It was the year Frank Ifield topped the charts

Frank Ifield found fame in 1963. Photo: YouTube

In the space of 12 months British born Aussie singer, Frank Ifield had emerged from obscurity to slip in comfortably behind Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard as the third most popular recording artist in the United Kingdom.

Frank Ifield moved to Australia with his parents when he was nine years old and settled in Dural, New South Wales. His first recording was ‘Did You See My Daddy Over There’, when he was 13, and by the age of 19 he was the number one recording artist in Australia and New Zealand.

In 1959, he returned to England and the following year had his first UK hit with ‘Lucky Devil’. He then had six unsuccessful records, but in 1962, ‘I Remember You’, hit the number one spot and stayed there for seven weeks, he followed this with two more number ones, ‘Lovesick Blues’ coupled with ‘She Taught Me To Yodel’, and ‘The Wayward Wind’.

Until then only Elvis Presley had three consecutive number ones. Ifield then followed with ‘Nobody’s Darling But Mine’, ‘Confessin’’ (his fourth and last number one), ‘Mule Train’, and ‘Don’t Blame Me’.

In 1963 he starred at The Grand Ole Opry, and was introduced on stage by his greatest idol, United States yodeller Hank Snow.

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The Beatles released their first record in the US. The Chicago label Vee-Jay put out ‘Please Please Me’ coupled with ‘Ask Me Why’, and made the mistake it did not make a year later when they spelt their name Beattles.

The record failed to make the charts but a year later it reached number three when Beatlemania hit the States.

This Vee-Jay must have been run by a bunch of cowboys; in 1964 they brought out an album entitled Jolly What! England’s Greatest Recording Stars, advertising it as The Beatles and Frank Ifield on stage February 1964.

The album consisted of four Beatles songs and eight Frank Ifield songs, all studio recordings therefore definitely not live “on stage”.

Only 100 copies were pressed making it a rare Beatles album. When three sealed stereo copies were found in 1976 they sold for $600, $900, and $1,800. One of these was re-sold in 1995 for $22,000.

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The Delltones had their second top 10 hit with ‘Come A Little Bit Closer’.

The Delltones were formed in 1958 by Bronte, Sydney, life-savers Ian (PeeWee) Wilson and Noel Widerberg, and were joined by Warren Lucas and Brian Perkins. After a few minor hits they had their first top 10 hit with ‘Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands’ in May 1962, three weeks before a tragic accident took the life of lead singer Noel Widerberg. He was replaced by Col Loughran.

The Delltones were much sought after as backing vocalists and performed with The Everly Brothers, Fabian, Crash Craddock, Lloyd Price, Jimmie Rodgers, Tommy Sands and Conway Twitty as well as early Australian artists Johnny O’Keefe and Johnny Devlin.

The number ones in Australia for February 1963

2nd, 9th: ‘The Boys’, The Shadows
16th: ‘Little Town Flirt’, Del Shannon
23rd: ‘Walk Right In’, The Rooftop Singers

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The number ones in the US

2nd: ‘Walk Right In’, The Rooftop Singers
9th, 16th, 23rd: ‘Hey Paula’, Paul and Paula

The number ones in the UK

2nd, 9th, 16th: ‘Diamonds’, Jet Harris and Tony Meehan
23rd: ‘The Wayward Wind’, Frank Ifield

The top 10 in Australia for February 1963

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1. ‘The Boys’, The Shadows
2. ‘Little Town Flirt’, Del Shannon
3. ‘Walk Right In’, The Rooftop Singers
4. ‘The Night Has A Thousand Eyes’, Bobby Vee
5. ‘Return To Sender’, Elvis Presley
6. ‘Telstar’, The Tornados
7. ‘From A Jack To A King’, Ned Miller
8. ‘Bobby’s Girl’, Marcie Blane
9. ‘Come A Little Bit Closer’, The Delltones
10. ‘The Lonely Bull’, Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass

Do you remember these top tunes from 1963? What was your favourite song that year?

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