Tonawanda News — Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a defining event in our nation’s history, along with man landing on the moon and the Sept. 11 attacks. Even though I was not born by 1963, it was an event that still had a major impact on my parents, and maybe some of my readers.
Since this is a column devoted to music, I thought it might be interesting to look back to 1963 and what was happening in music around the time of the Kennedy assassination.
It was an important year for The Beatles. They released their first album, “Please Please Me” in March of 1963 and their second album, “With the Beatles” on the day of the assassination. Those albums were only released in England. The very first Beatles album released in America was titled “Beatlemania! With the Beatles,” which had the same songs as “With the Beatles” but a different cover. It was released Nov. 25, 1963.
Fifty years later, both of the surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, are touring this year, and McCartney released a new album last month.
One thing has changed dramatically since 1963 — I can’t think of any band that would put out two new albums four months apart.
Another song of note in 1963 is “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen. The song is reportedly the most recorded rock song of all time, the second most recorded is “Yesterday” by The Beatles. The song also was the subject of an FBI investigation to determine if the song’s lyrics were obscene. If the FBI still investigated song lyrics to determine if they were obscene, they would be pretty busy.
In 1963, three influential bands formed, one in Kingston, Jamaica, and the other two in England.
In Jamaica, the band that went on to become arguably the most popular reggae band in the modern era is Bob Marley and The Wailers. It would be a few more years before the group was on the national radar. In those days, as now, they were billed simply as The Wailers. The group continues to tour, even though only two of their original members are alive.