If you want to know how much simpler our crazy old world was at this time in 1963 you need only consult the Billboard Top 5 for the week of May 11:
2. Can't Get Used to Losing You, Andy Williams
3. He's So Fine, Chiffons
4. Puff (The Magic Dragon), Peter, Paul and Mary
5. Baby Workout, Jackie Wilson
Little Peggy March? A pipsqueak with a sweet little voice to match her moniker. She was 15 years old and we loved her. Andy Williams? Not only did he have the No. 2 song in the country, it was not bothersome at all to listen. We might not have run out to purchase the record but we didn't move the radio dial when it came on. The lyrics to the chorus are still embedded in our musical peabrains:
Can't get used to losin' you
No matter what I try to do
Gonna live my whole life through
We were reasonably content with the music of the day. Stations were playing just enough soul and R&B to give us variety, and in a few weeks the Beach Boys would be making their way up the charts with "Surfin' U.S.A." (We must acknowledge that Bob Dylan was already making his large imprint, but word was slow coming out of Greenwich Village. At this time Peter, Paul and Mary were the popular voices of folk music.) Life was good, and yet...
Few people knew something was brewing over in Britain that would blow the doors off this safe little scene. John Lennon and Paul McCartney, to borrow a clever line from Dylan, were in the basement mixing up some medicine. "I Want Hold Your Hand" -- actually written in a basement at about this time in '63 -- would be recorded in October, and by the following February it was all over.
As Beatles manager Brian Epstein was trying impatiently to crack the U.S. market, one can't help but wonder what the lads from Liverpool -- deeply influenced by American music that was not at all popular among its own people -- were thinking when they viewed this scene from across the pond.
Easy pickings, one would think.