Sunday, 03 August 2014
ELDER MUSIC: 1957 Again
This 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's Great Balls of Fire today though.
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.
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.
Calypso music was really big around this time and the go-to man for it was 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.
This was the year when PAUL ANKA made an appearance.
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.
Here are the DEL-VIKINGS (or The Dell Vikings, there seems to be both spellings out there) with Come Go With Me.
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.
CHUCK BERRY had to be present this year.
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.
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.
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.
Although by this year most of his hits were behind him, JOHNNIE RAY could still come up with charting songs.
The one this year is Yes, Tonight Josephine, another record my sister owned.
You can find more music from 1957 here. 1958 will appear in two weeks' time.