Friday on My Mind – 1962

photo by Brittney Bollay

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind, the weekly collaboration between KEXP and King 5 News where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This week, the year 1962 is on our mind.

Last weekend marked the 50th Anniversary of Seattle’s World Fair inaugural day on April 21st, 1962. The Seattle Center will be celebrating this anniversary throughout the year including our mural shows coming up this summer. On that day 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy called in by phone to open the Fair. President Kennedy was unable to call in at the end of the exhibit as planned because he was too busy dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis. He had threatened to attack Cuba with this fancy “Space Needle” the world was hearing so much about and he didn’t want his cover blown by calling in and closing the fair. Good choice. There were over 2.3 million visitors to the Space Needle during the Fair. In 1962, it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River! It’s now shorter than the Mississippi River. We’re not sure how that happened. In commemoration, the Next 50 Exhibit just began at the Seattle Center. The movie, It Happened at the World’s Fair starring Elvis Presley was filmed in Seattle and took place at the World’s Fair at the suggestion of Governor Albert Rosellini who had pitched the idea to Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. In the film, the Space Needle, Science Center, and Monorail are seen. Recently Governor Gregoire pitched the idea of “Singles Sleepless in Seattle at Grey’s Anatomy” to a few studios, but no bites yet!

If you love 1962 and love great radio you can still stream Greg Vandy’s Century 21 themed edition of the Roadhouse from April 18th here, where he paid tribute to more songs and sound bites from that time.

Random fun facts about 1962 and how much things cost back then:

  • Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average was 652. Now it’s over 10,000. In dog years we were rich!
  • Average Cost of new house $12,500.00. That is now average rent in Belltown.
  • Average Income per year $5,556.00. Then Starbucks, Boeing, Microsoft ruined that for everyone.
  • Tuition to Harvard University $1,520.00. Harvard is not in Seattle.
  • Average Cost of a new car $3,125.00. That is now the average year for gas.
  • Gas per Gallon 28 cents. Alot of bike riders in Seattle now.
  • Factory Workers Average Take Home Pay with 3 dependents $94.87.
  • John Glenn orbited Earth during the Friendship 7 orbit in 1962! 50 years later we don’t go to space anymore.
  • The first silicone breast implants were used by plastic surgeons in Houston. No idea where they are now.

Music-wise, 1962’s most popular musicians were:

  • Bob Dylan
  • Chubby Checker
  • Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
  • Neil Sedaka
  • Roy Orbison
  • Shirley Bassey

Here are my favorite songs from 1962:

The Beatles – Love Me Do

“Love Me Do” was the first single for the Beatles. Recorded in September and released in October in the UK in 1962. Everything about this video makes me love The Beatles and just where they were in their career and what the world was discovering. George being just calm, cool and collected, John on the Harmonica, Paul all happy and bouncy, Ringo….drumming and stuff.

Beach Boys – Surfin’ Safari

This video just for the jackets! It’s amazing how badass they could be and adorable. They look as if they totally understand how awesome they are and Brian Wilson is young and seems easy going and so far from what faces him and the band in the very near future.

Brian Hyland – Sealed with a Kiss

First, the dancers in this video have no idea what they’re doing there, you can picture the director screaming “slow down! slow down”…anyway, such a great and haunting song first recorded by the Four Voices in 1960 and Brian Hyland made it a hit in 1962. Brilliant Song.

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