Dick Clark had an empire going all the way back in the 1950’s, with American Bandstand on every weekday and The Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show on Saturday night. My friends at the NRRArchives have captured some great moments from the Saturday night show, and YouTube was kind enough to suggest that I watch them. They were so good, I had to share them with you.
Realize that the performers weren’t actually singing and playing these songs; they were simply lip-synching or finger-synching to their hit record. I don’t think the kids in the audience minded, nor the kids watching on TV at home or while babysitting or at work. It was music, and they got a chance to see the performers. It was a big deal sixty years ago.
- Lollipop/Mr. Sandman – The Chordettes: I don’t think you’ll mind that there are six songs this week, two of them in this video by the lovely, angelic-voiced Chordettes. I especially like the one member who had to make sure her strapless dress wouldn’t slide down in a 1950’s-style wardrobe malfunction.
- Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny: I never heard the story of how this song came into being until I watched this. Brothers Santo (pedal-steel or “Hawai’ian” guitar) and Johnny (guitar) Farina had a huge hit with this one, their only Top Ten hit, even though they produced a significant number of recordings. One of those things I really should research…
- Walk, Don’t Run – The Ventures: One of my favorite tunes by one of the greatest instrumental bands of all time.
- Little Bitty Pretty One – Frankie Lymon: Frankie’s story is a tragic one, from initial success with The Teenagers at 13 to his death of a heroin overdose at 25. He looks pretty good here, though.
- Tears On My Pillow – Little Anthony and The Imperials: This was their first hit, selling over a million copies and earning them a gold record.
And that’s your Friday Five for February 26, 2016.