mellicious: pink manicure (keyword-346)
[personal profile] mellicious
The Billboard #1 song for 1963 is "Sugar Shack," a song which I like but which I don't have any passionate feelings about. (Here's the list I was using - I'm not much of a Beach Boys fan and for whatever reason never really have been, so I have more definite feelings about #2.) Other big hits that year were "Louie Louie" and "Be My Baby" and "It's My Party" - but in 1963, I was three, and I doubt that I had much opinion about any of these songs at the time. As I said yesterday, my parents were so not much into "popular" music once that shifted away from meaning Percy Faith and Perry Como.

I chose to talk about this year, though, because the end of 1963 is where I start having a few vague memories. I have one younger sister, who turned two that fall, and I started to have a sense of her being a brat around that time. I remember that Christmas. And the first memory I have that I can put a date on was a month before Christmas. My dad, who worked in an office in Houston at the time, actually went and saw the president's motorcade in Houston the day before JFK was killed. But I don't remember that, and I don't remember them telling me the president was dead or any of that. I imagine they talked over and around us about that part. What I do remember was watching the funeral on TV. It was right before Thanksgiving and my mother was home - I imagine they got the day off just for the funeral, actually, at least that's what's happened when other presidents have died since - because my mother worked, she was a teacher, and kids didn't get the whole week off back then. I think I've told this story before here, but I think the reason I remember it is because of the little boy who was my age - JFK, Jr, that is. You know how kids are always more interested in other kids than in adults. Back a few years before my mother died, I told her that I remembered that, and she said, "No, you don't, you just think you remember." And of course that does happen, but still it kind of pissed me off and I said, "Yes, I do, we were making Christmas cookies and watching it on the TV." I actually have this really clear memory of just that little bit of it. And she thought about it a while and decided I was right, we were. She hadn't even remembered that herself. So she quit saying I was making it up in my head.

Anyway, the song I decided I wanted to represent 1963 with is a kids' song, more or less: "Puff the Magic Dragon" - although I'm pretty sure as kids, we got a bowdlerized version without that sad part at the end. Bear in mind that this was not just a kids' song at the time, though. (Hearing it now, it doesn't sound like a kids' song at all, it's pretty saddownbeat in tone all the way through, at least the version I'm using here is.) But it was the #16 song on that Billboard list I linked above, it was a huge hit. I definitely remember it, although honestly I couldn't tell you when I remember it from - it could well have been a little later. It's probably a more peppy version meant for kids (and by some other artist, probably) that I really remember.

Let's see if I can get this to embed right! (I've got a picture on my screen now, so I guess it worked, and man, Mary Travers looks young there.)

Date: 2014-12-01 04:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] profrobert.livejournal.com
I had a 78 rpm (!) single of Puff (though as I'm three years younger than you, it wouldn't have been until a few years later). I *think* it had the whole song, including the ending, but I don't remember being sad about it.

It's interesting to me always what is a memory and what is a memory of a memory, so to speak. My earliest memories relate to the New York Worlds Fair in 1965, so I was two and change, but they are just pictures in my mind more than anything else. I do remember the blackout of November '65 quite clearly and with a lot of detail.

Date: 2014-12-01 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mellificent.livejournal.com
Man, were they even making 78s by the later part of the Sixties? I remember them being around when I was really little, and I guess they must have made them up til at least '63 if you had Puff on one, but I think that had to have been at the very end of the availability of those. When I was growing up we had a few that were my mom's old ones, and they weren't any songs that interested me at all, so I couldn't even tell you what they were.
Edited Date: 2014-12-02 03:36 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-12-02 04:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] profrobert.livejournal.com
So you got me wondering when 78s stopped being made, and you're right they were phased out in the early '60s. But wikipedia notes, "As late as the 1970s, some children's records were released at the 78 rpm speed," but without citation. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramophone_record#Speeds So I think my memory is correct after all!

Date: 2014-12-02 07:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mellificent.livejournal.com
Oh, I wasn't doubting that you were correct. But that's interesting that they kept making them longer on children's albums. (I had forgotten about the 16-2/3 ones! There were some of those floating around when I was little, too.)

Date: 2014-12-02 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] profrobert.livejournal.com
No, no, I meant you got me doubting my memory (not that I took it as your telling me I was wrong), which is part of this theme about what are and aren't real childhood memories. It was nice to confirm just for myself that I got this one right.

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