As the new year draws closer, we’ve decided to take a look the music that’s gotten us to where we are today. So in an effort to broaden our musical horizons and our understanding of contemporary artists, we’re counting down 2012 by counting up from 1952, taking a look at a handful of songs from a different year every day until January 1st. You can find the full list here. Today we’re heading back to 1952!
Sue Thompson – “You Belong To Me”
Between Sue Thompson’s impossibly adorable voice and the endearing lyrics, this ballad is diabetes-grade sweet. This is the first – and arguably best – recording, but the song has seen versions by a plethora of artists ranging from Bradford Cox to Patsy Cline to The Misfits to this nice girl and her cute dog. The lyrics were first written from the perspective of a WWII soldier’s gal, but were later revised to be less, uh, war-y.
Otto Luening – “Low Speed”
Our entire musical landscape owes at least some debt to early experimentalist and sampling pioneer Otto Luening. As this 1952 recording can attest, he was one of the first artists to create music by manipulating recorded sounds – you’re hearing affected flute sounds here. Totally ahead of its time, and a precursor to our entire landscape of highly sample-based music.
Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton
Okay, fair enough, this was released in 1953, but this obese white gentleman is incorrect in saying it was recorded the same year. It was recorded in 1952. And, of course, was a huge hit for a mister Elvis Presley, who recorded a version a few years later. This was Big Mama’s biggest single, selling nearly two million copies. On a side note, she witnessed peer blues musician Johnny Ace accidentally kill himself during some Russian Roulet-style horseplay. Whoops!
Percy Faith – “Delicado”
This recorded version of a Brazillian song was a #1 hit in 1952. It sounds the way a nice spicy enchilada tastes. I know enchiladas aren’t Brazlillian, but what’s wrong with grouping vaguely similar cultures together to appease my own ignorance? Besides the whole racism thing, I mean.
Ella Fitzgerald – “Angel Eyes”
Ella Fitzgerald is the Queen of Jazz, and that’s all that really needs to be said about this version of the 1946 jazz standard. Except that there’s also a pretty cool version by Kanye’s buddy Mr. Hudson.