Category: 1959

1959, Books, Fiction

Hawaii (1959) by James Michener

This was my first Michener, though I did read a novel called London, which was basically an imitation Michener, back when I was a teenager. My understanding is that he is very much the author of these alternative histories of given places. So I guess I had to read him at some point. But holy …

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.

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 …

1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1998, Music

Cross Country Tour: 1958-1961 (1998) by Ahmad Jamal

This is an excellent survey of the live music of Ahmad Jamal and his trio in the late ’50s and very early ’60s. Jamal’s playing is so far from Monk – to my ears – that it’s rather incredible. His individuality in that sense is rather fantastic. Monk utterly changed piano playing and it must …

1957, 1958, 1959, 1962, 2007, Music

Epitaph by Charles Mingus, conducted by Gunther Schuller, Live at Walt Disney Concert Hall, May 16, 2007

What the hell do we do with Epitaph? Epitaph is a “jazz symphony” Mingus assembled in the late ’50s and attempted (and failed) to perform in 1962. I say ‘assembled’ because it contains multiple other Mingus compositions that he recorded individually multiple times (and performed numerous times) and because it contains music inspired by and …

1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1993, Music

The Buddy Holly Collection (1993)

At the time of its release, this was, apparently, the closest thing a to “complete” edition of Holly’s work as existed. (So I have read.) So that alone makes it pretty good. Holly managed to bridge the gap between rock and roll and rockabilly on the one hand and respectable pop music on the other …

1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1999

The Twilight Zone (1999) by Bernard Herrmann, performed by Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Joel McNeely

Though not the composer of The Twilight Zone‘s most iconic theme, Herrmann composed music for both the overall show and individual episodes. This album collects the scores for seven of those episodes and includes a couple other pieces Herrmann did for the show. What Herrmann did here is remarkable. Much of this music is pretty …

1959, 1995, Music

North by Northwest (1959, 1995) by Bernard Herrmann

Unlike so much of what I’ve been listening to of Herrman’s music, this is actually the original performance of the score. This recording is rather short – 37 minutes – and it’s hard to know what happened to the rest of it, since I haven’t seen the movie in a really long time. Anyway, this …

1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1964, 1966, 1976, 1996, Movies

Bernard Hermann: The Film Scores (1996) by Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen

This is a hilariously named compilation – it implies some level of completeness – but it’s actually an interesting survey, focused almost exclusively on Hitchcock scores.

1959, Books, Fiction

Things Fall Apart (1959) by Chinua Achebe

I love the slow burn of this. Putting aside its importance – isn’t it one of the first major novels by an actual African, if not the first? – I love how this unfolds: you have no idea the real crisis until well into the book. This is just begging for a movie adaptation. But …

1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1988, 2003, Music

The 50th Anniversary Collection by James Brown (Polydor 2003)

James Brown’s importance can not be understated. He is on The List of the most important musical figures of the twentieth century (along with Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, Miles Davis, Dylan, Duke Ellington, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Frank Zappa and maybe a few others). This compilation of his hit singles gives a very good idea of his progression …