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ClassicsOnline Home » HITS OF THE 1950s, Vol. 1 (1950): Music! Music! Music!
HITS OF 1950 Original Recordings
For a year which was characterized by the Cold War, the Korean War, the H-Bomb and Communists, 1950s entertainment was upbeat, nostalgic and sentimental. Families were growing, baby boomers were starting school, and North Americans were content to stay at home and gather around the four million television sets now in use. Attracting audiences to the small screen in 1950 were Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, Eddie Cantor, Bob Hope, Perry Como, Your Hit Parade, and Superman, with the slapstick and sophisticated comedy forces led respectively by Milton Berle and Sid Caesar. Kate Smith and Garry Moore became popular daytime personalities, and game shows such as You Bet Your Life, Beat the Clock and Truth or Consequences began their long runs.
Television may have had its growing audience, but movies, if not necessarily better than ever, still did well, including All About Eve, Born Yesterday, Cyrano de Bergerac, King Solomons Mines and Rio Grande. On Broadway the big plays were The Member of the Wedding, The Cocktail Party, The Happy Time, Peter Pan, Call Me Madam and Guys and Dolls, while 1949s South Pacific won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950.
The Nobel Peace Prize went to Dr. Ralph Bunche, and a belated Literary prize went to William Faulkner, following criticism of the Swedish Academy for not presenting an award in 1949. Deaths in 1950 included George Orwell, Sir Harry Lauder, Kurt Weill, Al Jolson, George Bernard Shaw, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the great dancer Nijinsky.
For those still inclined to travel, the 26,000-ton Independence, the fastest ocean-going passenger ship ever built in the United States, was launched on 3rd June, and a Pan-Am World Airways stratocruiser jet set a new transatlantic record on 28th April, flying from New York to London in nine hours and sixteen minutes. And for a slower pace, Thor Heyerdahls account of his 101-day voyage across the Pacific, The Kon-Tiki Expedition, was published in March.
Frankie Laine may have wanted to follow the wild goose, but much of the music of 1950 reflected the sentimental feelings of the day. A trend toward folk songs (Goodnight Irene) and country tunes (Bonapartes Retreat, Tennessee Waltz) was paralleled by the nostalgic (Dearie, Dear Hearts And Gentle People) and sentimental (Daddys Little Girl, My Foolish Heart). Old songs (Thinking of You, Bewitched) were revived, new songs came from stage and screen (A Bushel And a Peck, Mona Lisa), and novelties held sway (If I Knew You Were Comin, The Thing, Rag Mop). The big bands still had a little presence, with Ray Anthony and Stan Kenton still logging chart success, but most of the hits were by vocalists ... old standbys like Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby, and newcomers like Teresa Brewer and Don Cherry. Anton Karas zither solo of the theme from The Third Man was about as exotic as things would get in 1950.
Like most of the lively arts, music was "safe" and would remain that way for the next four years, but revolution was on the way, if not just around the corner.
David Lennick, 2002
The Naxos Historical labels aim to make available the greatest recordings of the history of recorded music, in the best and truest sound that contemporary technology can provide. To achieve this aim, Naxos has engaged a number of respected restorers who have the dedication, skill and experience to produce restorations that have set new standards in the field of historical recordings.
As a producer of CD reissues, David Lennicks work in this field grew directly from his own needs as a broadcaster specializing in vintage material and the need to make it listenable while being transmitted through equalizers, compressors and the inherent limitations of A.M. radio. Equally at home in classical, pop, jazz and nostalgia, Lennick describes himself as exercising as much control as possible on the final product, in conjunction with CEDAR noise reduction applied by Graham Newton in Toronto. As both broadcaster and re-issue producer, he relies on his own extensive collection as well as those made available to him by private collectors, the University of Toronto, Syracuse University and others.
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