Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Month: November 1963

I’m starting a new feature on this blog, titled ‘Fifty Years Ago This Month”. (The idea just occurred to me last week, when I saw the pop music charts for the week, but WHAT a month to start this!) 

Of course, the most well-known event of November 1963 was JFK’s assassination. Since there is already wall-to-wall coverage of this on the internet and on TV, I won’t duplicate that here. I’ll just say that I was sitting in my elementary-school classroom on a Friday afternoon when the news came. I don’t remember if we were dismissed early, but my family spent the entire weekend glued to the black-and-white.

On the same day, the Beatles released their 2nd album in the UK, “With the Beatles”. The most popular track from the album was “All My Loving”, which was never a single. This was the 2nd album to sell over 1 million copies in England (after the “South Pacific” soundtrack).

The #1 songs in November 1963 according to Billboard were “Sugar Shack” (by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs), “Deep Purple” (by April Stevens & Nino Tempo), and “I’m Leaving It Up To You” (by Dale & Grace). Thank goodness the British Invasion was just around the corner! (The Beatles didn’t hit the US charts until January 18, 1964, when “I Want to Hold Your Hand” entered at #45, then took 2 weeks to climb to #1.)

Notable movies released in November 1963 were “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” and Elvis Presley’s “Fun in Acapulco”.

Actress Nicollette Sheridan, NFL quarterbacks Vinny Testaverde and Bernie Kosar, and MLB outfielder Dante Bichette.

John F. Kennedy on the 22nd, Robert Stroud (the real-life “Birdman from Alcatraz”) on the 21st, and novelist C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) on the 22nd.