A History of Pop Music – 1961

Featured song: The Shadows – FBI – as performed on Crackerjack (It’s Friday what do we all say?)

This is a series of articles looking at pop music from 1955 when in my opinion proper pop music began up to 1999 when they stopped making it. One article for each year.

I am only going to select one featured song for each article, which makes it hard. I am going to try and select a different artist for each year.

For many people, and I include myself, you tend to still like the tunes you heard during childhood, which your parents often played. So rather than just pick the top 10 hits of each year, I shall let you know what they were, but also the tunes of that year not necessarily in the top 10 or so, what were in my view classics.  I also add a couple of events in history for that year, it helps bring back memories, and hopefully happy ones.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

So, on we go with memories from 1961: (Thank you Wiki)

What was I doing: Not much, I do remember the radio was always on at home and hearing tunes.

TV programs included:  The Avengers.  The BBC (later to become the SCBBC) broadcasts the first Comedy Playhouse.  The series broadcasts a series of one-off unrelated sitcoms. Over the next 14 years the series would air the pilot episodes of many popular comedies, including Steptoe and Son, Till Death Us Do Part, Up Pompeii!, The Liver Birds, Are You Being Served? and Last of the Summer Wine.

7 January – The Avengers television series first screened on ITV.

5 February – Sunday Telegraph first published

13 March – Black and white £5 notes cease to be legal tender.

21 March – The Beatles perform at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool for the first time.  Yay!

3 April – The Jaguar E-Type, a sports car capable of reaching speeds of 150mph, is launched as a two-seater roadster or 2+2 coupé.

1 May – Betting shops become legal under terms of the Betting and Gaming Act 1960.

14 June – The Government unveils new “panda” crossings with push button controls for pedestrians, due to concerns about the increasing volume of traffic. The new crossings first appeared on British streets in April 1962

3 July – Suicide Act 1961 decriminalises acts of or attempts at suicide in England and Wales.

<b>10 August – The UK applies for membership of the EEC.</b>

14 September – film A Taste of Honey, including themes of interracial relationship, unmarried pregnancy and homosexuality, is released.

25 October – The first edition of Private Eye, the satirical magazine, is published in London

27 November – The RAF participates in air drops of food to flood victims in Somalia.

4 December – Birth control pills become available on the NHS after their availability is backed by Health Minister Enoch Powell

The Top 10 Singles with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top Hits of 1961
   1 Del Shannon Runaway
   2 Elvis Presley Wooden Heart
   3 Helen Shapiro You Don’t Know
   4 Billy Fury Halfway To Paradise
   5 Eden Kane Well I Ask You
   6 The Allisons Are You Sure?
   7 Helen Shapiro Walkin’ Back To Hapiness
   8 The Everly Brothers Walk Right Back
   9 Elvis Presley His Latest Flame
   10 John Leyton Johnny Remember Me

This tune – I loved Apache from 1960, but this tune I am sure I remember from watching Crackerjack, they nearly always had a top band on.  I feel they very bigly influenced many a future star and the deserve to be my featured tune.  written by Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch and Jet Harris. Due to complicated publishing contracts, F.B.I. was credited to their manager Peter Gormley, who was also acting as Cliff Richard’s manager.  The actual composers’ names never appeared on the credits. It was released by EMI as a single in February 1961 on the Columbia label with “Midnight” (Marvin, Welch) as the B-side. It spent 19 weeks in the UK Singles Chart reaching No. 6 on two separate occasions in mid-February and mid-March 1961.

More writings on this song here: F.B.I The Shadows

In my view the best songs of the year, after the featured track are:

Everly Brothers – Walk Right Back

Buddy Holly – You’re So Square (Baby I Don’t Care)

The Marcels – Blue Moon

Cliff Richard – When the Girl in Your Arms Is the Girl in Your Heart

Elvis Presley – It’s Now or Never

Bobby Vee – Take Good Care Of My Baby

Bobby Vee – Rubber Ball

Brenda Lee – Let’s Jump the Broomstick

Johnny Burnette – You’re Sixteen

Neil Sedaka- Calendar girl

Matt Monro – My Kind Of Girl

Del Shannon – Hats Off to Larry

The Drifters –  Save the last dance for me

The Ramrods – (Ghost) Riders In The Sky

Lonnie Donegan & Kenny Ball & his Jazzmen  –  Samantha

Mr Acker Bilk – Buona Sera

Johnny Tillotson – Poetry In Motion

Bobby Vee – More Than I Can Say

The Shadows – Kon-Tiki

The Shirelles – Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Sam Cooke: Cupid!

Jimmy Dean – Big Bad John (Johnny Cash did a better version later. )

Andy Williams – Moon River – Soppy I know.

Fun song of the year: Charlie Drake – My Boomerang Won’t Come Back Go on – click it!

Lot’s of American artists, but the British will be sorting that out soon.

I am pleased I got a mention for Mr Acker Bilk and his Paramount Band and Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen.  Stalwarts of many a TV program.  They always played fun tunes, though jazz is not my favourite genre.

I would have selected The Everly Brothers Walk Right Back, but they were the featured song for 1960, and I also wanted The Shadows as they did Apache that year as well.  It is very, very hard to select just one.

Hat tips to:

http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/  These give the top 100 selling charts for each year

http://www.everyhit.com/chart1.html   These give the top 10 songs for each year

https://www.youtube.com/  You know them.

Next time, 1962.

© Phil the test manager 2018

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