WJSV-Detroit – Larry Gentile’s House Party – February 24, 1950 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
There’s a very good chance you weren’t born yet – maybe not for decades or even that century – have no idea who Tony Martin was. Draw a blank when somebody mentions Johnny Desmond. Cannot imagine what the world was like before Rock n’ Roll arrived.
But your world in 1950 was different – it sounded different. It acted different. Most likely, you just got a TV – probably the first one in your neighborhood. Your family and maybe your neighbors showed up at your house and watch every night, mesmerized at the tiny, fuzzy screen – you listened to a lot of radio. Records were still mostly 78s – you heard about lp’s – you read about 45’s.
Music was a LOT different. People sang like everything was Opera. If you wanted to be a musician you probably got handed a Clarinet or a Saxophone and eventually got recruited for your High School marching band – you played a lot of Sousa. Even if you liked Jazz or spent hours listening to your brother’s Benny Goodman records, your music teacher probably didn’t consider anything written past 1945 to be worth playing.
You had limited choices, but you didn’t know that at the time. This was the way it was and anything different was somewhere in the future. And maybe it might seem strange to you now, but this was what it sounded like – at least until the trouble-makers showed up and set up shop in your radio. Soon enough you’d hear about Alan Freed and learn new names and voices would sing different. And some of you would embrace it like it was the one thing missing in your life – and others would look perplexed and shake your heads – and soon, pretty soon, sides would be drawn and you were on one side or the other – you either loved Rock n’ Roll or you hated it.
But in 1950 that hadn’t happened yet. It was February and there would be a war in a few months and that part of your world would change because you would probably be drafted. But that was the future; someplace vague and distant. As vague and different as 1950 is to 2022.
For now it’s WJSV-Detroit and fifteen minutes worth of the music from February 24, 1950.
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