INTERESTING STUFF – 4 February 2017
Death With Dignity and the Supreme Court Nominee

ELDER MUSIC: 1957 Yet 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.

* * *

In 1957 we were right in the middle of the first flush of rock & roll, although that wasn't necessarily reflected on the charts as all sorts of music were still being played on the radio. I'll demonstrate that today.

THE RAYS had a couple of minor hits over the years but I must confess that I don't remember any of them.


They did have one biggie though and I certainly remember that one. It was called Silhouettes. In the way of things at the time, a white group, The Diamonds, also released an almost identical version which, unusual for that era, didn't sell as well.

♫ The Rays - Silhouettes

In 1956 LAVERN BAKER had big hit called Jim Dandy.

LaVern Baker

Because of its success, Lincoln Chase, who wrote it, came up with another in the saga called Jim Dandy Got Married. That one proved quite popular as well, this time in 1957, fortunately for us today.

♫ LaVern Baker - Jim Dandy Got Married

THURSTON HARRIS first started performing in a band called The Lamplighters.

Thurston Harris

He later went solo (often backed by that band). Bobby Day (of Rockin' Robin fame) wrote and recorded a song called Little Bitty Pretty One. This made the low reaches of the charts. Thurston recorded it and took it way up close to the top. This is what it sounds like.

♫ Thurston Harris - Little Bitty Pretty One

MICKEY AND SYLVIA were Mickey Baker and Sylvia Robinson.

Mickey & Sylvia

Mickey was a music instructor and they met when Sylvia came in for lessons. Mickey was an ace guitarist and later made a good living as a session musician.

He was inspired by Les Paul and Mary Ford's music and decided to start a similar unit with Sylvia (and playing Les Paul Gibson guitars). They were successful enough to start their own record company and a publishing company as well as buying a nightclub.

Their biggest success was with the song Love Is Strange, later covered with equal success by the Everly Brothers.

♫ Mickey and Sylvia - Love Is Strange

By 1957 THE CHORDETTES were on a roll.


A few years earlier, they had recorded the first version of Mister Sandman which even I will admit was better than Emmylou, Linda and Dolly's version. So if they can beat that trio they must be pretty good.

Theirs wasn't the first version of that song (Vaughn Monroe, for heaven's sake, has that honor), but they did it best. Sorry to disappoint but it's the wrong year for that one.

Here is a song from this year that's nearly as good: Just Between You and Me.

♫ Chordettes - Just Between You And Me

LITTLE RICHARD produced some of the most raucous songs in early rock & roll (and, if I might editorialise for a moment, some of the best).

Little Richard

However, now and then he released a song that wasn't like that. This is one of those, Send Me Some Lovin'.

♫ Little Richard - Send Me Some Lovin'

DEBBIE REYNOLDS had a hit with the song Tammy.

Debbie Reynolds

This was taken from a film in which she appeared called Tammy and the Bachelor. She played Tammy and the bachelor was Leslie Neilson. He played it straight, which must have been a bit a strain for him.

♫ Debbie Reynolds - Tammy

JACKIE WILSON's treatment of Reet Petite is rather interesting.

Jackie Wilson

He sings it as rock & roll or maybe anticipating soul music. However, the backing for the song sounds as if it comes from a decade earlier, closer to big band than the music of the time. In spite of that it seemed to work.

♫ Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite (The Finest Girl You Ever Want To Meet)

In my part of the world, THE HILLTOPPERS had a big hit with the song Marianne.


Elsewhere, I believe this version was eclipsed by the one by Terry Gilkyson & The Easy Riders. Terry was something of a songwriter but he didn't write this one. He was also the father of another terrific singer/songwriter Eliza Gilkyson. However, the version I remember is the one we have today.

♫ Hilltoppers - Marianne

JIMMIE RODGERS was the name of a couple of recording artists, but only one of them was alive in 1957 and that's the one we have today.

Jimmie Rodgers

Jimmie had quite a few hits in the fifties. This is one of his biggest, Honeycomb.

♫ Jimmie Rodgers - Honeycomb


1957 would have been about the year I discovered radio and that we also got our TV, so these songs are so familiar. Thanks.

I'm with Nan--- and I even know the words to most of these songs so I must have been paying attention. The songs bring back memories of how I loved to dance. Thanks.

This is a posting where Peter batted 100 with me. 1957 was momentous for me - Hunky Husband asked me to marry him that summer.

Not one to ever bad-mouth the Everly Bros, I much prefer Mickey & Sylvia for "Love is Strange".

LaVern Baker was tops!

"Tammy" is a timely addition with the recent death of Ms Reynolds.

Thanks, Peter!

Jimmie Rogers was my favorite that year when I graduated from High School. Since I no longer have my 45's I probably have no album with him. Have enjoyed this post immensely.

Thanks so much Peter! I was in high school and had a radio and listened to all these songs, as well as danced to them. Great memories!

In 1957 I was at high school sock hops and met my first real boyfriend. We were together until he went away to college and I stayed home and went to work for Ma Bell. AKA the phone company.
I also remember all these songs and almost could smell the gym as we danced to them.
PS. I'm 'dating' that guy again now. Funny how things go around.

all I can say is Thank you for keeping the memories alive from a much better time

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)