Music in the fifties – what a lead in to a trip down memory lane – I hope I don’t bore you witless.
It was 26th May 1955, the boys at the Vicky St Hostel in Melbourne, Victoria decided to hold a party, and being fairly new in town didn’t really know any girls to invite so a blanket invitation was sent to the corresponding girl’s hostels. The music was provided by whoever could play an instrument.Over the next three and half years I was to spend a lot of time with these two young musicians – attending concerts and dancing and missing a few Uni lectures long the way!
In 1956 Satchmo came to town and performed at the Palais and we were able to go.Wow! to see this great musician in person was real thrill. Accompanying him was Gary Crosby, son of Bing and the vocalist was Velma Middleton. Whenever student finances allowed we would buy the records, an Australian Music company called Festival Records had begun in 1952 produced a lot of these 45’s, smaller in size to the older 78’s
The next year a different genre altogether when Bill Haley and His Comets played at Festival Hall. Festival Records bought the Australian rights to his hit Rock around the Clock which proved to be a wise business venture.1957 also brought Guy Mitchell to town – he also performed at Festival Hall with Kathy Carr, Stan Denton, Lionel Hampton and Joe E. Martin.
Attending musical productions of Broadway shows also ate in to our pocket money – the diaries show we went to Paint Your Wagon, Can Can, the Boyfriend, Kismet, the Pyjama Game, Salad Days,Free as Air, Anniversary Waltz, The Bells are Ringing, My Fair Lady and Aunty Mame. We had all the programs for these shows but when we recently downsized we donated them to the Melbourne Library and Museum, but we still have vinyl versions of many of the original soundtracks from these shows and the Sheet Music as well.
I am going to leave my trip down Memory Lane there as the post will become intolerably long. I have not mentioned any of the stars of the Radio and Screen such as Rosemary Clooney or Patti Page, Elvis Presley and Perry Como – and who could forget Pat Boone singing April Love! You Tube now provides us with such a feast of these oldies to enjoy, and I haven’t mentioned any of the great dance bands of the fifties either.
There is a Melbourne Radio Station which streams quite well should you wish to listen to a wide selection of music from 1930 to 1960 Golden Days Radio – find it at http://www.goldendaysradio.com/
Returning to the first photos I posted of the two young men – time has taken its toll – the bongo player served in an administrative capacity for many years promoting Trad Jazz in Australia, and in later years taught the History of Jazz at the Gordon T.A.F.E. in Geelong, sadly now he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The piano player brought many musical instruments into the house over the years ranging from Kazoo to Piano Accordion, but he too seldom plays – arthritic fingers makes it difficult and more recently impaired hearing has affected his ability to distinguish a tune. But we are still dancing.