What happened, 1957-1959

September 3, 2017 at 10:53 pm (Music What Happened Mixes)


If you were to ask me what I know about music from the late 1950s, I’m afraid my answer would be hopelessly colored by watching American Graffiti and Diner and that’s about it. Something something Elvis, Buddy Holly, and Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry. Which I guess isn’t bad, but it’s the same frame of reference that I imagine most folks have.

I love this opening section of Music: What Happened for giving me a wider span of context for this era in music. It also sent me down my first rabbit hole of exploration. The 1957 mix is supposed to end with “Somewhere” from the original Broadway cast recording of West Side Story, as sung by Carol Lawrence. I was easily able to buy a digital version of this recording, but when I started up “Somewhere”, it opens with this big orchestral musical overture.

That’s a problem, because in the book, Scott Miller describes this song as starting with some electrical pops and what sounds like “unprofessional mic distance”…not an orchestral fanfare. I spent a few hours, literally, listening to versions of “Somewhere”, and not hearing one that opens in the low-key fashion Scott Miller describes. So I started doing some discography research…and discovered that there was briefly available a single version of this song that was edited from the original cast recording. Interesting.

But only sort of helpful. I still couldn’t find this version. I think I’d despairingly just let the first mp3 I originally bought, the one that opens with the music fanfare play once. I’d really only  listened to the first 20 seconds and decided it was the wrong cut. And something magical happened.

After that musical fanfare, everything goes quiet, completely still. And then damned if there aren’t some electric pops…and then Carol Lawrence’s voice comes in, sounding as if the vocal mic is in another room. BINGO! I’d had the right version all along. It was an easy edit to remove the fanfare from the beginning, and 1957 now properly ends with the amazing “Somewhere” (described in the book as “the most magnificent passage in popular music”) in the version described. Whew

There’s not too much commentary needed for 1958 or ’59. 1958 does have our first endurance test of sort, the 20 minutes of Jimmy Smith’s “The Sermon”…but it’s so good that I find myself buying in completely. 1958 and ’59 are definitely the most jazz-heavy years of any of the mixes. That’s what happens when Elvis gets drafted.

For 1959, Miller only lists Part 1 for Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say”. It sounds weird without Part 2 on it, though. I assume Miller dropped the part 2 for time constraints. I’ve put it back in.

Links to each year’s individual mix are below. They’re single files, although I didn’t cross fade any tracks so they should be very easy to separate if that’s your thing (ick.) I used Nero to normalize the volume on all the tracks as well.

You can also get the full 3-year monty here too.

What Happened, 1957

1957 mp3 to download and track list:

  1. “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Going On” -Jerry Lee Lewis
  2. “Hey! Bo-Diddley” Bo Diddley
  3. “You Send Me” Sam Cooke
  4. “Embraceable You” Chet Baker
  5. “I Put A Spell On You” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
  6. “Young Man Blues” Mose Allison
  7. “Blues for Pablo” Miles Davis
  8. “Just Because” Lloyd Price
  9. “Shenandoah” Harry Belafonte
  10. “Keep A-Knockin'” Little Richard
  11. “Tammy” Debbie Reynolds
  12. “Bony Maronie” Larry Williams
  13. “Susie Q” Dale Hawkins
  14. “Bye Bye Love” The Everly Brothers
  15. “Blue Train” John Coltrane
  16. “Chances Are” Johnny Mathis
  17. “Bemsha Swing” Thelonius Monk
  18. “That’ll Be The Day” The Crickets
  19. “Jailhouse Rock” Elvis Presley
  20. “Somewhere” West Side Story Original Cast Recording


What Happened, 1958

1958 mp3 to download and track list

  1. “Good Golly Miss Molly” Little Richard
  2. “I’m Gonna Love You Too” Buddy Holly
  3. “Mambo Gozon” Tito Puente and his Orchestra
  4. “The Sermon” Jimmy Smith
  5. “Stager Lee” Lloyd Price
  6. “Dancing in the Dark” Cannonball Adderley
  7. “One for My Baby” Frank Sinatra
  8. “Rumble” Link Wray and his Wray Men
  9. “Tequila” The Champs
  10. “La Bamba” Ritchie Valens
  11. “Milestones” Miles Davis
  12. “Summertime Blues” Eddie Cochran
  13. “Blues March” Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
  14. “Peter Gunn” Henry Mancini
  15. “All I have to Do Is Dream” The Everly Brothers
  16. “Johnny B. Goode” Chuck Berry


What Happened, 1959

1959 mp3 to download and track list

  1. “Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)” Frank Sinatra
  2. “Sea Cruise” Frankie Ford with Huey “Piano” Smith and Orchestra
  3. “Chronology” Ornette Coleman
  4. “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” The Sound of Music Original Cast Recording
  5. “Come Go Home With Me” Lightnin’ Hopkins
  6. “Sleep Walk” Santo and Johnny
  7. “Twisted” Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
  8. “El Paso”, Marty Robbins
  9. “Desperate Man Blues” John Fahey (Blind Joe Death)
  10. “I Only Have Eyes For You” The Flamingos
  11. “What’d I Say, Pts 1 & 2” Ray Charles
  12. “All Blues” Miles Davis
  13. “Take Five” Dave Brubeck
  14. “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” Charles Mingus


What Happened, 1957-1959

What Happened, 1957-1959 3-year MP3 to download.


What’s all this then? It’s what happened, musically, during these particular years. No really!


  1. More about this thing I’m making… | Popnarcotic said,

    […] What Happened 1957-1959 […]

  2. Buck Turgidson (@bturgidson) said,

    Chris, what a tremendous “thing” you’ve made! Thank you so much.

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