Music Music Music

Face it… love of music begins at an early age.  For me that love was born listening to my mom singing her favorite church hymns and singing along to the radio tunes of the early 1950’s.  Watching her enjoy the music validated that music was important and was worth something.

If you search my ipod you will find mostly songs from the 60’s and 70’s.  But songs from the 50’s are what I remember first and what helped confirm my love of music from an early age. 

The songs of the 50’s just spoke to little kids like me.   Songs like “How Much is that Doggie in the Window”…. ” If I knew you were comin’ I’d have baked a cake,” “Istanbuhl, not Constantinople”…. They were just so much FUN to sing along to.  And face it again…. They were the precursor to rock and roll and folk music that my generation continues to celebrate. 

If you compare the top 40 songs of 1953 to the top 40 songs of 1959… you will see what I mean.  Love songs, torch songs, cutesy kid-friendly songs quickly gave way to the next phase of music, and eventually to the folk music and rock music of my teenage years.  Without those building blocks of music, maybe my love of music would have faded or disappeared or not have been so intense. 

I  remember vividly my elementary music teachers.   Thank goodness the educational system in the 50’s and 60’s saw the value of teaching music to students.  I went to  a small rural school but we had some awesome music teachers.  They were old school and taught us all the songs like “Old Dan Tucker” and “Clementine” as well as all the verses of our National Anthem.  They also demanded respect.  We had music once a week. When the music teacher knocked on our classroom door (yes she knocked and awaited permission to enter)  our classroom teacher would open the door, we would all stand in unison and say “Good afternoon Mrs. Hamel.”  Talk about etiquette! And then she would say “You may be seated.”  And we sat.

In junior high school there was Mrs. Payne (imagine the jokes about that name) but she was awesome.  She introduced us to Leonard Berstein and we sang the tunes of West Side Story…. How cool was that!

One of my favorite folk songs  which we learned in elementary school was  This Land Is Your Land”  written by Woody Guthrie.

 It was actually written in the 40’s but didn’t become popular until later.   I can remember how the words and music made me feel.  I was proud to live in the United States where there were so many freedoms. The lyrics hinted of a greater being creating the land for all of us. It was all so sweet and concise in that little song that was probably sung at thousands of school programs over the next few years.  Here is a song that lives on and on.  It has been recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary and Pete Seeger.  There is even a version on an album by the Counting Crows.  And while Woody Guthrie’s intent when he wrote the song might have been different from the sweet schoolgirl’s song in music class, it is indeed a classic. 


words and music by Woody Guthrie


This land is your land, this land is my land

From California, to the New York Island

From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters

This land was made for you and me

As I was walking a ribbon of highway

I saw above me an endless skyway

I saw below me a golden valley

This land was made for you and me


I’ve roamed and rambled and I’ve followed my footsteps

To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts

And all around me a voice was sounding

This land was made for you and me


The sun comes shining as I was strolling

The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling

The fog was lifting a voice come chanting

This land was made for you and me


As I was walkin’  –  I saw a sign there

And that sign said – no tress passin’

But on the other side  …. it didn’t say nothin!

Now that side was made for you and me!


In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple

Near the relief office – I see my people

And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’

If this land’s still made for you and me.

Chorus (2x)

©1956 (renewed 1984), 1958 (renewed 1986) and 1970 TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (


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About Life in the 50's and beyond...

Welcome to Life in the 50's and 60's and beyond .... where I write about my childhood memories, music of the 60's and about life in the country. I am a mother, grandmother, farmer's wife, business owner, and retired teacher.
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13 Responses to Music Music Music

  1. It is obvious when reading this how much music means to you, just by the level of detail you remember about the sings, school an your teachers.


  2. Just like you, I love music and I am a fan of the 60’s and 70’s although these were actually my parents era. I think the music then have more meaning and more down to earth. Great post!


  3. Marcella Rousseau says:

    Ruth, you’ve inspired me. My blog is everything and anything concerning health and I’m going to write about how music is good for your health. I have no idea how I’m going to frame it, I’ll have to let it percolate overnight.


  4. Marcella Rousseau says:

    How about, “There’s a pawnshop on the corner of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania”!! Remember that one?


  5. Coming East says:

    I’ve always loved music, too, Ruth. I loved the Everly Brothers, Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons, Dion and the Belmonts, and all those groups. In High School I listened to P, P&M and Ian and Sylvia constantly. In elementary school, though, it was our French teacher who knocked on our door for permission to enter. Great post!


  6. I enjoyed your post. It took me back to my music teacher who also gave us permission to sit. We learned old Scottish songs and I can still proudly sing them today.


  7. We learned “Oklahoma” in High School…I’ll never forget the words…and my boys loved it when I sang it to them…”Chicks and Ducks better scurry”~Great memories!~mkg


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