The River's Badge

Thursday, September 13, 2018

In Honor of My Sister and Brother-In-Law ~ 1963


My sister and brother-in-law were married on September 12, 1963 ~ fifty-five years ago!

I vaguely remember the day. Mom, Dad, me and I think perhaps my little brother and sister motored to Fort Worth, Texas for the big day. I was eight years old. I don't remember a lot about the ceremony itself, but I do remember that I was left alone that night with (I think) my new brother-in-law's nephew and niece as the adults celebrated the occasion. Kids make friends wherever they find them, and the boy was suitable as a new pal. He and I decided to cook. Neither of us actually knew how to cook (me especially), but in my sister's apartment, we managed to whip up some fried potatoes and something....

In September of 1963 the apparently most awesome of all time president presided over the country. I wasn't into politics at age eight, but I knew who President Kennedy was, because his picture was all over the TV and newspapers.

On TV, little Opie Taylor was a featured character on the Andy Griffith Show, Doctor Richard Kimble was searching for the one-armed man. Laura Petrie was sobbing, "Oh, Rob!". Patty and her cousin Cathy Lane were switching identities and causing all manner of madcap confusion. Ray Walston (the future Mister Hand) was a martian.

A loaf of bread cost twenty-two cents. Gas cost twenty-nine cents a gallon. Something called "zip codes" were introduced. Gordo Cooper launched into space from Cape Canaveral. In England a new band became popular ~ four so-called "mop tops" that we in the US were completely oblivious to.

The top hits of 1963:


This new group ~ The Beach Boys ~ had no compunction about ripping off Chuck Berry, and it worked for them, so hey! (until the inevitable lawsuits were filed).

Skeeter Davis (the only person I am aware of who was named after a mosquito) had the number two hit of 1963. Recitations were a big thing during that era, and were in actuality quite cheesy, but tastes change...




Speaking of lawsuits, the Chiffons had the number four song of 1963, which George Harrison felt obliged to steal. It's not like there weren't a million songs waiting to be written. But apparently stealing was another pop culture touchstone of that year:



A group called The Cascades had a huge hit that year, which essentially sums up music for me in 1963. You can have your Beach Boys and your Chiffons, but this is what top-forty radio was actually like then:


And don't forget this:


My sister always liked Dion, and I can't blame her. I love Dion and the Belmonts:


Ray Stevens did it better, but this was the original:


Any era's music can be ridiculed. That's part of the fun of looking back on music. The fact is, though, every year has at least one gem. 

This is 1963's jewel:



Happy 55th anniversary, Ronnie and Rosie. Dang, that's a long happy marriage!

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