I've been reading Fred Kaplan's book 1959 subtitled the "year that changed everything." When I bought it, the young woman who rang up the sale at the Fox Point Borders pointed out that they also had a book claiming that 1968 was the "year that changed everything." I told her that there were several such books about 1968 and that, in fact, I have one making the same claim for 1973, Aspiring authors had better move fast. All of the years will soon be taken. Kaplan's book is ok. But I thought this Sunday is as good as any for a musical tribute to 1959.
You can't address the music of 1959 without acknowledging Buddy Holly who died in February of that year in the Plane Crash. Here's Holly on Arthur Murray's Dane Party two years earlier. He's a "rock and roll specialist" who we must appreciate to understand the "young people."
The Big Bopper also died in that crash.
The number one hit of 1959 was Bobbie Darin's version of "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer" from Brecht's Die Dreigroschenoper.
Kaplan is also a jazz critique who spends a fair amount of time on Miles Davis' class Kind of Blue that was released in 1959.
Kaplan spends a lot of time discussing modal jazz and building with scales and not chords. I am not sure I fully appreciate it, but he spends some time discussing the move to, if I recall correctly, 5:4 time in David Brubeck's Take Five which I include for Shark, Jr. and his memories of the Milwaukee High School of the Arts.