The 60s Official Site

 

 

1963: Good Times, Bad Times

by David Soulsby, author of the novel "Somewhere in the Distance"

 

Looking back in time, the images aren’t always crystal clear and sharp: more often than not they’re just hazy fragments of the whole picture. But when they’re fully in focus it’s as if the Sixties were only yesterday, offering a welcoming doorway to the past…

With his trademark cheeky grin and bubbly delivery, Gerry Marsden with his group The Pacemakers performs his latest single for an adoring television studio audience. It’s October 1963 and the song is You’ll Never Walk Alone. The popular Liverpool quartet is making history. They’re the first artists to have their first three singles reach Number One in the British charts, a feat that has eluded even the mighty Beatles. It’s a record that will stand for more than 20 years.

All this against a background of change: the social, cultural and political life of Britain is headed in a whole new direction. Vanishing fast are the grey smothering cobwebs of the austere years of the post-war era, blowing away in the bracing fresh wind of change.

I’m just beginning my final year at school and like lots of other young people of my age I want to be free from the constraints and restrictions that have governed the lives of my parents and grand parents generations.

There’s a general feeling that something exciting is afoot, and this encourages my friends and me to find our voices. We’re determined we’ll be heard. Hope and optimism are high: and we have exciting aspirations. Music is in the vanguard of this unstoppable thrust forward and we embrace it with open arms.

Although The Beatles are on top of the musical pile, Beatlemania having swept through the country like wildfire, there’s a large supporting cast of talented and ambitious Liverpool groups, including Gerry and the Pacemakers, who are more than holding their own in what is being labelled the Mersey Beat Boom. The Searchers are also to the forefront, causing a stir with Sweets For My Sweet and then with Sugar And Spice. Simple, infectious songs that fit in perfectly with the times: young people just wanting their music to be fun.

I’ve just seen the latter-named bands on the Sixties Gold UK Tour; both were as entertaining and energetic as in their heyday all that time ago.  Honest: the years just rolled away. Of course, they played all their hits (after all, that what the audience wanted) and had young and old alike on their feet, clapping, singing along and dancing in the aisles. It was like 1963 all over again)…

Early January sees The  Beatles’ second record, Please Please Me, released and it’s an immediate success:  of course, no one realises just how massive they’ll become but the signs are there that they’ll be around a for sometime!

My friends and me are regulars at the famous Studio 51 in London where we see the burgeoning Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and a whole host of other exciting home-grown rhythm and blues acts. We also see visiting American blues icons such as John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed. The richness of choice is exhilarating. 

April, and Gerry and the Pacemakers have their initial top of the pops hit. How Do You Do It is originally intended for The Beatles but they turn it down! This is followed in June by I Like It. It rules the charts for four weeks and cements the group’s standing.

They’ll never last, says the older generation. They won’t be remembered this time next year! How wrong can you be?

All this happening as the James Bond movie series ignites with From Russia With Love: Martin Luther King delivers his historic ‘I Have A Dream’ speech in Washington; Bob Dylan makes his big breakthrough with the album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

Winter’s icy tentacles give you the shivers and Christmas is just a matter of weeks away. It’s all down to Studio 51, hot and sweaty beneath the low arched ceiling. The music’s cool, everything in the world is just fine. Then shattering news abruptly interrupts the evening. The date is Friday November 22, a date never to be forgotten…

David Soulsby lives in Romford, Essex,David Soulsby England, and is now retired after 46 years as a journalist. During his career, he worked on local and national newspapers and magazines, and in the Sixties met many of his musical heroes, including Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Sonny Boy Williamson, James Brown and Mel Torme. He’s now freelancing as a writer and proof-reader, working from home. He’s the author of Somewhere In The Distance, a novel about four friends growing up in the Sixties.

 

 

 

 Somewhere in the Distance

 

Your Daily Oldies Fix

CQHams

An Enlightening Quiche, a novel by Eva Pasco

 

Hullabaloo! Dave Hull

 

My Summer on Haight Street by Robert Rice Jr.

 

Inside Songs of the Sixties by Brian Forsythe 

Culinary Tributeto the Beatles 

 

The 60s - Carl - 1968 - Vietnam

 Vietnam -1968

The 60s - Webmaster - 2006

 Today

 

HollywoodMegaStore.com

Altamont AugieEva Pasco's Book

 

Somewhere in the Distance by David Soulsby 

The Isla Vista Crucible

 

Read my Blog

 Franchise Trees

40th Anniversary of Woodstock

Vibration of a Nation Video 

Sign the Guestbook 

 

Jukeboxes

Go to The 60s Official Site Jukebox

 

 

 

 

 

Home
Updates and New Content
My Home Town - Circleville Ohio
Cruisin'
My Jade East Adventure
The 60s Tradition of Eating Together as a Family
The Blown Perfect Game
The Great Pumpkin Caper
The Haunted Bridge Near Yellowbud
Union Street Beat
Union Street Peeping Toms
What Ever Happened to The Cool Jocks?
Top Ten Countdown
The Sixties With Eva Pasco
David Soulsby Reflections
Ask Big Dog
Things You Just Don't Hear Anymore
1960s Candy
60s Articles - Baby Boomers
60s Fads & Fashions
60s Music A Decade of Great Music
60s Songs That Peaked on the Charts in 1970
Grammy Award Winners
Our Music, Our Times, Remember When?
The 60s Craziest Songs
The Top 100 Recording Artists of the 50s and 60s Era
Webmaster's Pick of the Top 100 Songs of the Decade
60s Rock 'N Roll Headline News
A Story of Life - A Thousand Marbles
60s Slang- Do You Remember These?
A Tribute to Elvis
Elvis Presley's Top Recordings
Stories About Elvis Presley
Baby Boomer Cities
British Music Invasion
British Top Hits of the 1960s
Chickenman
Chickenman Has Been Identified
Class Reunion Tips
Dance Crazes of the 60s
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech"
Drive-In Theater Memories
Flashback Time Capsule High School Years
Great TV Commercial Jingles
Living in Black and White
Moms Cookbook
Movies of the 60s
Quotes of the Baby Boomer Generation
Remembering Valentine's Day
Previous Spotlighted Artists
Vikki Carr
Bob Dylan
Lovin' Spoonful
Rhythm and Blues Music of the 1960s
Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame
Route 66 - The Mother Road
Summer of Love
Television in the 60s
The Economy and Prices
The Headlines and Key Facts of the 1960s
The Pickle Jar
The Top Ten Songs on this Day
The Vietnam War - The War that Changed a Generation
Medal of Honor Soldiers
Music Favorites from 'Nam
My Tour Pics of Vietnam
Pictures From The Vietnam War
Tet Offensive - An Explanation
Vietnam War Myths
Vietnam War Time Line
Today in Baby Boomer History
Top DJs of the 60s
Toys and Games
Whatever Happened to
Woodstock Rock Festival

 Your Daily Oldies Fix

CQHams

 My Blog

 

Go to The 60s Official Site Jukebox

Sign the Guestbook