That Was The Year... 1963
Cleopatra, Birds and Wild Dogs
SWEDISH MANUFACTURER HAGSTRÖM produces 200 Futurama Coronado Automatic guitars for the Selmer Company in London to their specification. It’s a curious guitar with a Jazzmaster-like appearance, through-neck construction and a striking orangey-red sunburst finish. It sports a vibrato, three single-coil pickups with individual edge-mounted volume controls, plus a gang of 12 numbered switches on a chrome plate. The ‘Acrylite’ fingerboard features large white dot inlays, and the sealed-gear tuners have distinctive ‘crown’-style plastic buttons. LYNDON B. JOHNSON IS SWORN in as President following the assassination of John F Kennedy in Dallas; Sir Winston Churchill becomes an honorary citizen of the United States; Kuwait joins the United Nations; and 70,000 Ban The Bomb marchers leave Aldermaston and head to London for a massive demonstration. TEISCO-MADE MJ2 SOLID-BODY GUITARS offer a cheap alternative to the major manufacturers and, like many Japanese guitars, they’re issued under different brand names such as Lafayette, ET200 and St. George. The pickups are surface mounted with the channelled wiring hidden by the scratchplate. It’s a good guitar, with a contoured body, thumbnail inlays and a substantial ‘V’ profile to the neck. THE MUCH-TROUBLED FILM Cleopatra is finally released after heavy cutting; Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds is released; and the United States finally gets to exhibit Leonardo da Vinci’ s Mona Lisa at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. ONE DAY IN THE ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS for The Beatles to record their Please Please Me debut album. Their second album, With The Beatles, is also released this year, and Beatlemania arrives. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and Phil Spector’s ever-popular A Christmas Gift For You are also in the shops, and after trying to register at a ‘whites only’ motel, Sam Cooke and his band are arrested. It results in him recording A Change Is Gonna Come. THE UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA is established in Norwich; a new island, Surtsey, is created following a volcanic eruption in the sea off the coast of Iceland; the AC Cobra appears for the first time at Le Mans; and Italian car manufacturer Lamborghini begins production. AMPEG IMPORTS BURNS GUITARS from England. The six models are exactly the same, except they have ‘Ampeg By Burns Of London’ etched on the scratchplate. One of the most popular models is the Jazz Split Sound guitar, known in America as the Wild Dog (taken from the setting named on the rotary tone selector). It’s a powerful guitar with its unusual Split-Sound pickups, offering a closer nod to Fender with a shorter scale and contoured body; it proves very popular on both sides of the Atlantic.