The Best is Yet to Come

ELDER MUSIC: 1957 Again

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

What happened in 1957?

  • Lyle Lovett was born
  • American Bandstand made its debut
  • The Cavern Club opened in Liverpool
  • The Cat in the Hat was first published
  • The European Common Market was created
  • West Side Story debuted on Broadway
  • Elvis appeared on Ed Sullivan Show for the last time. You could only see him from the waist up
  • 12 Angry Men was released
  • Melbourne were premiers

At last BUDDY HOLLY pops up in these columns.

Buddy Holly

The original name for the song Peggy Sue was Cindy Lou, named after Buddy's niece. Jerry Allison, one of The Crickets, asked Buddy if he'd changed the name of the song so he could get a bit of kudos from his girl friend.

Looks like it worked as Jerry and Peggy Sue later married. Even later still, they divorced. Whatever the background it gave us a great song.

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue

DON RONDO first came to public attention in 1956 when he took the song Two Different Worlds to somewhere near the top of the charts.

Don Rondo

The following year, this year, he had another hit with White Silver Sands. Don had a pretty good baritone voice that worked well on both songs.

♫ Don Rondo - White Silver Sands

Great Balls of Fire sold a million copies in its first week of release and went on to sell over five million. In spite of that, it wasn't JERRY LEE LEWIS's biggest selling record. That is Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On.

Jerry Lee Lewis

It's Great Balls of Fire today though.

♫ Jerry Lee Lewis - Great Balls Of Fire

Here is a song with which I'm very familiar because it's a record my sister had way back then. The singer is SAL MINEO.

Sal Mineo

Yes, the Sal Mineo who was in a couple of films alongside James Dean (and others, of course). The song he sang is Start Movin' which actually sold really well. He also made an album, I believe.

♫ Sal Mineo - Start Movin'

Calypso music was really big around this time and the go-to man for it was HARRY BELAFONTE.

Harry Belafonte

Harry had several hits in the style, he even released an album just called “Calypso” which contained several songs that made the charts. One of those is Jamaica Farewell.

♫ Harry Belafonte - Jamaica Farewell

This was the year when PAUL ANKA made an appearance.

Paul Anka

He wrote Diana when he was only 15, and it was about his sister's babysitter he had a crush on. I don't know how that worked out but the song did really well for him, selling millions and starting him on a long career as both singer and songwriter.

♫ Paul Anka - Diana

Here are the DEL-VIKINGS (or The Dell Vikings, there seems to be both spellings out there) with Come Go With Me.

Dell Vikings

This song is the absolute peak of DooWop songs, nothing in the genre has ever bettered it. The intricacy of the arrangement in such a simple form is outstanding. Sit back and listen.

♫ Dell Vikings - Come Go With Me

CHUCK BERRY had to be present this year.

Chuck Berry

School Days is one of his best known songs, especially for the last verse which contain the words, "Hail, hail rock and roll, Deliver me from the days of old.”

The first part of that has been used any number of times as the title of books, magazine articles, TV documentaries and wherever the influence of fifties' music is discussed. I've even used it myself for the name of a column.

♫ Chuck Berry - School Days

RICKY NELSON started singing because he wanted to impress a girl. I imagine he hasn't been the only one who has done that over the years.

Ricky Nelson

It seems she was very taken with Elvis at the time (she wasn't alone there) and Ricky thought, "I could do that". It probably helped to have parents in the business. This is one of his earliest records, Be-Bop Baby.

♫ Ricky Nelson - Be-Bop Baby

Although by this year most of his hits were behind him, JOHNNIE RAY could still come up with charting songs.

Johnnie Ray

The one this year is Yes, Tonight Josephine, another record my sister owned.

♫ Johnnie Ray - Yes, Tonight Josephine

You can find more music from 1957 here. 1958 will appear in two weeks' time.


For those of us whose 45's have warped beyond recognition, we thank you.

Wonderful, Peter! 1957 was the year I changed from a prepubescent stick straight 'tween type person to a real curvy teen. I was in the 8th grade and discovered sock hops, after school dances and music other than that by Frank Sinatra, Patti Page and Perry Como-music my parents listened to in other words.

Your lineup brought back the very scent of the gymnasium, the squeak of 'sneakers' on the floor meant someone hadn't taken his shoes off!

I enjoyed all the cuts you offered us in this set, but the one I appreciated the most is Harry Belafontes "Jamaica Farewell". Whyle maybe not a real rock record, it sums up the feel of summer dances and beachside bonfires, of waxing my surfboard and sleeping on the beach before that became unsafe to do.

Keep up the good work Peter..all of us who look forward to the Sunday lineup appreciate you and the assistant musicologist come up with!
Elle in Oregon

Thanks for the memories, Peter. I was listening to NPR a few days ago and heard a segment about the value of music for old people with dementia. It seems that even if they can't remember their kids' names, they can remember the words to songs from their young days. I think I'm in trouble because I never could remember the words of songs, especially the ones I loved. It would be great to remember some Patsy Cline or Paul Simon or The Beatles, but I fear that I will remember only the words from some awful hymns that were only part of my life until the age of 12 or so. Rats!

Yes, thanks Peter. My son, born in 1977 is making a playlist for his November-arriving child. I send him many from those you've selected here, as he's crazy for music from the 50s-60s - probably what he heard as a child!

I don't think the full impact of what music meant to those of us who experienced the emergence of rock after the 1940s-early 50s (and what Elvis brought to the body & mind of teen girls, at least from my experience) can be realized by those not being a part of those times. So I enjoy seeing my son love the same music, though he comes from an entirely different beginning point.

Together, we rock doesn't really ever die.

Peter, as much as I enjoy all your posts, I can't remember one that so clearly nailed my music tastes on every single song. Outstanding!

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