A musical diary: December 1964 31



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The mod scene in Australia drew a great deal of influence from their neighbours New Zealand – especially when Ray Columbus and the Invaders and Dinah Lee came across the ditch.

Ray Columbus and the Invaders arrived in Australia in 1963 with their version of Lennon and McCartney’s I Wanna Be Your Man.

Although not a hit, it outsold The Rolling Stones’ version and they went back home.

It was not until 1964, when The Beatles had left their mark on Australia, that they returned with She’s A Mod. It was the first Australian number 1 produced in New Zealand.

Dinah Lee, the perfect model of a mod, arrived here with two New Zealand number 1s: Huey “Piano” Smith’s Don’t You Know Kokomo and Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite.

When she appeared on Johnny O’Keefe’s SING SING SING she became an instant success, with dynamic performances and a fashion sense she had carried over from her modelling days.

On the 11th Soul singer Sam Cooke is shot dead by his manager Bertha Franklin, who allegedly claims to have been sexually assaulted by him while staying at The Hacienda Hotel in Los Angeles.

The Searchers enters the USA top forty on the 19th with Love Potion #9, the old The Coasters and The Clovers hit. It becomes their biggest USA hit when it reaches number three.

During a tour on the 23rd, The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson has a nervous breakdown and leaves the band to concentrate on writing and producing. He is replaced by Glen Campbell for their live shows.

On Christmas Eve, The Beatles’ first Christmas show takes place at the Hammersmith Odeon, London.

The Righteous Bros. hit number one in the USA with You’ve Lost That loving Feeling, an epic Phil Spector production written by Brill Building duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Well.

The top ten in Australia in December 1964

  1. I Feel Fine / She’s A Woman – The Beatles
  2. Ask Me/ Ain’t That Loving You Baby- Elvis Presley
  3. The Wedding- Julie Rogers
  4. Leader Of The Pack- The Shangri-Las
  5. I’m Gonna Be Strong- Gene Pitney
  6. Ringo- Lorne Green
  7. Time is On My Side / Congratulations- The Rolling Stones
  8. On The Beach – Cliff Richard and the Shadows
  9. Little Red Rooster- The Rolling Stones
  10. She’s A Mod – Ray Columbus and the Invaders

The top ten in Australia in 1964

  1. All My Loving EP – The Beatles
  2. Love Me Do / I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles
  3. A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles
  4. Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles
  5. The Wedding – Julie Rogers
  6. You’re My World – Cilla Black
  7. If I Fell / I Should Have Known Better – The Beatles
  8. I Feel Fine / She’s A Woman – The Beatles
  9. Poison Ivy – Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs
  10. Tell It On The Mountain – Peter, Paul and Mary

The number ones in Australia in December 1964

  •  5th – Ask me / Ain’t That Loving You Baby – Elvis Presley
  • 12th 19th and 26th – I Feel Fine / She’s a Woman – The Beatles

In the USA

  • 5th – Ringo – Lorne Green
  • 12th – Mr Lonely – Bobby Vinton
  • 19th Come See About Me – The Supremes
  • 26th You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling – The Righteous Brothers

In the UK

  • 5th Little Red Rooster – The Rolling Stones
  • 12th 19th and 26th – I Feel Fine – The Beatles

What’s your favourite hit from 1964? What memories does it inspire?

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Benjamin Hill

I was born in Belfast Northern Ireland 1946, I attended school at Ballygomartin Secondary School until I began an apprenticeship as an Electrician in 1962 at Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders (Birthplace of the Titanic). I married Rose-Marie in 1964 and immigrated to Australia in 1970 together with our two children Anna-Marie and Ronald. I worked in various sections of the construction industry as an Electrician until retirement 2011 and now my blog about 60s music is a labour of love that I am lucky to share with all lovers of music.

  1. Jennie Rediger Dinah Lee and Ray columbus – great artists

    1 REPLY
    • Nor I flew to Sydney once with Dinah Lee, Ian Sinclair and Rosemary Leitch, our then current Mayor. We had to fly over the Orange-Bathurst district for an hour, as there was “the worst hail storm in history” in Sydney. I just knew we wouldn’t crash land with those three “dignitories” onboard.. LOL

  2. I was a Mod … I even had a boy I met in Napier at a Saturday night dance crush on me write … “My dearest darling mod, mod Chris …” Oh heady days, lol.

  3. Love, love, loved the Beatles especially John. Still love to hear 60s music as wel as much of today’s music

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