh yeah, this was in Goodfellas, that’s where I recognise it from. It’s a nice enough song but pretty twee and non-eventful.

3. The Beatles: She Loves You

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One of my favourites by The Beatles (I don’t think I’ve done a Favourite Beatles Songs post yet, get on that…). Glorious from start to finish, melodies, the howls, the guitar echoing the ‘yeah yeah yeah’ sound, perfect.

4. Roy Orbison: Blue Bayou

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As a guitar player you’d think I’d know more Roy Orbinson songs, but I really don’t. I didn’t recognise the title of this one either, and from the opening verse I don’t think I’ve heard it. It’s a nice enough ballad, not too sure about the backing vocals, but I do like the shift in Roy’s vocals from deep to high.

5. Adam Faith: The First Time

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I was expecting another slow, soft ballad, but this has some thumping percussion and growled vocals. It definitely has a rougher edge which presumably was influenced by The Beatles etc. An okay song, again nothing that is going to become lodged in my memory.

6. Trini Lopez: If I Had A Hammer

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Hmm. Fast, getting something familiar from it. Wait, I thought Trini was a woman. It’s another light, catchy song. A little repetitive, but fun throughout. Seems to be some sort of protest song from the snippets of lyrics I’m picking up.

7. Gerry And The Pacemakers: You’ll Never Walk Alone

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Well, obviously I know this one. As a Liverpool FC fan, we sing this song at every game. This is still my favourite version. It’s a wonderful anthem, regardless of its sporting ties, with great message and powerful melodies to really punch the emotion skywards. And of course any swelling of strings gets top votes from me.

8. The Shadows: Shindig

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As a guitar player, you’d think I’d know more songs by The Shadows, but I don’t. This is good stuff, great guitars, good beat, but isn’t it a bit odd to have an instrumental song in the top 10 – in the 60s at least? Sure with Dance music being all the rage these days, and with pop music being nonsense, words are pretty much an afterthought.

9. Tommy Roe: Everybody

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Another foot stomper with prominent guitar and drums. I don’t believe I know this one either. Pretty catchy again, more oohing, something which has appeared on quite a few of these songs so far. Not bad.

10. Shirley Bassey: I Who Have Nothing

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A dramatic intro, with a little bit of Leone Western to it, though a few years before his big hits. Booming voice. Silence. Haunting string backing. Very nice, though this particular recording I’m listening too is of dire quality. Beast of a voice for those loud moments. There isn’t a lot to the song, and the actual vocal melodies aren’t memorable, but it’s Bassey so you know she’s going to blast it out.

So then, 1963? What do these 10 songs tell us about the year as a whole? We know Beatlemania was on the rise, and as such we have a number of Scouse written or influenced tracks, along with other British artists. We can tell it is a transitional period as many of the songs here are still hanging on to what had come before while trying their damndest to compete with the fresh young upstarts coming from the Mersey. That seems reasonable as The Beatles scored the biggest selling single of the year with She Loves You and a bunch of their other songs and songs which were influenced by them became hits while you still had traditional ballads, Swing, and Country songs stinking up da place. From a quality perspective, are these 10 songs indicative of 1963? Basically, yes – The Beatles released their first two albums which ushered in the aforementioned wave of imitators – with new bands being signed up left, wrong, and centre, and with already established artists covering their hits and trying their hand at the new sound. For an alternative Top 10 songs of 1963, have a gander at these boyos.

  1. The Beatles: From Me To You
  2. The Beach Boys: Surfin’ USA
  3. The Rolling Stones: I Wanna Be Your Man
  4. Johnny Cash: Ring Of Fire
  5. Louie Louie: Kingsmen
  6. Cliff Richard And The Shadows: Summer Holiday
  7. The Miracles: You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me
  8. Boots Randolph: Yakety Sax
  9. Bob Dylan: A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
  10. The Beatles: It Won’t Be Long

Yes, I know I cheated there with multiple Beatle entries, but what are you gonna do? My list isn’t too different from the actual Top 10 so there is plenty of good music for you to experience if you haven’t already, though as most are established hits I expect 99% of readers will know these songs inside out. As always, let us know what your musical memories of 1963 are by sharing in the comments. Which artists or songs have I missed? Do any of the tracks featured here have a special meaning for you? Let us know below!

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1963 Academy Awards: Prize Summary

And so, 1963 comes to a close. Looking at my list below, there are a number of obvious winners, namely The Great Escape, Jason And The Argonauts, and How The West Was Won. Scroll down to see a possibly inaccurate summary of my picks for this year, and at the bottom my recommended viewing list!

My Winners From Official Nominations:

How The West Was Won: 5

8 And A Half: 3

Cleopatra: 2

It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World: 1

Hud: 1

The Sword In The Stone: 1

The Birds: 1

Lillies Of The Field: 1

Federico Fellini: 1

Lilia Skala: 1

Rachel Roberts: 1

Mervyn Douglas: 1

Sidney Poitier: 1

My Own Nominations:

The Great Escape: 10

Jason And The Argonauts: 9

From Russia With Love: 6

How The West Was Won: 6

The Birds: 5

Cleopatra: 5

The Haunting: 4

8 And A Half: 4

It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World: 3

The Sword In The Stone: 3

Dementia 13: 3

Summer Holiday: 2

The Pink Panther: 2

Lord Of The Flies: 1

Alone On The Pacific: 1

55 Days At Peking: 1

Charade: 1

The VIPs: 1

Shock Corridor: 1

The Running Man: 1

Winter Light: 1

X- The Man With The X-Ray Eyes: 1

Knife In The Water: 1

Bushido-Samurai Saga: 1

Contempt: 1

The Silence: 1

High And Low: 1

The Comedy Of Terrors: 1

Federico Fellini: 1

Alfred Hitchcock: 1

Joseph L Mankiewicz: 1

John Sturges: 1

Robert Wise: 1

Don Chaffey: 1

(John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall): 1

Lotte Lenya: 1

Claire Bloom: 1

Patricia Neal: 1

Geraldine Page: 1

Elizabeth Taylor: 1

Tippi Hedren: 1

Julie Harris: 1

Brigitte Bardot: 1

James Garner: 1

Donald Pleasence: 1

Robert Shaw: 1

Gary Raymond: 1

David McCallum: 1

James Coburn: 1

Hannes Messemer: 1

Charles Bronson: 1

Steve McQueen: 1

Sidney Poitier: 1

Richard Attenborough: 1

Peter Sellers: 1

David Niven: 1

Marcelo Mastroianni: 1

My Own Winners:

The Great Escape: 3

Jason And The Argonauts: 3

Cleopatra: 2

Summer Holiday: 1

The Haunting: 1

Shock Corridor: 1

The Birds: 1

How The West Was Won: 1

The Sword In The Stone: 1

8 And A Half: 1

John Sturges: 1

Lotte Lenya: 1

Elizabeth Taylor: 1

Donald Pleasence: 1

Steve McQueen: 1

Recommended Viewing:

8 1/2. The Birds. Bushido, Samurai Saga. Cleopatra. Dementia 13. The Great Escape. The Haunting. Hud. It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Jason And The Argonauts. The Pink Panther. Shock Corridor. The Silence. The Sword In The Stone. The Ugly American. Winter Light. X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes.

Best Cast: 1963

My Nominations: 55 Days At Peking. Charade. The Great Escape. It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. The VIPs. How The West Was Won.

There can really only be one winner here for me, although The VIPs, Mad World, and How The West Have Won each have an impressive ensemble. The Great Escape not only has an impressive ensemble, but we have some actors giving arguably their most iconic, famous, or best performances, from McQueen’s Cooler King, to Pleasance’s sympathetic bird watcher.

My Winner: The Great Escape.

http://nikolai-dante.webs.com/movieswar.htm
http://nikolai-dante.webs.com/movieswar.htm

Let me know what your pics for the Best Cast of 1963 are in the comments below.

Best Stunt Work: 1963

My Nominations: From Russia With Love. The Great Escape. It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Jason And The Argonauts. How The West Was Won.

Some great stunt performances this year, with How The West Was Won and It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World providing plenty of thrills. However, my other three nominations contain a number of iconic moments in movie stunt history- Russia has the flying man intro, Jason has the skeleton fight and more, while Escape has the motorcycle jump. It’s a tough call. My winner though is:

My Winner: Jason And The Argonauts.

More than just a sword fight, we have a series of action scenes on a large-scale with performers high diving off ships, avoiding giants, chasing harpies, and taking part in assorted Olympian games. It’s a classic action adventure film with tonnes of memorable stunts. Ralph Faulkner, one of the greatest swordsmen of Western movies (The Three Musketeers, The Thief Of Bagdad) and Eddie Powell (Batman, Aliens, multiple Bond movies) earn the plaudits.

Let me know your picks for the best Stunt of 1963 in the comments below!

Best Writing (Adapted): 1963

Official Nominations: Tom Jones. Lillies Of The Field.  Captain Newman MD. Hud. Sundays And Cybele (magically appearing two years in a row).

My Winner: Hud.

 

My Nominations: The Birds. From Russia With Love. The Haunting. Jason And The Argonauts. The Sword In The Stone. The Great Escape.

Lots of great films missed out on nominations this year, most notably The Birds and The Haunting which took strong original material and added many dimensions for the big screen adaptations. The Great Escape pumped a lot of fun into what was obviously in reality a desperate situation, whilst Jason And The Argonauts remains 50 years later the definitive screen version of the story. My winner though, thanks to Hitchcock and Hunter’s deft touches and psychological handling of the source is The Birds, another winning combination between Hitchcock and Du Maurier.

My Winner: The Birds.

Let us know what your picks for the Best Writing (Adapted) award are in the comments below!

Best Writing (Original): 1963

Official Nominations: How The West Was Won. 8 1/2. America, America. Love With The Proper Stranger. The Four Days Of Naples

While 8 1/2 is the more visionary and original film, I’m always fascinated and awed by epics – every facet of a true epic which spans generational time spans is appealing to me, from a pure entertainment viewing standpoint, to its creation. Without strong writing and characters and epic would be four hours of torture, but when you have engaging writing, memorable quotes, and characters you yearn to see more of, then you’ll have a winner in my books. How The West Was Won is a winner. Elia Kazan’s vanity project America, America is also epic in scope and earned him multiple nominations, including Best Writing, while Arnold Schulman’s Love With The Proper Stranger deals with tough topics but doesn’t hit any peaks. Four Days Of Naples is an interesting enough Italian film, but again doesn’t stir anything in me with regards to writing.

My Winner: How The West Was Won.

 

My Nominations: Dementia 13. Winter Light. Summer Holiday. Shock Corridor. The Running Man. It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. How The West Was Won. 8 1/2.

Sam Fuller was always ahead of his time, and with Shock Corridor he perfects the horror/crime cliché of ‘man goes to asylum to uncover murder case’, both writing and directing skilfully. Dementia 13 shows a young Coppola’s flair, Winter Light is full of Bergman’s venom against religion, Summer Holiday remains popular to this day in Britain, whilst Mad World and The Running Man are good examples of pacing when it comes to writing chase thrillers and adventures.

My Winner: Shock Corridor.

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Let me know your picks for Best Original Writing of 1963 in the comments below!

Best Original Song: 1963

Official Nominations: Call Me Irresponsible from Papa’s Delicate Condition – Music by Jimmy Van Heusen; Lyric by Sammy Cahn.  So Little Time from 55 Days at Peking – Music by Dimitri Tiomkin; Lyric by Paul Francis Webster.  Charade from Charade – Music by Henry Mancini; Lyric by Johnny Mercer.  It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World from It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World – Music by Ernest Gold; Lyric by Mack DavidMore from Mondo cane – Music by Riz Ortolani and Nino Oliviero; Lyric by Norman Newell

My Winner: It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

Call Me Irresponsible has the usual blood-smooth vocals and whining violins that I cannot abide, the lyrics are fine but hardly impressive, and the song idles along like a dead rat in a sewer. For So Little Time see my previous comment, although imagine the rat spinning a few times. For Charade see previous comment again, but imagine the rat weraing a beret, for More imagine the rat suddenly jerking awake inspirationally and making the other sewer creatures smile, whilst for Mad Mad World imagine the rat doing summersaults and racially stereotypical impressions of non-Americans. Aaah, the 60s.

My Nominations: The Sword In The Stone. Summer Holiday

For Sword In The Stone we have the bizzare Mad Madame Mim, while for Summer Holiday we have Summer Holiday, a cheery song which evokes images of childhood trips to the beach, swimming in the sea, throwing jellyfish and younger kids, and running away from dancing, racist rats.

My Winner: Summer Holiday

Feel free to share your picks for best song of 1963 in the comments section below, and employ your democratic right in the poll.