March on Washington: What They Listened To

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


(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 (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 (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 (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."

The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.