March on Washington: What They Listened To

Here are the tunes that flooded the airwaves and dance floors in the summer of 1963.

Posted:
 
cover20recut

(The Root) -- The following singles achieved the highest chart positions in the months surrounding the historic March on Washington in August 1963. These pop jingles, R&B tunes and girl anthems boomed out of transistor radios and filled dance halls. They provided an impromptu soundtrack to a period fraught with much transition, protest and activism.  

'I Will Follow Him'

little_peggy_march_mow_music
Little Peggy March (David Redfern/Getty Images)

"What do teenagers know about love?" people ask. A then 15-year-old Little Peggy March crooned about being devoted to her man. 

'If You Wanna Be Happy'

jimmy_soul_mow_music
Jimmy Soul (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Jimmy Soul cheerfully described how to be happy for the rest of your life.

'It's My Party'

lesley_gore_mow_women
Lesley Gore (Keystone/Getty Images)

Lesley Gore's anthem encouraged girls to express their emotions about their unfaithful boyfriends, singing, "You would cry, too/If it happened to you."