ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Favorites of the 1950s

Updated on October 17, 2015
Gloriousconfusion profile image

I was a teenager when rock and roll came out, and not being allowed to play "that disgusting music" at home made me more keen! Still keen.

The Music of the 1950s

Let me take you through a snapshot view of the 1950s, a view skewed by the fact that I was not even a teenager in 1950, and by 1959 I was already a mother.

Pop Music as we Know it Was in its Infancy

Too much happened in those post-war years to give you all the cultural, historical and political details, so these are just a few of my own musical memories which stood out.

It was the decade when Pop Music and Rock 'n Roll really took off but there was other good music too. And we played records on the gramaphone or radiogram

Music - the Early 1950s

Until I left home and went to boarding school at the age of 11, my musical taste was somewhat shaped by the records my parents used to play.

The decade started with us playing records -short 78 rpm's on our big state-of-the-art very expensive radiogramme and by the mid 1950s all that changed, and we were able to play 45 rpm's and Extended Play 33 1/3 rpm's, which were much more delicate, and you had to be careful not to scratch them. These were all mono, and stereo came in a bit later.

Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte was a family favorite, with his "Down the Way Where the Nights are Gay and the sun shines daily (or was it gaily?) on the Mountain top", and "Banana Boat Song" starting with it's plaintive call "Dayo, Isadayayayo....daylight com and I wanna go home".

In 1954 Harry Belafonte starred in the film Carmen Jones with Dorothy Dandridge

As they were not operatic singers, their voices were dubbed by LeVern Hutcheron and Marilyn Horne. I enjoyed it, but my parents were not so sure, being brought up on the original 1875 Carmen opera by Georges Bizet . The film music was a nearly faithful copy, but with a modern twist to the story and Afro-Caribbean actors playing the lead parts, which was almost unheard of at that time.

Beniamino Gigli - Che Gelida Manina (La Boheme) Your Tiny Hand is Frozen

My father's favorite was Beniamino Gigli, considered to be one of the very finest tenors in the recorded history of music. Not only would we listen to wonderful songs from the Italian Opera, such as "Your Tiny Hand is Frozen", and "I Pagliacci", but we would also get fabulous renderings of operatic songs belted out from the bathroom by my father, who had aspirations to be an opera singer and a rich tenor voice to back this up. "O Solo Mio" had a life before football and ice cream adopted it as their own.

There Were Many Popular French Singers

My parents were very sociable, we lived in Central Africa at that time, and they used to have a lot of small parties and sundowners, when they would dance and play sophisticated music - they loved all things French, such as Edith Piaf singing "Je Regrette Riens" and Charles Trenet singing "La Mer". Another popular French song of the time was "La Vie en Rose"......"take me to your heart again" ....... These were not strictly songs of the 1950s, but their popularity continued into that era, and are certainly fixed there in my childhood memory.

Source

At School we Used to Gather Round the Wireless to Listen to the Hit Parade Once a Week

We would hear such gems as Rosemary Clooney singing "On the Baby's bottom on the baby's knee, where will the baby's dimple be?", and Frank Sinatra singing "The Tables are Empty, the dance floors deserted", which I always loathed. It was some years later that I realized that I just didn't like crooners. Perry Como - out! Mel Torme - Out! Dean Martin - yuck!

And, as for Frank Sinatra's signature song, "I Did it My Way", I never liked it until I heard the vastly superior Punk version by the Sex Pistols, several years later - at least it injected some fun into what was otherwise a rather nauseating dirge, pompous self-glorifiying and lacking musicality.

Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole was very popular - "Smile while your heart is breaking" and "Too Young" - very smooth, if a little bland, and Les Paul and Mary Ford singing in unison "How High the Moon", and "Vaya Con Dios" and then later in 1954, "Mr. Sandman" sung by the Chordettes.

Frankie Lane

But my favorite was Frankie Lane.

I still have his album Frankie Lane and the Four Lads - if anyone wants to buy it, just ask - cheap, because the cover is torn.

Early '50's on YouTube - Jamaica Farewell, La Mer, Mister Sandman and I Believe:



Harry Belafone - Jamaica Farewell








Charles Trenet - La Mer









The Chordettes - Mister Sandman










Frankie Laine - I Believe







Mid to Late1950's -

The Explosion of Rock and Roll

:

Johnnie Ray

In early 1950s Johnny Ray's "Cry" came on the scene, followed by "A White Sports Coat and a Pink Carnation".

Then there was my hero and personal favorite, Elvis Presley, with "Hearbreak Hotel" and "Blue Suede Shoes".



1954

In 1954 Bill Haley was credited by many with first popularizing Rock and Roll with his group Bill Haley & His Comets and their hit song "Rock Around the Clock"

Other popular music was "Earth Angel" - Penguins, "Sh-Boom"- the Chords and "That's All Right" - Elvis Presley and "Diana" - Paul Anka.

Then, in1955: "Tutti-Frutti" - Little Richard, "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" - Teenagers and "The Great Pretender" - The Platters.

Here's Ellvis on Amazon

Music in Mid to Late 1950s - Music on YouTube - Presley, Haley, Little Richard, The Platters:

Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel

Bill Haley - Rock Around the Clock

Little Richard - Tutti Frutti

The Platters - The Great Pretender

Paul Anka - Diana

The Platters - The Great Pretender

Bill Haley

Bill Haley - Greatest Hits
Bill Haley - Greatest Hits
His appearances used to cause hysterical screams - the first signs of bad behaviour in public halls!
 

Little Richard

Here's Little Richard
Here's Little Richard
Great Rock 'n roll
 

Dancing and Fashion

Ballroom dancing was still popular - As well as rock and roll, I could dance the quickstep, foxtrot and waltz, which were more intimate dances than the wild rock and roll which soon became ubiquitous amongst the younger generation, setting them apart from the "grown-ups".

I liked both, but I must say, if you wanted a close clinch, and a romantic cuddle, ballroom was best!

Circular Skirts

Girls' skirts became very wide, even circular, with big hoop petticoats underneath, and wide belts. Flat shoes, ballet pumps, came in, together with bobby sox and pony tails for the girls, and jeans for the boys.

I had a black and white skirt a bit like this
I had a black and white skirt a bit like this | Source

Take the Poll below and see what everyone thinks

Just a bit of fun!

My favorites were Elvis Presley and Rock and Roll.

See the Question Below:

What was Your Favourite Music of the 1950's Era?

See results
working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)