Memorial Day 2014

1952 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 1952?

  • Nicolette Larson was born
  • East of Eden was published
  • Helsinki staged the Olympics Games
  • Dr. Jonas Salk developed polio vaccine
  • First edition of Mad Magazine published
  • Sun Records released its first disk (Bear Cat by Rufus Thomas)
  • Singin' in the Rain was released
  • Geelong were premiers

LLOYD PRICE wrote the song Lawdy Miss Clawdy and his performance of it caught the ear of record producer Art Rupe.

Lloyd Price

Art decided to record him but found that Lloyd didn't have a regular band, so a few jobbing musos were roped in for support – Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino, Herb Hardesty and Earl Palmer.

It became the biggest selling R&B record for the year and has been covered many times since.

♫ Lloyd Price - Lawdy Miss Clawdy

TERESA BREWER's first public performance was when she was just two years old.

Teresa Brewer

Her mum entered her in a radio talent show. Later, as a teenager, she started winning these sorts of things for real which got her gigs in various clubs in New York. There was no stopping her then.

The amusing thing about Till I Waltz Again with You is that it isn't a waltz. Okay, it's not that amusing, either.

♫ Teresa Brewer - Till I Waltz Again With You

THE RAVENS seem to have one foot in the forties and another in the fifties.

The Ravens

Obviously, the subject matter of Rock Me All Night Long is pure fifties but their style still seems to be from earlier. That's just my ears, yours might tell you something different.

♫ The Ravens - Rock Me All Night Long

"Answer" songs were all the rage in the fifties. It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels was one of the rare answer songs that was superior to the original.

This was a response to Hank Thompson's The Wild Side of Life, a traditional "she done him wrong" song. Jay Miller wrote the new one and KITTY WELLS sang it to great success.

Kitty Wells

♫ Kitty Wells - It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels

RUTH BROWN's father was director of his local choir when she was growing up.

Ruth Brown

Ruth, however, was more interested in the music of Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. She ran away from home when she was just 17 with the trumpeter Jimmy Brown and they were soon married.

She sang in bars and clubs and caught the ear and eye of Blanche Calloway, Cab's sister, and she kick-started Ruth's career. That career would take a very thick book indeed to recount so I'll stop there and play her song, Daddy Daddy.

♫ Ruth Brown - Daddy Daddy

Several good singers came through BILLY WARD AND HIS DOMINOES.

Billy Ward & the Dominoes

The "His" is important because Billy was a strict disciplinarian and he didn't pay his musicians much, which is why they left. Two notable singers to have graced the group with their presence are Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson.

Billy wrote the song Have Mercy Baby with Rose Marks. The group performed it while Clyde was still a member, and he gives it his trademark crying ending.

Billy Ward - Have Mercy Baby

EDDIE FISHER brings us back to pop territory with Tell Me Why.

Eddie Fisher

The song was first recorded by Jerry Gray. The Four Aces then had a crack at it and they reached the pointy end of the charts. It was then Eddie's turn and he also made the top 10.

♫ Eddie Fisher - Tell Me Why

We all know about Bill Haley and the Comets. However, before them there was BILL HALEY AND THE SADDLEMEN.

Bill Haley & the Saddlemen

These were the precursors to the Comets and sound pretty much like them, thanks to Bill mainly. They covered the song by Jimmy Preston called Rock The Joint that was featured back in 1949.

♫ Bill Haley & The Saddlemen - Rock The Joint

Yet another French song that gained popularity with English lyrics. This time it is LINE RENAUD.

Line Renaud

Actually, in this case it went in reverse. Guy Mitchell's My Truly, Truly Fair is the song in question. Line's song is called Ma p'tite folie.

♫ Line Renaud - Ma p'tite folie

It wasn't just Clyde McPhatter who cried on his records. An even more famous crier is JOHNNIE RAY.

Johnnie Ray

He recorded a couple of songs this year with crying as the theme, the most famous (to me anyway) is just called Cry.

♫ Johnnie Ray - Cry

You can find more music from 1952 here. 1953 will appear in two weeks' time.


Happy Mother's Day! In France it is today.
Colette, Paris, France

Your musical columns are a wonderful way to begin a calm Sunday morning. Of course they bring a lifetime of memories, sometimes long forgotten or felt.

Thanks very much for putting these together. I look forward to those from before I began reading TGB - what a treat!

I love the columns also. Today I especially enjoyed listening to the fabulous Lloyd Price, Kitty Wells, and Bill Haley & the Saddlemen.

Thank you!

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