I love the music from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, but the 1950s were like a crossroads – much of the music, especially in the early Fifties, was a carryover from the 1940s. I am not a fan of the Forties Big Band music. I like some of the Second World War songs, particularly those sung by Vera Lynn, such as Lili Marlene, The White Cliffs of Dover, We ‘ll Meet Again, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, but I am not really into Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and the rest. Maybe that is why I am not a fan of the Andrews Sisters or the songs Frank Sinatra recorded in the 1940s.
Here is my favourite song from 1950 – Patti Page singing The Tennessee Waltz. Lush, romantic, evergreen. You realize what a great song it is when you listen to other songs from that time.
I am listening to music from that era mentioned in The History of Rock, a massive open online course conducted by John Covach, professor and chair of music at the University of Rochester.
Along with The Tennessee Waltz, I have included a few more of my favourites from that era which are mentioned in The History of Rock:
In the Still of the Night by the Five Satins, I Got a Woman by Ray Charles and Your Cheatin’ Heart by Hank Williams. I like videos of concerts though the records may sound better, so I have included both concert videos and audio recordings here.
Ray Charles shocked the music world with I Got a Woman because it turned a gospel recording into a love song. Critics denounced it for mixing “the sacred and the profane”. Released on the Atlantic label in December 1954, it was a No 1 R&B hit in January 1955.