Who Are the Baby Boomers?
Anyone born between 1946 and 1964 in the United States is said to be a baby boomer also dubbed to a person of the “Me” generation by Tom Wolfe, a 1970’s writer. For baby boomers, their narcissistic idea of “self-fulfillment” was the primary cultural aspiration of the young. “Me” was far more important than a social responsibility.
Music was an expression of the baby boomers generation’s identity. When the baby boomers were teenagers, transistor radios were popular personal devices in which they listened to music that was very different than the music of their parents including a mixture of pop, soul, rap, funk, ballad, folk and other dance songs. They listened to the Motown Sound of Detroit, Rock & Roll music, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and other artists.
The following 10 top songs of the Baby Boomer Generation were selected from the list of 50 best songs on the Boomer Café online site.
“Don’t Be Cruel”
The song “Don’t Be Cruel” was written by Otis Blackwell and recorded by Elvis Presley in 1956. Acclaimed Musicranked this song to be the sixth best song of 1956. In 2002, it was also honored by being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
“That’ll Be the Day”
“That’ll Be the Day” was recorded by Buddy Holly in 1956. Unfortunately, Decca records didn’t like this first recording and wouldn’t release the record. However, a year later, Holly re-recorded the song with The Crickets in New Mexico. Norman Petty owned the studio the song was recorded in. After backup vocalists were added and the key lowered to better fit Holly’s voice, this recording was better. The new, improved version soon became a colossal hit that made Holly a big star.
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”
”You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” was written by Barry Mann, Phil Spector and Cynthia Well. The Righteous Brothers recorded it I 1964. According to some music critics, this song’s recording can be considered to be an outstanding illustration and expression of Spector’s “Wall of Sound” technique of recording. Various music writers have described this song as “the ultimate pop record“ and “one of the best records ever made”.
The Righteous Brothers version was a number-one hit single in the United Kingdom and the United States in 1965. In 1965, it was also the fifth best-selling song in the US.
“Earth Angel” is sometimes referred to as “Earth Angel Will You Be Mine”. In the 1950s, doo-wop was based on vocal harmony and one of the most popular pop-oriented styles of the time. The main singer of the Penguins, Bill Kenny, is known as the “Godfather of Doo-wop”. He sings in a high tenor tone leading a singer who recites the lyrics. The features of doo-wop include a vocal group harmony, a simple beat, nonsense syllables, simple music and lyrics, and little or no instrumentation.
The Penguins recorded this song in a garage located in South Los Angeles as a demo. The demo version was a hit that was quite unexpected. It quickly spread throughout the US over the 1954-55 winter. The “Earth Angel” song peaked in pop charts of the Penguin’s only hit. When it was chosen to be in the Library of Congress’s Registry it was said to be “culturally, historically or aesthetically important”.
“Turn! Turn! Turn!”
”Turn! Turn! Turn!” is also known as “Turn! Turn! Turn! To Everything There is a Season”. In the late 1950s, this song was written by Pete Seeger. Except for the title which is repeated throughout the song, the lyrics were taken from the first eight verses of the Book of Ecclesiastes of the Bible.
In the late 1955s, this song was an international hit. In 1965, it was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
“Will You Love Me Tomorrow”
Written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, ”Will You Love Me Tomorrow” is also known as “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. In 1960, the Shirelles made the original recording of this song. It became so popular it was number one of the Billboard Hot 100. This song sung by the Shirelles was also well-known by its being the first song to be recorded by an all-girl, black group.
“Bye Bye Love”
A popular song written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant was “Bye Bye Love”. Its debut recording was made by the Every Brothers. This song was so popular it was number 2 on the Pop charts Billboard. On Cash Box which was the Best Selling Record charts, it was number 1.
“Oh What a Night”
In 1956, “Oh, What a Night” was recorded for the first time by the Dells, a doo-wop group. The first release of this song was titled “Oh What a Nite”. A party held to honor the Dells by some of their female friends was the inspiration for the song.
In 1969, this song was number four on the chart of R&B singles and known to be a soul song. This new version was quite different from its original with its tempo and arrangement altered. The bass member of the group included an introduction which was a spoken recitation. The 1969 version was number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart of singles and also number one on the chart of Best Selling Soul singles.
“God Only Knows”
“God Only Knows” was sung by an American rock band called the Beach Boys. This song was written by Tony Asher and Brian Wilson and released in the group’s album titled Pet Sounds in May of 1966. Shortly after, it was again released in the United States on the B-side of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”.
The main vocalist of this song was Carl Wilson, the younger brother of Brian. Brian’s arrangement included an unorthodox selection of instruments such as accordions, French horn, harpsichord, sleigh bell, violas quartet and cellos.
Bridge Over Troubled Water
An American music duo known as Simon & Garfunkel sang the “Bridge Over Troubled Water” song. In 1970, this song was produced and released by Roy Halee and the duo. It was a follow-up to “The Boxer”. It was a song in the duo’s fifth studio album titled “Bridge Over Trouble Water”. Paul Simon composed the song which was performed on piano and influenced by gospel music of the time. The original studio recording used components of Phil Spector’s technique of “Wall of Sound”.