Hits of May 1966

It’s amazing how much data has been preserved from the past. While listening to music today, I wondered what were the most popular songs during this week in 1966. That year came to my mind because it was such an exciting time in pop music.

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Pop music and hit parades

The first regular UK singles chart was published on this day, November 14, in 1952 by the New Musical Express, reminds the website On This Day. Someone has duly posted that on Twitter including even a scanned copy of the newspaper clipping “announcing the first record hit parade”. Yes, that’s what we called weekly lists of bestselling pop music records — “hit parades”.  

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Forever Fats Domino

Blueberry Hills belongs with Elvis Presley’s Are You Lonesome Tonight?, Joan Baez’s Diamonds and Rust, and Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right and It Ain’t Me Babe among the sweetest, saddest love songs of all time. And now the voice and piano behind Blueberry Hill is dead. Fats Domino has died at the age of 89. But the boogie-woogie pianist who helped launch rock ’n’ roll will always have a place in my heart.

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Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate

I have loved Bob Dylan from the time I heard Blowin’ in the Wind way back in the Sixties. But Bob Dylan Nobel laureate! Winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature! Call me old-fashioned. I prefer to read literature and listen to music.  Dylan’s songs may be poems set to music. But I would rather read the poems of WH Auden and Dylan Thomas, neither of whom won the Nobel Prize. Dylan I will listen to.

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Elvis and the Beatles

Thank you for the music, Fats Domino, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Peter, Paul and Mary, Drifters, Everly Brothers, Mamas and Papas, and too many to name here. I love you all, but most of all I love the Beatles and Elvis Presley.

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PS I love you, Beatles

On this day, on October 5, in 1962, the Beatles’ first single, Love Me Do, was released with PS I Love You on the flip side in Britain. The rest is history. Philip Larkin summed it up most memorably in his poem, Annus Mirabilis:
Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) –
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.

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