The fifties; where the teen age began. Music become a generational divide, a money mover and a celebration of 'teen'.
In the beginnning popular music was segregated along race lines there was gospel, rhythm and blues, limited resources and a fairly raw production capacity and; on the other side there was classical, showtunes and a well produced, well resourced bland white pop. But the boomer 'kids' wanted more and they had the money to pay for it so it all got hurled together and combined into a new form of popular music where lines were increasingly blurred, the beat became heavier and the excitement flowed; It was the beginning of the Teen Age.
Rhythm & Blues Revue - 1955
1:11:28 Concert variety show filmed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York City. Very smooth and middle of the road presentation contrasting to the growing raucous Rock n roll featuring a cast of popular African-American performers: Willie Bryant, Freddie Robinson, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Faye Adams, Bill Bailey, Herb Jeffries, Amos Milburn, Sarah Vaughan, Nipsey Russell, Big Joe Turner, Martha Davis, Little Buck, Nat 'King' Cole, Mantan Moreland, Cab Calloway and Ruth Brown.
Gene Vincent & Eddie Cochran
Legends In Concert 1:01:18
B & W on a tv show from the fifties. Interesting for the rawness of the performances and the scope of the show but may be for purists more than general.
Reputations - Billie Holiday 56.52
Billie Holiday was a jazz diva who became the stereotypical victim - unlucky in life, unlucky in love and dead from drink and drugs at the age of only 44. Reputations re-examines Billie Holiday's life and career. Was life hard on Billie, or was she always a tragedy waiting to happen?
Holiday was born in Baltimore in 1915 ....
This documentary covers her life so 1915 - 1959 but Ive placed it here because this was her most famous period. Although its mostly just a stanf=dard doc it is about an extraordinary talent and covers her life talent, politics and the rollercoaster of life.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The Godmother Of Rock & Roll.
59:19 A must watch film about a woman, a guitar, god and celebrity. Religion aside, Sister Rosetta could rock the heavens and influenced many of the early rock n roll pop stars. Distinctive guitar sound and shouting gospel rythms meant to make you move (in Gods name). A superstar of the 40s and 50s; when Sister Rosetta got married; she sold tickets and sold out a baseball field. She was big before television, before rock n roll she put the Rock of ages into rock n roll. A great story.
Johnny Cash-The Last Great American 59:25
Documentary of the history of the legend Johnny Cash (actually covers many decades)
Rock & Roll: The early years.
58:45 part documentary part performance by Chuck Berry, Elvis, Frankie Lyman, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino etc. Film charts the development of Rock n roll from the early 50s to the late 50s. Covers its birth in race music, the rising teeenage dollar, cover bands, violence and the Moral Panic that first gripped America as their children began to rock. Talks about the music mix and exuberance of early rock n roll and the establishments conintued attempts to crush it. Using bans, using police, payola scandal, racism, sexual mores, army enlistmnent and God - to virtually kill the spiriit by decades end. The only one to survive reasonably intact was Chuck Berry, they talk about how the pioneers got locked up, converted, enlisted or were scandalised into quiesence leaving the field open to nice white boys and the cover music. Enter the 60s.