INTERESTING STUFF – 8 December 2018
My Son, My Family

ELDER MUSIC: 1959 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.

* * *

1959 was the year I was uprooted halfway through high school (and halfway through the year) from my small country town and deposited in a really big city (Melbourne).

That was for a couple of reasons: to keep the family together (my sister had already made that move), and to ensure a good education for the next kid (me) as my big sister really had to struggle to do that on her own – she was the only person in her year 12 class.

It was also a pretty good year for music.

It was with the group THE TEDDY BEARS that we first encountered Phil Spector. This was ostensibly a trio; the other two were Marshall Leib and Annette Kleinbard. There were others who came and went, most notably Sandy Nelson who had a later career as a drummer.

Teddy Bears

Phil wrote the song To Know Him is to Love Him for the group and particularly for Annette to sing the lead. It was their only hit. Annette later changed her name to Carol Connors and had a successful career as a songwriter.

♫ The Teddy Bears - To Know Him Is To Love Him

Does music from this year get any better than this? That’s a rhetorical question to which the answer is no. That’s because we have THE PLATTERS.


The only question really is which song to play. I decided on one of their best, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

♫ The Platters - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

BILLY GRAMMER was both a singer a fine guitarist.

Billy Grammer

He was one of the few who had a signature guitar made and named for him. Not just that but the company changed its name to the Grammer Guitar Company. He had a few hits during his career, the biggest of which was Gotta Travel On.

♫ Billy Grammer - Gotta Travel On

COL JOYE was the second biggest rock & roller in Australia at the time.

Col Joye

He was the one the parents liked rather that the outrageous Johnny O’Keefe whom the kids liked. Sort of like Ricky Nelson and Elvis in that regard. Col’s contribution is Bye, Bye Baby Goodbye.

♫ Col Joye - Bye bye baby goodbye

By this year, FATS DOMINO had been making records for at least a decade, so he knew what he was doing by this stage.

Fats Domino

One of the things he did really well was the song, I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Some Day.

♫ Fats Domino - I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Some Day

Along with two or three others, GUY MITCHELL was a breath of fresh air in the early fifties. He, and they, showed this kid that there might be some interesting music out there amongst all the dross.

Guy Mitchell

Guy kept making good records as the decade went on, one of which is Heartaches by the Number.

♫ Guy Mitchell - Heartaches by the Number

FRANKIE FORD was another native of Louisiana who took up music at an early age.

Frankie Ford

After some minor success he was used as a backup vocalist. When he did this for Huey “Piano” Smith with Huey’s song, Sea Cruise, the record company decided to release Frankie’s version as Huey already had a couple of songs on the charts. Frankie did likewise with the song.

♫ Frankie Ford - Sea Cruise

You can be pretty certain that MARTY ROBBINS would be present this year.

Marty Robbins

Marty seems surprised that seventeen and eighteen year olds were getting together. Oh, Marty, Marty, Marty they’ve been doing that since we evolved into humans (and no doubt before that). She Was Only Seventeen.

♫ Marty Robbins - She Was Only Seventeen

By now anything the EVERLY BROTHERS recorded was guaranteed to top the charts.

Everly Brothers

This is a tale of woe that the lads don’t want Mary to know about; that is that they’re banged up in the clink. She might figure that something’s wrong when they don’t come home. Take a Message to Mary.

♫ Everly Brothers - Take A Message To Mary

PHIL PHILLIPS received a pittance from his recording of Sea of Love.

Phil Phillips

He wrote the song, recorded it and saw that it hit the top of the charts, selling more than a million. He recorded an album but refused to have it released due to the shonky deal the record company struck with him.

He’s still trying to get his due after all this time. It’s particularly galling as the song has been covered quite often and was used in the successful film of the same name.

♫ Phil Phillips - Sea Of Love


1959 was my year, too. Just turned 17, everything so dramatic and emotionally charged!!

Can still sing along, mostly. I hope Phil Phillips gets a fortune in interest alone.

Thanks Peter and Norma.

I was 16 that year. And just seeing the titles is enough to start the lyrics running through my head. Amazing, considering I haven't thought of these songs for nearly 50 years.

I think I was in Jr. High (now middle school) when I first head "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" and liked it. I promptly went to the piano and played it and, by listening over and over, memorized the lyrics which I can remember to this day.

I rarely had money for sheet music so played all the music 'by ear'.
I think the version by the Platters is lovely, but the extra two beats they put between each line drives me crazy.

Thank you for this one! It brought tears and smiles to me, sometimes at the same time. What memories! 19 years old and in Miami, FL and falling in love and jitterbugging, and working at an exciting job at a TV station! Oh, life was good and a real roller coaster! As good as it gets. Even at 82 years old these memories are clear and very precious! I remember every word of every one of these songs. The old vocal cords are weak and wobbly but in a quiet room all to myself I still sang along although sometimes only in my heart.

Appreciate all you do. Loved this year.

I have been posting a 50's song on my blog every Friday. I post a YouTube video and the lyrics. You have given me a lot of fuel for that Friday Sing Along. I have found that there are not many female vocalists from that era.

The Platters are one of my most cherished groups of all times! (I'm 72)
I live in Europe (Lisbon, Portugal), I was a young teenager, I could not speak English yet, but I was able to sing Only You, word by word. Later on, Smoke gets in your Eyes would bring tears to my eyes! I love them!!
As well as Fats Domino (fabulous) and the Everly Brothers (I got one of their 45 rpm on my thirteenth birthday )
Thank you

I was 18 and had already met the love of my life. We were together 57 years until he passed away in 2014. So many memories while listening to your music choices especially "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes". I can get tears and chills just listening to any of the Johnny Mathis hits, as well.

Thank you for the sweet memories!

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.)