From the Archive: Who Really Started the Pop Revolution?

In the fall of 1963, popular music had a decidedly teen feel. Just who was buying these records so often that they climbed to the top of the pop charts?

A 17-year-old Leslie Gore strums her mandolin. (Vytas Valaitis, ©SEPS)

Weekly Newsletter

The best of The Saturday Evening Post in your inbox!


—From “The Dumb Sound” by Alfred G. Aronowitz, from the October 5, 1963, issue of The Saturday Evening Post

The new sounds that Dick Clark says the kids listen for are often regarded by parents as nothing more than noise. But then, the sounds of popular music are not designed for the parents; they are designed for the kids, or more specifically, for that patroness of the pop-record business, a sometimes tom-boyish and sometimes entirely feminine creature with an identity as vague as her years and as elusive as her tastes. Billboard, one of the chief trade publications of the business, says she is about 14 or 15 years old. Other market surveys show her to be 13 and getting younger. One magazine describes her as “desperate, unhappy, 12 years old.” Desperate and unhappy though she may be, she still contributed the major share of the $161 million that the pop-record business collected for the 210 million 45-rpm records it sold last year.

Read “The Dumb Sound” from the October 5, 1963 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

This article is featured in the July/August 2024 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *