|Boomers remember their childhood music.
Send us your memories. Here are some memory joggers: Whats on the jukebox, your first live concert, garage bands, Beatles on Ed Sullivan, Woodstock, folk music, revolution... Include your first name, city and state/province, & birth year.
(right) Review from Entertainment Weekly: Ken Tucker Does the world really need another history of rock & roll? It does when it's as insightful and energetic as James Miller's Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977.... a fresh, colorful jaunt. Click on the book cover to purchase.
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Ed Sullivan Rock and Roll
I was so glad to find the words to "Put Another Candle On Your Birthday Cake." I'd never heard the words until I met my husband and his best friend (1950) who still sing the song every birthday. They've taught it to my sister-in-law (1967) and me (1954). We just bought the Ed Sullivan Rock 'n' Roll videos and love them. (I still miss Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights!) We took a long mental walk down memory lane and I remembered seeing some of the music originally when I was pre-kindergarden! Funny how our memories come back. I was surprised at how much I remembered from age 8, 9, and 10! I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and remember Flippo, Jr., Rainbow Bread and the Loretta Young movie! The best! I've so enjoyed reading this site, I can't tell you. --- Kathryn (California), 1954
Barry Scott has a great site (and books and CDs) featuring Top 40 records from the 60s, 70s and 80s that no longer receive airplay. His show was on the radio for 19 years, in syndication for six, and now can be heard on the web at: http://www.lost45.com.
Does anyone remember a 78-rpm record that came out in the early '50s called "Gossamer Wump?" I loved that record about a triangle-playing musician wannabe. --- Mike, Pleasant Hill, OR, 1947
45s from the Juke Box Guy
There was a man in our town who leased juke boxes with the most popular records. He changed them out as the new songs became popular. Then he would sell the used records. The older ones sold for $.35. The newer sold for $.50. I was able to build up quite a collection of 45's this way. I would never have been able to afford all my favorites at regular prices. Know what? I still have them! --- Alice, TX, 1950
Playing the Singles
I remember one of my good friends in School, going to his house to play all these vinyl singles on his little player. I thought it was the greatest thing. I have a mono unit in my basement, I still have, played 45s, I thought it was fantastic. I loved all the early pre beatle stuff to the Four Seasons, Drifters, Duke of Earl, and then seing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. My Godfather and Father were in the living room at the time, and I heard them say, how disgusting the Beatles looked with that hair. I laugh till this day about that. I'm a huge Beatle fan, and I think John Lennon would be so happy the CD1 singles did so well. They changed everything, and we changed to, thank goodness. --- Joe L. NY 1948
I would have to say that one of my all time favorite songs was Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters. To this day, It takes me back to Rocky Neck State Park in Connecticut and walking on the rocks and sand. It was truly the best of times! Some of the other songs that take me back; are Runaway and Little Town Flirt by Del Shannon. He had songs that still make you feel..........well like a kid or teenager again! My brother and sister and I would dance to Little Town Flirt. We "kind of" forced my brother to dance with us; but thinking of that song just gives me a "good" feeling! I know that all of us "Boomers" have some of those feelings and memories! That's what makes the music from back then, GREAT! --- Shelley, Massachusetts, 1954
Arleens Music Memoires
We always had music at our house. I remember the old variety/music shows on TV and all the music BEFORE r & r. In 1958 for my 10th birthday, I got a mint green transistor radio with brown leather case, not much bigger than a pack of cigarettes. I loved that radio and fall asleep many nights with the earphone in my year. Warm summer nights, my friend and I would sit on the front porch, passing (YUCK) the earphone back and forth to hear the tunes on WICC, Bridgeport, CT and singing along. I remember hearing Ray Charles singing "Hit the Road, Jack" and Bobby Vee singing "Take good care of my baby" and on and on. That radio actually lasted me for several years and took a lot of abuse. I remember in May (?) 1964 going to my first concert at the New Haven Arena, New Haven, CT to see several acts: Dave Clark 5, Shirelles, Little Anthony and the Imperials and Murray the K was the emcee, I know there were others, but I can't remember now. I was a very young & dumb 15 and my mother made my father not only drive us, but attend the concert with us !!! He was deaf for days and totally amazed that we all paid to go to something we couldn't hear and barely see ! In those long ago days, you and the acts walked through the same areas and you were able to see them up and close and personal. I saw so many concerts through the '60s', The Young Rascals, Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons (every time they came to CT), Mitch Ryder, The Supremes, Temptations, Four Tops etc. Those days, concerts cost $5.00. Now I can't afford to go to a concert, then I went to at least 10 a year. --- Arleen, Connecticut 1948
Monkeeing Around for Decades
Hi! My favorite memory is 1966. Thats when the tv show came on called The Monkees. I had the biggest crush on Davy Jones. I thought he hung the moon. I was every love sick girl back then. I dreamed about The Monkees all of the time. If I missed a show, I would get very upset. My brother had to watch Badman and I had to watch The Monkees. I remember when they came to New Mexico to do a concert there. My best friends parents took her for her birthday and my parents would not take me. Of course I was crushed. Im now 47 and I still that show and listen to there music. I guess Im a dye hard Monkee fan. I finally got to meet David Jones in 1999 when came to Co. to do a concert there. He was so nice and yes girls, hes still very handsome. --- Elaine, Colorado, 1952
Mildred's Electric Malt Shop
Located at Indian Lake, Ohio at an amusement park named Russell's Point. Quite the place. MC5, Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes, Bob Seger among others played at Mildred's. The interior was painted flat black and decorated with neon paint to get the maximum effect of the black lights. It featured 2 stages and a very long bar. It could probably hold 300 to 400 people or maybe more. My memory is a little hazy about some of it. Anyway, it was a big favorite during the hot humid summer nights of Ohio. It was frequented by the locals, college kids, high school kids with fake IDs, and even the Outlaws Motor Cycle Gang on occasion. Unfortunately a riot occurred there around the summer of 1971 and things were never the same. Nonetheless it definitely found it's niche in the annals of the 60s for us Buckeyes. I'd rate it up there with Kent State as far as notoriety. --- Rick S., Lima, Ohio, 1953.
We had itgood...
I remember the Beatles, the Four Seasons, Temptations, Supremes, 4Tops, Stones, Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkle, Impressions and the list goes on and on and on. I remember the Beatles first appearance on Ed Sullivan. Elvis's early performances on Ed Sullivan. Yes, Ed Sullivan definitely was the first stop for these folks. I believe he had more to do with these folks becomming famous than anyone. Growing up in California, the Beach Boys definitely were one of my favorites. I remember picking up my first surf board on the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz and paddling out to meet the waves. I remember the Friday night football games. Broke my leg my soph. year. So much innocence. Later, I went in the Army and my innocence was lost. Now, I ponder retirement and my thoughts turn toward nostalgia and how good we(baby boomers)had it back in the GOOD OLE '60'S. --- Steve Laughton, Soledad, California, 1947
Beatles changed pop music
For me, the Beatles were the best part of growing up in the 60s. From that first moment watching an excited Paul McCartney singing All My Loving on Ed Sullivan, to their breakup in 1970, I deeply cared about everything the Beatles did. Anxiously awaiting their next big hit single record...anticipating when it would come on the radio, and then when it would be in the stores...each new record bringing us an exciting new Beatle sound as they pushed the boundries of what a pop single should sound like. I remember hearing Strawberry Fields Forever the first time. That record was their coming of age song...mine, too, as the times were a-changing in 1967. As much as I loved everything they did...A Hard Day's Night...She's A Woman...Ticket To Ride...DayTripper, Strawberry Fields was and is my all time favorite Beatle song. Anyone remember the video they did to that and Penny Lane shown on American Bandstand? How trippy they looked decked out in psychedelic clothes and sporting beards and mustaches. --- Jeff H, Oakland, Ca 1956
More Mobile Music
I was born in 1953...eighth child from a family of 10...six brothers and three sisters.
I loved listening to the radio and the songs of the 50's and 60's even though I was only 10 years old...probably because that was what my older brothers and sister listened to. Blueberry Hill, The Twist, Hound Dog were the tunes at the time and still are for me today.
I graduated high school in 1971...muscle cars were in their height of glory...I went to work and bought a 1968 Dodge "Super Bee"...one of the top performance cars even in 1971...383 cubic inches with 335 raw horses for power.
Driving the main drag looking for chics, going to the Lone Star Drive Inn and not watching the movie were some of the many uses for which the performance car was designed...and I put it to good use.
The feeling of the power under your foot, the squawking of a tire to turn a head your way, "racking off" the pipes and the music playing in the 8-track are only memories of a bygone era...but what memories they are! --- Zackie Watkins, Hughes Springs, Texas, 1953
I remember here in Los Angeles in the early '60's all the guys who drove the coolest cars with their state of the art sound systems. The fad in car sound systems of the day was 45 rpm players and if you were really hip you had a Album player. When driving around, bumps in the road could really scratch a record. Driving around in a car with hydraulic lifts I witnessed what was probably the birth of 'Scratching'. This fad didn't last. It wasn't long before cars came equipped with 8 track players.
After football games we would have tailgate parties and turn the music up and we thought with 8 tracks things couldn't get any better. What did we know?
Not to be forgotten is the neighborhood garage bands. I personally know several people who actually make a living playing music and entertaining, they have played with Santana , Earth, Wind and Fire, War, Jazz Crusaders and many more.
Radio station KGFJ with "Hunter Hancock"...Hunting with Hunter was his show and his side kick Margie. Early on KGFJ was my number one station. KFWB, KRLA and KDAY played some great music too. After all this was the West Coast and we had our own sound. The first live show I ever saw was the "Ike and Tina Turner Review. When I think about a James Brown show, I can still feel the excitement.
Rock was coming on strong and I don't remember the name of one of the greatest concerts I attended. It was about summer 1968. The concert was held at Devonshire Downs in the Valley here in So. Cal.. The best of everybody was there. I even drove to Hollywood and bought my tickets at Music City that use to be on the corner of Sunset and Vine. Those were the days....Jethro Tull, Canned Heat.................(my memory has dimmed somewhat). It was a great weekend. --- Los Angeles,CA.- Betty Green -1949
The Riverside (Milwaukee)
Among some of my fondest memories of growing up are those of the concerts that were held in Milwaukee. At that time all the "big" names would come to the Riverside Theater and put on a show "to die for". I don't remember the name of the hotel they stayed at, but stars were much more accessible in those days. I had twin girlfriends and the three of us would never miss one of those concerts. We also would go to the hotel and hang around the lobby hoping to see a star or two. We met Brenda Lee that way and I have to say, she was very friendly. Somehow we found out what room Fabian was staying in, and being typical teenage girls, we ventured up to his room and knocked on the door. Another man answered, but we asked to see Fabian, and lo and behold, he actually came to the door. The room smelled of a fresh shower and so did he. He had no shirt on and needless to say, we were speechless. Among the other performers at that concert were Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydel, and The Skyliners. Those were the days! --- Sue, Mukwonago, WI, 1946
Who in our time cannot remember Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons, and Roy Orbison, who was the guest singer at my Senior Prom. I too remember we had a local record shop in town that sold 45's and 33 and a third records. My mom used to give me a dollar every day for lunch(cheap lunches huh?) and I would never eat but save the money to buy records. Oh boy did I have a HUGE record collection. She never found out. --- Linda S., Griffith, Indiana, 1947
I remember my first "concert" (called a live shoe back then). It was the Motown review at the Fox Theater in Detroit, 1964 or 65. They were all there...The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Supremes, Smokie and the Miracles, Marvin Gay, Mary Wells and even Stevie Wonder. I saw them all. The sad part came when Motown left Motown. I feel that the accomplishments of that era were born out of desire, innocence and meger salaries. Those are the kind of things that are the ingredients to success. When they were removed, Motown just became another music machine that became relient on royalties from the "good old days". When they were "hungry" they were the best! --- Bob Del, Troy, MI, 1948
Gene Pitney and Roy Orbison
Just looking at the intro to Boomers reminds me of the tables in A&W Rootbeer drive-ins ... we could pick songs on the jukebox right there on the table inside; or on the column outside! What a kick! AND doesn't anyone else remember Gene Pitney, or Roy Orbison??? Gene Pitney was/is my all time favorite. With a list of favorites so long I cannot list them, it's difficult to choose an absolute favorite. "A Town Without Pity" and "Half Heaven - Half Heartache" have to rank up close to the top. I was so in love with him, I'd have left home with him
at 14! It was listening to him that got me started writing poetry at 13 years old ... and still am! Ah, Roy Orbison...the only singer with ranges so diverse I could not follow him! What a voice! "I'm falling, I'm falling! Falling in love, falling in love, falling in love with you!" And I did. "Mean Woman Blues" was so banned from our house that when it came on the 45 with Blue Bayou, my mother tried unsuccessfully to scratch it out with a spoon handle. I could still listen to it...and did, when she wasn't around! Could not figure out why she didn't like someone saying, "She's got ruby lips; she's got shapely hips, yeah..."
Songs I hated the most? At the beginning, it was okay, but after 1000 times of listening to "Koligah", in one day, I rather hated it. It was my baby brother's favorite, so Mother MADE me play it for him, as often as he wanted it! AARRRGGGGG! Now, I'd love to play it for him... --- Wanema (McCleskey) Lemons; Carson, Washington; 1949(originally from Lubbock, Tx)
Bobby Vee, Mason Williams, Four Tops...
When I was 15, I must have listened to "Take Good Care of My Baby" by Bobby Vee about one million times! To this day I love that song. I'm lucky to have an album of his greatest hits, too. Other favorites were "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams; "Michael (Row the Boat Ashore)"; "Mama Said" (I think
by the Shirelles); "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis; "Dream Lover" by Bobby Darin; lots of songs by the Four Tops, the Lettermen and the Temptations (I saw these last two ORIGINAL groups in person.) It's really hard to mention all the great songs of that era, there were so many! If any of the artists happen to read this site, a million thanks for providing us with such fabulous music over the years. I'm so glad it was, and is, a part of my life. --- Joan, Orlando, FL, 1946
Dime Store Record Departments
Dime stores such as Woolworth's and Kreske's sold 33 1/3 rpm albums that had the vinyl record in a paper sleeve tucked inside the outer cardboard sleeve and that was all...No cellophane wrapper. --- Jeff L. Ranck, Hamilton, OH 1948
Chucks Dog Music
I got my first record player when I was 4 years old. My father brought home a bunch of 78 rpm records which included : "How much is that Doggie in the Window" and songs by Frankie Lane and Perry Como. I loved that record player, and I've loved music of all kinds since then. Oh, and I remember my first live concert was "Three Dog Night". I saw them in Cleveland. --- Chuck Lemmon. Medina, Ohio, 1949
When the Beatles appaered on Ed Sullivan, my sister and I were 11 and 12 years old....and our world blasted open with
the four "mop tops". The stories are typical; everyone had their favorite, we all performed as the Beatles for our friends, and collected the bubblegum cards (see attached photo). Later, my husband attended the last Beatles concert (see attached
photo of the ticket stub). Thanks to: Deborah Peeples, 1951, Redwood City, CA
I remember being at the first Beatles concert in this country at Forest Hills Stadium, N.Y. I also remember the Shea Stadium experience. I would love to just go somewhere and scream like that now! What a great time! --- Margie - Dallas, TX (previously Flushing, NY) 1951
Dad Introduces the Beatles
My father served in the Canadian Air Force during the sixties, spending many stints in England and France on various courses. He came home in time for Christmas of 1963 telling us of these group of boys who had a band in England. He kept trying to describe their haircuts and their clothes and the songs that were popular in England. Imagine my surprise when one evening a few weeks later, when I was called down to see this same band on the Ed Sullivan show. I can still remember the names going up on the screen and under John Lennon's was written in brackets something like "Sorry girls, he's married".
I again got to be a part of music history when the VW vanload of kids I was hanging with heard that the big concert in New York state had been overrun and all admissions were now free. We arrived just as the clouds broke and walked the last few miles to Yasger's farm as parking was not possible any closer. But the cold and wetness did not not dampen our spirits once we arrived. It was an indescribeable experience. Too bad that nowadays a 15 yr old girl today could not spend a weekend with 7 boys and not have to worry about her virginity. I just wish I knew where to find those guys who called me "Little Sis" that weekend. --- Linda, Fort Erie, Ontario, 1953
More on the Beatles
We were at my grandparents, it was my 10th birthday. My cousin who was 2 years older and I were going nuts. My grandfather was a barber, all he could say was look at that long hair. He swore the Beatles ruined his business after that. --- Val, Kansas City, MO, 1954
The Beatles hit us just about when puberty did and we traveled through youth together.
My first memory of the Beatles was hearing their music on the evening news (about this weird phenomenon happening in England) and thinking, "Wow! They are fantastic!" Soon their records were being played on the radio and then we were seeing them on Ed Sullivan. I still remember seeing a tear glimmering in Paul's eye when he sang Yesterday.
The girls would all talk about which one was their favorite. I don't remember anyone choosing Ringo, sorry to say. Oddly, I can't remember who was my favorite, John or Paul. I liked the music more than the individuals. I didn't understand the swooning and screaming. I was very irritated because I couldn't hear the music well - shut up!!! We'd laugh at the hysteria.
Almost every Beatles' song or album is attached to a memory. Rubber Soul is a bus coming home from an away basketball game. Hard Day's Night album was the soundtrack for housework. I can sing And I Love Her, reach the end, and not even realize that I've sung it all the way through, it's so deeply engrained in me. Eleanor Rigby still evokes the emptiness of a chill late winter day when the sky and the remaining snow are dark and soggy.
Now my 10 year old son loves the Beatles music, too. Help is his favorite. I have to admit, I just hate hearing their tunes butchered on the easy listening channels, but it is nice to know that they live on. --- Sandy Atkins, Fullerton, CA (from Buffalo, NY, Sweet Home schools) 1951
The Mashed Potato
I well remember my babysitter teaching us kids how to do the "mashed potato" to the tune of "Sweet Pea". We really thought we were so grown up to learn that dance! My favorite artists from the 70's were John Denver and Barry Manilow (much to my sister's dismay). But, my all time favorites of the 60's were the Monkees! --- Sandy, Boscawen, NH , 1958
I remember 45rpm records and the little record player that stacked 10 records that would drop one at a time and play. We had several of the "collections" with 3 or 4 popular songs on each side. I still remember that "Only You" was followed by "HE", and the side ended with "Sixteen Tons". My very first personally owned popular record was "London Bridge" with "Bells are Ringing" on the flip side. --- Kathy, Baltimore, MD 1950
I remember a store named Caplan's in downtown Harrisburg, PA, in the 1950's that had soundproof booths where you could listen to a 45 so you could decide if you wanted to buy it or not. If you didn't want a record you'd listened to, you just put it back in the bin. --- Char, Virginia Beach, VA, 1946
Pre 8-Track Tapes
I remember my parents bought me a small tape player that played special tapes, much like a cassette but before 8-tracks came out. It came with one tape - Eric Burton and the Animals playing "House of the Rising Sun". I remember I was never able to find any other tapes for it. Still love the song though! --- Mike, San Angelo, TX, 1956
Yeah, I had one of those things, too. The only tapes I ever got, I got with the player up in Canada during a trip. I never saw them available again! --- Tim, Shoreview, MN 1953
I remember playing the "jukebox" when I was a small kid. Think I could play 3 songs for a dime or quarter (forget which). My favorite song to play was
"Sugar Shack". I would drive my parents nuts playing that one over and over again (but hey, they always gave me the money, so guess they didn't mind it as much as I thought). I remember when my oldest brother went away to college and started his record collection. On every visit to him, I would insist on playing his record albums. My favorite was one called (and I'm not joking either) Knockers Up! by Rusty Warren (of course, it was only played when mother was taking a shower). Many years after he had graduated college and had his "treasures" boxed up in the attic at mothers, I took it upon myself to steal that record (OK, a little confession is good for the soul), and another one called "the Girl From Ipanima" (not sure about that spelling). I thought that I was so cool, after all I was the only girl in the fifth grade with a record that had the word knockers on it! I really thought that I was getting away with something big! Come to think of it......... I was! --- Susan, Panama City, Florida, 1955
I remember eating Sunday dinner at my grandparent's house with my two older female cousins. They HAD TO turn on Ed Sullivan to hear "The Beatles" (whom I had never heard of until that moment). Their screams and tears echoed the girls in Ed's audience while the rest of us (including my terribly Swedish grandparents) looked on in amused bewilderment.
Later, when I had become enlightened as to the Beatles music, I remember being in high school when each new Beatles album was released and being able to play it them art class. Then having to rush out to Musicland and pick up a copy of my own that night. --- Tim, Shoreview, Minnesota, 1953
I remember being in the 1st grade with my friends and I walking around the playground singing, "She loves you ya, ya, ya..." --- Edd Keudell, Portland, Oregon, 1961
Remember when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show? When my parents mentioned it, I said to myself, Why are bugs such a big deal? --- Leah, San Antonio,Tx 1954
I remember seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan show for the first time. My brother and I sat on the floor in front of the TV while my parents sat on the couch, anxiously awaiting what we had no idea would be the beginning of a change in music in America. At first, I thought they looked goofy, but the more I watched, it was like watching a train wreck. I couldn't look away. By the end of the show, they had me hooked and I wanted to run out and buy beatle boots, beatle hats and anything else beatle I could find. My parents didn't share my enthusiasm. Now every time I get into an elevator and they're playing Beatles Elevator music, I think of them when they looked at me and said "It's just a fad". She, Staten Island, NY 1953
(the scan the Beatles single I'm Down is courtesy of Deborah Peeples, 1951, Redwood City, CA)
Grandma Doin the Twist
I think my most favorite dance was the Twist. My parents have old family movies of my grandmother and me dancing to Chubby Checker in the living room. We would have contests to see who could get down 'the lowest' when he came to the part that asked 'how low can you go'. - Rick, Toledo, Ohio, 1956
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