In The Summer Of His Years

Album: single release only (1963)
Charted: 46

Songfacts®:

  • The Kennedy assassination has led to countless documentaries, articles and books, most of them peddling the conspiracy line. It has also been the subject of a few songs, from the heavy metal "Dallas 1pm", to what was surely the first song to be inspired by it. "In The Summer Of His Years" is actually a tribute song, and was recorded within literally hours of the assassination. It was written and recorded by the team of Kretzmer and Lee who wrote the 1960 novelty hit "Goodness Gracious Me!"

    The song was performed more or less acapella by Millicent Martin who was resident singer on the BBC programme That Was The Week That Was that ran from 1962-3. A special edition was screened the day after the assassination, without the usual satire.

    The song begins:
    "A young man rode with his head held high
    Under the Texas sun."

    Which was of course his big mistake; no American President has ridden in an open top limousine like that since.

    The song was subsequently recorded very widely, including by the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson on November 29, and by Connie Francis on December 2. Shortly after shooting the President, Lee Harvey Oswald gunned down Officer J.D. Tippit of the Dallas Police Department; all the proceeds from the Francis single and the eponymous album were donated to Tippit's family.
  • Some American radio stations refused to play the song either believing it to be in poor taste or attempting to cash in on the assassination, something conspiracy theorists have been doing virtually from the moment the assassin himself was murdered the following day. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 22nd 1963, Connie Francis' covered version of "In the Summer of His Years" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #85; four weeks later on January 19th, 1964 it would peak at #46 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for 6 weeks...
    The following week it fell to #53, and moving into the #1 spot was "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles, and thus the British invasion was off and running.
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