A History of Pop Music – 1962

Featured song: Chubby Checker – Let’s Twist Again 

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 1962: (Thank you Wiki)

The Russians announce they are to build missile bases on Cuba and send missiles to Cuba by sea. America blockades the sea around Cuba and the world readies itself for nuclear conflict. JFK advises the American public to build nuclear fallout shelters.  At the last minute, Russia backs down and the ships return home with the missiles still on board.

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 6, I remember watching our black and white TV.

TV programmes included:

Z cars, Steptoe & Son, Police 5, University Challenge, The Saint, and in November the first episode of “That Was The Week That Was”, or TW3


Prime Minister – Harold Macmillan (Conservative)

2 January – BBC television broadcasts the first episode of Z-Cars, noted as a realistic portrayal of the police.

10 February – end of the Queen’s 10th regnal year. From this year, Acts of Parliament are dated by calendar year.

6 March – Accrington Stanley, members of the Football League Fourth Division, resign from the Football League due to huge debts (Do we all remember the advert?)

2 April – panda crossings are introduced but their complex sequences of pulsating and flashing lights cause confusion amongst drivers and pedestrians.

4 April – James Hanratty is hanged at Bedford Prison for the A6 murder, despite protestations from many people who believe he is innocent, and the late introduction of witnesses who claim to have seen him in Rhyl, North Wales, on the day of the murder.

8 May – the last trolleybuses run in London

6 June – The Beatles play their first session at Abbey Road Studios

14 June – BBC television broadcasts the first episode of the sitcom Steptoe and Son, written by Galton and Simpson

11 July – Live television broadcast from the US to Britain for the first time, via the Telstar communications satellite and Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station

12 July – The Rolling Stones make their debut at London’s Marquee Club, Number 165 Oxford Street, opening for Long John Baldry.

13 July – In what the press dubs “the Night of the Long Knives”, the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan dismisses one-third of his Cabinet.

18 August – The Beatles play their first live engagement with the line-up of John, Paul, George and Ringo, at Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight.

23 August – John Lennon marries Cynthia Powell in an unpublicised register office ceremony at Mount Pleasant, Liverpool

8–11 September – Cricket – last Gentlemen v Players cricket match played, at Scarborough.

20 September – Ford launches the Cortina, a family saloon costing £573 and similar in size to the Vauxhall Victor, Hillman Minx and Morris Oxford Farina.

21 September – first broadcast of the long-running television quiz programme University Challenge, made by Granada Television with Bamber Gascoigne as quizmaster.

5 October – Dr No, the first James Bond film, is premiered at the London Pavilion, with 32-year-old Edinburgh-born Sean Connery playing the lead, a British Secret Service agent.

5 October – The Beatles’ first single in their own right, Love Me Do, is released by Parlophone. This version was recorded on 4 September at Abbey Road Studios in London with Ringo Starr as drummer.

24 November – the first episode of influential satire show That Was The Week That Was is broadcast on BBC Television

22 December – “Big Freeze” in Britain: no frost-free nights until 5 March 1963.

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

Top Hits of 1962
   1 Acker Bilk Stranger On The Shore
   2 Frank Ifield I Remember You
   3 Elvis Presley Rock-A-Hula Baby / Can’t Help Falling In Love
   4 The Shadows Wonderful Land
   5 Chubby Checker Let’s Twist Again
   6 Cliff Richard The Young Ones
   7 Joe Brown A Picture Of You
   8 Elvis Presley Good Luck Charm
   9 Mike Sarne (With Wendy Richards) Come Outside
   10 The Tornados Telstar

Very difficult choice to make for 1962 as the featured song. Duane Eddy was almost the pick, as he was a big influencer during the 60’s, 70’s 80’s. He is still going strong.  Cliff almost made it with The Young Ones, as did Chris Montez with Let’s Dance.

This tune: “Let’s Twist Again” is a song written by Kal Mann and Dave Appell, and released as a single by Chubby Checker. It reached No.2 in the U.K. in February 1962. The song refers to the Twist dance craze and Checker’s 1960 single “The Twist”, a two-time U.S. No.1 single (in September 1960 and again in January 1962 on re-release). Chosen as whilst I would never dance in public again, (never have since John Travolta ruined it for all dads by being so good in Night Fever (In 3-2-1)), I must confess, if alone, I will do some twisting.

More writings on this song here: More on Let’s twist again

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

Duane Eddy – ( Dance With The ) Guitar Man – still going strong now, legend in my view.

Chris Montez – Let’s dance

Cliff Richard – The Young Ones

The Everly Brothers – Crying In The Rain

Roy Orbison – Dream baby

Dion – The Wanderer

Brian Hyland – Ginny Come Lately

Brian Hyland – Sealed With A Kiss

Cliff Richard – Bachelor Boy

Sam Cooke-Twistin’ The Night Away

The Tokens – The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Little Eva – Loco-motion

Jimmy Justice – When My Little Girl Is Smiling

Neil Sedaka – Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen

Bobby Darin – Things

Ray Charles – I Can’t Stop Loving You – come on, you know you want to sing-along

Helen Shapiro – Tell Me What He Said

Elvis Presley – Return To Sender

Susan Maughan – Bobby’s Girl

The Shadows – Guitar Tango

Carole King – It Might as Well Rain Until September

Mark Wynter – Venus in Blue Jeans

Neil Sedaka – Breakin’ Up Is Hard To Do

The Four Season & Frankie Valli – Sherry – Did you try to sing with the high pitch voice?  Yes you did.

Cliff Richard – The Next Time

Fun song: Bernard Cribbins – Hole In The Ground

26 songs for 1962 in my favourite lists, this was really the beginning of classic pop songs.

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, 1963.

Featured Image: The original uploader was ACT1 at English Wikipedia. [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

© Phil the test manager 2018

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