"1963" as written by and Stephen Paul David/hook Morris....
It was January, nineteen-sixty-three
When Johnny came home with a gift for me
He said I bought it for you because I love you
And I bought it for you 'cause it's your birthday, too
He was so very nice, he was so very kind
To think of me at this point in time
I used to think of him, he used think of me
He told me to close my eyes
My gift would be a great surprise
I saw tears were in his eyes
He never meant to hurt me
Oh, God, Johnny, don't point that gun at me
There's so many ways our lives have changed
But please, I beg, don't do this to me
Johnny, don't point that gun at me
Can I save my life at any price?
For God's sake won't you listen to me?

And though he was ashamed that he had took a life
Johnny came home with another wife
And I often remembered how it used to be
Before that special occasion, nineteen-sixty-three
There was too many ways that you could kill someone
Like in a love affair, when the love has gone
He used to think of her, she used to think of him
He told me to close my eyes
My gift would be a great surprise
I saw tears were in his eyes
He never meant to hurt me
Oh, God, Johnny, don't point that gun at me
There's so many ways our lives have changed
But please, I beg, don't do this to me
Johnny, you keep on using me
Can I change my life for any price?
Oh, Johnny, won't you listen to me?

He told me to close my eyes
My gift would be a great surprise
I saw hatred in his eyes
But he never meant to hurt me
Oh, God, Johnny, don't point that gun at me
There's so many ways our lives have changed
But please, I beg, don't do this to me
Johnny, you keep on using me
Can I change my life for any price?
Oh, Johnny, won't you listen to me?

I just want you to be mine
I don't want this world to shine
I don't want this bridge to burn
Oh, Johnny, do you miss me?
I just want to feel for you
I will always feel for you

I will always feel for you
I will always feel for you
I will always feel for you


Lyrics submitted by numb

"1963" as written by Gillian Lesley Gilbert Bernard (gb 2) Sumner

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management

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1963 song meanings
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34 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentwasn't j(ohnny)fk shot in 1963? just a thought..
    polynotreon April 04, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree with Dgitalgirl: New Order songs are written intentionally to have an unclear purpose or meaning. Sometimes the lines even contradict each other on the same song.
    In particular, this song seems to be the story of a man who tells his wife that he's dumping her for another woman. It makes the comparsion of a so violent breakup on a marriage with an actual murder, like if the act of announcing the new love was actually shooting your wife to death.
    In my opinion, it is.
    Alienoon November 27, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentJohnny Kennedy wasn't the shooter in that incident. The theory makes no sense.

    But what a break from the normal rock cliches to write the song from such a perspective!
    xodon March 13, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAccording to "A new order story" VHS, Bernard is intervied on the meaning of lyrics in N.O. songs. Bernard said that his lyrics really don't mean much and that he even tries to pull apart the song but ultimatelly there is no meaning. Although people like us assign meaning to it. Like this song 1963, I take each stanza and apply it to my life. For example: "There's too many ways that you can kill someone, like in a love affair" doesnt that sound like everyone's life? A love affair among other things ultimately killed Ian Curtis.
    Mode000on April 26, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI always thought this song was from the point of view of a woman who was killed by her husband in 1963. The chorus is sung from her point of view when he is threatening her life. Other parts of the song are more narrative describing how the man later remarries. And, the truly tragic end of the song is apparently the dead wife lamenting from beyond the grave that she isn't with Johnny. She still loves him even after he killed her. LIke other victims she believe he never wanted to hurt her.


    fletc3heron November 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentscary. about some guy killing his wife, then getting a new one. interesting perspective, because of course it's sung by a guy and all. but yeah..i really like this song, as sadistic as it is.. heh.
    not_blondeon July 03, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song can have many meanings, there is no one real meaning behind most NewOrder songs. It is a great love tragedy song nontheless. Ian's death was the start of a musical journey that would not have taken place unless he sacrificed himself. The story of Joy Division's music and Ian himself is reflected in this song.

    Very powerful!
    Dgitalgirlon September 01, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat an intense song. Scary, sort of, with the murdered girl swearing that he never meant to hurt her. Just beautiful. Another great spousal abuse song is "Levi Stubbs Tears" by Billy Bragg. Very excellent.
    wondercakeon June 17, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song IS about JFK. Sumner had this weird theory that JFK hired the mobster Jack Ruby to kill his wife, Jackie O. This so he could be with Marylin Monroe. However, the shooter misses and shoots JFK instead.

    Then Marilyn commits suicide, realizing what happened, and Ruby kills Oswald because his hitman business goes bust.

    Sumner never thought this all the way through though: Monroe committed suicide a year before JFK was assasinated. Otherwise an interesting theory, though.

    But the song is sung from Jackie O's perspective, begging Jack to spare her.

    The song's producer - Stephen Hague - has said that it's the only song about domestic violence you can dance to.
    DavidLG1971on September 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe date is inconsistent also (JFK was shot in November 1963), unless it is consistent when considered on a level that I can't even begin to understand. I prefer the relationship-breaking-up-tragically-resulting-in-a-domestic meaning (intense, deep; but what do you expect from Joy Division/New Order?) - bit like Suzanne Vega's Luka.
    Sir_Robaloton March 25, 2008   Link

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