1963’s best songs, a playlist

In the time B.B. (before blog) I did a variety of things to take up inordinate amounts of my free time. One of those things was the KZSU 60th Anniversary Marathon.


KZSU 60th Anniversary logo by David Franusich

At some point in the fall of 2006, we realized that KZSU would turn 60 on January 6th, 2007. We came up with the idea of having a 60 hour marathon with an hour for each year we’d been on the air. Noon to 1pm on January 4th would be 1947 and it would advance till 11pm to midnight on January 6th. We got 30-some alumni DJs back on the air to DJ some of the years they were on. We got newspaper coverage. It was kind of a big to-do.

The year-hours that weren’t covered by alumni were open to current DJs and seeings as I was organizing the affair, I got to pick what years I wanted to do. Basically, I got to pick which were my favorite years of music in the last 60 years. I picked 1963 and 1964.

Let me be very clear about something: There is no better task to give a music nerd than to ask him to prepare a mix of a certain length (say, an hour) of songs from a certain year, especially when it’s one of his favorite years in music. Go ahead and try it. Give yourself three weeks and really get into it. It’s awesome. I still listen to my two playlists quite frequently.

Well, enough chat. Here’s my playlist for 1963:

  • “Jack” Haney & “Nikiter” Amstrong “The Interview (Summit Chanted Meeting)” from The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963 [1]
  • The Crystals “Heartbreaker” from Phil Spector: Back To Mono (1958-1969)
  • Little Peggy March “I Will Follow Him” [2]
  • The Morrocco Muzik Makers “Pig Knuckles” from The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963
  • Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire” from the Essential
  • The Ronettes “Be My Baby” from Phil Spector: Back To Mono (1958-1969)
  • The Crystals “Then He Kissed Me” from Phil Spector: Back To Mono (1958-1969) [3]
  • The Crystals “Da Doo Ron Ron” from Phil Spector: Back To Mono (1958-1969)
  • L. Hollis & The Mackadoos “Bui Bui” from Eccentric Soul: The Big Mack Label
    L Hollis & the Mackadoos – Bui Bui (mp3)

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  • Sam Cooke “Another Saturday Night” from Portrait of a Legend
  • the Miracles “Mickey’s Monkey” from The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963 [4]
    the Miracles – Mickey’s Monkey (mp3)

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  • Martha & the Vandellas “Heat Wave” from The Complete Motown Singles, Vol 3: 1963
  • The Wright Specials “Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do” from The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963 [5]
    the Wright Specials – Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do (mp3)

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  • Bob Dylan “Girl from the North Country” from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan [6]
  • Angels, the “My Boyfriend’s Back” from Growin’ Up Too Fast
  • The Kingsmen “Louie Louie”
  • Sam Cooke “Having A Party” from Live At The Harlem Square Club [7]
    Sam Cooke – Having a Party (mp3)

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I ended up picking a bunch of songs that I just loved. There were some hits and some obscure gems.

[1] This is a really odd novelty record. It’s a “break in” track with JFK and Kruschev imitators having a conversation with the hits of the day being spliced in in a “humorous” fashion. For instance:
Fake JFK: What do you think of the bearded one [Castro]?
[music:] He’s a rebel and he’ll never ever be any good
The three minute song has a couple dozen short samples.

[2] Part of the “rules” for the time slots were that we had to play one hit, close to 9.01 (kind of like 90.1 MHz FM, see?) minutes after the our for the DJ-picked “Hit of the Year”. This was my hit, which held the number one spot on the charts for three weeks from April 27 to May 17.

[3] Of the four Spector songs I played, I think this is my favorite. While “Be My Baby” is critically acclaimed and is oft-imitated, I like the guitar riff and castanets under the melodies of this song.

[4] Released before the Miracles were known as Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, when you hear this song you still know who this group is all about.

[5] Buying ridiculous box sets like The Complete Motown Singles is worth it when you can find songs like this one.

[6] I think this is my favorite Dylan song. I’m a big fan of the timeless melody and lyrics that hearken back to old Anglo-American ballads.

[7] This live version is light years better than the studio version. It’s just go so much soul.



2 Responses to “1963’s best songs, a playlist”

  1. What a great playlist! The Crystals are one of the most underrated bands of the 60s, and Sam Cooke is always classic.

  2. Anonymous says:

    what would i do without kzsu
    i love you

    yes poetry is another of my strengths along with typing.

    mister canuk
    thank you for everything.
    i still remember my most favourite of playlists
    the one where you were quite the drunk.

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