1963 Memories – A Journey Back to 1963

Memories - A Journey Back To 1963

By John Surgenor.
Irvine Beat FM Presenter.

1963

Today we visit the golden year of 1963. Let me take you on a brief journey through the music, entertainment, happenings, memories and some trivia of the year.

I’ll start by introducing myself. I’m John Surgenor and I do a Golden Hour show on Irvine Beat FM 107.2 on Thursday and Friday between 11.00 and 12.00hrs. I was asked if I could contribute something to our webpage and I decided I’d do a little escape into our pasts like I do on my show. I usually keep between 1960 and 1989 on my watch so let’s start the journey.

What do you remember if anything about 1963?

I was only eight years old so there’s nothing personal I can recall but to the slightly older generation at the time it would be the birth of a new music sound led by the Beatles which not only took over the UK but did the same in the rest of the world and the assassination of John F Kennedy the 35th US president on November the 22nd.

Music of 1963 (In the UK)

Like most years 1963 started with 1962’s last number one which was Elvis Presley’s “Return to sender” staying at the top until the 3rd January.

Cliff Richard and the Shadows – Bachelor boy 3rd Jan – 24th Jan (3 weeks)

This started as a double “A” side with “The next time” but was changed to the norm due to the popularity of “Bachelor boy”. This would be their eighteenth top ten hit and followed two previous singles getting stuck at number two on the chart. It would also be the first number one from their film “Summer holiday”.

Shadows – Dance on 24th Jan – 31st Jan (1 week)

Dance on was the fourth number one the Shadows had on their own. The Shadows were the most influential and imitated group in the sixties but that mantle was about to go to the Beatles.

Jet Harris and Tony Meehan – Diamonds 31st Jan – 21st Feb     (3 weeks)

The domination of the Cliff Richard and The Shadows sound during the first half of the sixties would be aided by the sound of Jet Harris and Tony Meehan who had been drums and bass on the Shadows first three number ones and now they had one of their own with “Diamonds”.

Frank Ifield – Wayward Wind 21st Feb – 14th Mar (3 weeks)

Frank Ifield - The Wayward Wind (single cover)

The Coventry born but Australian raised Frank Ifield would be the first British singer to have three consecutive number one hits and this would be the one which gave him the treble. All three were covers of earlier hits and this one had been an American number one for Gogi Grant in the fifties and was the hit that knocked “Heartbreak hotel” off the top spot in the USA. Frank brought the yodel over from Australia but he would always be the man who made the Beatles wait for their first number one when “Wayward wind” kept their “Please please me” at number two.

Cliff Richard and the Shadows – Summer holiday 14th Mar – 28th Mar (2 weeks)

After three weeks of Mr Ifield normal service would be resumed when Cliff and the Shadows made number one again with the theme from their latest film “Summer holiday”. There would eventually be three number ones from the film soundtrack with this the second of them. This was Cliff’s twentieth hit single.

Shadows – Foot Tapper 28th Mar – 4th Apr (1 week)

Foot Tapper was the third number one from “Summer holiday” and would also be the fifth and last time the Shadows would reach the top of the charts.

Cliff Richard and the Shadows – Summer holiday 4th Apr – 11th Apr (1 week)

Cliff and the Shadows held on for one more week with “Summer holiday” after which it would be two year before Cliff reached the top spot again.

Gerry and the Pacemakers – How do you do it? 11th Apr – 2nd May (3 weeks)

The first Liverpool band to enter the chart may have been the Beatles but the first one to get to number one was Gerry and the Pacemakers with “How do you do it?” This was their first release and it reached the top as did their next two to make them the first band to have achieved this feat. The song was initially offered to the Beatles but they declined.  The lads kept the American singer Ned Miller off the top of the charts with his very popular country track “From a jack to a king” which spent a few weeks in the top five.

Beatles – From me to you 2nd May – 20th Jun (7 weeks)

The Beatles - From Me To You (single)

It may have taken over ten year for the first Liverpool band to reach number one but it was followed by the second with the Beatles first number one “From me to you”. In their seven week stay at the top they would stop Jet Harris and Tony Meehan having a second consecutive number one with “Scarlet O’Hara” and also stop fellow Merseysider Billy J Kramer from getting to number one with his chart debut “Do you want to know a secret”. This song was penned by the Beatles and was sung by George Harrison on the “Please please me” album. This was the first McCartney/Lennon song to enter the US tracks but not for the Beatles but for Del Shannon.

Gerry and the Pacemakers – I like it 20th Jun – 18th Jul (4 weeks)

The final medal, bronze went to Gerry and the Pacemakers who had the third Liverpool number one with “I like it”. Like their first number one this too was written by Mitch Miller who wrote hits for a few bands around at the time. “I like it” kept the Shadows from a fifth number one this year when it had kept “Atlantis” at number two.

Frank Ifield – Confessin 18th Jul – 1st Aug (2 weeks)

Frank had just become the first artist to have their first three tracks reach number one but before he reached there for a fourth time with another old standard “Confessin”. He had “Nobody’s darling but mine” which was a big hit as well but stalled at number four.

Elvis Presley – Devil in disguise 1st Aug – 8th Aug (1 week)

“Devil in disguise” was the fourteenth UK number one for Elvis. It only made top ten back in America. When the song was previewed in “Jukebox Jury” guest panel member John Lennon had said that Elvis was now like Bing Crosby and gave it a miss.

Searchers – Sweets for my sweet 8th Aug – 22nd Aug (2 weeks)

After only one week at the top Elvis was toppled by a major song writing partnership of his in Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman who wrote “Sweets for my sweet” for the Drifters. Covered by The Searchers it replaced him at number one. The Searchers became the third Merseyside band to reach number one in the singles chart.

Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas – Bad to me 22nd Aug – 12th Sep (3 weeks)

BJK did reach the top this time and once again it was a Lennon and McCartney composition with “Bad to me”. This was the first of Billy’s two number ones. “Bad to me” would make top ten in America and it would also keep “I’m telling you now” a number one hit in America for Freddie and the Dreamers off the top over here.

Beatles – She loves you 12th Sep – 10th Oct (4 weeks)

Another Lennon and McCartney track would be next at number one in the shape of “She loves you” their biggest selling single. Not my favourite track but I think the “Yeah yeah yeah” was the winner. They kept their big chart rivals Cliff Richard and the Shadows off number one as “It’s all in the game” stalled at number two.

Brian Poole and the Tremeloes – Do you love me 10th Oct – 31st Oct (3 weeks)

Brian Poole and the Tremeloes – Do you love me

Not so much chart rivals of the Beatles but the Tremeloes had been their rivals for a contract with Decca records which the Beatles lost simply because their rivals came from the South of England. But once again Brian Poole and the Tremeloes trumped them by knocking them off the top. This would be their only number one hit with this line up but they would reach it again after Brian Poole went solo. The lads also kept the Crystals classic hit “Then he kissed me” from reaching number one with this hit.

Gerry and the Pacemakers – You’ll never walk alone 31st Oct – 28th Nov (4 weeks)

Gerry and his Pacemakers would be number one for the third time this year with the Rodgers and Hammerstein show hit “You’ll never walk alone”. This would complete their record breaking first three tracks reaching number one. Their hit came from the 1945 musical “Carousel”. During their four week stay at the top they stopped fellow scousers the “Searchers” from getting their second number one with “Sugar and spice”.

Beatles – She loves you 28th Nov – 12th Dec (2 weeks)

The Beatles top selling single of all time would again follow Gerry and the Pacemakers at number one.

Beatles – I want to hold your hand 12th Dec – 16 Jan 1964

Like Gerry and the Pacemakers the Beatles would have a third number one this year. The Beatles third number one both here and in America “I want to hold your hand” would topple “She loves you” from number one. This would be the fourth Lennon and McCartney penned number one of this year with the first of those not coming until May of the year. “I want to hold your hand” outsold “She loves you” in America.

Album chart of 1963

The George Mitchell Minstrels would be at the top of the album charts for the first two weeks of this year having been there since before New Year. This album had been number one in each of the years 1961 1962 and now 1963. The Black and White Minstrel show had run on the BBC from 1958 and would run on until 1978 until it was accused of racism as the artists had blackened faces after which it was dropped from the television schedule.

West Side Story – Original soundtrack 12th Jan – 19th Jan (1 week)

West Side Story - Soundtrack

This soundtrack album had been at number one on six different occasions throughout 1962 but would spend its last week like the George Mitchell Ministrels in 1963.

The Shadows – Out of the shadows 19th Jan – 2nd Feb (2 weeks)

This was the Shadows second album without Cliff Richard and it was also their second which reached number one. The next solely Shadows album to get to number one would be a greatest hits album in 1977. The Shadows were the most successful instrumental band of all time.

Cliff Richard and the Shadows – Summer holiday 2nd Feb – 11th May (14 weeks)

This original soundtrack album would spawn three number one singles two number ones for Cliff Richard and the Shadows, “Summer Holiday” and “Bachelor boy” and one for the Shadows, “Foot tapper”. It would also contain “The next time” which was on the same single as “Bachelor boy”.

Beatles – Please please me 11th May – 7th Dec (30 weeks)

This first album of the Beatles was thrown together quickly to sate the appetite of fans all over the world. It was reported to have been finished in a one day session. There was a massive fourteen tracks on the album with eight of them written by the band. This was the Mersey beat which would conquer the world. The Fab Four were to define the decade.

Beatles – With the Beatles – 7th Dec – 2nd May 1964 (21 weeks)

After an all-conquering debut album the question is always “How do you follow that?” well you do the same again make another superb album eight months later. Like “Please please me” there were eight tracks penned by the band out of fourteen. And some of the covers would stand alone especially their treatment of rock megastar Chuck Berry’s “Roll over Beethoven”. This was another monster album and they were now Kings of America as well as the UK after a hectic touring regime of the States.

New Kids on the Block

So many of the new kids on the block have been mentioned already and we’ve still got plenty more but I’m going for two mega bands of the sixties.

Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones in 1963

The “World’s number one rock group” had their first chart entry this year when their cover of the Chuck Berry “Come on” reached the top 30. Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts would make the Rolling Stones as big as the Beatles in the sixties. The band would release their first top twenty single at the end of the year and it would be the Lennon and McCartney penned “I wanna be your man”. They would soon get into the top five with the Buddy Holly penned “Not fade away” and their first number one was penned by Bobby Womack but once they started writing their own stuff the sky was the limit.

Beach Boys

This Californian family band had their first UK singles chart entry with “Surfin’ USA” getting into the top forty. The track was inspired by Chuck Berry’s “Sweet little sixteen” The band consisted of brothers Brian, Carl and Denis Wilson along with their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. It would be 1966 before they made it to number one over here but their sound was everywhere in the sixties with top singles and albums. They were definitely the most successful and consistently popular US band of the sixties with their early surfing sound being widely copied.

Other music in 1963.

In February the chart had instrumentals in the top three positions with Jet Harris and Tony Meehan at number one “Diamonds” the Tornados “Globetrotter” and the Shadows with “Dance on”.

Word came from Australia that an Everly Brothers influenced act originally from the UK called the Bee Gees had signed a recording contract with Festival records.

Thirty year old Country music star Patsy Cline died in a plane crash this year.

Elvis Presley re-singed for RCA records with a $1million ten year contract.

Beatles manager Brian Epstein also managed Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy J Kramer who obtained five number one singles between them.

Freddie and the Dreamers made their chart debut with the Rudy Clark penned “If you make a fool of somebody” which took them to number three on the chart.

Ned Millers “From a Jack to a King” which got to number two in the chart had originally been released in 1957.

One of the first television appearances of the Beatles was on a show called “Pops and Lenny” which was ventriloquist Terry Hall and puppet Lenny the lion. David Bowies father Howard worked on the show.

American teen idol Bobby Rydell had his last major hit here and in America with “Forget him” which was written, produced and arranged by English songwriter, pianist and producer Tony Hatch best known for writing the theme tune to television programme “Crossroads” and maybe lesser known for playing piano in one of David Bowies early groups the “Lesser third”

Roy Orbison had a big tour of the UK early this year and had gone home raving about the “Beatles” and “Gerry and the Pacemakers” who had supported him on the tour.

Little Peggy March who only had the one top thirty hit over here with “Hello heartache, goodbye love” had scored a number one in America with “I will follow him” to become the youngest artist to manage the feat at only fourteen years of age.

Ready steady go was aired for the first time on television. The early presenters were Kith Fordyce, Kathy McGowan and Dusty Springfield. Jimi Hendrix made his first British television appearance on Ready steady go.

Eric Clapton and Tom McGuiness joined Casey Jones and the Engineers a band named after the TV series “Casey Jones” who was a train driver in the Wild West on the box late fifties and early sixties.

The eighth Eurovision song contest was held in the UK this year with Denmark’s Jorgen and Greta Ingman winning with “Dansevise”. The UK stepped in to host the show when France the previous year’s winner found they couldn’t manage to do it. Irishman Ronnie Carroll represented the UK for the second year in a row and ended in fourth place with “Say wonderful things”.

John Mayal launched the Bluesbreakers which would set a number of musicians on to successful careers.

Little Stevie Wonder became the first artist to have the top selling single and album at the top of the US charts at the same with his single “Fingertips pt2” and album “The 12 year old genius”.

The Spingfields played their farewell gig at the London Palladium three weeks after which Dusty released her debut solo single “I only want to be with you”. She reached number four with this track as incidentally both the Tourist’s and the Bay City Rollers did when they had top ten hits with the track and both peaked at number four.

Cilla Black would have two number ones in 1964 but here debut single “Love of the loved” charted this year making the top forty.

A popular track this year was by Johnny Cymbal and it was called “Mr Bass man” which made the charts here and in the US and is still heard regular on radio. Johnny was born John Hendry Blair in Ochiltree before his family moved to Canada. He took the name Cymbal from his mums second husband Nikolas Cymbal.

Bobby Vinton’s big number one in America “Blue velvet” which was a remake of a Tony Bennett hit would take until 1990 before making top ten in the UK thanks to a television advert at the time.

One of the most regular chart visitors of the sixties The Hollies would have their chart debut this year with “Just like me”. Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Tony Hicks, Eric Haydock and Bobby Elliot would also have their first top twenty and their first top ten in 1963.

Sam Cooke and his band were arrested for trying to register at a “Whites only” hotel in Louisiana which inspired him to record the song “A change is gonna come”.

Cincinnati brothers Ronald, Rudolph and O’Kelly Isley would enter the UK chart for the first time this year with their take on “Twist and shout”. They had written “Shout” in the fifties and it would become the breakthrough song for our very own Marie Lawrie in 1964. In 2001 the Isley Brothers would become the first act in history to have six decades of US Hot 100 hits with their hit “Contagious”.

At the end of 1963 the Beatles would have five records in the top twenty and would be atop both singles and album chart over New Year. They planned a big launch in America in 1964 which would start the British pop invasion of the sixties.

Entertainment in 1963

Films

Cleopatra

This film was a big budget historical epic starring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Rex Harrison. The staggering cost of making the film almost finished Twentieth Century Fox. Although Cleopatra would be the highest grossing picture of the year it lost a lot of money and became the biggest box office disaster in cinema history. Taylor and Burton had an adulterous affair during the making of the film which did not help with the publicity. The reputations of both the director and producer of the film were severely tarnished.

The VIP’s

This film also starred Burton and Taylor. The VIP’s of the title were stuck in terminal 3 at Heathrow awaiting fog lifting. They were all rich people with stories of why they had to get away fast. Some big names were in this film and it did well at the box office and made money. Burton and Taylor played a married couple Louis Jourdan was Taylor’s suitor. We also had Orsen Welles having to leave so as not to face a big tax bill. Margaret Rutherford played the Duchess of Brighton looking for money to save her stately home. Rod Taylor was an Australian businessman with Maggie Smith his secretary. David Frost played being David Frost. Margaret Rutherford won the Oscar for best supporting Actress.

How the West Was Won

The second highest earning film of the year was “How the west was won”. The film was a who’s who of big names at the time like Henry Fonda, Lee J Cobb, Karl Malden, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Richard Preston, John Wayne, James Stewart, Eli Wallach, Debbie Reynolds and Richard Widmark. It was narrated by Spencer Tracy. The film follows four generations of a family through their trouble and strife. The premiere of the film took place in London and not in the US and was in fact at the end of 1962 but I decided it fitted in here.

It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad world

An epic comedy this film had a star studded cast with again Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Ethel Merman, Terry Thomas, Milton Berle, Peter Falk and Sid Caesar. Basically the story is of a treasure hunt whose whereabouts is shared to a number of people who tried to save the life of a dying criminal who happens to be a fugitive from justice.

The Sword In The Stone

This was the eighteenth animated film from the Walt Disney stable and the last one before Walt died. This is the story of young Arthur pulling the magic sword which has been stuck in an anvil to become King and leader of the Knights of the Round Table. It had mixed reviews but did well at the box office. A new version is being worked on at the moment.

The Birds

A horror cum thriller film from director Alfred Hitchcock the Birds” starred Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedron in her screen debut. The story is all about humans becoming prey for the birds and not the other way round. There were definitely a few scares along the way similar to the sharks head in Jaws. You would see birds in a new light after watching this film.

Carry on Cabbie

This was the seventh in the series of carry on films with the usual suspects Sid James, Hattie Jacques, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Williams and Liz Fraser. The story is set around Sid James owner of a Cab firm getting a new company vying for custom. This new firm unbeknown to Sid is run by his wife Hattie Jacques with provocative young women cab drivers. Jim Dale stars in his first Carry on film. The usual fun all round.

Donovans Reef

I just loved John Wayne when I was young and this one was all about a fight between John (Donovan) and Lee Marvin (Gilhooley) which happens every year on Donovans birthday. The gorgeous ladies were Dorothy Lamour and Elizabeth Allen. Not too much to the plot but the big man was in it so it was a hit. John’s son Patrick had a minor part in the film. Wayne also starred in cowboy film McLintock with Maureen O’Hara this year and once again son Patrick was on set.

The Great Escape

This film was as it says on the tin, an escape from Stalag Luft III in Poland. There was a super array of talent on show with Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Donald Pleasance, Gordon Jackson and David McCallum. The film was a big success at the box office and is most remembered for an epic motorbike chase and stunt scene.

Other notable films in 1963

Tom Jones (Albert Finnie, Susannah Yorke)

From Russia with love (2nd Sean Connery)

Fun in Acapulco (Elvis)

It happened at the world fair (Elvis)

Jason and the Argonauts (Todd Armstrong)

The Pink Panther (Peter Sellers, David Niven, Robert Wagner)

Entertainment

1963 TV

Dr Who

We may have the first female Dr Who nowadays but in 1963 we had the first male Dr Who. William Hartnell would be the doctor until 1966. Previously he had played Sergeant in the first Carry on film, “Carry on sergeant”. It was during this first series that the Daleks tried to exterminate the doctor.

Meet the wife

Meet the wife started like a lot of the situation comedies on the BBC from their “Comedy playhouse” series. Freddie Flinton played Freddie Blacklock while Thora Hird played Thora Blacklock, making it quite easy to remember your role name. Thora was always giving the laidback Freddie a hard time. The show was well liked and ran for five series until the end of 1966.

Stanley Baxter show

Glasgow born impressionist Stanley Baxter had a hugely successful show which ran until 1971 before becoming the Stanley Baxter picture show which would run until 1975.

The Dick Emery show

The hugely popular Dick Emery would see his show run from 1963 until 1983. Emery had served his time around the BBC before he got his own show and at was out at the time when ITV had the equally loved Benny Hill Show. They were both slapstick parody type shows and they were masters of the art.

World in Action

Current affairs programme World in action ran until 1998 and was not afraid of controversial topics. Always a ratings winner as it probed corruption at all levels and campaigned many times against the criminal justice system. It was a hard hitting programme with quality journalism and was still relevant when it was pulled.

The Fugitive

The Fugitive was the story of Dr Richard Kimble played by David Janssen who was wrongly judged to be guilty of murdering his wife and sentenced to hang. On his way to death row his train crashes and he escapes and for the next four years he seeks out the one armed man who killed his wife. Police lieutenant Philip Gerard played by Barry Morse was relentless in his pursuit of Kimble and at one time he was favourite with the bookies to have been the murderer.

Ready Steady Go

A very popular showcase for pop music at the time Ready steady go was fronted by Keith Fordyce, Cathy McGowan and Dusty Springfield. They always started with “The weekend starts here”. It may well have been this show which made the BBC look to start one of their own. The show lasted until 1966.

Burke’s Law

Gene Barry had already starred in a hit show when he played “Bat Masterton” in the cowboy show from the late fifties. In this show he played Amos Burke the rich captain of the Los Angeles police homicide division chauffeured around in his Rolls Royce. The show ran for three series.

Sport in 1963

Tottenham Hotspur became the first British team to win a major European trophy this year when they beat the reigning champions Athletico Madrid 5-1 at the Feyenoord stadium in Rotterdam. Two goals from Jimmy Greaves and Terry Dyson with the other scored by the Scottish midfielder John White won the trophy for Spurs. In the first round Spurs had beaten Rangers 8-4 on aggregate winning both legs.

Four years after their first Scottish Junior cup success Irvine Meadow had their second success beating Glenafton 2-1 in the first all Ayrshire Scottish junior cup final.

Twenty three year old Jack Nicklaus won the first of his six Green jackets when he won the Masters at the Augusta national golf club. He led after day three and held on to win by one stroke from fellow American Tony Lema. The top ten were all from America bar Gary Player who tied for fifth place.

New Zealander Bob Charles became the first left hander to win major golf tournament when he beat American Phil Rodgers in a 36 hole play-off. Masters winner Jack Nicklaus had bogeyed the last two holes in the fourth round to miss the play-off by one stroke. This would be Bob Charles only major golf championship.

The USA beat Britain 23-9 at the Ryder cup at the Atlanta golf club. Scot John Fallon was the non-playing captain and another Scot George Will was a Ryder cup rookie this year. Brian Huggett was top scorer for the Brits with 2.5 points and Peter Allis got a half with Tony Lema on the final day singles to save a total whitewash in the afternoon.

Scot Jim Clark won the first of his two Formula One world titles this year with him winning seven of the ten races. Another British driver in Graham Hill was second in the title race with two victories over the season and the last race was also won by a Brit in John Surtees making a clean sweep for the Brits.

Ayala ridden by 19 year old Pat Buckley won the Aintree Grand National by a narrow margin at 66/1 from Carrickbeg. Ayala was part owned by Lester Piggott’s dad Keith and top hairdresser Teasy Weasy. 22 of the field of 47 completed the course.

Mill House trained by Fulke Walwyn won the Cheltenham gold cup to make it two in a row for the trainer. He had won the previous year with Mandarin both times leaving Fortia to finish second place.

At Wimbledon both singles finals were Australia versus USA matches. In the men’s final American Chuck McKinley beat Australia’s Fred Stolle in straight sets 9-7 6-1 6-4 which in the ladies final Australias Margaret Smith overcame American Billie Jean Moffit 6-3 6-4. New regulations came in from this year that all players clothing had to be predominantly white. Four of the finals including these two had to be played on the Monday due to rain stopping play.

Sonny Liston retained his world heavyweight boxing title by knocking Floyd Paterson out in round one as he had done the previous year to gain the title. He also became the inaugural WBC heavyweight champion with this win.

What else happened this year? (News Events of 1963)

The biggest news in 1963 was the assassination of the US president of the United States of America John F Kennedy. Police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald for the crime but during transportation to Dallas County jail he was shot dead by Jack Ruby. Lyndon B Johnson took over as US President.

Labour leader Hugh Gaitskill died this year and was succeeded by Harold Wilson. Hugh had been leader of the Labour party since the end of 1955 until his death and had been in opposition throughout. He had taken over from Clement Attlee who stepped down after losing a general election. Gaitskell and Aneurin Bevan had battled it out for the leadership of the party.

Harold McMillan resigned as Prime Minister and was succeeded by Alex Douglas Hume. McMillan had resigned before a general election year and hi government had been tarnished by the profumo affair, the Vassell affair and the Beeching report he commissioned.

French leader Charles De Gaulle vetoed the entry of the United Kingdom into the EEC (EU) and it would be another ten year before we were accepted.

The Rootes plant at Linwood opened this year to produce the Hillman Imp which would be the first mass produced car in the UK. The Hillman Imp would be produced until 1976.

Martin Luther King made his “I have a dream speech” at the march on Washington. He called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States.

The Glasgow Empire theatre in Sauchiehall Street closed in March of this year having opened in 1897.

It was in 1963 that you could first win a Blue Peter badge. There were six different types of badge with the Gold badge being the top of the pile.

For the first time you could play Mousetrap the board game or a lava lamp. This was the start of the big technological leap forward in society as we knew it.

Valentina Tershkova became the first woman in space this year when she went up in Vostok 6 in June.

The first push button phone was produced. It had all been face dial before this.

1963 was also the year of the great train robbery. The Royal mail train was heading from Glasgow to London when a gang led by Bruce Reynolds managed to get away with over £2 million. The gang were later found at a farm some ringleaders received a 30 year prison sentence.

A handful of arrivals in 1963

Jose Mourinho (Football manager) 26th January

Seal (Singer) 19th February

Jerome Flynn (Actor) 16th March

Graham Norton (Talk show host) April 4th

Whitney Houston (Singer) 9th August

A handful of departures in 1963

Edith Piaf (French singer) 10th October

Aldous Huxley (Writer) 22nd November

CS Lewis (Irish novelist) 22nd November

Dina Wahington (Blues singer) 14th December

Jack Hobbs (English cricketer) 21st December

That Was 1963

That’s my subjective brief journey through 1963. I hope you enjoyed yourself. Many thanks for joining me, good health, good fortune and God bless. Bye for now.

Other Years Featured In This Series

John presents the Golden Hour on Irvine Beat FM – Wed, Thu & Fri at 11am. Here are some other years that have featured in this series: