Updated:
Original:
Year
1963
Month Day
December 12

JFK memorial album sets record for sales

On this day in 1963, a vinyl long-playing record (“LP”) called John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Memorial Album sets a record for album sales. A total of 4 million copies sold in the first six days of its release.

The album, released on the Premier label, included recordings of some of Kennedy’s most memorable speeches, as well as memorial tributes to the president broadcast in the aftermath of his assassination on November 22, 1963. The recordings included excerpts from his inaugural address and his campaign debates with Richard Nixon as well as highlights from speeches on a variety of topics from civil rights to space to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Some of Kennedy’s most enduring quotes were captured on the album including “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” (from his inaugural) and “ich bin ein Berliner” (translated as “I too, am a Berliner”) from a speech he delivered at the Berlin Wall during the height of the Cold War.

Each copy of the album cost 99 cents and the proceeds went to the Joseph Kennedy, Jr., Foundation for Mental Retardation. Although Kennedy remains one of the most beloved and documented presidents in American history, the album itself has not yet garnered much value as a collector’s item. In 2006, a mint copy of the album fetched a mere $15.00 on several internet auction sites. This may be because most of Kennedy’s speeches are now accessible on the internet.

The Premier record was not the only one released in honor of Kennedy in 1963. An LP documentary called The Presidential Years1960 – 1963 sold a respectable 1 million copies in its first six days, also at 99 cents per copy.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Kenya declares independence from Britain

On December 12, 1963, Kenya declares its independence from Britain. The East African nation is freed from its colonial oppressors, but its struggle for democracy is far from over. A decade before, in 1952, a rebellion known the Mau Mau Uprising had shaken the British colony. Not ...read more

USS Panay sunk by Japanese

During the battle for Nanking in the Sino-Japanese War, the U.S. gunboat Panay is attacked and sunk by Japanese warplanes in Chinese waters. The American vessel, neutral in the Chinese-Japanese conflict, was escorting U.S. evacuees and three Standard Oil barges away from Nanking, ...read more

The Queen of Mean is sentenced to the slammer

Leona Helmsley, nicknamed the “Queen of Mean” by the press, receives a four-year prison sentence, 750 hours of community service, and a $7.1 million tax fraud fine in New York. For many, Helmsley became the object of loathing and disgust when she quipped that “only the little ...read more

A young murderer is indicted

Fourteen-year-old Michael Carneal is indicted as an adult on three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder for the shooting of his classmates at Heath High School in West Paducah, Kentucky. On December 1, Carneal pulled out a pistol and fired 11 shots into a group of ...read more