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The Music Years - 1963

The following albums were released in 1963 and have been reviewed thanks in part to the following legal music sites:

Napster We7 Spotify

It is impossible to define just when rock music took off and even harder to define just where and how. The year 1963 seems as good a starting point as any, however. That isn't to say of course that there weren't important recordings before 1963 or that suddenly in 1963 the music world shifted and changed forever. But we have to start somewhere. So let's turn the clock back to 1963. Bands, particularly in the United Kingdom, were beginning to define their sound and one of, if not, the greatest rock band of all times was beginning to launch a career of British beat music tinged with a touch of American blues. Not to put too fine a point on it, the Beatles were the band the world had been waiting for, These Liverpudlians liberated music, but they did so much more than just set if free. They defined the sixties and a change in music that would shake the world of entertainment. Suddenly the balladeers were on the run at the hands of young upstarts. There were plenty of imitators, but more importantly there were plenty of original bands striving for popularity and fame - but not so many to denigrate the music which was suddenly uplifting and upbeat at the same time.

There can be no argument that the two nations responsible for the popularity of rock and p; Julie London, Tony Bennett and Joe Henderson - proving that serious rock music/pop music is still in a minority.

So let me explain exactly what I will be doing in these pages. I have assigned a page to each year from 1963 to 2010 and intend reviewing albums from that year, given the following criteria.

1/ What are generally considered by those in the know to be important rock/pop music albums

2/ Albums that have a specific meaning for me

3/ Albums by major artists.

Sadly I cannot cover every genre of music so most of the albums will be in the rock field, although there will be cross over artists such as Johnny Cash and John Stewart (country), Joan Baez, Sandy Denny and Judy Collins (folk). This is simply because these are some of my favourite artists and it is only right and proper that they be included. Likewise some of my favourite artists such as Barclay James Harvest, Phil Ochs and Harry Chapin would never figure in any expert's greatest ever list. But as they are among my favourites I feel they should be reviewed. Music is all about individual tastes and I hope my music years section illustrates some of mine. You will also find artists who I do not enjoy but whose work I have tried to cover in as constructive manner as possible.

 
Please Please Me  - The Beatles 7

I Saw Her Standing There/Misery/Anna (Go to Him) /Chains/Boys /Ask Me Why/Please Please Me/Love Me Do/PS. I Love You/Baby It's You/Do You Want to Know a Secret/A Taste of Honey/There's a Place/Twist and Shout

The Beatles debut album which was rushed out to co-incide with the success of the singles Please Please Me and Love Me Do, so the real question is how does it stand as an album? The immediate problem of course is how to review an album of songs that you know so well and even more difficult how to try and erase from your mind all the later output and try to hear this as if it is the day of release. First thing to remember is this was released in 1963. I was 11 years old and I would love to be able to say that it entirely changed my world, that I had a blast of light. Sadly I would be lying - I can't even remember it coming out. I can vaguely remember the furore and the newsreel clips but somehow I I would love to be able to say that it entirely changed my world, that I had a blast of light. Sadly I would be lying - I can't even remember it coming out. I can vaguely remember the furore and the newsreel clips but somehow I was totally divorced from it all. Early Beatles albums seemed to be a collection of rock/pop songs and certainly there was a formula to most of these tracks. Not a single track weighed in at over three minutes and three of them were less than two minutes. It did showcase the emergence of Lennon and McCartney as  songwriters with eight of the 14 tracks being penned by the soon to be legendary duo. The opening track "I Saw Her Standing There" immediately shows the band's intent - good solid guitar driven rock/rhythm and blues and "Misery" features the almost guttural harmonies of Lennon/McCartney with lush chorus and cascading keyboard work from George Martin. You are beginning to see the kind of stir that this album would create, remaining at the top of the album charts for 30 weeks until it was replaced by With The Beatles. This in itself was an amazing achievement as at the time the album charts seemed to be was totally divorced from it all. Early Beatles albums seemed to be a collection of rock/pop songs and certainly there was a formula to most of these tracks. Not a single track weighed in at over three minutes and three of them were less than two minutes. It did showcase the emergence of Lennon and McCartney as  songwriters with eight of the 14 tracks being penned by the soon to be legendary duo. The opening track "I Saw Her Standing There" immediately shows the band's intent - good solid guitar driven rock/rhythm and blues and "Misery" features the almost guttural harmonies of Lennon/McCartney with lush chorus and cascading keyboard work from George Martin. You are beginning to see the kind of stir that this album would create, remaining at the top of the album charts for 30 weeks until it was replaced by With The Beatles. This in itself was an amazing achievement as at the time the album charts seemed to be dominated by film soundtracks and crooners. Now they weren't getting a look in as four lads from Liverpool began their journey towards world music domination. Suddenly music was being overtaken by a new sound, by four young people who coul dominated by film soundtracks and crooners. Now they weren't getting a look in as four lads from Liverpool began their journey towards world music domination. Suddenly music was being overtaken by a new sound, by four young people who could write their own material. The music world was changing forever. Some of the material on this album sounds a little like filler material from an album brought out quickly to co-incide with the band's success. There is a delightful feeling to many of the early Beatles songs. They may have been rather formulaic but songs like "Ask Me Why," "PS I Love You,"  "Do You Want to Know a Secret"  and There's A Place began to show the brilliance of the John/Paul songwriting partnership. The only surprise is that the final track Twist and Shout wasn't written by Lennon and McCartney. It really sounds as if it should be. 

 

With The Beatles  - The Beatles 6

It Won't Be Long/All I've Got to Do/All My Loving/Don't Bother Me/Little Child/Till There Was You/Please Mr. Postman/Roll Over Beethoven/Hold Me Tight/You've Really Got a Hold on Me/I Wanna Be Your Man/Devil in Her Heart/Not a Second Time/Money

Just four months after Please Please Me, the Beatles decided to do it all over again. So here we have a similar format of original numbers (eight in total including the first by George Harrison "Don't Bother Me") alongside covers (six in total). This time around the covers seemed to blend in more with the Lennon/McCartney songs - almost as if they had been chosen and could almost be passed off as Beatles originals. Certainly Meredith Willson's  "Till There Was You," Smokey Robinson's "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" and Janie Bradford/Berry Gordy's "Money" could so easily have come from the pens of the dynamic duo. "Till There Was You" is a genuinely lovely ballad. Whilst feeling that some of the covers on Please Please Me sounded rather like filler material, With the Beatles throws up the first track from the Fab Four that I genuinely dislike - "Please Mr Postman" which is horrible drivel. Neither have I ever been a big fan of Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven. So what of the original compositions this time round. Well if the covers fitted in better, the originals weren't quite so strong. "All My Loving is a cast iron hit but some of the others are almost lacking in grace. So for me its a win some lose some album that has a raw energy about it but is less immediate than Please Please Me.

The Freewheelin - Bob Dylan

Blowing in the Wind/Girl From the North Country/Masters of War/Down the Highway/Bob Dylan's Blues/A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall/Don't Think Twice It's All Right/Bob Dylan's Dream/Oxford Town/Talkin World War III Blues/Corrina Corrina/Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance/I Shall Be Free.

Little Deuce Coupe - The Beach Boys

Little Deuce Coupe/Ballad of Ole Betsy/Be True to Your School/Car Crazy Cutie/Cherry Cherry Coupe/409/Shut Down/Spirit of America/Our Car Club/No-Go Showboat/A Young Man is Gone/Custom Machine

Surfin USA - The Beach Boys

Surfin USA/Farmer's Daughter/Misirlou/Stoked/Lonely Sea/Shut Down/Noble Surfer/Honly Tonk/Lana/Surf Jam/Let's Go Trippin/Finders Keepers

Surfer Girl - The Beach Boys

Surfer Girl/Catch a Wave/The Surfer Moon/South Bay Surfer/The Rocking Surfer/Little Deuce Coupe/In My Room/Hawaii/Surfers Rule/Our Car Club/Your Summer Dream/Boogie Woodie

Also to review

Blood, Sweat and Tears by Johnny Cash

The Christmas Spirit by Johnny Cash

In Dreams by Roy Orbison

Joan Baez in Concert Part 2 by Joan Baez

 
With The Beatles  - The Beatles 6

It Won't Be Long/All I've Got to Do/All My Loving/Don't Bother Me/Little Child/Till There Was You/Please Mr. Postman/Roll Over Beethoven/Hold Me Tight/You've Really Got a Hold on Me/I Wanna Be Your Man/Devil in Her Heart/Not a Second Time/Money

Just four months after Please Please Me, the Beatles decided to do it all over again. So here we have a similar format of original numbers (eight in total including the first by George Harrison "Don't Bother Me") alongside covers (six in total). This time around the covers seemed to blend in more with the Lennon/McCartney songs - almost as if they had been chosen and could almost be passed off as Beatles originals. Certainly Meredith Willson's  "Till There Was You," Smokey Robinson's "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" and Janie Bradford/Berry Gordy's "Money" could so easily have come from the pens of the dynamic duo. "Till There Was You" is a genuinely lovely ballad. Whilst feeling that some of the covers on Please Please Me sounded rather like filler material, With the Beatles throws up the first track from the Fab Four that I genuinely dislike - "Please Mr Postman" which is horrible drivel. Neither have I ever been a big fan of Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven. So what of the original compositions this time round. Well if the covers fitted in better, the originals weren't quite so strong. "All My Loving is a cast iron hit but some of the others are almost lacking in grace. So for me its a win some lose some album that has a raw energy about it but is less immediate than Please Please Me.

The Freewheelin - Bob Dylan

Blowing in the Wind/Girl From the North Country/Masters of War/Down the Highway/Bob Dylan's Blues/A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall/Don't Think Twice It's All Right/Bob Dylan's Dream/Oxford Town/Talkin World War III Blues/Corrina Corrina/Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance/I Shall Be Free.

Little Deuce Coupe - The Beach Boys

Little Deuce Coupe/Ballad of Ole Betsy/Be True to Your School/Car Crazy Cutie/Cherry Cherry Coupe/409/Shut Down/Spirit of America/Our Car Club/No-Go Showboat/A Young Man is Gone/Custom Machine

Surfin USA - The Beach Boys

Surfin USA/Farmer's Daughter/Misirlou/Stoked/Lonely Sea/Shut Down/Noble Surfer/Honly Tonk/Lana/Surf Jam/Let's Go Trippin/Finders Keepers

Surfer Girl - The Beach Boys

Surfer Girl/Catch a Wave/The Surfer Moon/South Bay Surfer/The Rocking Surfer/Little Deuce Coupe/In My Room/Hawaii/Surfers Rule/Our Car Club/Your Summer Dream/Boogie Woodie

Also to review

Blood, Sweat and Tears by Johnny Cash

The Christmas Spirit by Johnny Cash

In Dreams by Roy Orbison

Joan Baez in Concert Part 2 by Joan Baez