A History of Pop Music – Albums 1961

Featured Album:

Runaway with Del Shannon

This is a series of articles looking at albums from 1960 to whatever year we end up in.

I will select a featured album for each year and the link for the whole album, Plus list the songs on it.

As before, it is not just about the songs and tunes, it is very much about memories, and good ones, I hope.

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)

All tracks are written by Del Shannon, except where noted.

Side One
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Misery” Doc PomusMort Shuman 1:57
2. “Day Dreams”   2:12
3. His Latest Flame Pomus, Shuman 2:20
4. “The Prom”   2:20
5. “The Search”   2:25
6. Runaway Max Crook, Shannon 2:20


Side Two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “I Wake Up Crying” Burt BacharachHal David 2:00
2. “Wide Wide World” Pomus, Shuman 2:01
3. “I’ll Always Love You”   2:13
4. “Lies”   2:35
5. “He Doesn’t Care”   2:09
6. “Jody” Crook, Shannon 2:23

Del (Charles Weedon Westover) sadly died at just 55 back in 1990  His biography is here:  Del Shannon

You can still get some of his concerts on You Tube.  A firm favourite of mine.  I think you will all know Runaway.

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

Top Tip: Right-click and open in new tab

Top Albums of 1961
   1 Elvis Presley G.I. Blues
   2 George Mitchell Minstrels Another Black and White Minstrel Show
   3 Original Soundtrack South Pacific
   4 The Shadows The Shadows
   5 George Mitchell Minstrels The Black and White Minstrel Show
   6 Original London Cast The Sound Of Music
   7 Cliff Richard I’m 21 Today
   8 Dorothy Provine The Roaring Twenties – Songs From The TV Series
   9 Cliff Richard Listen To Cliff
   10 Chris Barber & Mr Acker Bilk The Best Of Barber And Bilk Volume 1 – see note below:

Note: Could not find the best of Barber and Bilk Vol 1, so link is for Vol 2.

So, Elvis back on top again this year.  Black & White Minstrels were selling very well!  I am always tempted to make Cliff and/or the Shadows the featured artists, but the ones in the top 10 are not what I would call their best.  Their time will come though.  South Pacific and The Sound of Music will be around for a while!  Lots and lots of jazz music around in this era.  I do like a bit of Mr Acker Bilk, Chris Barber and Kenny Ball of course.

I was only 6 or 7 years of age.  Big enough now to walk to school on my own.  I remember eating tripe, it was not nice.  Watch with Mother I recall as well of course Blue Peter and Yogi Bear.  Cap guns were a firm toy to play with.  My hatred of Coronation Street started around now, this was because once the opening theme music came on at 19:30 hrs it was bedtime for me!

More writings on this album here:  Runaway

In my view the best albums of the year, after the featured one, and the top tune from each, are:

Roy Orbison – Only The Lonely – Another of my most favourite artists.

Chuck berry – New Juke Box Hits – Great artist.

Ben E. King – Spanish Harlem – terrific voice.

Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington – Recording Together For The First Time – For the jazz lovers, two of the best.

Frank Sinatra – Sinatra’s Swingin’ Session!!! – It is the music of the time.

The Miracles – Hi We’re the Miracles – My uncle played a few of their albums.  I also remember The Inkspots, must dig them out.

Ray Charles – The Genius After Hours – Includes Ain’t Misbehaving.


As you know I like to review your “tunes” that you post.  Scoring this week will be as per my first comment:

Hat tips to:

https://www.albumoftheyear.org/ratings/8-all-music-highest-rated/1961/1  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
Featured Image: Amy Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

© Phil the ex test manager 2020