Great balls of fire: Popular music in the 1950’s, Part 1 – 1950

This programme is part of the series Great Balls of Fire
Scene from the film noir masterpiece The Third Man. The haunting soundtrack of the film topped the 1950 charts (© Wikipedia )

Why name a series on the music of the 50’s after “Great Balls of Fire”, a rock ‘n roll hit that didn’t appear on the charts until 1957? Pete Myers explains in this nine-part radio essay telling the stories behind the music and the people that created the sounds of the 1950’s. This was the decade in which rock ‘n roll burst upon the world, but it was also a time of memorable recordings by the likes of B.B. King and Nat King Cole, of Edith Piaf and Mario Lanza, Patti Page and Frank Sinatra. It was also a decade of outstanding instrumental and popular orchestra music from such stars as Mantovani and Henry Mancini.

Part 1- 1950: Forever indelibly marked on our musical psyches from this year on is Anton Karas’ haunting performance on the zither of the famous Harry Lime theme from the music track of the film “The Third Man”. It was number one on the U.S. charts for eleven weeks.

Producer: Pete Myers

Broadcast: February 1, 1991

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