Category: 1954

1954, Books, Fiction

The Fellowship of the Ring (1954) by JRR Tolkien

Full disclosure: I am not a fantasy fan. I don’t know that I can tell you how many fantasy novels I’ve read in my life. Off the top of my head, I know The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was read to me when I was young, but I’m not sure I’ve read anything …

1954, Movies

Carmen Jones (1954, Otto Preminger)

This is a weird one: a film of a Broadway musical based upon Bizet’s Carmen, but which has only been adapted in terms of plot, not in terms of the music (really). Why is that weird? Well, an all black cast, set in North Carolina and Chicago in the ’40s, and they’re singing…French opera.

1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1966, 2011

The Best of RPM and Kent Recordings (2011) by BB King

This disc compiles some of King’s A-sides for both the RPM and Kent labels throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s.

1954, 1955, Music

The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson, Vol. 2 (1955)

This is another excellent set of straight forward bop from the era, featuring perhaps the greatest jazz trombonist of all time, and an excellent supporting cast. The history of this recording is somewhat confusing – released first as a 10″, then a year later as an expanded 12″, then this disc which combines the two …

1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, Music

Blues Kingpins: Elmore James (2003)

This is a compilation of James’ recordings from the 1950s. It presents a relative variety of styles of blues and some of the music features a horn section. Listening to this, it’s easy to understand why James was dubbed “King of the Slide Guitar.” He shows off some pretty impressive traditional guitar playing as well …

1935, 1937, 1939, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1956, 1958, 2008, Music

The Definitive Collection (2008) by Billie Holiday

Full disclosure: I do not like vocal jazz (as you know). This is a compilation of 22 tracks over the course of Holiday’s career. I have no idea how definitive it actually is, as I do not know her at all, beyond her reputation as one of the great singers of the century, and “Strange …

1954, 1999, Music

The Egyptian (1999) by Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, performed by Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Choir conducted by William T. Stromberg

This is a weird one.

1954, Books, Fiction

Lucky Jim (1954) by Kingsley Amis

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis is a laugh-out-loud novel about what it’s like to feel like a fraud teaching at a university – something I can sort of relate to – while you hate your (sort of) girlfriend, hate your boss, hate your subject matter and generally hate your life – and that hate manifests …