Music: August 2007 Archives

It's fair to say that the period between Elvis Presley's arrival at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, in 1958 and the day the Beatles touched down at Idlewild in 1964 was the zenith of instrumental pop. This is not Big Band or Western Swing from the '30s and '40s, nor is it classical.

Some of my favorite wordless tunes come from that era, and Charles G. Hill has an entry that speaks of two of the most evocative songs of that period and the mental images they evoke: Mr. Acker Bilk's "Stranger on the Shore" and Bert Kaempfert's "Wonderland by Night". Charles links to blogger MaryB, who explains why the former is the "saddest song of all" for her. The latter song conjures this scene for Charles:

It's a Friday night, somewhere between ten and midnight, and a convertible is crossing the bridge into downtown; reflections of the streetlights play on the pavement, on the hood, on us. Her little black dress has a row of sequins, and as we pass under the lights, they glow ever so slightly, but it's nothing compared to the glow on her face as she smiles. "Now, you know we have to be back by...." She lets the sentence trail off.

(Read the whole thing to know how it ends.)

Charles mentioned in the comments that he's done three compilation CDs of instrumentals. They're on his non-distributed Wendex label. You can't buy them, but you can see the playlists: Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3. He notes that the "median year seems to be 1962." It's a great collection (although for my Dave "Baby" Cortez song, I'd substitute "Rinky Dink" for "The Happy Organ").

For me, the late '50s, early '60s instrumentals -- including songs like "Sleepwalk" and the "Route 66 Theme" -- evoke pre-interstate travel on two-lane U. S. Highways. Although the songs were all released before I learned to talk, they still got airplay on the kind of Middle-of-the-Road (MOR) stations my family listened to. (E.g., KRMG, back when they played music.) These instrumental pop hits provided the soundtrack to our travels.

And there's something about Santo (or was it Johnny?) Farina's sultry steel guitar in "Sleepwalk" that just says beachfront Florida motel.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Music category from August 2007.

Music: July 2007 is the previous archive.

Music: September 2007 is the next archive.

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