Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My First Venture into Collecting Early Rock and Roll Music (just in case you want to know)

I love music - all kinds of music. From punk to metal to big band to classical to country/bluegrass/hillbilly to old blues to ragtime to...well, you get the picture. Really, about the only style of music I am not into is death metal and the gangsta rap garbage that is being passed off as legitimate music.
I was asked earlier today about how I got into the older music - 50's and early 60's pop and rock.
The first oldie album I ever bought was "Dick Clark's 20 Years of Rock and Roll" from around 1973. It was a collection of music - year by year from 1953 to 1972 - put together by the host of American Bandstand, Dick Clark. I saw it while shopping at the old Federals Department store with my mom and wanted it mainly for the 2nd record of the double album set. "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and the Shondells, "Candles in the Rain" by Melanie, and "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen were the main reasons why I wanted it.
But then I threw on the 1st album in the set...the one with the Crew Cuts singing 'Sh-Boom," Jerry Lee Lewis ' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," Duane Eddy's "Rebel Rouser," and "Runaround Sue" by Dion & the Belmonts.
What great music! Of course, because of my older brothers and sisters, I recognized (but forgot about) most of these tunes.
I had to have more!
My next oldie collection was put out by K-Tel (remember them?) called '25 Rock Revival Greats.' It was cheap and had many tunes that, once again, I recognized but forgot about: Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs, the Poni-Tails "Born Too Late," The Shirells "Soldier Boy," and Fats Domino "Blueberry Hill."
I was hooked on oldies!
Then, shortly after purchasing this collection, I saw the movie, 'American Graffiti.' The movie was great - everything someone like me would want: teen angst, hot rod cars, and cool '50's music. However, it was the music that really grabbed me, and my sister surprised me with the soundtrack album for Christmas that year. To this day I consider it the epitome of oldies collections. Forty one songs - all but two were bonafide original recordings - and I literally wore the grooves out. "16 Candles" by the Crests, "Runaway" by Del Shannon, "The Great Pretender" by the Platters, "Get a Job" by the Silhouettes, "Little Darlin' " by the Diamonds, "Maybe Baby" by Buddy Holly, and the original "Crying in the Chapel" by the Orioles (not the 1959 remake on the Dick Clark collection).
I was on my way.
From there I picked up other wonderful oldies collections whose titles have since slipped my mind. I amassed a fine collection of music from an era that I may have physically missed (since I was not born in the '50's), but could live vicariously through the great music. OK, yes, I know some of the tunes listed above were from the early 60's (and I was around in the early 60's), but I was too young to appreciate the songs when originally released.
So, that is how I came to collect what has since been called 'Graffiti Gold' (pre-Beatles music). I do love, of course, the Beatles music and post Beatles music as well, but there really is something special to be said about the early days of rock and roll.
If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy a post I wrote quite a while back Pre-Beatles Rock and Roll
about finding and collecting this wonderful '50's and early '60's music in the 21st century, especially since it's rarely played on the radio.


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