1963: a musically liminal year

folk, doo-wop, and a Belgian nun

I’ve long thought that 1963 was a musically liminal year. The decade started slowly, then exploded in 1964 with the Beatles and the British Invasion, as well as big hits by the Supremes and other Motown artists.

1963 was the link between the sound of the 1950s, along with the decline or loss of that decade’s most prominent artists (Presley, Berry, Holly, et al.), and what was to come. Hits by Stevie Wonder and Steve Lawrence, along with songs in French and Japanese, topped the charts; an eclectic selection.

It was the year of the March on Washington and JFK’s assassination, both of which informed the vibe of the remainder of the decade.

Sugar Shack– Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, five weeks at #1, gold record

He’s So Fine – The Chiffons, four weeks at #1. Written by Ronald Mack, the evil Allen Klein got almost no compensation when George Harrison subconsciously lifted the tune for My Sweet Lord.

Dominique – The Singing Nun, four weeks at #1, which I wrote about here

Hey Paula – Paul and Paula, three weeks at #1, gold record

My Boyfriend’s Back – The Angels, three weeks at #1

Blue Velvet – Bobby Vinton, three weeks at #1

I Look Up as I Walk

Sukiyaki – Kyu Sakamoto, three weeks at #1, gold record. The song has nothing to do with food.  “A Newsweek columnist compared this re-titling to issuing ‘Moon River‘ in Japan under the title ‘Beef Stew.'”

I Will Follow Him – Little Peggy March, three weeks at #1

Fingertips, Part 2 – Little Stevie Wonder, three weeks at   #1

Walk Like A Man – The Four Seasons, three weeks at #1. BTW, my wife and I think Jersey Boys, about the group, is the best of the so-called jukebox musicals because it has the most substantial storyline

Go Away Little Girl – Steve Lawrence, two weeks at #1, a gold record. A Goffin/King song that went to #1 eight years later, performed by Donny Osmond.

I’m Leaving It Up To You – Dale & Grace, two weeks at #1

Surf City – Jan & Dean, two weeks at #1. When Brian Wilson gave the song to the duo, his dad Murry was irate

It’s My Party – Lesley Gore, two weeks at #1

Walk Right In – The Rooftop Singers, two weeks at #1, gold record

Easier Said Than Done – The Essex, two weeks at #1

If You Wanna Be Happy – Jimmy Soul, two weeks at #1

So Much in Love – The Tymes

Deep Purple – Nino Tempo & April Stevens. Not to be confused with a group of the same name.

Our Name Will Come – Ruby & the Romantics

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