Jo Stafford Time – CBS Radio / Armed Forces Radio Service – 1952 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Jo Stafford; a name which may not ring a lot of bells unless you were around in the 1950s, but a name which was synonymous with Popular music before the dawn of Rock n’ Roll. From her days as a singer with The Pied Pipers group solo in the Big Band of Tommy Dorsey before embarking on a solo career.
She had a string of hit records from 1944 all the way to 1959 – she had her own TV and Radio program and was a regular on practically all of the well-known variety shows of the era.
Jo Elizabeth Stafford (November 12, 1917 – July 16, 2008) was an American traditional pop music singer and occasional actress, whose career spanned five decades from the late 1930s to the early 1980s. Admired for the purity of her voice, she originally underwent classical training to become an opera singer before following a career in popular music, and by 1955 had achieved more worldwide record sales than any other female artist. Her 1952 song “You Belong to Me” topped the charts in the United States and United Kingdom, the record becoming the first by a female artist to reach number one on the UK Singles Chart.
Stafford was married to composer/arranger Paul Weston, with whom she had two children. Weston and she developed a comedy routine in which they assumed the identity of an incompetent lounge act named Jonathan and Darlene Edwards, parodying well-known songs. The act proved popular at parties and among the wider public when the couple released an album as the Edwardses in 1957. In 1961, the album Jonathan and Darlene Edwards in Paris won Stafford her only Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album, and was the first commercially successful parody album. Stafford largely retired as a performer in the mid-1960s, but continued in the music business.
To get an idea of just how mainstream Pop Music was sounding in the 1950s from one of its most popular proponents, here is a 15 minute radio show produced for CBS and aired on both CBS and the Armed Forces Radio Network in 1952. On this program she’s also joined by the Page Cavenaugh Trio, another group riding a wave of popularity in the late 40’s and early 1950s.
Yes, music was different then – a lot different.