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.
From my point of view 1945 is the most important year in the history of the universe because it's when I popped out and greeted the world. A few of you will agree with me, but I suspect most of you won't and that's okay. Well, let's see what people were listening to at the time.
Some of them were listening to CECIL GANT.
Cecil was in the army during the war and for some of the latter time he performed at war bonds rallies. It was around this time that he recorded the song I Wonder, which became quite a hit for him. Here it is, with him playing the piano as well.
The backing for FRANK SINATRA is a bit overblown for my taste but I suppose that was par for the course back then.
Perhaps not though, as we'll see with Bing down a bit. Anyway, this is one of Frank's famous songs, Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week).
LUCKY MILLINDER was an odd sort of a band leader – he couldn't read or write music, he didn't play an instrument or sing. However, he was a great showman and he could pick talent and many influential musicians began their careers thanks to him.
One who started with him is WYNONIE HARRIS.
It was with Lucky's band that Wynonie first performed the song Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well at the Apollo Theatre. However, due to the shortage of shellac, they didn't record the song until 1945. Here it is.
Until I researched this year, I didn't know that BING CROSBY had recorded with LES PAUL. Just goes to show that I learn from these columns as well.
This was Les and His Trio, and it was a nice simple arrangement – just two guitars and bass backing Bing. Couldn’t do much better than that. The song is It's Been a Long, Long Time. Naturally, we have the wonderful guitar lead by Les.
Although it was considerably later than 1945 (because I wouldn't remember), my sister used to sing this next song to me. She seemed to like these silly songs when she was a kid. Well, I think we all did. In this case the performer is SAMMY KAYE, not my sister.
I believe that's NANCY NORMAN singing along with Billy Williams and the Kaye Choir (which I assume is Sammy's own).
If you thought songs in the fifties had silly lyrics (well, that's what the adults told us at the time), clap your ears around this one. Chickery Chick.
TONY PASTOR wasn't the biggest name in the Big Band era, at least not to me.
He started as a singer and saxophone player in various bands until one evening Artie Shaw walked away from his gig and Tony was roped in to cover for him. This lead to regular gigs in New York that included radio broadcasts.
What he and his orchestra perform is Bell Bottom Trousers with "vocal refrain" by Ruth McCullough and Tony himself.
DINAH SHORE was around for a long time in the entertaining business.
Way back, she auditioned for spots in Benny Goodman's band as well as Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. No one wanted her so she went out on her own and became a huge success as a solo singer; one of the first to do this.
Her personal life was really interesting but I won't go into that; it's freely available to anyone who's interested. This year her song is My Guy's Come Back.
Around this time, jump blues was just starting to emerge from big band music. This was essentially music performed by a small group that led eventually to rock & roll. There were still elements of the big bands and jazz at this time. One of the best of the genre was LOUIS JORDAN.
Louis is a semi-regular inclusion in these columns and his song today (or this year, if you will) is Mop Mop.
Because of my age, the first time I heard the song Twilight Time was the great version by The Platters. They weren't the first to record it, however. It was originally an instrumental by THE THREE SUNS.
Buck Ram was a songwriter and manager of The Platters and he wrote the words for it. We're not interested in that today. The Suns were brothers Al and Morty Nevins and their cousin Artie Dunn. They recorded the tune again a couple of years later, but this is the way they first put it down.
Like Dinah, PEGGY LEE also had a long career in show biz.
Her career began when Benny Goodman's wife caught her act and got Benny to come along and listen. He hired her on the spot.
Besides being a fine jazz and pop singer, she also wrote many songs (and added verses to existing ones), as well as acting and supplying voiceovers for films. The song Waitin' for the Train to Come In isn't one she wrote; it's by Jule Styne And Sammy Cahn.