I Don't Sound Like Nobody
Remaking Music in 1950s America
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Series: Tracking Pop
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
I’ve been at this project for several years during which I’ve amassed debts to many individuals and institutions. Early ‹nancial support came in the form of grants from the University...
The story of American popular music in the 1950s has about it the feel of absurdist fiction. Even the bare outline is strange to recount: how the nation drifted away from...
1. Records on the Radio
In the cultural churning of postwar America, radio, the nation’s great public medium, was in the midst of big changes. When wartime restrictions were lifted in 1946, applications...
2. Shifting Currents in the Mainstream
By 1955, it was clear that a new musical trend centered in the social worlds of teenagers had taken solid shape. The signs were many. Through radio and jukebox exposure...
3. Hustlers and Amateurs
Wayne “Buddy” Knox was twenty-three years old when he recorded “Party Doll” in 1956. He later told an interviewer that he had written the song years earlier when he was “just a kid...
4. Crossing Over
As a young man, the sociologist Philip Ennis joined a team of researchers at Columbia University’s Bureau of Applied Social Research charged with mapping the decision-making process...
5. Surface Noise
In the fall of 1948 a small, short-lived Los Angeles record company released a record called “A Little Bird Told Me” by singer and pianist Paula Watson, her ‹rst for the company...
6. “Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll”
Kay Starr’s “Rock and Roll Waltz” (RCA Victor), a novelty record whose central irony is a mismatch between its playful narrative and its supporting musical arrangement...
7. New Traditions
On February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly boarded a plane at Mason City Municipal Airport near Clear Lake, Iowa, bound for Fargo, North Dakota, the closest airport to the next night’s show...
At the dawn of the 1950s, Billboard ran a piece paraphrasing Sinatra’s “pioneering thoughts on LP pop tune production.” The singer was “thinking in terms of the 10-inch 15-minute record,” rather than the 78 rpm single, a move that called for...