Just Another Book Club- 2019 (part I)

As you know, I’m running the book club slightly differently. I’m now reviewing and discussing the books we read for this book club on my Instagram HERE and Facebook HERE, usually on the first Monday of the month (following the month a book was allocated to).

As before, there is absolutely no pressure to read all six books and you don’t have to read them during the months I suggest. That’s just there for guidance and also because some books might not be published on paperback until a certain date. And as always, one of the six books will be a non-fiction book. I hope you’ll join me in reading these books. I love to hear what you think about them.

So, the 6 books we’ll be reading for the first half of 2019 will be:

January: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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February: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

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March: The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

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April: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

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May: Christodora by Tim Murphy

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June: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

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This chosen list of books is final. If you don’t fancy reading a particular book one month, just give it a miss that month.

I’ll post a new list of books for the second half of 2019 in early/mid-June time.

For a list of the books we read during the second half of 2018, click HERE

For a list of the books we read during the first half of 2018, click HERE

For a list of the books we read during the second half of 2017, click HERE

Don’t forget you can leave a review of any of the past books that we have read at any point.

For my Goodreads page, click HERE

Top Ten Tunes- 1969

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1969.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

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In 1969, the Space Hopper toy and the Raleigh Chopper bike were introduced to the UK, the Beatles perform for the final time on the rooftop of Apple Records, the very first flight of Concorde takes place, Ronnie & Reggie Kray are imprisoned for life, John Lennon & Yoko Ono marry, Paul McCartney marries Linda, Lulu representing the UK came joint first in the Eurovision Song Contest, the voting age is lowered from 21 to 18, rioting takes place in Derry, Northern Ireland, Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired it’s first episode on the BBC and Sesame Street also airs for the first time, regular colour television is broadcast on the BBC and ITV, the first man- Neil Armstrong- lands on the moon (or did he?), the music festival Woodstock takes place, the Beatles record their final album Abbey Road together, members of a cult led by Charles Manson kill 5 people, Richard Nixon becomes President of the US, former Rolling Stones guitarist Brain Jones is found drowned in his swimming pool and the films Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Italian Job, Hello Dolly!, Kes and Sweet Charity are all released. 

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Times are a’changing. You can really see a shift in music style now as we reach the end of the 60s (sniff). We also see a baby David Bowie for the first time and miraculously there’s the Rolling Stones this week! Here’s my favourites from 1969, in no particular order.

1. I Want You Back by The Jackson 5 (this video will make you happy- I promise)

2. Wonderful World, Beautiful People by Jimmy Cliff

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3. My Cherie Amour by Stevie Wonder

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4. Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin

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5. Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

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6. Come Together by the Beatles

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7. The Israelites by Desmond Dekker

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8. Spinning Wheel by Peggy Lee

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9. Space Oddity by David Bowie

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10. My Way by Frank Sinatra (this recording of Frank was done a little after 1969, but I thought you’d appreciate it anyway)

It’s almost a 4 way tie between The Beatles, Peggy Lee, The Jackson 5 and Bowie this week, but I’m going to pick  Bowie as my favourite.

See you next week for 1970!

Top Ten Tunes- 1968

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1968.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

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The Krays sipping a lovely cuppa- nice lads.

In 1968, Mauritius gains independence from the UK, motor racing world champion Jim Clark is killed at 32yrs when his car leaves the racing track and smashes in to a tree in Hockenheim, the new Abortion Act comes into effect allowing abortions in certain circumstances and provided free n the NHS, Martin Luther King is assassinated by James Earl Ray which leads to rioting across the US, the first Isle of Wight festival takes place, British tennis player Virginia Wade wins the US Open, the M1 motorway is completed, the Olympics take place in Mexico– which sees the Black Power Salute during a medal ceremony, anti-Vietnam protests take place in London, Mary Bell an 11yr old girl is sentenced to life imprisonment for the killing of two young boys, Senator Robert Kennedy is assassinated, the Kray twins are arrested for the murder of two underworld gang members and the films 2001: a Space Odyssey, Rosemary’s Baby, Bullitt, Night of the Living Dead, Planet of the Apes, Romeo and Juliet, Yellow Submarine, Funny Girl, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Oliver! are released.

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When a playlist starts with Stevie Wonder and then goes onto Aretha Franklin then onto the Beatles and ends with the Mamas & Papas and also features both Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding, you know the 60s were everything and yes once again I could cry. Here’s all those gems from 1968, in no particular order.

1. For Once in My Life by Stevie Wonder

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2. Think by Aretha Franklin

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3. Lady Madonna by the Beatles

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4. Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield

5. Build Me Up by The Foundations

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6. I Heard it Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye

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7. Everyday People by Sly and the Family Stone

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8. Piece of My Heart by Big Brother & The Holding Company (Janis Joplin)

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9. (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

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10. Dream a Little Dream by Mamas and the Papas

Aretha & the Beatles are very close seconds, but it’s Marvin that is my favourite this week (one of the most perfect beginnings for a song ever).

See you next week for 1969!

 

 

Top Ten Tunes- 1967

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1967.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

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Mick Jagger & Keith Richards arrested for possession of illegal drugs. Neither of them spent more than a day in prison despite their sentencing.

In 1967, was the Summer of Love, which was a social phenomenon that involved thousands of hippies or flower children converging in San Fransisco and other parts of the US and Europe, racing driver Donald Campbell is killed in a crash on Coniston Water in the Lake District trying to break his own speed record, the UK win the Eurovision Song Contest with Sandie Shaw’s performance of Puppet on a String– it was the first song in the English language to win the contest, the Beatles release their album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones is arrested and jailed for a year for drug possession and Mick Jagger is jailed for 3 months, the first colour television broadcasts take place, private acts of consensual male homosexuality are decriminalised, English road cyclist Tom Simpson dies of exhaustion during the Tour de France, the Concorde was unveiled in France, Arab forces attack Israel beginning the Yom Kippur War where the Arab forces were defeated and Israel took possession of additional territory, Muhammad Ali is stripped of his heavyweight title for refusing induction into US army, United Kingdom and Ireland apply officially for EEC membership, Otis Redding tragically dies in a plane crash aged only 26 years old, the films The Graduate, Cool Hand Luke, the Jungle Book, The Dirty Dozen, Bonnie and Clyde and Belle de Jour are all released.

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The 60s are most definitely swinging now. This week’s list features two of my all-time favourite singers- Aretha and Otis. If you get a chance, I strongly recommend watching both of the videos below. They were both such amazing singers and performers and these videos capture this perfectly. Also, this week begs the question, will the Beatles be my most featured artist across all of these top ten tunes lists? Beating Madonna? Maybe…Anyway, here’s my top ten tunes from 1967, in no particular order.

1. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright by PP Arnold

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2. Respect by Aretha Franklin (one of my favourite clips of Queen Aretha performing. Also, in 1967 she released 6 amazing singles and it was almost arbitrary which one I picked)

3. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

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4. Everlasting Love the Love Affair

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5. Daydream Believer by the Monkees

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6. People Are Strange by the Doors

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7. Foxey Lady by Jimi Hendrix

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8. Big Spender by Shirley Bassey

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9. Hello, Goodbye by the Beatles

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10. Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding (try watching this without a tear in your eye, whilst remembering he died the day after this was recorded at only 26 years old)

Of course, this week my favourite is Queen Aretha, but Love Affair & Otis are a verrrrrrry close second. Let me know which of these tracks from 1967 is your favourite.

See you next week for 1968!

Top Ten Tunes- 1966

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1966.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

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In 1966, the Action Man toy figure is first introduced to the UK, John Lennon declares that the Beatles are more popular than Jesus, after it goes missing from an exhibition- Pickles the dog finds the FIFA World Cup Trophy wrapped in a newspaper in a garden in south London, the General Election takes place and Labour led by Harold Willson win, the UK opens the first drive-through safari park outside of Africa at Longleat Park, regular Hovercraft service starts across the English Channel, Time magazine uses the phrase “Swinging London for the first time, the Moors Murders Ian Brady and Myra Hindley are sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of three children, Guyana gains independence from the UK, it’s rarely been mentioned by the English, but England beat West Germany 4-2 and win the World Cup and it is watched by an all-time record UK television audience of 32,000,000 (to put that in perspective the UK population was 54,000,000 at the time), the Beatles play their very last concert in San Francisco, a coal soil tip collapses in Aberfan, Wales killing 144 (116 of which were children), Barbados achieves independence from the UK, anti-Vietnam war protests take place across the world, the TV series Batman  and Star Trek debut, ex-marine Charles Whitman kills 14 and injures 31 during a killing spree at the University of Texas, Chairman Mao launches China’s Cultural Revolution and begins purging intellectuals, and the films Blow-Up, Alfie, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? and Born Free are released.

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Yep, I’m still sitting here crying over how great the 60s were. It’s relentless. Tune after tune after tune. After a mini-breakdown, I still managed to whittle the tunes down to 10 and here they are for y’all. Spotify list at the end as per.

1. I’m a Believer by the Monkees

2. You Can’t Hurry Love by the Supremes

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3. Sunny Afternoon by the Kinks

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4. All or Nothing by the Small Faces

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Nothing to see here. Just the Small Faces walking their pet crocodiles around London. Move along now.

5. Reach Out, I’l Be There by Four Tops

6. Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra

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7. Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles

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Can’t stop/won’t stop adding the Beatles to these lists.

8. River Deep Mountain High by Ike & Tina Turner

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9. When A Man Loves A Woman by Percy Sledge

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10. God Only Knows by the Beach Boys

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The Beach Boys really enjoying themselves in London. Also, what a year the Boys had in 1966. They released 3 amazing singles this year and I could’ve included all 3 of them in this list tbh.

Ooooh it’s close between the Four Tops, Frank, the Supremes and the Beach Boys, but it’s the lads with God Only Knows that’s my absolute favourite from 1966. Which one is yours, gang?

See you next week for 1967!

 

Top Ten Tunes- 1965

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1965.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

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Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral. He was honoured with a state funeral. They are usually only reserved for a monarch. Churchill was the last non-monarch to receive a state funeral.

In 1965, twin brother Ronnie & Reggie Kray are arrested on suspicion of running a protection racket in London, Sir Winston Churchill dies at the age of 90 and thousands attend his state funeral in London, The Gambia becomes independent from the UK, a Royal Air Force plane crashes in Oxfordshire just after take off from RAF Abingdon killing all 41 men on board, Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs escapes Wandsworth prison and flees to Brazil, Ian Brady and his girlfriend Myra Hindley are arrested and charged with the Moors Murders, the Magic Roundabout premiers on British TV, Mary Quant introduces the miniskirt from her shop on Kings Road, London, PizzaExpress opens its first restaurant in London, race riots break out in Watts, California leaving much of the city burnt and looted and 34 dead, the Voting Rights Act (allowing African Americans to vote) in the US becomes lawRhodesia declares Unilateral Independence from the UK and becomes Zimbabwe, Malcom X is shot and killed in New York and the films Doctor Zhivago, the Sound of Music, Thunderbolt, the Ipcress File and Help! are all released.

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I heart the 60s so much, I could almost cry just thinking about how good the music is from this era. In case you’re wondering how I come up with my list of top tens, I partly use my brain and what music knowledge it contains and I also do a thorough research into what songs were released in that year. I then do a “long list”, which I eventually and painstakingly (especially for the 60s), narrow the long list down to 10 songs. I’m telling you this because any of the songs in my long list for 1965 could’ve easily made my top ten. I did get there eventually though. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. My Generation by The Who

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2. Help! by The Beatles

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3. Stop! In The Name of Love by the Supremes

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4. Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag by James Brown

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5. Uptight by Stevie Wonder

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6. I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher

7. California Dreamin’ by the Mamas & the Papas

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8. We Gotta Get Out of This Place by the Animals

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9. I Put a Spell on You by Nina Simone

10. Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan

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I recently told someone that I wasn’t much of a fan of Bob Dylan yet here he is for second time appearing in my top tens. What the fuck do I know?

Yet another week, where I am finding it near impossible to pick a favourite, but it’s between The Beatles, Sonny & Cher, The Supremes and The Who….and I think it’s going to have to be The Who as My Generation is such an authoritative example of British music from that (excuse the pun) generation.

See you next week for 1966!

 

 

Top Ten Tunes- 1964

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1964.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

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In 1964, music TV programme Top of the Pops airs for the first time, the average weekly wage is £16, the British and French government agree a deal to build the Channel Tunnel expecting it to take 5 years to build, the Queen gives birth to Prince Edward, the first purpose-built guardwara is built in the UK in Bradford, violent riots take place between Mods and Rockers on Clacton  and Brighton beaches, the Great Train Robbery trials result in seven of the eleven men sentenced to 30 years in prison, BBC Two is born and and the BBC Television Service is renamed BBC One, Princess Margaret gives birth to a daughter– Sarah, the first Habitat store is opened, the first undercover shopping centre is opened in the UK in Birmingham, Malawi gains independence from the UK, the Post Office Tower in London is completed, the last executions take place in the UK, Malta obtains independence from the UK, the Olympics takes place in Tokyo, the general election takes place and Labour defeat the Conservatives making Harold Wilson Prime Minister, Northern Rhodesia becomes the independent Republic of Zambia ending 73 years of British rule, race riots takes place across the US, the civil rights act is signed by President Johnson in the US making it illegal to discriminate against anyone based not their race, religion, sex national origin or colour of their skin, Dr Martin Luther King wins the Nobel Peace Prize, Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton for the first time, Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa and the films Dr. Stranglove, A Hard Day’s Night, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, Goldfinger and Zulu are all released.

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So, we’re really starting to get a feel for the “British Invasion” as 7 out of these 10 acts are British. Our most British year of the 60s so far. Oh and it’s a good ‘un. Here’s my ten favourite tracks from 1964, in no particular order.

1. A Hard Day’s Night by the Beatles

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ADORE this photo of the lads

2. All Day and All of the Night by the Kinks

the Kinks in 1964, the year You Really Got Me was released

3. I’m Into Something Good by Herman’s Hermits

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4. Baby Love by the Supremes

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5. I Get Around by the Beach Boys (Love them and love their slightly awkward standing around and singing)

6. Shout by Lulu (Lulu giving it 100% 60s)

7. Stay by the Hollies

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8. The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals

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9. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood by Nina Simone

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QUEEN

10. Downtown by Petula Clark

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I’m really struggling to pick a favourite compared to all the other decades, as I seem to love them all equally each week, but if you’re really going to push me, I’ll say…the lads- The Beatles.

See you next week for 1965!

Top Ten Tunes- 1963

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1963.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

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In 1963, the Beatles release their debut album Please Please Me, 70,000 marchers protest against nuclear weapons in London, 16 year old Pauline Reade becomes the first victim of the Moors Murders, the Great Train Robbery takes place in Buckinghamshirerioters burn down the British Embassy in Jakarta to protest against the formation of Malaysia, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan announces his resignation after 7 years in office on the grounds of ill health, Alec Douglas-Home replaces Macmillan and becomes Prime Minister, the Dartford Tunnel opens, the first episode of Doctor Who is aired, Kenya gains independence from the UK, Zanzibar gains independence from he UK, the launch of the lava lamp takes place, Alcatraz Penitentiary closes, Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space, the Profumo scandal results in resignations from he cabinet caused by war minister John Profumo having an affair with Christine Wheeler who was also involved with a Soviet Navy officer, Hurricane Flora kills 6,000 people on Haiti, Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada, the Klu Klax Klan dynamite a baptist church in Alabama killing 4 young girls, a tsunami in Bangladesh kills 22,000 people, Martin Luther King delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech.

On 22nd November both authors C.S.Lewis and Aldous Huxley die, but their deaths are overshadowed by the assassination of American President John F Kennedy who was shot dead whilst being driven through Dallas, Lyndon Baines Johnson is sworn in as president on Air Force One, 2 days later night club owner Jack Ruby shoots dead the president’s suspected assassinator Lee Harvey Oswald live on TV.

The films the Birds, Cleopatra, the Great Escape, Tom Jones, From Russia With Love, the Pink Panther and Billy Liar are released.

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Another year from the 60s, another corker. This week features several of my all time favourite musicians. Here’s my favourite tunes from 1963, in no particular order.

1. I Only Want To be With You by Dusty Springfield

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2. Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys

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3. She Loves You by the Beatles

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4. Da Doo Ron Ron by the Crystals

5. It’s My Party by Lesley Gore

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6. Wipe Out by Surfaris

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7. Can I Get a Witness by Marvin Gaye

8. Tell Him by Billie Davis

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9. Be My Baby by the Ronettes

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10. Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan

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Dusty and Bob are close seconds, but this week my favourite is Be My Baby by The Ronnettes. Don’t forget to let me know, which one is yours below.

See you next week for 1964!

Top Ten Tunes- 1962

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1962.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

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In 1962, Ipswich Town win the Football League First Division title, the last trolleybuses run in London, the UK’s first legal casino opens in Brighton, The Beatles play their first session at Abbey Road Studios, a heavy smog develops over London, the Rolling Stones make their debut at the Marquee Club, London, Jamaica gains independence, Trinidad and Tobago also gains independence, the Beatles first single Love Me Do is released, Uganda gains independence, the world’s first successful hip replacement takes place at a hospital in Wigan, John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the earth, Marilyn Monroe sings Happy Birthday to JFK, James Meredith became the first black student to enrol at the University of Mississippi despite protests becoming a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement, Marilyn Monroe dies of an overdose at the age of 36, Algeria gains independence and the films Lawrence of Arabia, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, To Kill a Mockingbird, Cape Fear and the first James Bond film Dr No are released. 

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So, the 60s just seems to be getting stronger with each passing year. I’m really starting to think I was born in the wrong decade. I’m also very aware that this week’s playlist looks a tad like the Dirty Dancing soundtrack (okay there’s just 3 songs that featured in the film are in this week’s list). Spotify playlist at the end as always.

1. Green Onions by Booker T and the MGs

2. Big Girls Don’t Cry by Four Seasons

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3. Love Me Do by the Beatles

4. Do You Love Me? by the Contours

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5. Let’s Twist Again by Chubby Checker

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6. My Baby Just Cares For Me by Nina Simone

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7. The Locomotion by Little Eva

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8. Let There Be Love by Nat King Cole

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9. These Arms of Mine by Otis Redding

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10. What Now My Love by Shirley Bassey

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Oh get lost, as if I can pick a favourite out of this lot. These Arms of Mine is beautiful, Let’s Twist Again is a brilliant perfect pop tune, then there’s Nina, the Beatles and Nat King Cole not to mention Green Onions which has got to be the coolest track ever. Fine, ok…I’ve thought long and hard and my favourite this week is Nina followed closely by Otis and Chubby. Are you more decisive than me? If so, which is your favourite?

See you next week for 1963!

Top Ten Tunes- 1961

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1961.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

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Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space

In 1961, the farthing ceases to be legal tender, the Beatles perform at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool for the first time, Sierra Leone gains independence from the UK, betting shops become legal, the act of suicide is decriminalised, the first Mothercare store is opened, police arrest over 1,300 people during a CND rally in London, a volcanic eruption on the South Atlantic British territory Tristan de Cunha causes the entire island population to be evacuated and rehomed in…Surrey, the first edition of Private Eye is published, birth control pills first become available on the NHS, the border between East and West Germany closes and the construction of the Berlin Wall starts, Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space, US Cuban exiles and the CIA attempts and fails to overthrow Fidel Castro, John F Kennedy is inaugurated as the new US President, the USSR tests the largest nuclear bomb ever and America is instructed to build bomb shelters by Kennedy, South Africa becomes an independent republic and the films Breakfast at Tiffany’s, West Side Story, The Misfits, The Parent Trap and Babes in Toyland are all released. 

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Don’t squish the cat!

What a year! I love 1961 for music, lots of strong choices. Here they are, in no particular order. Spotify playlist at the end as per.

1. At Last by Etta James

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2. Will You Love Me Tomorrow by the Shirelles

3. Blue Moon by the Marcels

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4. Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles

5. September in the Rain by Dinah Washington

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6. Runaway by Del Shannon

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7. Take Good Care of My Baby by Bobby Vee

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8. Save the Last Dance For Me by the Drifters

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9. Cupid by Sam Cooke

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10. Moon River (Choral Version) by Henry Mancini

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While At Last is a stunner, it’s Ray Charles that’s my favourite this week. Let me know below, which one is yours.

See you next week for 1962!