The 25 best albums of 1963

26 November 2023, 15:00

Some of the most notable albums of '63 by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Elvis Presley and The Beach Boys.
Some of the most notable albums of '63 by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Elvis Presley and The Beach Boys. Picture: Press

Radio X looks back to the year of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys and many more...

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Radio X

By Radio X

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  1. Johnny Cash - Blood, Sweat & Tears: release date 7th January 1963

    The fifteenth album from the Man In Black included the songs Nine Pound Hammer, Chain Gang and The Legend Of John Henry's Hammer.

    Johnny Cash - Blood, Sweat & Tears: cover art
    Johnny Cash - Blood, Sweat & Tears: cover art. Picture: Press
  2. Peter Paul & Mary - Moving: release date 15th January 1963

    The folk music trio gained eternal fame with their second album as it included their kid-friendly hit Puff The Magic Dragon. Also on the track listing is a cover of Woody Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land.

    Peter Paul & Mary - Moving cover art
    Peter Paul & Mary - Moving cover art. Picture: Press
  3. Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Summer Holiday: release date 18th January 1963

    Cliff's movie about a bunch of bus-workers who take a double decker across Europe was a huge hit in Britain and the soundtrack album includes the memorable title track, plus Bachelor Boy and The Next Time.

    Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Summer Holiday: cover art
    Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Summer Holiday: cover art. Picture: Press
  4. The Four Seasons - Big Girls Don't Cry & Twelve Others: release date February 1963

    Frankie Valli and his Jersey Boys issued this collection that included Walk Like A Man, Silhouettes, Why Do Fools Fall In Love and the classic title track.

    The Four Seasons - Big Girls Don't Cry & Twelve Others: cover art
    The Four Seasons - Big Girls Don't Cry & Twelve Others: cover art. Picture: Press
  5. Buddy Holly - Reminiscing: release date February 1963

    Holly famously died in a plane crash in February 1959 and this was the third posthumous collection to appear. It spawned a hit in the Chuck Berry cover Brown-Eyed Handsome Man, which made Number 3 in the UK charts.

    Buddy Holly - Reminiscing cover art
    Buddy Holly - Reminiscing cover art. Picture: Press
  6. The Crystals - He's A Rebel: release date February 1963

    The Phil Spector-produced vocal group from New York issued their second album to capitalise on the success of the title track; other songs included On Broadway, There's No Other (Like My Baby) and Uptown.

    The Crystals - He's A Rebel cover art
    The Crystals - He's A Rebel cover art. Picture: Press
  7. Dionne Warwick - Presenting: release date 10th February 1963

    The debut album from the New Jersey singer included the classics Don't Make Me Over, Wishin' & Hopin' and Make It Easy On Yourself.

    Dionne Warwick - Presenting: cover art
    Dionne Warwick - Presenting: cover art. Picture: Press
  8. Brenda Lee - All Alone Am I: release date 18th February 1963

    The eighth album from the American singer included the hit title track, plus covers of I Left My Heart In San Francisco and Fly Me To The Moon.

    Brenda Lee - All Alone Am I: cover art
    Brenda Lee - All Alone Am I: cover art. Picture: Press
  9. The Miracles - The Fabulous Miracles: release date 28th February 1963

    The Smokey Robinson-fronted soul group's fourth album included their hit You Really Got A Hold On me, which The Beatles covered later in the year, plus Happy Landing and A Love She Can Count On.

    The Miracles - The Fabulous Miracles cover art
    The Miracles - The Fabulous Miracles cover art. Picture: Press
  10. The Beatles - Please Please Me: release date 22nd March 1963

    Aside from the band's first two singles (Love Me Do and Please Please Me) which appear here, this debut album from the Fab Four was remarkably recorded in just one day, winding up with a throat-shredding performance from John Lennon on their cover of Twist & Shout. Also included were I Saw Her Standing There, Misery, Chains and Do You Want To Know A Secret.

    The Beatles - Please Please Me: cover art
    The Beatles - Please Please Me: cover art. Picture: Press
  11. Billy Fury - Billy: release date April 1963

    The Liverpool singer was much admired by other musicians as one of Britain's original rock stars by the likes of John Lennon and Morrissey.

    Billy Fury - Billy cover art
    Billy Fury - Billy cover art. Picture: Press
  12. Elvis Presley - It Happened At The World's Fair: release date 10th April 1963

    The King was well into his movie career at this point and the soundtrack to this outing included They Remind Me Too Much Of You and One Broken Heart For Sale.

    Elvis Presley - It Happened At The World's Fair cover art
    Elvis Presley - It Happened At The World's Fair cover art. Picture: Press
  13. James Brown - Live At The Apollo: release date May 1963

    An incredible live album from the Godfather Of Soul which sees the man and his band in action at the legendary Harlem venue. Tracks include Think and Night Train.

    James Brown - Live At The Apollo cover art
    James Brown - Live At The Apollo cover art. Picture: Press
  14. Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan: release date 27th May 1963

    The second studio album from the legendary protest singer was a landmark: tracks included Blowin' In The Wind, Masters Of War and A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall.

    Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan cover art
    Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan cover art. Picture: Press
  15. Roy Orbison - In Dreams: release date July 1963

    The Big O's big hit spawned an accompanying album that included versions of Beautiful Dreamer, All I Have To Do Is Dream and My Prayer.

    Roy Orbison - In Dreams cover art
    Roy Orbison - In Dreams cover art. Picture: Press
  16. The Searchers - Meet the Searchers: release date August 1963

    The debut album from the Liverpool contemporaries of The Beatles included their hits Sweets For My Sweet and Love Potion No. 9.

    The Searchers - Meet the Searchers: cover art
    The Searchers - Meet the Searchers: cover art. Picture: Press
  17. Sam Cooke - Night Beat: release date August 1963

    The soul superstar's tenth album included covers of Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen, Little Red Rooster and You Gotta Move.

    Sam Cooke - Night Beat: cover art
    Sam Cooke - Night Beat: cover art. Picture: Press
  18. Aretha Franklin - Laughing On The Outside: release date 12th August 1963

    The fourth album from the brilliant singer included her take on Irving Berlin's Say It Isn't So, Hoagy Carmichael's Skylark and Duke Ellington's Solitude.

    Aretha Franklin - Laughing On The Outside cover art
    Aretha Franklin - Laughing On The Outside cover art. Picture: Press
  19. Gerry & The Pacemakers - How Do You Like It?: release date October 1963

    Gerry Marsden was the nearest thing the Fab Four had to a genuine rival in 1963, and their debut album included one of their trio of No 1 hits from that year: You'll Never Walk Alone. Also included were covers of A Shot of Rhythm & Blues and Summertime.

    Gerry & The Pacemakers - How Do You Like It? cover art
    Gerry & The Pacemakers - How Do You Like It? cover art. Picture: Alamy Stock Photo
  20. Peter Paul & Mary - In The Wind: October 1963

    The second album from the folk trio that year included their covers of Bob Dylan's Blowin' In The Wind and Don't Think Twice, It's All Right.

    Peter Paul & Mary - In The Wind cover art
    Peter Paul & Mary - In The Wind cover art. Picture: Press
  21. Freddie & The Dreamers - Freddie & The Dreamers: release date October 1963

    Led by the hyperactive Freddie Garrity, the Dreamers' wacky act made them a favourite in the beat era and their debut album included their hit single If You've Got To Make A Fool Of Somebody.

    Freddie & The Dreamers - Freddie & The Dreamers cover art
    Freddie & The Dreamers - Freddie & The Dreamers cover art. Picture: Press
  22. The Beach Boys - Little Deuce Coupe: release date 7th October 1963

    One of a mammoth THREE albums issued by the Californian boys in '63, this outing included the hit title track and Be True To Your School.

    The Beach Boys - Little Deuce Coupe cover art
    The Beach Boys - Little Deuce Coupe cover art. Picture: Press
  23. The Beatles - With The Beatles: release date 22nd November 1963

    Just as Beatlemania hit the nation following the band's appearance at the Royal Variety Performance - and issued the same day as US President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas - this second album cemented The Beatles as the biggest band in the UK. Next stop: the rest of the world! Tracks included It Won't Be Long, All My Loving and covers of Roll Over Beethoven and Money (That's What I Want).

    The Beatles - With The Beatles cover art
    The Beatles - With The Beatles cover art. Picture: Press
  24. Various Artists - A Christmas Gift For You: release date 22nd November 1963

    Producer Phil Spector may have lived a dark life, but his famous festive album has been the sound of Christmas for the past 60 years. Tracks include The Ronettes doing Frosty The Snowman and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, The Crystals taking on Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Darlene Love's peerless Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

    A Christmas Gift For You cover art
    A Christmas Gift For You cover art. Picture: Press
  25. Stevie Wonder - With A Song In My Heart: release date 28th December 1963

    Little Stevie dropped the "Little" for his third album, which included a set of cover: When You Wish Upon A Star, Get Happy and Make Someone Happy were all on the track listing.

    Stevie Wonder - With A Song In My Heart cover art
    Stevie Wonder - With A Song In My Heart cover art. Picture: Press

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