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The 1950s Music

The Kingston Trio, The Essential Kingston Trio (2006)

The group was formed in 1957 and rode the folk music trend to huge success, starting with their 1958 hit "Tom Dooley." Like much popular music of the Fifties, the sound of the Kingston Trio was mellow and "safe," a contrast with the edgy music of many black musicians and white rockers like Elvis.

Bobby Darin, Greatest Hits (2002)

Darin's music gives a good feel for the range of music that was popular in the fifties. Darin came on the scene in 1958 with "Splish Splash," an upbeat rock and roll song. Though he became a teen idol, Darin also recorded ballads like "Dream Lover," and the complicated show tune, "Mack the Knife."

Various Artists, Sun Records: Collectors Edition (2008)

Sam Phillips started the Sun Record Company in 1952 and put out music that mixed hillbilly and country with rhythm and blues sounds. Elvis started at Sun, as did Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Various Artists, I Love Rock & Roll: Hits of the '50s (1996)

This compilation gives a good overview of what rock was like in the Fifties. It ranges from Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" to "Be-Bop-A-Lula," a hit for Gene Vincent in 1956.

Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners (originally released 1957, reissued 2008)

Monk was one of the greatest innovators in jazz, both as a player and composer. He was at his peak in the Fifties and this was his first album to include his own compositions. Angular, dissonant, hypnotic, swinging, eerie, Monk's music was anything but bland.

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