1963. The year John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Martin Luther King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech. Slowly, but surely, we’re moving out of the boring parts of the 60s because 1963 was actually okay for music. Surf rock started gaining popularity, injecting some much needed energy into the charts full of doo-wop and easy listening stuff. We’re almost there, people. One more year until the British Invasion and that’s when things will get interesting. Let’s start the list.
Nice to see that the 50s refused to die and held on like a little kid who doesn’t want to go to school. This is Al Martino’s cover of I Love You Because, a country song from 1949. It’s a cookie cutter love song you’ve heard a million times whose biggest crime is being utterly boring. Al Martino is a fine enough singer, but good singing alone isn’t enough to make a song good, especially when you have instrumentation that sounds like every 50s ballad out there. This is an uninteresting snoozefest. Next.
This will be the first of two songs on this list that was covered by an Osmond. And you wonder why most of their music sucks. Anyways, this is Dale & Grace with I’m Leaving It All Up To You. It’s another generic love song with bland doo-wop instrumentation that you’ve heard in other songs from the 60s. Seriously, so much of this easy-listening crap takes up a good chunk of the charts at the time that it becomes hard to tell which is what. The best thing I could say about it is that the singing’s alright, but look back at what I said about the previous song. I’m ready for something with a little more variety.
Well, it’s not boring like the previous song, but that doesn’t mean that I Will Follow Him is off the hook. With this song, Little Peggy March was the youngest female artist to top the charts at the time. She was 15. My issue with this song is how annoying it is, especially that chorus. I don’t know what it is, but the way it’s sung combined with the melody sounds like it’s mocking the listener. And there’s also the writing, which makes Little Peggy seem too clingy, following this unnamed gentleman where ever he goes. Ehh, she’s young. She’ll figure it out when she’s older. Still left us with a crappy song.
Probably one of the weirdest songs to ever become a hit in the 60s (which is saying a lot), Martian Hop by the Ran-Dells is at least more interesting than the other songs on this list. Too bad it’s still not good. The instrumentation is a sloppy doo-wop mess with sci-fi synthesizers in the intro. It also has a lot of annoying alien voices, which I understand is the point since the song is about aliens, but it’s still annoying regardless, especially when you get to the chorus. I think songs like this is why actual aliens refuse to visit us.
And now, time for some unnecessary drama courtesy of the Angels, who hit number one with My Boyfriend’s Back. The premise of the song is that these girls are warning a guy that they’ve rejected who spread rumors about them that their boyfriend is in town and they better watch their back. This is one of those situations where I can’t side with anyone because both parties suck. One side reacts to being rejected by gossiping like a little punk while the other side reacts to that by hiding behind their significant other and getting them to beat them up. It’s dumb reality television drama. Imagine this song being made today with social media being as prominent as it is. As for the rest of the song? It’s catchy, but I don’t want to listen to it again.
Guys, I know the Four Seasons are considered a legendary group and there are a lot of people who like their music, but I can’t stand them. I don’t like a lot of their music, though they are capable of making good songs. Since Big Girls Don’t Cry (their worst song) didn’t make any Year End lists, I settled with another one of their turds to take their place, Candy Girl. It’s a doo-wop love song like 50% of the hits in the late 50s and early 60s, but what puts this song on the list is the same reason I can’t stand to listen to the Four Seasons in general: Franki. Goddamn. Valli. Holy Jesus, this guy’s falsetto annoys the piss out of me. It’s one of those shrill falsettos that can break glass if you play it loud enough and it just ruins whatever enjoyment I could get out of this song. That’s just me.
You know? I was gonna open this entry with an Australian joke, but chances are I would have lost my Australian readers if I did. And on that note, Rolf Harris’ Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport, an Australian song made in 1960 that was re-recorded in 1963 for the States. The song is about an Australian guy giving his dying wishes to his friends, which includes watching wallabies (they’re like small kangaroos) feed, keeping his cockatoos cool (mind out the gutter now), taking his koala back, mind his platypuses, and of course, tying his kangaroo down. Why? What did the kangaroo do to deserve this treatment? Let that motherfucker hop. Anyways, the subject matter makes the song depressing, which contrasted by it being sung like a campfire song. Before we move on, two things: 1), there’s this deleted fourth verse:
Let me Abos go loose, Lou
Let me Abos go loose
They’re of no further use, Lou
So let me Abos go loose
For those that don’t know, “Abo” is an offensive slang term for Aboriginal people. You know, the people who lived in Australia before British colonialism. Yikes. And 2), Rolf Harris was convicted and sent to prison for sexually assaulting four teenage girls. Double yikes.
Jesus H. Christ, this song. This is probably one of the most annoying sounds I have subjected my ears to. This audio atrocity is called Two Faces Have I and it comes from Lou Christie. It’s a guy hiding his emotion, appearing happy on the outside, but on the inside, he’s actually sad and depressed. Okay, let’s just get into the main reason why this song is on here, the singing. You thought Frankie Valli had an annoying falsetto? Well, Lou Christie heard that, said “hold my beer,” and gave us one of the shrillest falsettos that any person could ever conceive on this track. Every time he does that falsetto, it’s like a dentist drill going another inch into your brain. Get this noise out of here.
And here’s the other song that was covered by an Osmond, Go Away Little Girl by Steve Lawrence. I’m gonna say something unorthodox: the Osmond version of this song is the superior version. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still shit, but with the subject matter being about a boy rejecting a pretty girl because he doesn’t want to betray his girlfriend, it made sense for a pre-teen Donny Osmond to do this song. Steve Lawrence, on the other hand, was 28 years old when he did this song. Think about that when you hear this grown ass man say “go away little girl.” Yeah, he is rejecting her, but the fact that this scenario is brought up in the first place makes what would have been a sappy-sounding song even creepier. Not helping is Steve Lawrence singing in a lower register. Ugh. Can we move on to number one already?
And now, here are some dishonorable mentions.
- Skeeter Davis-The End Of The World
- Bobby Vinton-Blue Velvet
- Bobby Darin-You’re The Reason I’m Living
- The Four Seasons-Walk Like A Man
- Bill Anderson-Still
- Nino Tempo & April Stevens-Deep Purple
- Bobby Vee-The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
- Allan Sherman-Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah
- Dee Dee Sharp-Do The Bird
- The Dartells-Hot Pastrami
And finally, the worst song of 1963 IS………
Here’s a song that’s ten levels of fucked up when you analyze it. On the surface level, If You Wanna Be Happy by Jimmy Soul seems like an upbeat catchy doo-wop song. But then you look at the lyrics and you realize something isn’t right. Basically, Jimmy Soul is telling dudes to marry an ugly woman instead of a pretty woman because a pretty woman will make you look bad while an ugly woman will make you look better. This is one of those songs that sets unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships. This time, it tries to be subversive by saying be with someone who’s ugly because most people like pretty. It’s one thing to say that appearances don’t matter when it comes to a relationship, I would support that message, but that’s not what this song did. It put one preference over another in the most shallow, mean-spirited way possible. Even if it was framed as a satire, it would still be a shitty satire. Congratulations to If You Wanna Be Happy for being the worst song of 1963.
And those were the worst songs of 1963. In two weeks, BACK TO THE 60s continues with the Worst Songs of 1964.
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