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Monday, January 3, 2011

The Top 50 Songs of 1963

Holy Beatles!  No friends, Adam West isn’t involved in another caped mystery, but the Beatles have broke into American pop culture.  As great as some of their songs are already, they’re still a few years away from reaching their peak.  Bob Dylan however, has entered his prime.  Girl Groups are also making waves in the pop scene.  It’s 1963, and though rock ‘n roll may still be dead, it has evolved into a less danceable version called “rock” and hey, if this post is a rockin’, don’t come a knockin.  (Sorry, that was awful, but that’s what I do). 

50.  Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963
49.  Bob Dylan’s Dream – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963

Dylan has a minor problem with this album, and that’s that he puts his name in two of the songs.  Why doesn’t he just call this song “My Dream.”  Sure that name is almost as gay, but at least he’s not speaking in the third person. 

48.  You Really Got a Hold on Me – The Beatles (Rhythm & Blues) 1963
47.  This Boy – The Beatles (Rhythm & Blues) 1963
46.  Anna – The Beatles (Rhythm & Blues) 1963
45.  Don’t Bother Me – The Beatles (Rock) 1963
44.  All My Loving – The Beatles (Pop) 1963
43.  Do You Want to Know a Secret (Rhythm & Blues) 1963

I like the Beatles showing their versatility and dropping some R&B shit. 

42.  Boys – The Beatles (Rock ‘n Roll) 1963
41.  P.S. I Love You – The Beatles (Rock) 1963
40.  From Me to You – The Beatles (Rock ‘n Roll) 1963
39.  It Won’t Be Long – The Beatlest (Rock ‘n Roll) 1963

Rock ‘n roll is coming back via the Britains!

38.  Puff the Magic Dragon – Peter, Paul and Mary (Folk) 1963

Hippies trying to make this song about pot is just another reason to hate hippies.  I’m not sure if I should blame hippies or pot heads (and hopefully I’ll break down the differences at some point), but the whole trying to say, “You know that dude was so high when he wrote that” thing that stoners do drives me crazy.  The reason why Pineapple Express fails so bad is James Franco’s drug dealing character is all the most annoying characteristics of someone who smokes pot.  I hate smoking with that guy.  I knew him often in college.  Fortunately, I don’t know him anymore. 

37.  Da Doo Ron Ron – The Crystals (Pop) 1963

 The Crystals were an okay girl group, which I guess isn’t much different than being a successful boy band today, but this genre isn’t really my expertise.  After all, these aren’t exactly the “Roaring Women of the 90s”, they are more of the “My Boyfriend Broke My Heart” variety. 

36.  Down the Highway – Bob Dylan (Blues) 1963
35.  Bob Dylan’s Blues – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963
34.  Blowing In the Wind – Peter, Paul & Mary (Folk) 1963**

Granted, I botched the whole “Crazy” Patsy Cline/Willie Nelson thing, but I think this is the first time the same song is ranking twice in the same year. 

33.  Please Please Me – The Beatles (Rock) 1963
32.  I Wanna Be Your Man – The Beatles (Rock ‘n Roll) 1963

The Beatles just gave this song to the Stones.  Could you imagine?  Sorry McJagger kiddo, but we don’t want this one. 

31.  Sweet Dreams of You – Patsy Cline (Country) 1963

So it’s 1963, and now the music gods have taken Patsy Cline.  I’m sure everything will be fine though once the 70s hit, and rock stardom will stop claiming the lives of some of its top performers. 

30.  Then He Kissed Me – The Crystals (Pop) 1963

Girl Group isn’t the most original of genre names, but for the early 60s, it works. 

29.  Glad All Over – The Dave Clark Five (Rock) 1963

More British Invasion!  It’s this invasion that turns rock ‘n roll into pure 100% uncut rock.  It’s also not the Beatles doing it all by themselves. 

28.  Baby, I Love You – The Ronettes (Pop) 1963

Veronica Bennett.  Ronnie Spector.  I can’t believe I’m just finding out her name today (whichever she goes by).   The Ronettes like most girl groups become unlistenable after about 10 minutes, but the Ronettes are most likely the cream of the crop of that thang, that is, aside from the Supremes and possibly the Shangri-Las.  I may have to do a girl group power rankings some day. 

27.  Help Me – Sonny Boy Williamson (II) (Blues) 1963

It helps when your dad is a blues giant yes, but this song makes the blues sound pretty smooth. 

26.  Another Saturday Night – Sam Cooke (Rhythm & Blues) 1963

This is some Sam Cooke shit I get. 

25.  Cry Baby – Garnett Mims & The Enchanters (Rhythm & Blues) 1963

Janis Joplin covered it, it has to be good!

24.  Blowin’ in the Wind – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963

The answer my friend … Eight, duh!

23.  Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash (Country) 1963

It’s hard for me to rank a song that NASCAR has destroyed for me.  That’s the strange thing about Johnny Cash.  He’s the bridge between redneck country cowboys and tight jean wearing condescending , hipsters. 

22.  She Loves You – The Beatles (Rock ‘n Roll) 1963

Yeah Yeah Yeah. 

21.  I Shall Be Free – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963
20.  Girl From North Country – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963
19.  Corrina, Corrina – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963
18.  Louie Louie – The Kingsmen (Rock) 1963

Something else that’s happened to rock ‘n roll is more drum fills.  The drummers are starting to dominate a little more, not Nowicki-style dominat per se, but they are making themselves heard. 

17.  You Don’t Own Me – Lesley Gore (Rhythm & Blues) 1963

This song is a nice pleasant surprise.  It’s got that 60s gal thing, but it’s got a gorgeous darkness accompanying it. 

16.  Pipeline – The Chantals (Surf Rock) 1963

This genre is surprisingly badass.  I thought it may have been a gimmick, but there are nearly 10 great songs from this genre, which means it’s good.  Does rap even have 10 good songs?  Just kidding friends. 

15.  Roll Over Beethoven – Beatles (Rock ‘n Roll) 1963

I never realized this, but the Beatles really cover this well.  This song rocks.   It’s possibly even better than the original.   

14.  Wipe Out – The Safaris (Surf Rock) 1963

Yes, this is the commercialism of surf rock, but the drums kick so much ass.  Everyone knows this riff.  That means you wrote a good song. 

13.  Oxford Town – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963
12.  Talking World War III Blues – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963
11.  Twist and Shout – The Beatles (Rock) 1963

John Lennon wails on this song.  With apologies to old bluesmen like Screamin Jay Hawkins and Howlin Wolf, it’s Lennon’s screaming here that would help give birth to hard rock. 

10.  Act Naturally – Buck Owens (Country) 1963

It’s always great when you find a nice country song that you always thought was a Beatles song. 

9.  Misirlou – Dick Dale (Surf Rock) 1963

Sadly, I didn’t know this song pre-Tarantino, but hearing this full version is quite nice.  Dick Dale is one of the great early rock guitar players. 

8.  Can I Get A Witness – Marvin Gaye (Rhythm & Blues) 1963

A distinction that’s very difficult to make is R&B vs. Soul.  This song has so much more pep than your traditional R&B song,  but doesn’t deviate to much from the whole doowop thing, well, minus the actual doowops. 

7.  Masters of War – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963

What’s great about this song is that it’s pre-Vietnam, so it’s not really a protest song, but yet, the greatest anti-war song ever, aside from that cover of “Give Peace a Chance” that happened during the first Iraq war.  How lame was that?  Well, I guess not as lame as the “We Are the World Part 2” for Haiti. 

6.  Christmas Baby (Please Come Home) – Darlene Love (Rhythm & Blues) 1963

So, it’s January 3rd when I write this.  I sadly went the whole Xmas season without hearing possibly my favorite Xmas recording.  C’est dommage. 

5.  I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles (Rock ‘n Roll) 1963

This has to be the best “I Should Have Been a Guitar Player!” bass line ever.  Paul is smoking here.  I rarely say that about Paul McCartney.  In fact, this may be my only time. 

4.  I Want To Hold Your Hand – The Beatles (Rock) 1963

At first, I always wondered why this song was so huge.  The claps are annoying and at first it doesn’t seem that different than anything else that’s already happened, but then bam, the change.  Rock’n roll doesn’t change like that.  Rock does. 

3.  A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963
2.  Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right – Bob Dylan (Folk) 1963

As great as the British Invasion is and what not, the early Beatles just don’t have what Bob Dylan has.  This one has a good chance to make the top percentile, which I means the overall Top 50 of the Top 5000, but there’s still a long way to go. 

1.  Be My Baby – The Ronettes (Pop) 1963

This is the perfect song.  If one is ever trying to write the perfect pop song, this is the model.  


  1. 1963 was the greatest, the year I graduated from Davis High in Davis, Oklahoma. There is no music as great as the old time rock and roll music...............Rave On Buddy.

    Scott Bumgarner

  2. Where are the beach boys? Where are jan&dean??? Is this a joke