Category: 50’s

On this day in music history: July 17, 1958 – …

On this day in music history: July 17, 1958 – “Hard Headed Woman" by Elvis Presley hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Claude Demetrius, it is the tenth chart topping single for Presley. The song is written for and included in his fourth film “King Creole”, directed by Michael Curtiz (“Casablanca”, “The Adventures Of Robin Hood”, “Angels With Dirty Faces”) and co-starring Carolyn Jones (“The Addams Family”) and Walter Matthau. Recorded on January 10, 1958, Presley records the soundtrack and stars in the film just prior to being inducted into the Army. He receives a deferment from the US Government from January to March, to allow him time to complete his work on the film. Presley receives his best reviews yet for his performance, and sites it as his personal favorite among the thirty one films he makes between 1956 and 1969. Entering the Best Sellers chart at #15 on June 26, 1958, it streaks to the top of the chart three weeks later. “Hard Headed Woman” is Elvis’ third single to be officially certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Remembering legendary jazz saxophonist John Co…

Remembering legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane (born John William Coltrane in Hamlet, NC) – September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967

Remembering Jazz vocal legend Billie Holiday (…

Remembering Jazz vocal legend Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan in Baltimore, MD) – April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959

Film and television actress Denise Nickerson…

Film and television actress Denise Nickerson (born in New York City) – April 1, 1957 – July 10, 2019, RIP

Film and television actor Rip Torn (born Elm…

Film and television actor Rip Torn (born Elmore Rual Torn Jr. in Temple, TX) – February 6, 1931 – July 9, 2019, RIP

On this day in music history: July 9, 1955 -…

On this day in music history: July 9, 1955 – “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley And His Comets hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for 8 weeks. Recorded on April 12, 1954 at the Pythian Temple in New York City, the song goes largely unnoticed when it is initially released in May of 1954 as the B-side of the single “Thirteen Women (And Only One Man In Town)”. It is only after it is used for the opening title sequence to the film “The Blackboard Jungle” (starring Glenn Ford), nearly a year later that record finally takes off. Entering the Best Sellers chart at #22 on May 21, 1955, it climbs to the top of the chart seven weeks later. The song creates a sensation around the world, causing teenagers to riot and dance in the aisles of movie theaters. It is regarded as a landmark in music history as the first number one single of the Rock Era. The record also earns a place in the Guinness World Book Of Records for the largest selling rock and roll record of all time, with sales to be estimated at over 25 million copies sold worldwide. It is also featured prominently in the film “American Graffiti”, and is also used as the theme song to the long running series “Happy Days” during its first season in 1974. Due to its lasting influence and iconic status, “Rock Around The Clock” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1982.“(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: July 8, 1958 – &…

On this day in music history: July 8, 1958 – “Oklahoma! – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. The film soundtrack to the hit stage musical written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II features actors Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, James Whitmore and Rod Steiger. Released by Capitol Records in August of 1955 (initially in mono only, then completely re-recorded in true stereo in 1958), it becomes the first album in history to a receive Gold certification from the Recording Industry Association Of America. Originally established in 1952, the organization initiates an award program to acknowledge the sales achievements of best selling albums and singles. Initially, the Gold award is given to recordings that achieve over $1,000,000 in record sales in the US. In 1975, the criteria for Gold status changes, representing the sales of over 500,000 units shipped for a full length album and 1,000,000 units for a single. In 1989, the sales criteria for Gold singles are reduced to 500,000 units to reflect the then declining sales of singles.

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On this day in music history: July 8, 1957 – &…

On this day in music history: July 8, 1957 – “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” by Elvis Presley hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for 8 weeks, also topping the Country & Western chart for 1 week on August 5, 1957 and the Rhythm & Blues chart for 1 week on September 2, 1957. Written by Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe, it is the rock & roll icon’s seventh number one single in just under fifteen months. Songwriters Mann and Lowe (co-founders of Philadelphia based Cameo-Parkway Records) hear of a rumor started (no one is certain where or by whom) that Elvis Presley collected teddy bears, leading his fans to send him thousands of the cuddly toys. This provides the inspiration for the pair to write the song for Presley’s second film “Loving You”. The track is recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, CA on January 24, 1957 with Presley’s regular band including Scotty Moore (guitar), Bill Black (bass), D.J. Fontana (drums) and The Jordanaires (background vocals). Entering the Best Sellers chart at #23 on June 24, 1957, it pole vaults to the top of the chart two weeks later. “Teddy Bear” quickly sells over two million copies in the US, and is the third of four chart topping singles for Elvis during 1957. Presley becomes the only artist in history to hold the top spot on the pop singles chart for 25 weeks, which he does consecutively in both 1956 and 1957. “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: July 8, 1950 – &…

On this day in music history: July 8, 1950 – “Mona Lisa” by Nat King Cole hits #1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart for 8 weeks, also topping the Rhythm & Blues charts for 4 weeks on September 2, 1950. Written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, it is the thirty first single release for the legendary jazz and pop vocalist from Montgomery, AL. The song is featured in the film “Captain Carey, U.S.A.” starring Alan Ladd. Arranged by Nelson Riddle and with instrumental backing by Les Baxter & His Orchestra, Cole’s version of the song is featured on the film’s soundtrack. “Mona Lisa” wins the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1951, quickly becoming a pop standard and is covered by numerous artists over the years, though Cole’s is widely regarded as the definitive version. Nat King Cole’s recording of “Mona Lisa” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1992.

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Brazilian jazz and bossa nova music icon Joã…

Brazilian jazz and bossa nova music icon João Gilberto (born João Gilberto Prado Pereira de Oliveira in Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil) – June 10, 1931 – July 6, 2019, RIP