glowing intensity of Tony Bennett’s expressive vocal artistry was never
on better display than in this intriguing, lyrical ballad.
I Understand by June Valli 1954 As
church bells peel and the chorus chimes “bumm, bumm, bumm” a most
understanding June Valli can’t bear to watch her love walk away. This
is a desperate plea from a woman rejected, but not ready to give up.
Domani (Tomorrow) by Julius LaRosa 1955 This classic American/Italian recording is one of Julius LaRosa’s most endearing and enduring releases.
If You Don’t Want My Love by Jaye P. Morgan 1955 Her
classic performance showcasing her distinctive, husky, yet crystal
clear voice while background singers repeat “If you don’t want my love”
make this a must-hear 50s song.
My Bonnie Lassie by the Ames Brothers 1955 The Ames Brothers’ Irish-flavored, drums-drumming, bagpipes-humming, My Bonnie Lassie (Comin’ to me) begins with the brothers humming the tune, then the song builds, and the group hits one of their strongest performances.
Jilted by Teresa Brewer 1954 Typically Teresa Brewer—coquettish and bouncy—Jilted,
parlays a fifties expression into a catchy and breezy song. She
displays her wide vocal range with her simple and carefree, but
controlled, high pitch clips.
Wonderful! Wonderful! by Johnny Mathis 1957 Vibrant with warmth, and alive with understanding, Wonderful! Wonderful! was Johnny Mathis’ first release and his sensitivity, voice, and style are instantly recognizable and unmistakable.
Somebody to Love by Bobby Darin 1960 Somebody to Love
is a jaunty recording with an infectious arrangement, lively chorus,
catchy fifties lyric, snappy beat, and Bobby Darin in top form.
Lay Down Your Arms by Chordettes 1956 This
march-at-the-double-down-lover’s-lane recording includes all the
bounce, zest, and lively harmonizing that makes the Chordettes one of
the most famous and renowned girl groups in fifties musical history.
Same Old Saturday Night by Frank Sinatra 1955 Describing
Saturday night “in an empty row at a movie show,” it features the
fantastic partnership of Frank Sinatra’s style and Nelson Riddle’s
arrangement that became Sinatra trademarks in his groundbreaking
Its Good to be Alive by the Four Aces 1957 The Four Aces are at their best, displaying a sheer joy of singing in It’s Good To Be Alive
from their Decca album ‘Hits from Broadway, the Four Aces.’ This
underrated, upbeat song was introduced in the Broadway show ‘New Girl
in Town’ starring Gwen Verdon.
Rollin’ Stone by Fontane Sisters 1955 This
great post-swing pop song was originally introduced by the rhythm &
blues group the Marigolds. The Fontane Sisters released their cover
version of Rollin’ Stone just months after their hit Hearts of Stone.
Down By The Station by the Four Preps 1959 This
wholesome, Four Preps’ recording, grabs with a unique guitar and bass
sound at the start and expresses a young guy’s carefree, ‘clever-fella’
attitude as he juggles his third girlfriend—but she gets the last word.
On An Evening In Roma by Dean Martin 1959 Smooth, sly, and snappy, affable Dean Martin’s On an Evening in Roma (Como e' bella ce' la luna brille e' strette) is one of his finest ‘grinning and mandolining in sunny Italy’ songs.
Look Homeward Angel by Johnnie Ray 1957 Johnnie Ray’s passionate style with R&B influences was captured in Look Homeward Angel.
Trumpets and a chorus set the mood, Johnnie begins softly by asking an
angel to kiss his lost love while she’s dreaming, the song and the
arrangement continues to build as it ends on an emotional high.
The exciting and dynamic Jamie Boy
is a unique, propulsive, recording with an energetic chorus chanting
‘by-by-ou-bop’ while Kay Starr’s crystal clear voice asks Jamie Boy why
he is walking all alone, unaware that she is longing for him in this
fresh and beguiling song.
(The)Wonder of You by Ray Peterson 1959 An ‘OW…OW…OW’ ing chorus repeats The Wonder of You,
and Ray Peterson questions why his girlfriend loves him even when no
one else understands him and everything he does is wrong. Eleven years
later Elvis Presley would have a top-ten hit with his version.
young teenage sisters Patience and Prudence McIntyre’s callow attitude
in the lyric befits the sister’s pre-adolescent harmony, and Liberty
Records added overdubs to strengthen their ethereal vocals.
Lucky Lips by Gale Storm 1957 This light-rock recording, Lucky Lips (Are always kissin’)
was originally recorded by R&B vocalist Ruth Brown. But Gale Storm
brought a perky smile in her distinctive chirpy voice explaining that
she’s got more than other girls.
Morningside of the Mountain by Tommy Edwards 1959 Morningside of the Mountain
was a tale of star-crossed lovers, separated by geography—She, on the
morning side of the mountain; He, on the twilight side of the hill—they
never met and they never kissed.
If Only I Could Live My Life Again by Jane Morgan 1959 With
a disarming sincerity and a caressing voice, versatile Jane Morgan
draws on a wealth of womanly understanding to interpret the poignant
(I’m Always Hearing)Wedding Bells by Eddie Fisher 1955 The
arrangement includes chimes, background bells, a trumpet, an ‘oo, oo,
oo’ chorus, and the warmly vibrant voice of baritone Eddie Fisher.
See You in September by the Tempos 1959 The Tempos, with Jim Drake are considered one-hit-wonders, and their biggest success, the consummate summer vacation goodbye, See You in September never made it to the top-twenty.
I’ll Take Romance by Eydie Gorme 1957 The
scintillating, Don Costa arrangement gets off to a finger snapping
start and Eydie Gorme’s bright, warm voice sparkles from the first
note. Her histrionic vocal range is impressive as she closes with
What Is Love? by Play-Mates 1959 Five-feet-of-heaven-in-a-ponytail
“swaying with a wiggle” as she walks, creates an unforgettable fifties
image. The Play-Mates three part harmony and a bright, foot-tapping
arrangement produced an outstanding fifties sound.
I’m Available by Margie Rayburn 1957 The
arrangement opens with Margie Rayburn warbling the song’s signature
trill “dewey, do…we, dewey, do; dewey, do…we, dewey, do.” And her
clipped delivery gives the word ‘willing’ just one syllable ‘w-ling.’
and happiness emanate from Sam Cooke’s gospel sense of release and the
youthful imagery ‘she’s too young to fall in love—he’s too young to
Mr. Wonderful by Sarah Vaughan 1956 The
moody, misty, swinging, sassy Sarah Vaughn, with her phenomenal voice
and impeccable taste brings a unique intimate sound to the
why-this-feeling, why-this-glow song Mr. Wonderful (That’s You).
(The)Jones Boy by the Mills Brothers 1953 Arranger Sy Oliver injected a timely rocking beat into the Mills Brothers’ song The Jones Boy (The buzzin’ over the fence is, that he’s goin’ out of his senses). It is a very fifties song, arranged with a fifties beat and musical stabs.