Those Oldies But Goodies

Posted on March 14, 2011


As I was driving today my radio was tuned in to the XM music of the 50’s station.  This is music that I listened to in High School. I liked it, but never gave it much thought beyond it being the background music of my adolescent years.  It’s rather astounding that the simplistic three chord Rock & Roll that teenage entertainers rose to fame doing has had the influence or the staying power that it has. Having been around to see it when it was new(I’m 67), I was even surprised that it had a comeback as Oldies but Goodies ten years after the fact. I’m absolutely astounded at it’s still being played fifty years later. Much of its original popularity had to do with the introduction of High Fidelity recording technology. Recorded sound began to have dimension. Deep Bass sounds and tonal clarity that were previously not possible in records were now possible and this kind of music was well suited to it. Combining that with a new post war affluence that trickled down to youth, the right elements were in place for a new financial bonanza. These recordings were all profit. No big bands to pay and all that was required was a minimally talented kid with a guitar and a couple of studio musicians. This stuff was cheap to make, the kid was sent out on the road for months to promote the record and percentage wise was paid very little. There was kind of romantic lore that sprung up around it and I guess that’s where the staying power comes from. Us old folks can look back on our teenage years by listening to those old songs and reminisce.  From a strictly music quality view, a lot of stuff from that period was pretty bad.  In the Jazz Age of the 30’s and 40’s  the performers seemed to be far more musically talented and schooled in their art.  However, judging from what passes for musical talent in today’s Rap, Hip Hop, and popular kid music scene, maybe the stuff from the 50’s  wasn’t so bad after all.