This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… music from 1962 August 4, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
Another very welcome guest post from Damian O’Broin.
My parent’s were married 50 years ago on a miserable wet day in July 1962. Neither of them are with us still, but regardless, we decided to hold a 50th anniversary party for them – in the hotel they had their wedding breakfast in – and get all the old family and friends together one more time.
This prompted me to spend a lot of time looking at 1962, to get a feel for the time it was. It was curious to discover that Telstar was launched the day my parents married (and on a political note that’s a young Billy McMillen on the left hand side in the photo above). And that satellite inspired one of the biggest selling songs of the year – Telstar by The Tornados.
July 1962 was also the occasion for a number of other big debuts. The Late Late first broadcast the week before the wedding, and the Rolling Stones first gig was the week after.
In lots of ways – and not just in Ireland – the 60s feel like they hadn’t really got started in July 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis was still months away, and the charts were full of crooners. Which meant that a lot of the music from 1962 was, well, forgettable.
But amidst the dross are some gems. The number one the week of my parents’ wedding was Ray Charles, I Can’t Stop Loving You. And I have to say I haven’t been able to get it out of my head for the last month. It’s a cracking song, and I can’t believe how much I’ve overlooked Ray Charles before now.
I Can’t Stop Loving You –
And when you look back at the musical context into which The Beatles landed, you can see just how distinctive, fresh and downright radical they must have sounded. Compare even the rather pedestrian Love Me Do with the likes of Pat Boone, Acker Bilk or Frank Ifield.
I Remember You –
Love Me Do –
There was still a strong Rock n’ Roll element to the charts, especially in the US. This was the era of the dance songs. Chubby Checker and The Twist, Dee Dee Sharp and Mashed Potato Time, Little Eva with The Loco-Motion and Bobby Pickett and Monster Mash were all hits.
Mashed Potato Time -
And of course, Elvis Presley was never far away from the Hit Parade
Return to Sender –
Looking at what counted for popular music in 1962, it’s hard to discern the revolution that was already rumbling beneath the surface. It’s difficult to place The Velvet Underground, Blonde on Blonde and Jimi Hendrix in the same universe as Frank Ifield, never mind the same decade. I suppose it was ever thus with the mainstream and edges of popular music, but rarely can there have been such a schism. It brings to mind the 1976-77 era in UK music – so clearly demonstrated by BBC4’s recent documentaries on the charts from this time. A real sense of an Ancien Regime unprepared for and unable to deal with the seismic changes afoot.
I’ve wondered what, amidst all this hub-bub, my parents would have been listening to before and after their nuptials. To be honest, I don’t think my father would have been bothered. The Patriot Game would have been more his scene.
The Patriot Game –
For my mother? Well, it would have had to be Cliff.
The Young Ones –