The first of the series covering the years in rock as the millennium rushes to meet us...

Sex, as Phillip Larkin observed, started in 1963. And so did The Beatles.

The world was in black and white then and everything looked as though rationing had just ended. The world had just caught its breath after the Cuban Missile Crisis the previous year which had threatened to start a nuclear war.

The British establishment was rocked to its foundations when Minister Of Defence John Profumo resigned after a scandal around his relationship with “good time girl” Christine Keeler, who was also the girlfriend of the Soviet Naval Attache.


Gone and forgotten: Mrs Mills, essentially your gran playing the organ. Er, no we don’t understand either.

Album of the year: ‘Please Please Me’ – The Beatles

Single of the year: ‘Please Please Me’ – The Beatles

Band/Artist: The Beatles, obviously

1963 belonged to: Mop tops

Key event of the year: Sex is invented


As evidence of the decline of civilization, four mop topped lads from Liverpool took the world by storm. They were wild, had hair like girls and had pre-marital sex. The album charts had hitherto been dominated by film soundtracks, the latest Sinatra release or such rightly forgotten delights as ‘Richard Chamberlain Sings’.

The year ended with the first two Beatles albums – ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘With The Beatles’ – blasting Kathy Kirby, The George Mitchell Minstrells and Mrs Mills into the also rans.

There were, of course, other things going on in 1963 – Merseybeat also produced The Searchers and Gerry And The Pacemakers; The Rolling Stones were attracting some attention after their appearance on new pop show Ready Steady Go and in America, Bob Dylan , Marvin Gaye and Little Stevie Wonder were all enjoying their first flush of fame.

The dance craze of the year was The Monkey (inspired by The Miracles‘ hit ‘Mickey’s Monkey’) and as President John F Kennedy was blown away by a) the Mafia b) killers sent by Fidel Castro c) the US military industrial complex or d) a lone nut assassin, the record that topped the charts was ‘Dominique’ by The Singing Nun. Ain’t that always the way…

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