A History of Pop Music – 1964

Featured song: Roy Orbison – It’s Over 

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 1964: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about Mods & Rockers, pirate radio stations, Harold (bloody) Wilson and the great train robbery trials.

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 8, I watched Blue Peter and Stingray, as anything could happen in the next half hour.

TV programmes included:

Top of the Pops, the first Seven Up!, Emergency Ward 10, Match of the day, for the first time live Olympics, Danger Man, Crossroads, The Likely Lads. Play School started, did you guess which window?


Prime Minister – Alec Douglas-Home (Conservative) (until 16 October), Harold Wilson (Labour) (starting 16 October)

1 January – Top of the Pops first airs on BBC TV.

20 January – eleven men go on trial at Buckinghamshire Assizes in Aylesbury charged in connection with the Great Train Robbery five months ago.

21 January – Government figures show that the average weekly wage is £16.

22 January – film Zulu released.

21 February – £10 banknotes are issued for the first time since the Second World War.

26 March – verdicts are passed on ten men for their role in the Great Train Robbery after one of the longest criminal trials and longest jury retrials in English legal history.

28 March – “pirate” radio station Radio Caroline begins regular broadcasting from a ship anchored just outside UK territorial waters off Felixstowe.

3 April – Nigel Farage is born.

16 April – sentence is passed on eleven men for their role in the Great Train Robbery, seven receiving 30 years each.

20 April – The scheduled opening night of BBC Two, the UK’s third television channel, is disrupted by power cuts, and all that can be screened is announcer Gerald Priestland delivering apologies from Alexandra Palace. On the same day, the BBC Television Service is renamed BBC One.

21 April – BBC Two begins scheduled broadcasting; its first programme is Play School.

12 May – “pirate” radio station Radio Atlanta begins broadcasting from MV Mi Amigo anchored off Frinton-on-Sea; in July its operations are merged with Radio Caroline.

16 – 18 May: violent disturbances between Mods and Rockers at Brighton.

27 May – “pirate” radio station Radio Sutch begins broadcasting from Shivering Sands Army Fort in the Thames Estuary.

17 June – Moors murders: a missing person’s investigation is launched in Fallowfield, Manchester, as police search for twelve-year-old Keith Bennett, who went missing on the previous evening.

6 July – The Beatles’ first film, A Hard Day’s Night, is released.

10 July – more than 300 people are injured in Liverpool when a crowd of some 150,000 people welcome the Beatles back to their home city.

28 July – Winston Churchill retires from the House of Commons at the age of 89.

13 August – Peter Anthony Allen, at Walton Prison in Liverpool and Gwynne Owen Evans, at Strangeways Prison in Manchester, are hanged for the murder of John Alan West on 7 April, the last executions to take place in the British Isles.

4 September – the Forth Road Bridge opens over the Firth of Forth, linking Fife and Edinburgh.

15 September – The Sun newspaper goes into circulation, replacing the Daily Herald, which went out of circulation. Left wing rag.

15 October – The general election is held. The Labour Party defeats the Conservatives. Harold Wilson becomes prime minister, having gained a majority of five seats. The election result spells the end of 13 years of Conservative government, although the Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home had only entered office 12 months ago. Among the retiring MP’s is the former prime minister Sir Winston Churchill, who has been an MP for 63 of the last 65 years.

2 November – ITV soap opera Crossroads airs for the first time

21 December – MPs vote 355 to 170 for the abolition of the death penalty, with the abolition likely to be confirmed before the end of next year. The death penalty has gradually fallen out of use over the last twenty years, with the two most recent executions having taken place in August this year.

23 December – “Pirate” radio station Wonderful Radio London begins broadcasting from MV Galaxy anchored off Frinton-on-Sea, with a Fab 40 playlist of popular records.

24 December – the Beatles gain the Christmas number one for the second year running with I Feel Fine, which has topped the singles charts for the third week running. The Beatles have now had six number ones in the United Kingdom alone.

26 December – Moors murders: Police launch a missing persons investigation after ten-year-old Lesley Ann Downey goes missing from a fairground in Ancoats, Manchester.

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

Top Hits of 1964
   1 Jim Reeves I Love You Because
   2 Jim Reeves I Won’t Forget You
   3 Roy Orbison It’s Over
   4 Julie Rogers The Wedding
   5 Brian Poole Someone, Someone
   6 The Bachelors I Believe
   7 Millie My Boy Lollipop
   8 The Rolling Stones It’s All Over Now
   9 Roy Orbison Oh Pretty Woman
   10 The Bachelors I Wouldn’t Trade You For The World

Very difficult choice as ever to make for 1964 as the featured song, could have been any Beatles song plus a few others. I even toyed with Jim Reeves (I love you because), but his music to me is not pop, but still most excellent. I have to recognise Roy Orbison as he is one of the true greats in pop music.

The tune: “It’s Over” is an American song composed by Roy Orbison and Bill Dees and sung by Orbison. The song was released as a 45rpm single by Monument Records in 1964, “It’s Over” typifies the operatic rock ballad. The single entered the United States Cashbox chart on April 11, 1964, peaking at No.10 (on May 23, 1964), and reached No. 9 on the Billboard pop music chart. Meanwhile, after entering the UK singles chart on April 30, 1964, it reached No. 1 on June 25, 1964 (making it Orbison’s second UK No.1 single [the first was “Only the Lonely” in 1960]). The song spent 2 weeks at No.1 on the UK singles chart, out of a total of 18 weeks on that chart.

More writings on this song here: More on It’s over.

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

The Beatles – I Want To Hold Your Hand

The Beatles – She Loves You

The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night

The Beatles – Can’t Buy Me Love

The Beatles – I Feel Fine

Animals – House of the Rising Sun – So close to being my featured song.

The Beach Boys – I Get Around – Great band, love the sound.

Hollies – Here I Go again

The Hollies – Just One Look

The Ronettes – Baby I Love You

Herman’s Hermits – I’m Into Something Good – Love all their tunes, so easy to sing along to.

Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman

Dave Clark Five – Glad All Over – great band

Supremes – Baby Love – The start of something big. It was written and produced by Tamla Motown’s main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland. I am pretty sure their stuff will feature a lot.

Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go

The Dave Clark Five – Bits & Pieces

The Rolling Stones – Not Fade Away

Brian Poole & The Tremeloes – Someone, Someone

The Swinging Blue Jeans – Hippy Hippy Shakes

The Kinks – You really got me – Another great band starting out.

The Kinks – All day and all of the night

Cilla Black – You’re My World

Cilla Black – Anyone Who Had A Heart

Dusty Springfield – I Only Want to Be with You

The Rolling Stones – It’s All Over Now – Great start to a super pop combo.

Gene Pitney – 24 Hours From Tulsa

The Bachelors ~ Diane – Sing along now, “I’m in heaven, when I see you smile..”

The Bachelors – I Believe

The Searchers – Needles and Pins – Awesome, but I like Smokie’s version even better.

The Honeycombs – Have I the right

Mary Wells – My Guy

Dave Berry – The Crying Game

Peter and Gordon – A World Without Love

Manfred Mann – Doo Wah Diddy

Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas – Little Children

Petula Clark Downtown

The Zombies – She’s Not There

Fun song: The Barron Knights – Call up the Groups

38 songs for 1964 in my favourite lists, these articles are taking long and longer to write, but it’s so much fun!

Next Time 1965.

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, 1965.

© Phil the test manager 2018

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