A musical diary: August 1963

Today in 1963…

  • Play It Cool, the Billy Fury movie, opens in New York on the 2nd, a year after its debut in the UK. The film also featured Bobby Vee, Helen Shapiro, Danny Williams, Jimmy Crawford and Shane Fenton & The Fentones.
  • On the 3rd, the Beatles made their last ever performance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool; John Lennon quotes in Melody Maker, “I know what the critics say, that we don’t play RnB, I never thought we did, we just play rock ‘n’ roll as far as I’m concerned, in our own way. Just because we do RnB songs doesn’t make us pure RnB, we have nothing to do with RnB in the strict sense”.
  • The New Musical Express reports on the 9th that Cliff Richard & The Shadows are currently topping the charts in 6 foreign countries, Norway, Israel, South Africa, Hong Kong, Sweden and Holland, with “Lucky Lips”, ironically a song which failed to reach the top spot in the UK. This was an unprecedented coup for a British performer.
  • The most famous UK pop TV programme of the 60s, Ready Steady Go! made its debut on the 9th. The show was the only serious rival to the BBC’s soon to start Top of the Pops, though it did not last nearly as long. The first programme featured Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and The Who. In the 80s Dave Clark of The Dave Clark Five fame bought the rights to the show and managed to get them screened on UK, TV’s Channel 4. Much to the surprise of most people the show picked up very high ratings and inspired the Billy Idol single “Ready Steady Go”.
  • Tamla Motown Records is riding high in the USA charts, Marvin Gaye’s “Pride and Joy” is dropping but The Miracles’ “Mickeys Monkey”, is on the way up. The best of all was Little Stevie Wonder becoming the first artist in the USA to top the USA Hot 100, the LP, and the R/B charts simultaneously.
  • The Shadows had achieved a similar feat in the UK in October 1961 when they headed the singles, EP and LP charts.
  • Martha & The Vandellas have their first top 10 hit with “Heatwave”. The lead vocalist is Martha Reeves and further hits were “Nowhere to Run”, “Jimmy Mack” and their biggest seller “Dancing in the Streets”. They were inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
  • Peter, Paul & Mary are in the USA charts with “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”, both written by Bob Dylan. Dylan’s early singles are not faring so well although sales of 250,000 of his second album “Freewheelin’”, rockets him to the world’s number one folk music star.
  • Born on the 9th was USA singer, movie star Whitney Houston who sadly has recently died on the 11th February 2012.
Ad. Article continues below.

The top 10 in Australia for August 1963

  1. 55 Days at Peking – Rob E. G.
  2. Devil in Disguise – Elvis Presley
  3. Surf City – Jan & Dean
  4. Move Baby Move – Johnny O’Keefe
  5. Lucky Lips – Cliff Richard & The Shadows
  6. Wipeout – The Surfaris
  7. Sukiyaki – Kyu Sakamoto
  8. Easier Said Than Done – The Essex
  9. Atlantis – The Shadows
  10. Bombora – The Atlantics

The number ones in the USA for July 1963

3rd – So Much in Love – The Tymes

10th 17th 24th – Fingertips – Little Stevie Wonder

Ad. Article continues below.

31st – My Boyfriend’s Back – The Angels


In the UK

3rd – Devil in Disguise – Elvis Presley

7th 17th – Sweets For My Sweet – The Searchers

Ad. Article continues below.

24th 31st – Bad To Me – Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas


In Australia

3rd – Move Baby Move – Johnny O’Keefe

10th – Surf City – Jan & Dean

17th 24th 31st – 55 days at Peking – Rob E. G.