A Musical Diary: April 1963

Today in 1963, having scored sales of 60 million records, Fats Domino quits Imperial Records to sign with ABC Paramount but The Fat-Man only manages a few minor hits for the new label.

The Hollies successfully audition at EMI’s Abbey Road studios on the 4th.

On the 8th, John Lennons wife Cynthia gave birth to son Julian Lennon who would have a successful career in the 80s. On the 11th, Gerry & The Pacemakers went to number one in the UK with their first record “How Do You Do It?”, a song recently turned down by The Beatles.

Cliff Richard & The Shadows appear on the Ed Sullivan Show on the 14th.  They performed “Summer Holiday” but it failed to make any impact on the American public. In fact it was not until 1976 that Cliff Richard would crack the Billboard Top 40 with “Devil Woman”, even then only reaching number 38.

19-year-old Andrew Loog Oldham becomes manager of The Rolling Stones on the 18th.

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On the 21st, The Beatles performed at the annual New Musical Express Poll Winners Concert and later they met up with up and coming rock band The Rolling Stones at The Crawdaddy Club, Richmond.

The NME Pop Poll results for 1963 were:

World male singer – Cliff Richard

UK male singer – Cliff Richard

World Female Singer – Brenda Lee

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UK female singer – Kathy Kirby

Instrumental Personality – Jet Harris

Large band/orchestra – Joe Loss

World Musical personality – Elvis Presley

UK musical personality – Joe Brown

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New singer – Gerry Marsden

Jazz band – Kenny Ball Jazzmen

Top single – She Loves You, The Beatles

Disc jockey – David Jacobs

World vocal group – The Beatles

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UK vocal group – The Beatles

Riding high with the surfing craze in Australia, The Chantays go to number one for five weeks with “Pipeline”. They were five high school friends from Santa Ana High School, California. “Pipeline” was to be their only hit but it also reached number 4 on the Billboard charts and number 16 in the UK. Other big surfing themed hits in Australia were “Bombora” by The Atlantics; “Wipe-out” by The Surfaris; “Surf City” by Jan & Dean; “Surfside” by Digger Revell’s Denvermen; “Tamoure” by Bill Justis and “Hangin’ Five”by The Delltones. Surf music was mainly a Sydney phenomenon due to the nationally popular Sydney produced Bandstand TV show.


The number ones in Australia in April 1963

6th – Walk Like a Man – The Four Seasons

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13th, 20th – In Dreams – Roy Orbison

27th – Pipeline – The Chantays


In the USA

6th, 13th, 20th  – He’s So Fine – The Chiffons

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27th – I Will Follow Him – Little Peggy March


In the UK

6th  – Summer Holiday – Cliff Richard & The Shadows

12th, 20th, 27th – How Do You Do It? – Gerry & The Pacemakers

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The top 10 in Australia in April 1963

  1. In Dreams – Roy Orbison
  2. Rhythm of the Rain – The Cascades
  3. Hey Paula – Paul and Paula
  4. Blame it on the Bossa Nova – Eydie Gorme
  5. Walk Like a Man – The Four Seasons
  6. Pipeline – The Chantays
  7. Tell Him – The Exciters
  8. Ruby Baby – Dion Di Mucci
  9. Come a Little Bit Closer – The Delltones
  10. From a Jack to a King – Ned Miller

Which of these songs brings back the best memories for you? What do you remember of 1963?