Great balls of fire: Popular music in the 1950’s, Part 9 – 1958 and 1959

This programme is part of the series Great Balls of Fire
Cliff Richard in 1960 – hair was already becoming very important (© Wikmedia Commons)

In this nine-part radio essay, Pete Myers tells 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 9 – 1958 and 1959: In 1958, Perry Como recorded two of his most memorable songs – “Catch a Falling Star” and “Magic Moments” – Peggy Lee infected us with her unsurpassable “Fever”, while Bobby Darin, Conny Francis and Brenda Lee made their way to stardom. In 1959, the great Ray Charles recorded his first platinum success, “What’d I Say?”, and the Isley Brothers knocked us out with “Shout”. Buddy Holly died at the start of the year, but during 1959 the torch was passed across the ocean to Cliff Richard, whose recording of “Living Doll” became the top-selling recording in Britain that year.

Producer: Pete Myers

Broadcast: March 22, 1991

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