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.
Way back when I was a whippersnapper, my dad bought a record player. Initially, we had no records but over the next few years we acquired some. Most of mine were because of birthday or Christmas presents (with a bit of gentle hinting on my part).
Anyway, we all managed to collect some records. Not too many as we couldn't afford a lot, but enough to keep us entertained. Also, we lived in a small country town, so there was only one place that sold records and they didn't have a big selection. Here are some of them.
I'll start with me as this is my column. In the fifties, I think I liked BUDDY HOLLY more than any other performer at the time.
The record company powers that be brought out the album "The Buddy Holly Story" very shortly after Buddy died. For once, they chose the songs well; every track on it was a classic so it was difficult for me to choose one of them.
I've decided to go with one that's perhaps not as well known as the others (unless you're a Buddy fan, of course). Early in the Morning.
An LP we had was MARIO LANZA with the soundtrack for "The Student Prince".
I think this might have been mine, but it's a bit hard to remember. Mario didn't appear in the film due to a dispute of some sort but his voice did courtesy of lip-synching by Edmund Purdom. One of those songs is Serenade.
Another soundtrack LP was for "My Fair Lady". This was the Broadway cast recording, not the one from the film (that was quite a bit later than the time this column covers). Thus we had JULIE ANDREWS, not Marni Nixon.
There are many well known songs from the musical that were a hit at the time and are still played today. Rather than one of those, I'm going with one from when Eliza was somewhat cheesed off about the men in her life and how they liked to rabbit on at great length (just as I'm doing now). She sings Show Me.
Dad was a big fan of BING CROSBY, so there were several of his albums from which to choose.
For me to choose one of Bing it was almost a case of putting all the names of the songs in a hat and drawing one out. I didn't do that but it was almost the same. In the end I chose one of his most popular early songs, Please.
I have a confession to make, a guilty secret: I quite liked PAUL ANKA when I was a teenager.
Okay, he was a songwriter of considerable skill – he wrote Buddy Holly's biggest (posthumous) hit. He also co-wrote one of Frank Sinatra's biggest songs, so he has something going for him. However, I'm talking about when he was teenage idol, and writing and singing songs in that vein.
The album I had of his was the first of many of his called "Greatest Hits". From that one we have Put Your Head on My Shoulder.
Yet another musical - they were big back then and I guess some members of the family liked them. This time it's "West Side Story". One of the most famous songs from the musical is Tonight.
It was apparently sung by Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer in the film, but they were only acting. The real singers were MARNI NIXON and JIMMY BRYANT.
That's Marni, but the only pics I could find of Jimmy were for a guitarist with the same name. Anyway, it seems that Natalie was somewhat miffed when they didn't use her singing voice, but Richard was fine with it, going out of his way to mention and complement Jimmy at all opportunities in interviews.
I'm certainly not alone when I say that I had a bit of a thing for BUDDY HOLLY. I mentioned that above.
Besides "The Buddy Holly Story", I had volume 2 that was rushed out when it was discovered that the first one sold really well. The second one was mostly songs that Buddy was working on just before he died and had recorded with just an acoustic guitar. Naturally, a backing group was added for the record.
I now have the originals in my collection and prefer them that way, but that's not the way they appeared on the record I had back then. One of those songs is Peggy Sue Got Married.
My sister was a big fan of JOHNNIE RAY. She had a couple of his EPs, and one or two singles.
Besides being a proto-rock & roller, he also harked back to an earlier generation of music. On one of the EPs he showed that with Walkin' My Baby Back Home (which, I think, is the song for which she acquired it) but it also had the old standard All of Me.
Between my sister and me, we had quite a few singles, and several EPs of ELVIS.
One of those EPs, and I don't know who lays claim to it, is "Jailhouse Rock". This had the five songs from the film on it, so it was good value. One of those songs is (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care.
We were friendly with the family next door. Alas, they moved away (only a couple of years before we did the same thing).
About a year after their move, the father made a return visit (he was with the Lands Department, a government body, that meant he moved around a bit for his job). He brought a gift for me, an EP of LITTLE RICHARD. He said his son (another Peter) really liked it.
This might be the best EP of all time as it contained Richard's four best known, and best, songs. One of those is Rip it Up.
Here is a late entry I've just remembered and the irony is giving me a smack around the chops. It's another EP and it certainly wasn't mine. It had four or five songs from the musical "Salad Days".
I have no idea who performed it as that EP has long flown the coop. I do have a version on my computer and I have no idea who performs on that one either. It sounds like the one we had, but I suppose it would. Anyway, as a final joke on me, We Said We'd Never Look Back.