I was just 15 years old in the February of 1963. We had passed through one of the hardest winters in decades. January was the coldest month of the 20th century, at that time.
February came in with more snow, and a 36 hour blizzard which affected most parts of the country. It drifted in the gale force winds, and I can still remember that the snow completely covered up the side door of my grandmother's house. It had formed a snow "bank" as the wind blew on that side.
The front door was passable.
The road outside was impassable except for a track which people had made down the middle.
As I looked at it, it seemed like undulating waves of the sea which had frozen white.
Drift after drift, after drift, rippling towards me as I walked in the single pathway up the hill. The deepest parts of these drifts were almost 5 feet in height. The shallowest, like the dip in the waves, being knee deep.
I have no idea who cleared the snow to make a passage possible.
Into all this mayhem of a winter, came an explosion on the music scene which changed four young men almost overnight.
The Beatles recorded their album "Please, Please Me." at the Abbey Road studios in London, in just 12 hours.
And it catapulted them into fame.
|My own personal LP Now 50 years old!|
It was absolutely brilliant being a teenager at that time. The "Liverpool Sound" was everywhere, making the city fashionable, with it's "Cavern Club"
I bought the LP and still have it today, along with "With The Beatles."
Everywhere there was Beatles music coming from the radio and they appeared on TV. WE were all glued to the spot!
Other groups began to emerge "Gerry and the Pacemakers", " The Hollies", "The Searchers", we couldn't get enough of them!
Our small town boasted an excellent dance hall, and I saw The Hollies, and Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas perform live. It was great to be on the dance floor to such great sounds!
I went to see "Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders", and on one bizarre occasion we spotted "The Animals" when one of them had come out of one of our local shops. This was just before they became very famous.
It put the North of England very much on the map! A lot of the new groups were from Liverpool and Manchester.
I was studying music as one of my GCSE exams, and I learned a lot about the Dominant 7th chords that the Beatles used! (Obviously not the only chords they used, but it was such a radically different sound then, to anything else we had heard.).
|Snow in February 1963, Burnley, Lancashire|
We danced to their music at parties,and on the sleeve of the LP is a stiletto heel mark where I had accidentally stepped on to the cover. Thankfully the LP was not inside!
Looking again at some of the chart topping songs of that year, brings back so many memories.
I sang Skeeter Davis' song "The End of the World" at one of our Grammar School concerts in the summer.
The whole presentation being directed and performed without any staff help. Including a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Trial by Jury". I and several of my musical friends were in the chorus.
We did however, have our very own brilliant musician called Johnnie Iveson, who played as his first instrument, a trombone. So he and several others put together a band for the occasion, which was a great hit.
He went on to make a name for himself in London circles, becoming principal trombonist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1965. I attach a link to his profile.
As I read the list below, of the UK hits, it transports me back to that brilliant time when, like the Shadows instrumental, it was fantastic to simply "Dance On" !!
How the music stays in your head!!
My dad was asked one day, as he went into his office in Manchester,
"How come you are singing "She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!" ?
"How on Earth do you know the words?"
So he replied:
"I have two daughters at home.......and it is played constantly!"
Not such an old "fuddy duddy" hey!
Some of the chart songs of 1963.
|03 Jan||Cliff Richard and The Shadows||The Next Time / Bachelor Boy|
|24 Jan||Shadows||Dance On|
|31 Jan||Jet Harris and Tony Meehan||Diamonds|
|21 Feb||Frank Ifield||Wayward Wind|
|14 Mar||Cliff Richard and The Shadows||Summer Holiday|
|29 Mar||Shadows||Foot Tapper|
|11 Apr||Gerry and The Pacemakers||How Do You Do It?|
|02 May||Beatles||From Me To You|
|20 Jun||Gerry and The Pacemakers||I Like It|
|18 Jul||Frank Ifield||Confessin' (That I Love You)|
|01 Aug||Elvis Presley||(You're The) Devil In Disguise|
|08 Aug||Searchers||Sweets For My Sweet|
|22 Aug||Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas||Bad To Me|
|12 Sep||Beatles||She Loves You|
|10 Oct||Brian Poole and The Tremeloes||Do You Love Me|
|31 Oct||Gerry and The Pacemakers||You'll Never Walk Alone|
|12 Dec||Beatles||I Want To Hold Your Hand|