Friday, April 27, 2007

The Best Songs of 1963 - Nos. 5 to 1

Before I get started, I want to mention a couple of things. First of all, I really appreciate all the nice things that you guys have said about the work that I’m doing here. It really is a labor of love and it means a lot to know that people are digging on it. I specifically want to mention Canuck Rob’s comment that both he and his kids are enjoying the lists, because that touches on one of my goals in this project. I hope that I’m able to present a music history where young people will have the opportunity to hear some of the stuff that came before their time and, once I get up into the 80s and 90s, some of the older folks might get turned on to some really good music that they may have missed.

Another thing I wanted to mention is the frequency of my posts. I’m working full time now, so I don’t have the time to devote to this project that I had before. I will still try to get a post out a week. In fact, I’m going to add a new feature starting next week that will bring us up to two posts a week, hopefully: Leo’s Week in Review. Once a week, I’ll post my thoughts on whatever TV or movies I’ve seen or other interesting events of the previous week that I want to comment on. I hope that you guys will all enjoy that. I have been watching a lot of movies lately. Since I started doing a top ten movies list for each year as I’ve been moving forward, I decided that I really should watch all the important movies for each of these years, so that my lists will come from an informed perspective. I’ve watched twenty films from 1964 over the past few weeks and I’ll be watching twenty-four movies from 1965 before I create my top ten films of 1965 list.

Well, that’s enough chatter for now. On with the top five, and be sure to let me know what you think.

5. Busted – Ray Charles (Ingredients In A Recipe For Soul)

I think most of us can identify with being broke. Ray gave us an anthem relating to the condition. It made it to number four on the pop charts and won the Grammy for Best R&B Recording. Ray’s vocal was great and I just love that horn riff. I’ve been broke before, not this broke, but pretty damn broke and Ray describes the feeling incredibly well.

4. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right – Bob Dylan (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan)

This may be the greatest break-up song of all time. After writing about love song after love song, it’s a pleasure to finally have the opportunity to write a few words on the ultimate antithesis of that. The song describes in great detail a really terrible girlfriend. One line in particular that always struck me was, “I give her my heart but she wanted my soul.” I dated a girl like that in high school. I can totally relate with this whole song.

3. Sweet Dreams (Of You) – Patsy Cline (Sweet Dreams)

That amazing voice just tears me up every time I hear it. This was a posthumous hit for Patsy as she had died in a plane crash not long before the song’s release. It made it to number five on the Country charts and years later it became the title song for the movie of Patsy’s life. This sad tale of unrequited love was originally written and recorded by Don Gibson, but the song will always be remembered for Patsy’s version.

2. Please Please Me – The Beatles (Please Please Me)

Please Please Me was John Lennon’s attempt to write a Roy Orbison-style song. George Martin suggested an arrangement with a much faster tempo and the result was one of the Beatles finest early songs. Lennon’s harmonica work and the incredible vocal harmonies pull the track together wonderfully. The song made it to number three on the US pop charts and it would have been my choice for the best song of the year if not for an actual Roy Orbison song.

1. In Dreams – Roy Orbison (In Dreams)

Roy Orbison’s operatic tendencies came to the fore again with In Dreams, a song that becomes steadily more powerful as it goes on until by the end he is hitting emotional heights and phenomenal notes. The lyrics are beautifully poetic in their descriptions of the Sandman and the world of dreams which is the only place he can hold the woman he loves. This is the best song of 1963.

The Top Artists of 1963

10. Marvin Gaye9. The Beach Boys8. The Crystals7. The Ronettes6. The Kingsmen5. Ray Charles4. Bob Dylan3. Roy Orbison2. Patsy Cline 1. The Beatles

Male Voice of 1963

10. Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones9. Marvin Gaye8. Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys7. George Harrison of The Beatles6. Jack Ely of The Kingsmen5. Ray Charles4. Bob Dylan3. Roy Orbison2. John Lennon of The Beatles1. Paul McCartney of The Beatles

Female Voice of 1963

4. Darlene Love3. Dolores Brooks of The Crystals2. Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes1. Patsy Cline

Top Groups of 1963

5. The Beach Boys4. The Crystals3. The Ronettes2. The Kingsmen1. The Beatles

Top Albums of 1963

5. The Kingsmen In Person (The Kingsmen)4. Ingredients In A Recipe For Soul (Ray Charles)3. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (Bob Dylan)2. In Dreams (Roy Orbison)1. Please Please Me (The Beatles)

Comments and opinions are encouraged and appreciated.


Jeffrey said...

Thanks for the memories, man. 1963 was a big year for me, young as I was at the time, and I still remember watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. My parents were absolutely mystified by all the screaming! Whne you think about it, these songs set the tone for the entire decade.

Keepp up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I am patiently waiting for your 1980's posts :)
Lisa @ Amagoth

gunawan said...

I just found myself fall in love with classic sounds(about a month ago). This time is the first time i see your blog and I've got so many information from your blog. your aim "for young people" is truly felt in me. now I'm 15.

a lot of thanks from me, Leo.