July 1962

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Significant National, Cultural, and World Events this month include France recognizing the independence of their former North African colony, Algeria, after years of rebellion (3). AT&T’s Telstar communications satellite is launched (10). It would provide the title for the British rock’ roll instrumental group, The Tornadoes, song of the same name, a # 1 hit on American pop charts later in the year. A more enduring British rock group, The Rolling Stones, make their live debut at London’s Marquee Club (12). The group’s name was inspired by the Muddy Waters’ song, “Rollin’ Stone.” The first Russian nuclear missiles are unloaded at a Cuban port (26). Their discovery would precipitate the Cuban Missile Crisis in October. And merchant Sam Walton opens his first Wal-Mart Discount City store in Rogers, Arkansas (2). That single store would grow into a dominant global chain of more than 11,700 locations by 2020.

On the Pop Music Charts, the # 1 single for the month is Roses are Red by Bobby Vinton, which began a four week reign at the top on June 14. It was the first of four chart-topping hits by the Pennsylvania singer, who was later dubbed “the Polish Prince.” Strangers on the Shore by Mr. Acker Bilk, also reached the summit for one week (June 7), as the clarinetist/composer of this major hit romantic instrumental became the first artist from the UK to top the American charts (the album of the same name reached # 3 on the LP chart). Other top ten hits and their highest chart placement include the Orleans’ dance hit The Wah Watusi (#2), teen fave Brian Hyland’s Sealed With a Kiss (#3), Ray Steven’s novelty tune Ahab the Arab (#4).  50s teen idol Pat Boone had his final top ten (and top 40) hit with a novelty cover of Speedy Gonzalez (#6), one-hit wonder Joanie Sommers scored with Johnny Get Angry (#7), and Dee Dee Sharp danced to #9 with (Gravy) for my Mashed Potatoes.

Live Music Concerts: in addition to this month’s debut of the Rolling Stones, singer Johnny Mathis teamed with newly Oscared composer Henry Mancini at the Seattle World’s Fair over the 4th of July holiday weekend (3-7) to set a total gross record of nearly $60K for that venue. Mancini would go onto a several decades long career as a concert mainstay.

At the Movies the top film for the month is That Touch of Mink, starring Doris Day and Cary Grant. The huge smash sets a house record at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, grossing north of $1 million in its first five weeks at that venue alone, the first time ever. Other comedies raking in the summer coin include Boys’ Night Out (#5) with James Garner, Kim Novak & Tony Randall;, Disney’s Bon Voyage (#6) with Fred MacMurray, Jane Wyman, Tommy Kirk and Michael Callan; Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (#8) with James Stewart, Maureen O’Hara, and Fabian; and The Notorious Lady (#9) with Jack Lemmon, Kim Novak, and Fred Astaire. Slots 2 through 4 went to holdover hits West Side Story, Advise and Content, and Lolita. The John Wayne African adventure yarn Hatari! finishes #7, while El Cid lands at #10, breaking out into the nabes.

In specialized situations and the art houses, the Italian anthology Boccaccio ’70 leads the way, with the ’61 documentary Oscar winner, The Sky Above–The Mud Below, and Harold Lloyd’s World Of Comedy, a compilation of the best scenes of his silent pix, also score. Debuting later in the month is the adaptation of the hit Broadway musical The Music Man, with resounding success in limited runs, previewing its blockbuster potential for the rest of the summer.

 

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