Thursday, April 29, 2010

Forgotten Music -- '50s Pop

The rock 'n' roll era began in the 1950s, but some of us also remember the '50s as a golden age of pop music. Let's look at one example, male quartets, and why not start with the Ames Brothers. Some of you might remember the only surviving member of the group, Ed Ames, as Mongo on the Daniel Boone TV series, or maybe you just remember his stellar tomahawk toss on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, but he was a heck of a singer as the lead in the quartet. They had their first hit in 1950: "Rag Mop."
That one sold a lot of records, for sure, and it's got the trademark harmonies. A few years later they hit it big again with another novelty song.
Here's another one I've always liked.
I'm a big fan of the pop quartets of the '50s. If we do this again, I'll mention another one or two.

12 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Loved the harmony in those quartets. Rare to have any now.

Bill Crider said...

I love melody and harmony. Rare to hear either one these days.

Evan Lewis said...

Cool tunes, Bill. Real crewcut and bow tie music

Bill Crider said...

Yur durn tootin'.

MP said...

I remember these, and they're all kind of corny, which may be part of their charm, but not for me. For harmonies I'll take The Beach Boys or CSN & Y any day.

Bill Crider said...

Yes, I like those groups, too. They know harmony and melody well.

Fred Blosser said...

Brian Wilson has acknowleged that another '50s pop group, the Four Freshmen, influenced the Beach Boys' harmonies. I think there's a vast gray area in '50s and '60s music where "rock" and "pop" merge. Were Frankie Avalon and the Four Seasons rock or pop? Elvis went into the Army rock and came out pop. When my wife and I visited the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, she was incensed that what she considered rock from her early teen years -- the old Bandstand school -- was only a small fraction of the display.

Scott Parker said...

Don't know the group by name but I certainly recognize the sound. Absolutely love that third tune, "Melodie D'Amour." It's always fascinating to hear where pop music started and where it is now.

James Reasoner said...

The radio stations I listened to growing up played rock, pop, country, novelty songs, movie themes, and whatever appealed to whichever DJ was on the board at the time. There was no such thing as a playlist. And radio was a lot more interesting in those days, too.

Bill Crider said...

True, James. And in the '50s a KLIF Top 40 would have pop, country, and rock all on the chart.

Jody said...

Frequently listening to oldies from the 50s when I walk on the treadmill. Love Shady Lady from Shady Lane.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I'm a big fan of the Five Guys in Matching Sweaters.