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Category Archives: 1950s

“ROBERT & JOHNNY – WE BELONG TOGETHER”

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We Belong Together” was a 1958 American rhythm and blues hit written and recorded by Robert & Johnny, with a co-writing credit to Hy Weiss. It reached #12 on the R&B charts and #32 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Cover versions

The song was later recorded by several others. The Fleetwoods released a version on their 1959 album, Mr. Blue.

A rendition by Ritchie Valens was released in 1959 on the Del-Fi record label and can be found on several of his albums. It’s also featured in a scene from the 1987 hit film about Valens, La Bamba in which the song was sung by Los Lobos.

The Belmonts released a remake on the Laurie label, Laurie 3080, in 1961, after they had split with Dion. It was not a hit, but was later reissued on a collector’s label because of its musical value.

In 1961, Jimmy Mullins, known as Jimmy Velvit,[1] recorded it in the Dallas, Texas area. It was issued in January, 1962 on M-G-M’s Cub Records label (K9105). It attracted a lot of attention and air-play and became the #1 song on the Dallas radio station, KLIF, for a period of six weeks.

A different singer, Jimmy Tennant, using the name Jimmy Velvet, had a #75 hit with the song on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964.[2] Tennant had initially recorded and released the song on his own Velvet label (co-owned with Ray Curran) in April, 1963 (Velvet 201-63), using the same name Mullins was using, Jimmy Velvit. That same issue was briefly re-issued in August, 1963 on the Cortland label’s Witch Records subsidiary (#115) in an effort to take the Velvet Records release to a national level. Tennant used another song from the session, “I’m Gonna Try” as the flip side of both releases, the same song the earlier Jimmy Velvit (Jimmy Mullins) had used on his 1962 Cub version. That song had been written by Mullins. The hit release (as by Jimmy Velvet) on ABC-Paramount 10488 used “History Of Love” (recorded at the same April session) as the flip side, which was first issued by November, 1963.[3]

Peaches & Herb included the song on their album, Let’s Fall In Love.

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The Original Stroll – February 1958

The Original Stroll – February 1958

featured image: http://www.purpleclover.com/

The Stroll was both a slow rock ‘n’ roll dance[1] and a song that was popular in the late 1950s.[2] Billboard first reported that “The Stroll” might herald a new dance craze similar to the “Big Apple” in December 1957.[3][4] “The Stroll” was written by Clyde Otis and Nancy Lee and was recorded by the Canadian group the Diamonds (Mercury 71242).[5][6] The Diamonds versions also featured a saxophone soloist. The original version of the song reached number four on the Billboard pop charts, number five on the R&B charts,[7] and number one on the Cashbox charts.[8] In the dance, two lines of dancers, men on one side and women on the other, face each other, moving in place to the music. Each paired couple then steps out and does a more elaborate dance up and down between the rows of dancers.[9] Dick Clark noted the similarity of the dance to the Virginia reel.[10] It was first performed to “C. C. Rider” by Chuck Willis on American Bandstand. Link Wray’s “Rumble” was also a popular tune for doing the stroll. When 1950s nostalgia came to the forefront in the 1970s, the Stroll saw renewed public awareness. It was used in the film American Graffiti (1973) during the scene at the High School Dance and is mentioned in some of the lyrics in the musical Grease. Led Zeppelin’s 1950s rock homage “Rock and Roll” mentions the Stroll. The stroll was an integral part of most episodes of the dance TV series Soul Train, where host and creator Don Cornelius dubbed it the “Soul Train Line.”

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“Sherry”

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Sherry

” is a song written by Bob Gaudio and recorded by The Four Seasons

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Song information

According to Gaudio, the song took about 15 minutes to write and was originally titled “Jackie Baby” (in honor of then-First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy).[1] In a 1968 interview, Gaudio said that the song was inspired by the earlier song “Hey! Baby”.[2]

At the studio, the name was changed to “Terri Baby”, and eventually to “Sherry”, the name of the daughter of Gaudio’s best friend, New York DJ Jack Spector. One of the names that Gaudio pondered for the song was “Peri Baby,” which was the name of the record label for which Bob Crewe worked, named after the label owner’s daughter.

The single’s B-side was “I’ve Cried Before”. Both tracks were included in the group’s subsequent album release, Golden Hits of the 4 Seasons (1963).[3]

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I MARRIED JOAN starring Joan Davis with Jim Backus

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I Married Joan is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from 1952 to 1955. It starred veteran vaudeville, film, and radio comedian-comedy actress Joan Davis as the manic, scatterbrained wife of a mild-mannered community judge, the Honorable Bradley Stevens (Jim Backus).

Synopsis

Davis as Joan Stevens
The show, whose syndicated opening makes the claim “America’s favorite comedy show, starring America’s queen of comedy, Joan Davis, as Mrs. Joan Stevens.” focused on a married couple, Joan and Bradley Stevens. I Married Joan’s trademark was broad physical slapstick, with Joan Stevens portrayed as bright but somewhat childlike and given to misunderstanding.  Virtually every episode had a plot which provided star Davis with a setup for at least one scene of over-the-top physical comedy.  Davis’s real-life daughter, Beverly Wills, was a regular cast member for several months of the show’s second season, portraying Joan’s sister, Beverly Grossman. Early installments began with Backus, as Judge Stevens in chambers, recalling how one of his wife’s madcap mishaps paralleled the problems of a couple seeking a divorce; this was followed by the unfolding of the episode, which ended back in chambers with Judge Stevens summing up his tale for the now-reconciled couple.  This wraparound scenario was abandoned after a handful of episodes

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Sponsored by General Electric (original network openings extolled the virtues of the sponsor’s products rather than those of its star), I Married Joan was aimed at the viewers who watched I Love Lucy, which had debuted the previous year and was already television’s top-rated situation comedy.  I Love Lucy and I Married Joan even employed the same director in each show’s first season, namely Marc Daniels.  

NBC scheduled I Married Joan Wednesdays at 8:00 ET against the first half of Arthur Godfrey and his Friends on CBS for the entirety of its three-season run.  The show performed marginally during its first year, but enjoyed a surge in the Nielsen ratings during its second season in the wake of Godfrey’s firing of Julius LaRosa and the resultant negative publicity.  In its third year, I Married Joan withered against the additional competition of ABC’s new top-rated hit Disneyland and was canceled, airing its last first-run episode on March 23, 1955.[1] Although Davis’ personal health problems have also been cited as a reason for the show’s cancellation, she was seen performing robust physical comedy as a guest star on variety series years after her own show ended.

Though I Married Joan was an NBC television series, CBS Paramount Television subsequently became the primary owners of the program’s copyright. The copyrights on some of the episodes eventually lapsed without being renewed; as a result, I Married Joan has several episodes in the public domain.

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“Roy Orbison – Only The Lonely”

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Roy Kelton Orbison

(April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988), nicknamed the Big O, was an American singer-songwriter and musician, known for his distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads. Between 1960 and 1964, 22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top 40, including: “Only the Lonely”, “Crying”, and “Oh, Pretty Woman”.

The combination of Orbison’s powerful, impassioned voice and complex musical arrangements led many critics to refer to his music as operatic, giving him the sobriquet “the Caruso of Rock”.[1][note 1] His voice ranged from baritone to tenor, and music scholars have suggested that he had a three- or four-octave range.[2] While most male performers in rock and roll in the 1950s and 1960s projected a defiant masculinity, many of Orbison’s songs instead conveyed a quiet, desperate vulnerability. He was known for performing while standing still and solitary and for wearing black clothes and dark sunglasses, which lent an air of mystery.

Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly and country and western band in high school. He was signed by Sun Records in 1956, but his greatest success came with Monument Records in the early 1960s. His career stagnated in the 1970s, but was revived by several cover versions of his songs and the use of “In Dreams” in David Lynch’s film Blue Velvet (1986). In 1988, he was a member of the Traveling Wilburys supergroup, along with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. He also recorded his final solo album, Mystery Girl. He died of a heart attack shortly thereafter, at the peak of his renewed popularity.

Orbison was initiated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in the same year, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1989. Rolling Stone placed him at number 37 on their list of the “Greatest Artists of All Time” and number 13 on their list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time’.[3] In 2002, Billboard magazine listed Orbison at number 74 in the Top 600 recording artists.[4] In 2014, Orbison was elected to America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame.

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Posted by on September 18, 2017 in 1950s, nostalgic

 

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Ben E. King/The Drifters – Spanish Harlem

Ben E. King/The Drifters – Spanish Harlem

featured image: http://www.allmusic.com/

“Spanish Harlem” is a song released by Ben E. King in 1960 on Atco Records, written by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector, and produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. During a 1968 interview, Leiber credited Stoller with the arrangement;[1] similarly, in a 2009 radio interview with Leiber and Stoller on the Bob Edwards Weekend talk show, Jerry Leiber said that Stoller, while uncredited, had written the key instrumental introduction to the record.[citation needed] In the team’s autobiography from the same year, Hound Dog, Stoller himself remarks that he had created this “fill” while doing a piano accompaniment when the song was presented to Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records, with Spector playing guitar and Leiber doing the vocal. “Since then, I’ve never heard the song played without that musical figure.[1] I presumed my contribution was seminal to the composition, but I also knew that Phil didn’t want to share credit with anyone but Jerry, so I kept quiet.”

It was originally released as the B-side to “First Taste of Love”.[2] The song was King’s first hit away from The Drifters, a group he had led for several years. With an arrangement by Stan Applebaum featuring Spanish guitar, marimba, drum-beats, soprano saxophone, strings, and a male chorus, it climbed the Billboard charts, eventually peaking at #15 R&B and #10 Pop.[3] It was ranked #358 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[4] King’s version was not a hit in the UK: instead, the original A-side, “First Taste of Love”, that was played on Radio Luxembourg, charting at #27.[5] In 1987, after Stand By Me made #1, the song was re-released and charted at #92.

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WHIRLYBIRDS TV SERIES (1957 THRU 1960)

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Whirlybirds (sometimes called The Whirlybirds or Copter Patrol) is a syndicated American drama/adventure television series, which aired for 111 episodes — broadcast from February 4, 1957, through January 18, 1960.[1] It was produced by Desilu Studios.

Synopsis

The program features the exploits of Chuck Martin and Pete “P. T.” Moore (Kenneth Tobey and Craig Hill, respectively), owners of a fictitious helicopter chartering company, Whirlybirds, Inc., in the American West. Martin and Moore sell their services to various clients at the fictional airport, Longwood Field.

The Whirlybirds series was, like I Love Lucy, a product of Desilu Studios. One particular episode of I Love Lucy, Number 140, became pivotal to the Bell 47’s public image as the definitive light helicopter of the 1950s. In No. 140, entitled “Bon Voyage” and first aired on CBS on January 16, 1956, Lucy Ricardo misses the sailing of her trans-Atlantic oceanliner and commandeers a friendly Bell 47G to fly her to the ship; Jack Albertson guest stars in this episode. Down she goes on the hoist, in a studio sequence carefully staged using a 47G cabin mockup. Desilu Studios, intrigued by the Bell 47 and its manufacturer, began discussions with Bell Aircraft about how the entertainment potential of the Bell 47 might be further developed for a TV audience. The result of this collaboration became The Whirlybirds.

Tobey and Hill did not fly the helicopters on the show. That task was handled by expert copter pilots Ed Fuderich, Bob Gilbreath, and Harry Hauss of National Helicopter Service, Inc.

After production of the series ended, Kenneth Tobey reprised his role as Chuck Martin in episode #223 of the long-running TV series, Lassie. Entitled “The Rescue”, the Lassie episode was broadcast on October 2, 1960. Chuck Martin uses a Bell 47G to rescue a trapped Timmy Martin (Jon Provost).

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Posted by on July 31, 2017 in 1950s, 1960s, vintage tv shows

 

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