Teenage America in the 1950s (mostly).
Teenage America in the 1950s (mostly).

WGLI 1290 Club With Jerry Stevens – November 1958 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

As promised, the continuing occasional series of Top-40 Radio as presented in the 1950s and 60s, when AM radio was the be-all/end-all in social media.

This particular example comes from Long Island New York – a short-lived radio station, WGLI which got started in 1958 and met an ungracious demise by 1990 (the station burned down). But like most Top-40 radio at the time, this was what the mainstream was sounding like – it was interesting in that, even though the emphasis was on Rock n’ Roll, it also had room for other genres which were popular with the 15-25 demographic of the time.

The 1290 Club was a popular daily show, hosted by Jerry Stevens, and it boasted a sizable audience in the Northeastern U.S. This episode comes from (best guess) November 1958 and features the popular songs of the day.

Most of them will no doubt be totally unfamiliar to you – but there are names, here and there, which were familiar and are prime examples of what mainstream Popular Music sounded like in 1958.

It’s a little under a half-hour, and because the original tape was old, it was full of breaks and splices. So things abruptly cut off and blast on – it’s part of the historic aspect of tapes such as these.

The music may sound completely strange to you – but this is what mainstream Popular Radio was all about at the time. It wasn’t all Rock n’ Roll and the pace was a lot slower back then. It may seem quaint and improbable by todays standards – but this is what your parents and grandparents listened to, most likely danced to, and it was part of their formative years.

Hit the play button and listen for yourself.

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