1963 Rock Music Timeline
Jan '63
American folk group, The Rooftop Singers have a #1 US, #10 UK hit with "Walk Right In". (more)
The Beatles 1963
"Please, Please Me" the second single by Liverpool, UK band, The Beatles, goes to #2 in the UK. (more)  
Feb '63
Patsy Cline killed 1963
Mar '63
American country singer Patsy Cline is killed in a Tennessee plane crash. (more)
Rolling Stones 1963
Mar '63
London UK blues revival band, The Rolling Stones, release their version of Chuck Berry's song "Come On" as their first single. The song charts at #21 in the UK. (more)
Peter, Paul and Mary
Folk group, Peter, Paul & Mary are #2 US with "Puff the Magic Dragon" and hit #2 US again later in the year with their cover of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind". (more)
Rooftop Singers 1963
Johnny Cash Ring of Fire
Mar '63
Johnny Cash records "Ring of Fire" the biggest hit of his career, topping the US Country Charts for seven weeks and going to #17 Pop. (more)
The Chiffons - Girl Groups  1963
Apr '63
The girl group sound reigns in '63 with top hits for the Chiffons (at right), Little Peggy March, Lesley Gore, The Crystals and The Angels. (more)
Jan and Dean - Surf City
Aug '63
"Surf City" by Jan and Dean goes to #1 US. The song is co-written by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. (more)
Jul '63
Stevie Wonder 1963
12-year-old Motown artist Little Stevie Wonder has a #1 US hit with "Fingertips Part 1" recorded live. (more)
The Beatles at the Cavern 1963
Aug '63
Having hit it big, UK band The Beatles play their final gig at Liverpool's Cavern Club on Aug. 3rd, having played the Cavern Club 292 times. (more)
The Ronettes - Be My Baby
Aug '63
Spanish Harlem, NY vocal trio The Ronettes reach #2 US, #4 UK with "Be My Baby" produced and co-written by Phil Spector. Lead singer Veronica Bennett would later marry Spector. (more)
The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl 1963
Sep '63
Detroit, MI vocal group Martha and the Vandellas score a #4 US hit with the Holland-Dozier-Holland song "Heat Wave". (more)  
The Singing Nun - Dominique
Dec '63
The Singing Nun tops the US charts for four weeks in December and goes Top Ten in the UK with "Dominique". (more)
Oct '63
"Sugar Shack" by Raton, New Mexico rock band Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs reaches #1 US, #45 UK. (more)
Dec '63
The Kingsmen - Louie, Louie
Garage rockers The Kingsmen from Portland, Oregon hit #2 US with "Louie Louie" but are blocked from the top spot by the blockbuster nun. (more)
Freewheelin' Bob Dylan 1963
May '63
Bob Dylan's second album is released featuring 2 covers and 11 originals displaying Dylan's songwriting skills for the first time. The album goes to #22 US, but #1 UK. (more)
Beatlemania 1963
Dec '63
'63 is the year of Beatlemania in the UK with The Beatles racking up two #1 albums, a #2 single "Please Please Me" and three #1 singles "From Me To You", "She Loves You", and "I Want To Hold Your Hand". As the year ends, they are still unknown in the US. (more)
Jimmy Gilmer - Sugar Shack
The Angels - My Boyfriend's Back
Aug '63
New Jersey vocal group The Angels go to #1 US with the single "My Boyfriends Back" on Mercury Records. (more)
The Cascades
Mar '63
California band The Cascades have a #3 US, #5 UK hit with their second single "Rhythm of the Rain". (more) 
The Chantays - Pipeline
Apr '63
Santa Ana, California high school combo, The Chantays, go to #4 US with their surf instrumental "Pipeline". (more)
Lou Christie
Beach Boys - Surfin' Safari
May '63
The second single by The Beach Boys (their first on Capitol) breaks them nationally peaking at #14 US. (more)
May '63
Pittsburgh, PA native Lou Christie takes the falsetto chorus to new highs with his #6 US hit "Two Faces Have I". (more) 
Lesley Gore - It's My Party
The Crystals 1963
Jun '63
Jun '63
Lesley Gore a sixteen year old from Tenafly, New Jersey goes to #1 US, #9 UK with her first single "It's My Party". (more) 
The Crystals score again at #3 US, #5 UK with "Da Doo Ron Ron" written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. (more)
The Surfaris - Wipe Out 1963
Aug '63
The instrumental single "Wipe Out" by Glendora, California band The Surfaris goes to #2 US, #5 UK. (more)
Major Lance - Monkey Time
Martha and the Vandellas - Heat Wave
Sep '63
Sep '63
The Beach Boys release the second of three albums in 1963 and score a #7 US hit single with "Surfer Girl". (more)
Chicago R&B singer Major Lance breaks into the US Top Ten with his single "Monkey Time" on OKeh Records. (more)
Rufus Thomas - Walkin' The Dog
The Trashmen - Surfin' Bird
Dec '63
The surf craze reaches all the way to Minnesota as Minneapolis band The Trashmen score a #4 US hit with "Surfin' Bird". (more)  
Dec '63
Memphis, TN singer, comedian and DJ Rufus Thomas breaks into the US Top Ten with "Walkin' The Dog". (more)
1963 in Rock & Roll History:

Beatlemania takes hold in the UK, while in the US The Beatles remain unknown. The Rolling Stones release their first single. Surf music and the girl group sound are at their zenith. Motown continues to churn out hits. Crossover country star Patsy Cline is killed in an airplane crash. A belgian nun has a Number 1 US hit for four weeks.

Top 60 Singles of 1963

  1   Trini Lopez - If I Had a Hammer
  2   Elvis Presley
       (You're The) Devil in Disguise
  3   Paul & Paula - Hey Paula
  4   The Ronettes - Be My Baby
  5   Kingsmen - Louie Louie
  6   Singing Nun (Soeur Sourire)            Dominique
  7   Los Indios Tabajaras - Maria Elena
  8   Kyu Sakamoto - Sukiyaki
  9   Ned Miller - From a Jack to a King
10   Petula Clark - Monsieur
11   Jan & Dean - Surf City
12   Little Peggy March
       I Will Follow Him
13   Cliff Richard - Summer Holiday
14   Cliff Richard - Rote Lippen soll man            kuessen (Lucky Lips)
15   The Fireballs - Sugar Shack
16   Lesley Gore - It's My Party
17   Elvis Presley - Kiss Me Quick
18   Gitte & Rex Gildo
       Vom Stadtpark die Laternen
19   Billy Mo - Ich kauf' mir lieber einen             Tirolerhut
20   The Crystals - Then He Kissed Me
21   Connie Francis
       Barcarole in der Nacht
22   Cliff Richard - Lucky Lips
23   Roy Orbison - Blue Bayou
24   Bobby Vinton - Blue Velvet
25   Cascades - Rhythm of the Rain
26   Manuela - Schuld war nur der Bossa           Nova
27   The Beatles - From Me to You
28   Die Tahiti-Tamouros - Wini-Wini
29   Elvis Presley - Bossa Nova Baby
30   The Surfaris - Wipe Out
31   Cliff Richard - Bachelor Boy
32   Petula Clark
       Chariot (I will follow him)
33   The Chiffons - He's So Fine
34   Cliff Richard - Don't Talk to Him
35   The Four Seasons - Walk Like a Man
36   Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire
37   Roy Orbison - In Dreams
38   Cliff Richard - The Next Time
39   Cliff Richard - It's All in the Game
40   Gerry & the Pacemakers
        You'll Never Walk Alone
41   The Rooftop Singers - Walk Right In
42   The Crystals - Da Doo Ron Ron
43   Ruby & The Romantics
       Our Day Will Come
44   Skeeter Davis - The End of the World
45   Michelle - Se mi vuoi lasciare
46   Dale & Grace
       I'm Leaving it (All) Up to You
47   The Angels - My Boyfriend's Back
48   Bob Dylan - Blowin' in the Wind
49   Gerry & the Pacemakers - I Like It
50   Eydie Gorme
       Blame it On the Bossa Nova
51   Richard Anthony - C'est ma Fete
52   Rita Pavone
       Come te non c'e nessuno
53   The Beach Boys - Surfin' USA
54   The Shadows - Dance On
55   The Tymes - So Much in Love
56   Nino Tempo & April Stevens            Deep Purple
57   Gerry & the Pacemakers
       How Do You Do It?
58   Elvis Presley
       One Broken Heart For Sale
59   Henry Mancini
       Days Of Wine & Roses
60   Jimmy Soul
       If You Wanna Be Happy

All chart information above is from Tsort and uses a formula based on splitting the world into four regions based on sales, the USA (about 35%), other English speaking countries (about 20%), the rest of Europe (about 25%) and the rest of the world (about 20%).  We feel this is the best methodology available to show the global impact of a song or album. More detailed chart info is available on the Tsort website. Actual US & UK charts are linked at the bottom of each year timeline on this site.

"We don't like their sound and guitar group music is on the way out."

- Decca Records on deciding not
to sign The Beatles

Aug '63
UK pop music TV show Ready, Steady, Go! is launched and airs live on Friday nights nationally. (more)

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