The history of posh (ie, classical) music is defaced by critics who savaged the premières of works, especially by LvB, which are now standard repertoire. Happily, when it comes to fifties’ pop, my advanced age provides the necessary perspective. And before I’m accused of picking on a more innocent age reflect on this: there is no sentimental movement urging its resurrection.
At its best it was simple-minded, as with Guy Mitchell’s
Shrimp boats are a’coming, their sails are in sight
… why don’t you hurry, hurry home.
Or, I’ve forgotten whose:
I love to bake a sunshine cake.
It really isn’t so hard to make.
Whereas at its worst:
How much is that doggie in the window,
The one with the waggly tail…
I read in the paper that a robber
With flashlights that gleam in the dark.
My love needs a doggie for protection
And scare him away with one bark.
The BBC refused to play such muckment (West Riding term of disapprobation) and enthusiasts like me tuned into the ebb and flow transmissions of Radio Luxembourg. From which we heard Rosemary Clooney, mother of George and likened to a drunken Turk shouting down a well, singing:
Come on a my house, a my house come on
An embarrassed Luxy DJ, doing the Top Ten, admitted neither he nor the broadcaster had any control over the selections. As well he might, given:
There’s oodles of noodles in our chicken soup
The flavour’s a winner and when it’s for dinner,
The kids give a whoop.
Dad thinks it’s grand and he eats it with zest
While grannie, who knows, says it beats all the rest.
Stirring times. Soup-stirring times.