Fifties Sock Hops

sock-hopHi y’all! I know it’s been a while so I wanted to let you guys know that I haven’t forgotten about you! And of course, for this lovely post, I am going to talk about something that I truly believe is one of the greatest things about the fifties – sock hops.

So what exactly is a sock hop? This decade was the height of these dances that became a pop culture phenomenon considered close to what we know as informal dances held in high school gyms or cafeterias. These dances became known as sock hops because teens were required to remove their shoes so that they did not ruin the school gym’s varnished wooden floors where the dances were hosted. A record hop was also another name used to call a sock hop.

These hops were really popular during the 50s and the music played were normally records and at times played by a DJ. Some dances would also have live bands that would play crowd favorites. Since music was a big part of this era with rock n’ roll and all, many teens really enjoyed going to these dances to have fun with their friends.

But of course, despite a sock hop being phenomenon, not everyone had fun at these dances. Parents were not too pleased about schools condoning such dance activities because of the sexual taboos being broken all around. The music played at sock hops were considered too sexual by the older generation and at the same time, black musicians were credited for a lot of popular songs. This did not sit well with parents especially with racial tension surfacing during this period and in the years to come.

Going to a sock hop must have been plenty of fun. Unfortunately, the closest we can get to experience such dances now is by reliving them through films. Sure, we can also host our very own sock hop, which is definitely a great way to experience dances in the fifties.

1950s was a time when new types of music erupted into the scene. This also brought about the popularity of these dances. Some even considered teens looking to have fun quite dangerous. It’s always nice to try to envision and see how it was like to be a teen from the fifties, attending a sock hop.

So what would teens wear to these sock hops? Girls would dress up in swirling poodle skirts and sweaters. Guys on the other hand would wear t-shirt and jeans. But of course, part of what would be worn would also be dependent on the type of crowd the teen would be a part of.

Now that you know all about sock hops, you might even want to host one. Being with all your friends swirling around in poodle skirts to fifties music will certainly be plenty of fun!

That’s all for now. Till next time! Love, Lucy

The Twist

the twist

The Twist. Simply put, this is another one of the fun things that actually began in the fifties. Back then there were plenty of different dances that became popular from the box step to the stroll to the hand jive. Even as a child I would do the twist and that was way after the fifties (Yes, I actually was not around yet in the fifties hehe).

So back to The Twist, which actually grew popularity in the early sixties. It came from a Hank Ballard song from 1959 but didn’t gain fame until Dick Clark aired a version of the song performed by Chubby Checker. When Checker sang the song live on Clark’s American Bandstand show, it topped the charts not only in the US, but in Britain as well.

A follow-up to this song was “Let’s Twist Again” by Checker, which is probably more familiar to many of us. He even won a Grammy for this song that I must say is fitting, especially since everyone until today can do the twist because that’s just how popular it is.

The Twist was certainly a craze and one that everyone in this era enjoyed. Everyone in society from celebrities to high school kids would do this dance in nightclubs and school dances. There were even popular twisting spots where people went to do the twist.

I think many would agree that this dance made a huge impact in our society and is definitely one for the books, which is why I had to write about it. There was even a book written that mentions the Twist as the song and dance that made a change in our world. Some consider one of the things that jump started Rock ‘n Roll.

Again, this is a timeless song. Many can easily still listen to The Twist today and even do those moves. The beauty with our time now is that everything pretty much goes and we have so much music genres and dances that we can find the ones that we love.

One of the reasons why The Twist was so popular too is because it was so easy to dance. All you have to do is twist your hips and you are doing the Twist! Some describe the move as the move you make when you use a towel to dry your back. Of course, after the popularity of The Twist, many other dances came along like the Funky Chicken and the Mashed Potato.

As Chubby Checker sings it, “Come on baby, let’s do the Twist!” I bet now you can’t get that song out of your head. Haha.

Talk to you soon.

Love, Lucy

Frank Sinatra: A Timeless Artist

Frank Sinatra

When I listen to Frank Sinatra songs, it just makes me feel at home for some reason. But then again, he is one of the best-selling musicians of all time so I think how I feel about his music sounds about right. Sinatra started out as a singer and moved on to becoming a film star, with the latter was what he was more known for in the fifties. Frank Sinatra is such a big name and is well known even to youngsters of today, so I wanted to make my next post about him. Besides, he certainly is one idol that many look up to even up to today.

Some music simply ends during its time. But Sinatra’s tunes have lasted through many decades and I believe will last for many more decades to come. I just realized that many of us have heard of Sinatra and know a lot of his songs, but when you think about it, we don’t really know much about him or his career. I figured, it was time that we got to know more about this timeless star.

Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey and began singing professionally in the 1930s when he was just a teenager. It wasn’t until the mid forties that Sinatra began acting in films but after taking a break for a few years, he revived his career in 1953 by starring in the film, From Here to Eternity.

During this time, Sinatra also continued his singing career where he was able to collaborate with top-notch musical arrangers. Some of his popular songs from the fifties include “Come Fly With Me,” “One For My Baby,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” Even until today, these songs are quite popular. In fact, “Come Fly With Me” was recently used in a Ciroc Vodka commercial paying homage to Sinatra. The ad stars popular musician Diddy. Of course, the songs that I listed here are just a few of his many, many works throughout the years.

In the fifties and sixties, Sinatra was also a part of the popular Rat Pack, which consisted of several actors. Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, and of course Frank Sinatra were all part of the Rat Pack. This group’s appearance and impromptu shows were a hit with fans, especially in Las Vegas. In addition to that, the Rat Pack also starred in films together. Up until the 1980s, this group would be seen together in various gigs.

I also discovered which I’ve never heard about before was when Sinatra’s career was at it’s prime it was about the same time as World War II. Men were fighting for the country while there would be images of Sinatra going around singing with women wrapped around his arms. This sparked a controversy that Sinatra paid not to get enlisted in the army but there was never any proof of this.

Another thing that I find interesting about Sinatra is that aside from his fame from his singing and acting career, he was also linked to organized crime and was said to be associated with mobsters. When I think of this, I immediately imagine “The Godfather.” Sinatra would be investigated by the FBI and would be under surveillance for more than four decades. But they never really found any hard evidence that Sinatra was linked to the mafia. Instead, they were able to compile a file that included all of Sinatra’s affairs. However, in 1950, there was an excerpt that mentioned Sinatra offered to be an informant for the FBI, but the FBI declined.

Frank Sinatra was active all the way until the nineties, just before his death. He would continue to perform and make appearances until his 80th birthday. As a tribute to Sinatra, the Empire State Building was lit up in blue and he sang his popular song, “New York, New York.” Sinatra died in 1998 of a heart attack.

I must say, this guy really made an impact in the lives of many with the years he dedicated himself to singing and acting. Sinatra has left us with so many tunes and so many stories to think of. Just the other day, I read in the news that an 8-year old girl is a fan of his song “Fly Me to the Moon,” and sings it. So I really think Sinatra has a wide range of fans. Sure, when he started out his career he was a hit with the women, but today, he is a classic icon. Fans both young and old alike still enjoy listening to and singing his tunes. His music has even been covered so many times by different artists like Michael Buble and many others.

Besides, with tons of great hits, it is no wonder why we are all so attached to Sinatra’s tunes. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of them either.

Well, I hope you’ve learned from this post as much as I did.

Till’ next time!

Love, Lucy

Pop Art of the Fifties

Campbells Soup Cans

Another cool thing from the fifties is pop art. This art movement initially started in the mid 1950s in the UK and was seen in the US by the end of this decade. What made this form of art so interesting is that it basically challenged the normal traditions used in fine art. Plus, pop art really expresses more than the art piece itself. It is more a representation of the attitude that the art is expressing.

What I find intriguing about pop art is that it uses different parts of mass culture that includes culture objects, comic books, and advertising. For instance, logos and product labeling were popularly used in pop art. Andy Warhol has a famous piece with labels of Campbell’s Soup cans. Another one of his pop art pieces is Campbell’s Tomato Juice Box, which was from the early sixties.

Advertising in America during the fifties and sixties took on a lot of pop art elements. Aside from Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein was also an important contributor to this particular form of art in this period. Often times he chooses old-fashioned comic strips to incorporate into his work. A popular work of his is the “Drowning Girl.”

The thing about pop art by these artists is that they aim to share an attachment to American pop culture, but at the same time, they also showcase the mass production idealization that shows that these art pieces are impersonal. Warhol among all other pop art artists was very good at doing just that. Most of his work lacked human affection even if he incorporated celebrities in some of his works.  One of his popular celebrity works included Marilyn Monroe, another famous icon of the fifties.

I just want to share that pop art was not only present in the UK and America, but also in other nations. However, despite starting out in Britain, many consider pop art an American movement because of the different art pieces that emerged from American artists.

I love this form of art because it is full of color and it clearly showcases a different form of how art should be in comparison to the traditional art everybody was used to. In fact, I think a lot of our art today relates to pop art. Pop art was a lot of fun and consisted of various styles. But each piece was sure to express mass-culture, mass-production, and mass-media.

Other well-known pop art contributors in America include Jasper John, Robert Rauschenberg, and Claes Oldenburg. The thing is, today, when many think of pop art, the first artist that often comes to mind is Andy Warhol because of the popular pieces he created that included famous people and logos that are quite memorable to many.

I must say that pop art is an important part of art history and really made a mark in changing the traditional thinking of many on how art is supposed to be. Nowadays, art is considered what the artist wants it to be and that is just how it should be. Everyone should be able to appreciate different forms of art.

Cheers! Till next time!

Love, Lucy

 

1950s The Rise of Television in America

tv

Today, popular appliances seen in homes are television sets. We often have several in our home and it is something that many of us can’t live without. Television sets have even evolved through the years into flat screens that can be hanged on walls. A pretty cool thing I think, which is why I wanted to talk about the start of this incredible invention that plays a big role in our lives today.

Although television came to America towards the end of 1940s, it’s true rise was during the fifties. The sales of TV sets in this decade increased by a lot. But often, those who purchased these sets were from the upper and middle class. Since not every household could afford to have television sets in their homes, friends and neighbors would often find an excuse to visit those who had this appliance to be able to watch TV. This in turn lead to TV parties where owners of television sets would host guests and even serve refreshments.

With television being present in most households in the fifties, most Americans ended up spending their free time watching TV. Because of this, the number of moviegoers decreased as well as the number of those who listened to radios. Just as how radio was a way to broadcast information all over the nation, television was the same but even better. These devices really revolutionized how Americans saw themselves and everything going on around them in the world.

We don’t think much of televisions today, but in reality, TV affects our culture greatly and really plays a part in the trends being set. Television affects the styles we wear, the food we eat, the news we find out about, and the different music we listen to. We get all these from the different television shows that are being televised. And the cool thing is that it all began during the fifties.

“I Love Lucy” was a popular television show of this decade that lasted from 1951 to 1957 that starred Lucille Ball. Another popular show that lasted up to the seventies is “The Ed Sullivan Show.” In addition to popular shows, films were also broadcasted in television during this era, just how it is today. Television sets were first sold in black and white, but in the mid 1950s, colored television sets emerged in the market, when the first colored broadcast took place.

Famous TV dinners back then also started during the 1950s. Since many were so fascinated with television sets and would spend most of their free time in front of these screens, pre-cooked TV dinners were introduced.

It would be interesting to live a day during this decade and see all the different things that would emerge in society. I feel that many of us take things for granted today with the rise of technology, but there are really so many cool things that came about that we should be more grateful for.

Television is still an incredible source of entertainment today and I fell plays a big part in a lot of our lives. Some still enjoy watching TV during free time, while others watch the news on television while eating dinner.

That’s all for now folks :)

Love, Lucy

Oh Marilyn!

marilyn

While I was pondering about what other fabulous thing there is to remember about the fifties, it dawned on me that if I wanted to write about something fab, then Marilyn is the word.

Gaining popularity in the fifties, Marilyn Monroe was certainly an image to remember about this decade. The men certainly went crazy for her, especially with her sex symbol status. But I think what makes Marilyn so intriguing to many is the life that she went through. She lived with foster parents growing up but ended up to be so much more. Unfortunately, her life was cut too short.

Some say Marilyn overdosed herself on purpose. Whatever the case, I think we should focus more on the life she lived. Considering her roots and where she came from she really did accomplish so much during her time. Starting out as a model, Marilyn Monroe was born a brunette and went by the name of Norma Jeane. When blondes were a popular choice for the career path that she was going for, she decided to dye her hair a lighter shade, which certainly helped her gain some fame.

Later on when she was discovered and made her way up the film industry, someone suggested that she change her name from Norma Jeane to Marilyn Monroe since the name was more sexy and seductive. It became clear that these significant changes that Marilyn made really played a role in her success during this time.

But of course, with fame came scandals and so many other things. With the status of Marilyn, there were men lining up at her door, including John F. Kennedy, then president of the United States. The president was married to Jackie and so whatever relationship Marilyn had with JFK was clearly an affair. Another iconic event of this decade that included Marilyn was her famous rendition of “Happy Birthday” for the president. Until today, many try to recreate this scene.

Let’s not forget that Marilyn was also known for her acting wherein she even won a Golden Globe award in 1960 for a film she starred in, Some Like it Hot. The impact she had in society is quite clear. Even at present, we often see Marilyn wannabees idolizing this famous movie star.

There is no doubt about it that Marilyn was a very stunning woman and a great choice for one of the things to remember in the fifties. She was married three times and but sadly only lived until the age of 36. It would have been great to see what else Marilyn had to offer with all her talents. Unfortunately, she will always just remain an iconic pop icon of the 1950s era and I must say, that isn’t such a bad title to have.

So if you are tying to recreate the fifties decade in your life, then you might want to consider channeling Marilyn. I am quite sure you will turn out hot, hot hot.

‘Till next time! Toodaloo!

Love, Lucy

1950s Music: What This Decade Had to Offer

ID-10094135

What I find so awesome about the 1950s is that this decade had so much different kinds of music to offer. From rock and roll to blues to rhythm and blues to swing to pop to country, this era had tons of different sounds to offer. So today, I’ve decided to look back to remind everyone of what type of music the fifties was all about. I’m sure that some of the music from the past is still some of your favorites today.

Let’s start with classic pop. In the beginning of the fifties decade, classic pop took over swing when World War II ended. Mitch Miller was popular for combining all sorts of music genres like folk music, rhythm and blues, Western, and country. These became mainstream in music with several popular artists. Pop music in this era was concentrated on the story of the song or the particular emotion that is being expressed. There were so many popular artists producing this particular kind of music like Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, and Pat Boone, just to name a few of course. Classic pop started to decline when rock and roll came in the scene.

Rock and roll was more popular in the middle of the fifties decade. There were so many different musicians that made this music such a hit. We have Chuck Berry who really made rock and roll music different from the rest. Plus, we have Les Paul who popularized the electric guitar and had various hits with Mary Ford like “I’m a Fool to Care.” The fifties even had a rock and roll teen idol in 1955, Pat Boone. But of course, another great artist that everyone still remembers up to today is Elvis Presley who became the figure of rock and roll in the fifties with hits like “Jailhouse Rock” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” Even just looking at rock and roll, there is already so much that the fifties have given us.

Ray Charles was one of the more popular figures in the fifties in terms of Blues. But this decade also had country music artists like Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, and Hank Williams. In the start of this decade, the most popular style of country music was the honky-tonk style, which consisted of songs about despair, heartbreak, alcoholism. Hank Williams was one of the popular singers of this genre with songs like “Your Cheating Heart” and “Cold, Cold Heart.” The interesting thing was that towards the end of the fifties, some artists merged country music with rock and roll to create a rockabilly genre. This type of music had electric guitar sounds, catchy beats, and an acoustic bass. Elvis Presley was known for this type of music and so was Johnny Cash as heard in his popular song “I Walk the Line.”

The fifties also consisted of Jazz music, which we really shouldn’t forget about. My favorites consist of Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nina Simone. Jazz has so many distinct styles and has clearly evolved through the years. This genre has various European and African elements like improvisation, blue notes, and the swung note. Some of the songs also have bits of American pop music.

Rhythm and Blues actually started from Jazz music. Basically this type of music was a more upbeat form of blues. In the fifties, this type of music was a combination of gospel music, jazz, blues, and doo-wop to create that one-of-a-kind sound. Popular artists of this genre include Ray Charles, Frankie Lymon, The Platters, and Lloyd Price.

As you can see, there were just so many types of music that emerged from the fifties. This decade went through cultural changes that clearly reflected in the music of the era. After World War II, music came to life more than ever before. Also, racial tensions were also reflected in the music of this time. The most interesting thing is some artists don’t just fall under one particular music genre. Musicians like Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, actually falls under various genres of fifties music. The popularity of certain types of music clearly encouraged some artists to cross-over from one genre to another.

I hope my reminder of the different music of this era has made you realize just how much the fifties has to offer in terms of music. Come to think of it, many of these genres are still being used today. Surely you have some popular musicians and music from this time that you still enjoy listening to. What I love about music is that it can bring you back to a certain period in time and you can just close your eyes and try to imagine how things were like during those days. Listening to Billie Holiday really makes me go back in time and visualize myself in the fifties.

Well, I am sure all this music has given you plenty to think about. Start looking up your favorites and think about how some of them sound just like your favorites of today. A lot of our music has just been reinvented from the past so it is always good to back to our roots and hear where it all really began.

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Till next time :)

Love, Lucy

 

Image courtesy of fotographic1980 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Poodle Schmoodle

poodle-schmoodle

What I love about the fashion today is that almost anything goes. Plus, we keep bringing back fashion from the past and reinventing them so that we can enjoy them again. So, whenever I feel like putting a poodle skirt on and wearing it out; I do just that. These skirts are perfect for spring!

I know, I know, not many of you might know what a poodle skirt is – and no it is not shaped like a poodle! Haha! So what is it exactly? This 1950s fashion is a wide swirly or circle skirt that is up to the knee or below the knee with a solid color that has a design applied to the fabric. This design is usually a coiffed French poodle, hence the name of the skirt. Other designs have been used on these types of skirts as well from cats to flowers to birds to Shakespeare characters and many other patterns.

The poodle skirt was pretty much considered everyday attire in the fifties and even movie stars like Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Grace Kelly fell in love with this style making it widely popular with the ladies.

Another thing that added to the popularity of this skirt is that because the design was so simple, the materials could easily be obtained, allowing girls to make their own poodle skirts right from their homes.

All teenage girls in America during the fifties took it upon themselves to sew and make their own poodle skirt to wear at sock hops, which were school dances, or even simply for everyday wear. The reason why these skirts were most especially popular for school dances because they twirled making them fun to wear when dancing.

Poodle skirts are pretty much homemade skirts and were created by Juli Lynne Charlot who had a great idea of transferring poodle designs to her felt circle skirt. The poodle design wasn’t the first one she applied to these circle skirts, but it was the one that really received plenty of attention.

When people think of 1950s Americana, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the poodle skirt, which is why I decided that the very first fifties topic I would write about is this memorable symbol of that decade.

If you are thinking of making your very own poodle skirt at home, feel free to do so! Get some great ideas from these pins and tips on how to make one. After, you will be all set to go to a fifties party, or better yet, consider throwing one!

Enjoy…till the next post :)

Love, Lucy

 

Image courtesy of debspoons / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About

Hi! Welcome to Lucy the Poodle. I’m Lucy, and although I am a woman of the modern age, I must say I am a fan of the fifties. Besides, what’s not to love? From the fashion to the music to the popular 50s culture, there is just so many fascinating things about this decade that is nice to reminisce about.

I am sure that there are others like me who are crazy about the fifties and this blog is geared to capture those particular fans. Of course, even non-fifties fans are welcome as well and hopefully you will discover that there is something intriguing about this era.

In this blog, I hope to share all that I love about the fifties and hopefully learn new things as well.

Thank you for visiting! Hope you’ll return again soon :)

Love, Lucy