THE BOBBY YEARS 1959 – 1962
Spencer Leigh celebrates 100 great records that prove that there was Life Before Beatles
Roughly speaking, the rock’n’roll era was a short, sharp explosion of wildly exciting music from 1956 to 1959. Using the phrase, “the day the music died”, Don McLean marked its conclusion with the death of Buddy Holly on 3 February 1959. The consensus is that the music wasn’t resurrected until the British beat boom in 1963. This, I think, is well wide of the mark as many excellent and innovative records were made during the period. Okay, they were plenty of dodgy ones, but it was ever thus.
It is, for example, incorrect to state that the Beatles were solely influenced by the music of the 1950s. They were also influenced by the Brill Building writers (Gerry Goffin, Carole King and others in Teen Pan Alley) and by the R&B singers who emerged in the early 60s.
You could call the period the Bobby Years, as Jerry Lee Lewis dubbed them, but that would be too dismissive. Bobby Darin, Bobby Vee, Bobby Vinton and Bobby Rydell made many worthwhile records, and Darin was exceptional.
Jerry Lee Lewis was effectively saying that during the rock’n’roll era, the lunatics had almost taken over the asylum. The singers during the Bobby Years were blander and depended on their looks rather than their voices.
Here are 100 singles, all released in the UK, from the …
by Spencer Leigh
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