William Moriaty's YOU TUBE MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE AND POP CULTURE OF THE SIXTIES, Part 1
About one year ago I heard an interview with musician Tom Petty. He said that when he was a teenager in the early 1960's, radio was much different than it is today.
It was much less "compartmentalized," he said.
In other words, there were fewer radio stations with more of a diverse play list. You could hear Frank Sinatra on the same station as the Ventures. You could hear the west coast jazz of the Dave Brubeck Quartet on the same station as Del Shannon or the Viscounts. Back then you most likely were listening to a Top 40 AM station. No doubt there were a hand full of FM stations playing easy listening and MOR, especially with the advent of high fidelity stereo, but most people got their music from an AM radio station and their TV shows from three major networks and possibly an independent station or two.
No one can deny that the 1960's probably ushered in more profound change than other decade in American history. It was the decade where America's greatest generation that survived the Great Depression and won the Second World War passed the baton to their offspring, the baby boomers --
Those people born between 1946 and 1964.
It was an era where piston powered passenger aircraft was giving way to a new jet age in travel. The world was getting closer faster and it showed in the foreign influences that began to predominate America's radio waves in the late 1960's through the mid 1960's.
It was an era of post Second World War optimism and euphoria. An era of the threat of nuclear annihilation and the promise of the spoils of the Space Race and better living through chemistry and technology. It was an era of atomic ranch houses, the GI Bill, and incredible art, architecture, music and television that will never be seen again.
So sit back and relax as we take a journey through time on William Moriaty's YOU TUBE MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE AND POP CULTURE OF THE SIXTIES
Part One: Early 1960's: 1959-1963
Elvis Presley heralded Rock and Roll in the mid 1950's. Once he was inducted into the Army, rock and roll in America began to lose its direction and cutting edge. Teen idols and crooners such as Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Del Shannon and others limped rock and roll along with their innocuous love ballads until a new rock messiah would arrive on the scene. Even Big Band and Swing were enjoying a revival of sorts with artists such as Lawrence Welk, Ray Coniff, Percy Faith, Acker Bill, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin still posting respectable charts on America's Top 40 stations. But there was a rock and roll underground brewing in the likes of New Jersey's The Viscounts and Seattle's The Ventures. A new form of Big Band was emerging in the likes of Bobby Darin and a new forms of jazz and exotic music began to fill the stereos of households throughout the country.
Teen Idols, Crooners, Big Band's Last Gasp
Born in the Bronx, Italian-American Bobby Darin was famous for his 1950's rock and roll songs "Splish Splash" and "Dream Lover". With his fame he demanded more artistic license and two incredible results of that wish were the 1959 hit based on the Threepenny Opera, "Mack the Knife", which became the Grammy's 1960 Record of the Year, and his 1960 rendition of Charles Trenet's "La Mer", "Beyond the Sea". Darin's talent shines in these two timeless jazz-big band classics.
"Mack the Knife", 1959
"Beyond the Sea", 1960
If ever a song symbolized American youth, malt shops and tail finned cars of the late 50's, and early 60's it was Del Shannon's "Runaway". The go-go girls seen dancing in a non-stop circle around Del in this video are priceless!
Andy Williams was born in 1927 in Wall Lake, Iowa. Deemed by President Ronald Reagan as the man whose "Voice Is a National Treasure" this popular crooner of the 1960's and early 1970's earned 18 Gold and 3 Platinum records. Williams had his own variety show on NBC between 1962 and 1971 featuring an incredible array of classic artists of that era. At age 81, Williams, along with another classic artist of that Golden Era, Tony Bennett, still musically perform! God Bless 'em both!
"Moon River", 1961
Written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, this sound was the feature song for the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Julie London was born in 1926 in Santa Rosa, California and died in 2000 in Encino, California. This female crooner had a smoky, sultry voice that spanned the recording industry for 35 years. In addition, she was an accomplished actress, best known for her role in the 1972 NBC series "Emergency". The attractive London was a pin up girl during the Second World War and was married to "Dragnet" star and producer Jack Webb from 1947 to 1953. In 1955 she married jazz musician Bobby Troup. Her break through song was "Cry Me A River" in 1959 that was a feature song in the 1956 movie "The Giel Can't Help It".
"Fly Me to the Moon", 1963
Written by Bart Howard, from the 1963 London album "End of the World". The strings on this are incredible.
"The Days of Wine and Roses", 1963
Written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, from the 1963 London album "End of the World".
Rock and Roll: Hawaiian,Tiki, Surf, Space Age and Rockin Blues
In August 1959 Hawaii became our 50th state. All over America people were fascinated with this new exciting, exotic and tropical set of islands in the North Pacific. Almost daily, TV sets extolled the virtues of this newest state through personalities such as Lowell Thomas, Arthur Godfrey and George Gobel. Concurrently, Americans were also fascinated with Polynesian life due to the exploits of Norwegian zoologist Thor Heyerdahl in his 1950 movie "Kon-Tiki". Soon, tiki-bars and Polynesian theme-based architecture sprang up through out the United States, particularly in Southern California and South Florida. Furthering the Hawaiian theme, Southern Californians adopted the art of wave surfboarding and music evolved with it by artists such as Dick Dale, Jan and Dean, the Beach Boys and the Ventures. Back East, however, some bands kept rock and roll alive with some heavy duty blues and guitar reverb.
This group of Jersey boys produced what many music critics consider to be one of the most haunting versions of Earle Hagan's classic tribute to Duke Ellington, "Melancholy Serenade". Starting out with bass guitar, followed by heavy guitar reverb and dirty sax, this is an incredibly evocative and well composed song. Hard to believe that this song was penned by the same artist who did the theme songs for "The Andy Griffith Show", "The Dick Van Dyke Show", "Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C." and "The Mod Squad"!
"Melancholy Serenade", "The Touch (Le Grisbi)", 1960
One of the most innovative rock and roll groups in American history were The Ventures. Four musicians armed with three guitars and one drum, this quartet from Seattle was in large part a cover band that took marginal hits from other artists and made monster hits out of them. Their guitar techniques utilizing heavy reliance on reverb, fuzz and whammy bars gave them a distinct and highly identifiable sound unlike any before them. They inspired innumerable copy cats and in large part fathered the neighborhood garage band, where guitar playing teenagers were hoping one day to be the newest shining star on vinyl and on stage. Hits from this group were prolific, all the way from their debut hit "Walk Don't Run", to "Pipeline", "Telstar", "Apache". "Out of Limits" , "Sputnik" and "Hawaii Five-O".
"Walk Don't Run", 1960
Hard to believe that was 48 years ago, but here's the debut of The Ventures!. The traffic control signs in the background of the set do my DOT heart good! Tremolo (also known as whammy bars, wang bars or vibrolas) arms rule, giving this song's final note its distinct bending, quivering and shrill sound.
This inspirational video pays tribute to A.T. and T.'s first communication satellite, "Telstar". This stirring song was originally played by the British rock group The Tornados (hence the reference to Tornados member Joe Meek at the end of the video).. Innovators that they were, The Ventures used a sound effect known as "flanging" to mimic the sounds of a rocket blast. This effect would be used years later by artists such as the Small Faces, Iron Butterfly and Jimi Hendrix.
The Ventures ode to the space race and possibly their finest effort was from the 1963 album "The Ventures in Space". One of the most manic and brilliant songs from that album is "Penetration". Mel Taylor's drums are simply incredible and no stops were pulled on guitar effects. Isn't that album cover with the street rod overlooking the city at night absolutely the best?
Lava Lamp Collection Surf Music
Ever spends hours on end back in the 60's looking at lava lamps like I did? Well time for a flashback!
All That Jazz: Cool and West Coast Jazz, Exotica, Space Age Pop
Born 1911 in New York, died 2005 in Hawaii. Martin Denny was considered the "Father of Exotica". His music earned the title through Denny's emphasis on exotic sounds such as frogs, birds, ocean waves, palms in the breeze and exotic percussions meant to evoke the image of Hawaii, the South Pacific and the Tiki culture. His most famous album not surprisingly was titled "Exotica" and released in 1957. His greatest hit song was "Quiet Village" released in 1959. Ever prolific, Denny was active almost up to the time of his death at the ripe age of 94.
"Quiet Village", 1960
Rare footage of Denny and his orchestra performing his most famous song is shown in this 1960 clip from the TV show "Hawaii Calls" hosted by Webley Edwards
"Di Que Mois", 1960
Denny and orchestra again shown in this 1960 clip from the TV show "Hawaii Calls" hosted by Webley Edwards conducting their version of a song based on a French lullaby. Some good jazz here.
A great tribute to Denny's most successful album of the same name released in 1957. Lots of exotic looking white women are seen gracing various Denny album covers.
Strange but true, the man wrote the theme song for the TV show "Lassie" as well as the musical scores for numerous grade B science fiction and teenage movies by Roger Corman, Les Baxter, along with Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman, was considered to be one of the progenitors of "Exotica". With a full orchestra and chorus, Baxter's tunes utilized a mix of orchestral strings mixed with bongos to produce some very unique sounds. In addition Baxter, along with Esquivel was one of the fathers of "Space Age Pop" music as "Space Escapade" will attest. Born in 1922 Baxter toured with Mel Torme and Artie Shaw in the 1940's and 1950's. Baxter passed away in 1996.
"Music of the 1960's"
A great video of Baxter and his Orchestra and Chorus. Probably 1960. Little did he know that the music of the 60's would end with Jimi Hendrix playing his version of the "Star Spangled Banner" at Woodstock.
"Le Sacre du Sauvage"
Baxter goes Tiki and exotica as the album cover and sound attests. Funny, when we played rock n' roll back then, our parents screamed "Turn that jungle music down!"
A great little tribute to the father of Space Lounge music. Great sound effects and those beautiful strings! I love that distant sounding piano.
Dave Brubeck Quartet
Dave Brubeck was born in Concord, California in 1922 and was considered one of the leading figures of jazz that evolved along America's West Coast in the late 40's to early 60's known as "West Coast Jazz" and "Cool Jazz". Brubeck formed his Quartet in 1951 releasing the album "Jazz Goes to College". His most famous song was "Take Five", written by sax player Paul Desmond. The song title is indicative of the song's 5/4 time and was released in the Quartet's 1959 album "Time Out". The Quartet consisted of Brubeck on piano, Desmond on sax, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums. Morello's drum solo in this 1961 video is outstanding. Brubeck was the director of America's first all-jazz radio station, WJZZ in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In the 1982 album "Nightfly" by Steely Dan lead man Donald Fagan, Brubeck is referenced in the song "The New Frontier". In addition, Brubeck's radio station (though called "WJAZ") is the subject of the album's namesake song "Nightfly". The 1982 video for "The New Frontier" captured the Brubeck cool jazz band spirit perfectly in the Googie like retro style it was drawn in.
"Take Five", 1961
One of the most innovative musicians in American history was Juan Garcia Esquivel, known simply as "Esquivel". Born in 1918 in Tampico, Tamaulipas Mexico, Esquivel was known as "The King of Space Age Pop" and "The Busby Berkley of Cocktail Music". In retrospect he would be known as the father of "Space Age Bachelor Pad Music". Esquivel had an easily recognizable sound where he would employ chinese bells, mariachi bands, whistling and slide guitars while a chorus would sing words such as "zu-zu" and "pow". In his heyday in the late 1950's and early 1960's Esquivel was the opening act for Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas. Esquivel passed away in 2002.
"You Belong to My Heart", 1962
Wonderfully zany with great art. Caramba!
Esquivel using his trade mark "zu-zu" and "pow-pow" chorus lines. From the "Infinity In Sound Volume 2" album.
Nothing about this dude was normal which is why I love his music. Kitch as God meant it to be!
Television Show: The Twilight Zone, 1959
One of the most profound and powerful anthology series to evolve from the mind of man was Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone". Aired on the CBS network from 1959 until 1964 this weekly series presented an incredible array of human interest stories, typically rooted in science fiction or horror genres, with ironic twists and turns. It featured the works of noted writers such as Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, Earle Hamner Jr. and Richard Matheson. This pilot episode from October 2, 1959, "Where Is Everybody?" with Earl Holloman was the only episode to not feature Serling as the host and narrator.
Movie: A Summer Place, 1960
Movie themes were very popular radio fodder in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The 1959 movie "A Summer Place" starring Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue featured a theme that would propel Percy Faith and His Orchestra to a number one spot on the billboard charts in 1960 for his beautiful rendition of this classic tune.
Movie: The Hypnotic Eye, 1960
While movies like "A Summer Place", "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and others had taste and class, there were of course the typical drive in movie low budget turkeys like "The Hypnotic Eye", "Bloodfeast", "Nude on the Moon" and "Bad Girls Go To Hell". The audience participation certainly looks compelling, huh?
Television Show: Route 66, 1960
What could be more All-American in 1960 than jumpin' in your Chevrolet Corvette and gettin' your kicks on Route 66 with Todd Stiles (Martin Milner) and Buz Murdock (George Maharis) while driving to the incredible music of Nelson Riddle and His Orchestra?
Movie: Sex Kittens Go To College, 1960
It was starting to become obvious that by the early 1960's, risque movies with risque titles were becoming more common with more barriers concerning profanity and sex being broken down. "Sex Kittens Go To College" featured Mamie Van Doren (the "Tallahassee Tassle Tosser"), Tuesday Weld and Mijanou Bardot. This bee-zar flick also features Louis Nye, Martin Milner, Jackie Coogan, Conway Twitty, John Carradine, a "minkey" and "ThinkO" the robot. Maybe the people of the early 60's weren't really all that conservative!
Television Show: Hawaiian Eye, 1960
This ABC series was indicative of America's love affair with the newly acquired state of Hawaii and all things Tiki. Starring Robert Conrad, Anthony Eisley, Grant Williams and Connie Stevens, "Hawaiian Eye" was pretty much a surfboard version of Surfside 6, Bourbon Street Bea,. 77 Sunset Strip and other ABC detective series of that era. Music by Jerry Livingston and Mack David, this series ran from 1959 to 1963.
Television Show: 77 Sunset Strip, 1960
Another ABC detective series, this one based in Los Angeles, featured Efram Zimbalist Jr., Roger Smith, Robert Long and Edd Byrnes. This bizarre video which appears to be authentic vintage 60's may well have inspired the "fembots" in one of the Austin Powers movies.
Television Ad: The Flinstones Pimpin' Winston Cigarettes, 1961
Until "The Simpsons" came along in the late 1980's, Hannah Barbera's stone age version of "The Honeymooners", known as "The Flinstones", was America's longest running prime time cartoon running from 1960 to 1966. In this 1961 ad that never saw broadcast for obvious reasons, Fred and Barney try to sneak away from their wives for a little smoke.
Television Ad: Dinah Shore Sings "See the U.S.A." in Your Chevrolet", 1961
Big Band singer Dinah Shore who worked with that era's greats such as Eddie Cantor and the Dorsey Brothers was a small child when her parents immigrated from Russia to Manchester, Tennessee. >From 1956 to 1961 the vivacious singer was the hostess of "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show" (say that three times fast). This video is from the last episode of that show in 1961 where Shore belts out the famous car manufacturer's plea to "See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet!" We miss ya Dinah! Mwaw!
Television Show: The Dick Van Dyke Show, 1961
Created by Carl Reiner, nothing seemed to evoke the 60's Nuclear Family and suburban ranch house life in the suburbs more than "The Dick Van Dyke Show". The series lead character, played by Dick Van Dyke, was Rob Petrie, a writer for "The Allen Brady Show". Brady was played by series creator Reiner. Rob's wife Laura was played by the beautiful and talented Mary Tyler Moore. Supporting actors included Richard Deacon (Mel Cooley), Morey Amsterdam (Buddy Sorrell) and Rose Marie (Sally Rogers). Not to be forgotten WAS their son Ritch Petrie. The ever prolific Earle Hagan was the musician behind the theme song. The series ran from 1961 to 1966.
Television Show: The Saint, 1962
Based on the Leslie Charteris character Simon Templar, This ITC series was one of the first imported British TV shows followed by Danger Man (Secret Agent) and the Avengers. Typically seen in syndication in America in the early 60's, it was picked up by NBC in 1966. Roger Moore, who played Templar, and his white Volvo P1800 sports car flashed across the TV screen from 1962 to 1969.
Television Show: The Twilight Zone, 1962
"Etrange 3/Milieu 2" by Marius Constant and Lud Gluskin is the introduction theme to Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone" that people are the most familiar with, this introduction being from the series third season in 1961 and 1962.
Television Show: The Outer Limits, 1963
Possibly the finest science fiction anthology series ever aired on TV was "The Outer Limits". Running on the ABC network from 1963 to 1965, "The Outer Limits" did an exemplary job of incorporating human emotion and psychology with its themes of the technological future. This trailer features Martin Sheen and Ed Nelson in a teaser to the episode "Nightmare" aired in 1963. The first season music was by Dominick Frontiere.
Disneyland Monorail Dedication, 1959
What could better define America's pop culture of the late 1950's and early 1960's more than Disneyland? (my boss John Simpson was there the week it opened!) The Anaheim, California based theme park that opened in July 1955 had two exceptional glimpses into what the people of that era though would America in the future. Tomorrowland and the Monorail. Although a lengthy 8 minutes, this video is worth the watch (ain't much really changed traffic wise tho, huh?) You gotta love that music! Features Vice President Richard Nixon, his wife and kids, Bob Cummings, Fred McMurray, Art Linkletter and Walt himself. The monorail caught on like world peace, but both are wonderful to dream about.
Chris Nichols: The Googieman, Los Angeles, California
Chris Nichols is a fanatic for a form of American architecture born in Southern California in the late 1940's known as "Googie" or "Populuxe" architecture. It was coined that term from architect John Lautner's "Googie's Coffee Shop" design in Southern California. It is the architecture found in the design of the original McDonalds restaurants, Big Boy restaurant chains, Holiday Inns and countless hotels, coffee shops and bowling alleys across the country, particularly in Southern California and South Florida from the late 1940's to mid 1960's. It used elements such as canted roofs, boomerang shapes, star bursts, bean poles and lots of glass and flag stone. A prime local example is the last remaining Biff Burger in the country on 49th Street North in St. Petersburg along with the Bon Aire Motel in St. Pete Beach and the Tangiers Motel in Treasure Island.
Pride Cleaners, Chicago, Illinois
Not all Googie was limited to the Meditteranean and sub tropical climates of Southern California and South Florida as this 2003 video from the "Great Chicago Buildings" series.
Charles and Ray Eames
Born in 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri, Charles Eames was so fascinated with Frank Lloyd Wright and modern architecture that he was kicked out of Washington University. One of his other great influences was from Eilel Saarinen, father of architect Eero Saarinen who would later become a partner and friend. Charles Eames became an industrial designer specializing in the design of modern furniture. In 1941 he married Sacramento, California native Ray Kaiser and together the husband and wife team designed incredibly modern furniture and one of the most notable modern structures ever built, the Eames House, or "Case Study House #8" located on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in California.
Mies Van Der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in 1886 in Germany. Along with Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, van der Rohe is considered to be one of the pioneers of modern architecture. He was also the last director of the Bauhaus school of design. Much of his work was what we would consider to be modern skyscrapers, many seen along the lake shore of Chicago, Illinois. His signature style was that of directness and simplicity, eradicating ornamentation seen in classic and classic revival works. His work was also known as "International" and "Brutalist" depending primarily on concrete, steel and glass. van der Rohe died in Chicago in 1969 and was buried near other famous Chicago architects in Uptown's Graceland Cemetery.
Born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris in Switzerland in 1887, Le Corbusier, as he came to be known, became a French citizen at age 30. He moved to Berlin where upon learning the German language enabled him to speak fluently with architects Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius of the Bauhaus school of architecture. In 1917 he met the Cubist painter Amedee Ozenfant, a kindred spirit, who urged LeCorbusier to take up painting. In 1920 Jenneret-Gris changed his name to that that of his maternal grandfather's name "Lecorbesier" reflecting his belief that anyone could reinvent oneself (same as I did in 1986). His works were the ultimate in "Brutalist" styles employing Cubist themes with heavy use of concrete and curvature as shown in this video throbbing to Pink Floyd's "One of These Days". The majority of LeCorbusier's works are in France. He was a writer, a poet, a Utopian thinker, a painter, an urban designer, and to me, a hero. He died on August 27, 1965 while swimming the Meditteranean Sea in Roqubrune Cap-Martin, France. He was both hated and respected by abstract expressionist painter Salvador Dali.
Although LeCorbusier is an architectural hero of mine, my personal favorite architect was Eero Saarinen. Born in Finland in 1910, Eero immigrated to the United States where his father Eilel taught at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Eero met Charles and Ray Eames there and in addition to being a partner working on modern style furniture, was so close to the couple that he named his son "Eames" in honor of them. Saarinen's work was possibly the most space age industrial work of its kind. He created the "tulip" or "pedestal" chair for the Knoll Company of New York City. His most notable and recognizable works include the TWA Flight Center at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, the terminal at Washington D.C.'s Dulles International Airport in Herndon, Virginia, and the General Motors Center in Warren, Michigan. This innovative Jetsonian architect died relatively young at the age of 51 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Atomic Lounge, Space Age Architecture and Design
This intriguing video is for a fall 2008 documentary about space age architecture and design. I can't wait to see this flick!
I hope y'all enjoyed this excursion into life in the early 1960's!
Stayed Tuned for Part Two, the Mid-Sixties: 1964-1966! You'll learn about the music invasions from Britain, Brazil and Brussels, garage bands, spies, camp, Go-Go Girls, Beach Monsters, Jetsetters and sunshine rock in William Moriaty's YOU TUBE MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE AND POP CULTURE OF THE SIXTIES!
"La Floridiana" is ©2008 by William Moriaty. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.