Elvis Presley “Elvis Presley” (1956)

         In 1956, American television audiences were introduced to Elvis Presley for the first time.  Although many believe his first television appearance was on the Ed Sullivan Show, he actually appeared two months earlier on the competing Steve Allen Show, as well as previous stints on Milton Berle and Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey’s Stage Show. Continue reading “Elvis Presley “Elvis Presley” (1956)”

Harry Belafonte “Calypso” (1956)

          Starting in 1956, Billboard began tracking album sales in addition to single recordings.  As I have previously noted, one of the nets I cast to ensure a wide diversity and chronological sampling of the music of my lifetime was to include the number one selling album for each year.  Kicking off this data setContinue reading “Harry Belafonte “Calypso” (1956)”

Ella Fitzgerald “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook” (1956)

          Today’s collection is a beautiful collaboration, “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook”.  This double studio album, recorded in 1956, is the 8th rated album on gq.com’s Top 10 Jazz Albums of All Time.  This is my first female vocalist on the list, and what an outstanding choice she is.      Several things capturedContinue reading “Ella Fitzgerald “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook” (1956)”

Clifford Brown “Clifford Brown With Strings” (1956)

          One day after the melancholy mood of Frank Sinatra’s “In the Wee Small Hours”, I was fortunate enough to discover the instrumental equivalent.  And when I say discover, I truly mean discover, as this was my first exposure to jazz trumpet master Clifford Brown on the 1956 album, “Clifford Brown with Strings”.  Rated byContinue reading “Clifford Brown “Clifford Brown With Strings” (1956)”

Frank Sinatra “In The Wee Small Hours” (1955)

          Every part of the day has a different feeling, a different vibe.  The cool and crisp energy of an emerging sunrise, the bustle and burgeoning warmth of the rising sun, the hectic pace of a chaotic morning, the relaxing downshift of the lunch hour and early afternoon, the offsetting joy and tension of theContinue reading “Frank Sinatra “In The Wee Small Hours” (1955)”

Elvis Presley “The Sun Sessions” (1954)

          In 1954, a young man from Tupelo, Mississippi made his way to the musical epicenter in Memphis.  Working with producer Sam Phillips, who ran Sun Studios, the voice of Elvis Aaron Presley quickly garnered attention with his version of “That’s Alright”, the song most of us look back on as Elvis’s entrance to aContinue reading “Elvis Presley “The Sun Sessions” (1954)”

Ray Charles “The Birth of Soul” (1954)

          For at least 30 years, I have maintained that my favorite singing voice of all time is Ray Charles, and nothing on this collection leads me astray in that belief.  As soon as Ray leaned into the first track, “The Sun’s Gonna Shine Again”, a huge smile came across my face and I knewContinue reading “Ray Charles “The Birth of Soul” (1954)”

Frank Sinatra “Swing Easy!” (1954)

          On today’s album, American crooner icon Frank Sinatra makes his debut with the 1954 album “Swing Easy!”.  This album wasn’t found on any Top 100/500 list, but I had to include it for three simple reasons.  First, my initial collection only included one Sinatra album, which seemed insufficient given his massive influence on aContinue reading “Frank Sinatra “Swing Easy!” (1954)”

Charlie Parker “The Magnificent Charlie Parker” (1953)

          Day Three brings me to another icon of mid-century American music, jazz saxophone master innovator Charlie Parker.   The album “Yardbird Suite” from 1953 is rated as the #5 selection on gq.com’s list of 100 best jazz albums.  As will be the case with some of these older finds, I could not find this exactContinue reading “Charlie Parker “The Magnificent Charlie Parker” (1953)”

Hank Williams “40 Greatest Hits” (1950)

          On Day Two, we stay in the American south, moving ahead 13 years to look at the music and life of Hank Williams.  Rated as album # 132 by Rolling Stone on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, “Hank Williams 40 Greatest Hits” lays the next major foundation of aContinue reading “Hank Williams “40 Greatest Hits” (1950)”