How Good Was The Year (in music) - 1963?

1987 scored surprisingly low in the end after a lot of positive comments in the last thread, placing 27th out of 33 years polled to date. We turn the clock back to an even earlier time now as we go back to the sixties for 1963.

A reminder of the premise of the thread

After a number of days of posting and reminiscing, we’ll be rating the music of the year out of ten, based on the albums, singles, gigs, whatever that stand out for you that year, and voting for our favourite nominated albums and songs.

Everyone can nominate one album and one song from the year which will then be collated into side-polls two days before the thread closes - please make it clear when you post a nomination for the poll (as opposed to just posting clips or lists of songs and albums you like, which are very welcome).

Rank Year Rating Top Album Top Song
Rank Year Rating Top Album Top Song
1 1991 8.98 Slint - Spiderland Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy
2 1997 8.6 Radiohead - OK Computer The Beta Band - Dry The Rain
3 1967 8.48 Love - Forever Changes Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - Some Velvet Morning
4 1995 8.45 Radiohead - The Bends The Smashing Pumpkins - 1975
5 1977 8.41 Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express Donna Summer - I Feel Love
6 1992 8.29 Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted Pulp - Babies
6 2013 8.29 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Jubilee Street
8 2019 8.14 Self Esteem - Compliments Please Big Thief - Not
9 1975 8.13 Neil Young - Tonight’s the Night / Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Cortez the Killer
9 2007 8.13 LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver / Radiohead - In Rainbows LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends / M.I.A. - Paper Planes
11 2004 8.1 Madvillain - Madvillainy / Arcade Fire - Funeral The Walkmen - The Rat
11 2001 8.1 The Strokes - Is This It Roots Manuva - Witness (1 Hope) / Mogwai - My Father My King
13 1981 8.06 The Cure - Faith New Order - Ceremony
13 2002 8.06 Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge
15 1979 7.96 Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures Joy Division - Transmission
16 1982 7.76 The Cure - Pornography / Kate Bush - The Dreaming Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding / The Associates - Party Fears Two
17 2014 7.69 FKA Twigs - LP1 FKA Twigs - Two Weeks
18 2010 7.66 Kanye West - MBDTF / Joanna Newsom - Have One One Me / Beach House - Teen Dream Robyn - Dancing On My Own
19 1970 7.61 Neil Young - After the Goldrush Curtis Mayfield - Move on Up
20 1972 7.53 Can - Ebe Gamyasi Stevie Wonder - Superstition
21 1990 7.47 Sonic Youth - Goo The Cure - Pictures of You
21 1976 7.47 David Bowie - Station to Station Bob Dylan - Hurricane
23 1986 7.42 Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle
24 2005 7.39 Sufjan Stevens - Illinois Amerie - 1 Thing
25 1965 7.38 The Beatles - Rubber Soul Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)
26 2017 7.36 Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent Kendrick Lamar - Humble
27 1987 7.32 Sonic Youth - Sister The Cure - Just Like Heaven
28 1999 7.3 Mogwai - Come On Die Young Björk - All Is Full Of Love
29 2009 7.1 Fever Ray - Fever Ray Animal Collective - My Girls
30 1974 6.95 Neil Young - On The Beach Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - The Bottle
31 1985 6.53 Tom Waits - Rain Dogs Prince and the Revolution - Raspberry Beret
32 1962 6 Howlin’ Wolf - Howlin’ Wolf Dick Dale - Misirlou
33 1961 5.16 John Coltrane - My Favourite Things Roy Orbison - Crying

1963 was a year when the history books point us frequently to the USA; it was the year JFK was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald (this is not the conspiracy theory thread) who was shot dead himself two days later and Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of a quarter of a million people during the March on Washington. It was also the year The Beatles released their first albums, Lamborghini was founded, the first Porsche 911 was produced and the comic book team the Avengers were first assembled.

We said goodbye to John F Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, Sylvia Plath, Patsy Cline, Edith Piaf and Aldous Huxley, and hello to Whitney Houston, Michael Jordan, George Michael, Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt.

But how good was the music?

You have roughly one week to nominate one album and one song which will then go into a poll along with a number rating poll for year overall out of 10, which will close a few days later.

Some lists for inspiration:

Best Albums of 1963 : Best Ever Albums
100 Greatest Albums of 1963
100 Greatest Songs From 1963

Nominations will be tallied here as the week goes on:

Album Nominations

Song Nominations

1 Like

Immense year for jazz. Will only scratch the surface for now:


Nominate album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan


The first and the best

A lot of sweat and imagination went into those couple of minutes, before I learned a bit about how the Workshop created this stuff in their early days I was oblivious to how manual a process it was, not grasping they didn’t have synths then. Delia says they had a wobbulator though. I like hearing the Radiophonic boffins talk


Good music hadn’t been invented yet.

1 Like

waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa wipeout


Probably my favourite period for singles - must be dozens, possibly hundreds, of girl group sound songs from 63 I love and many other absolute classics.

Albums is all about the jazz isn’t it but there are a few gems from the pop/rock/soundtracks/experimental spheres.


Album nomination: James Brown and the Famous Flames - Live At The Apollo

Song nomination: Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - ‘Heatwave’


I wish I hadn’t been too busy to take part in these threads recently. Some of my favourite on the board and I’ve missed some great years.

Anyway, I feel like i can only nominate album: Jorge Ben: Samba Esquema Novo

If your only recollection of this song is Sergio Mendes or the Black Eyes Peas, I urge you to listen to it again. Absolutely timeless, perfect, joyous Brazilian Music. It’s far from the best Jorge Ben album but what it represents as an introductory statement by a young songwriting giant and its cultural impact (how many of the tracks are now essentially Brazilian standards), it deserves credit.

My favourite song on the album:

Covered beautifully by Miriam Makeba:

Another fave:


So many great tracks this year, especially by the girl groups.

Nominate song: The Jaynetts - Sally, Go Round the Roses

I’m going to go for this one by The Jaynetts, their only hit. It’s got this haunting quality to it which I love.


Took my dad to see The Searchers final (we’ll see) show at Liverpool Phil a couple of months ago as he’s a big merseybeat fan and the first record he bought was theirs.

Hearing that John McNally twangy guitar sound live that went on to influence a lot of surf and jangle stuff was pretty cool. So I’ll nominate this song:

The Searchers - Love Potion Number 9




My collection truly starts at 1965, but there are undoubtedly a ton of 1963 singles I’m familiar with even if I don’t know them off the top of my head. Love some oldies! I’ve been checking out some playlists to pick out favorites. In the meantime I’m just going to post this because I can’t get it out of my head this morning and it was in there when I woke up yesterday too. It’s time to push it out.


Just listened to this for the first time and was like hang on, that’s familiar…Eminem’s Guilty Conscience isn’t it, that’s where i knew it from.

This is so cool, my word, the groove on it. thanks for posting it, feelin a little obsessed, wanted to read more and found this, Julian Cope’s a fan


Great write-up, thanks for sharing it. I’m very happy to have rediscovered this track thanks to HGWTY.

Ok I know it’s predictable but when it comes down to it my single nomination has to be what is imo the greatest pop song ever made. Bonus video is one of the all time great film title sequences.

The Ronettes - Be.My Baby

Album nomination Francois Hardy - Francois Hardy (sometimes listed as
Le Premier Bonheur Du Jour).

All of FH’s 60s albums are absolute gems and I own very few albums from 63 so it was a no brainer. If you don’t know her maybe beyond the odd single do check it out as it’s just a joy from start to finish.


Song Nomination:
Dionne Warwick - Anyone Who Had A Heart

I think this is the second time I’ve nominated a Bacharach number sung by Dionne, what a classy pairing though. It’s spectacularly lovelorn and so graceful.

I don’t think I’ll be nominating an album for this year, there’s nothing I feel particularly strongly about putting forward but I’ll definitely be checking out some of those that have already been mentioned upthread. Here are some things I wanted to mention though.

It’ll be a couple of years before I consistently enjoy Beach Boys albums, boy they really put a shift in this year, three albums plus Brian was working with the Honeys too, I think the Surfer Girl title track and In My Room are heavenly little things

I bet there are some awesome film scores out there to be discovered, I’ll give a respectful nod to Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther theme, the all time sneakiest. I liked Nino Rota’s work for Fellini’s 8 1/2 which I remember being quite playful, and George Delerue’s score for Le Mepris is sad but very sumptuous…

…however I think the one i am most fond of is Kenny Graham’s charming jazz score for The Small World Of Sammy Lee, it didn’t see a proper outing til 50 years after the films release when Trunk put it out. I love the opener

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou came to my attention earlier this year when The Song of the Sea featured in this Guardian list Feed your soul: the 31-day classical music diet for January | Classical music | The Guardian. I thought it was a really beautiful, calming piece. She passed away in March aged 99.

I considered nominating the album it came from, Der Sang Des Meeres except that I’m not certain it actually exists, the only reference to it I can find are on the credits to this release that features the tracks from it and says it came out in '63, I’ll trust that.é-Maryam-Guèbrou-Éthiopiques-21-Piano-Solo

Lovely EP by Shirley Collins (of Sussex)

I think this is great, only found it while while looking around at what else came out, beautiful

Not listened to the rest of the album yet but at only 30mins I ought to

Last one

sleep tight


Nominate album: Prince Buster - I Feel The Spirit

The first ska album released outside of Jamaica (on Blue Beat records), this collection includes some older 45s recorded in Jamaica with the Drumbago All Stars band, and new ones recorded in the UK with Georgie Fame’s band, the Lee Dawson Blues Unit.


As has been noted, good pop and rock albums are pretty thin on the ground in 1963; singles are still king and pop albums tend to comprise the 1 or 2 singles plus a bunch of filler and covers, rather than being satisfying coherent works in their own right. Lot of great singles though…

The Kingsmen take me where you gotta go.

Dusty’s solo debut after leaving The Springfields.

On of Johnny Cash’s biggest hits was released this year and appeared as the title track on a best of.

The Big O. This song later used to such great effect by David Lynch in Blue Velvet

Speaking of which, Bobby Vinton’s version of Blue Velvet with Burt Bacharach and his Orchestra was released in 1963 and provided the title track to the film.

Another great girl group track, this one written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, put out by The Chiffons.

And I believe there was a band from Liverpool who put out a few singles and their first album this year.