Looking Back 1957!

Looking Back
Willowdale, Ontario, Canada
The Rear-View Mirror

Gary:”Wow another great year.  My back brace is gone, I turned 17 on May 27th and was heavily involved with running the Dances.

One thing I wish to mention, which applies to the previous posts, 1954/55/56, was a teenager’s appearance.  We did not have a lot of money, but I had a part time job and clothes were important (this would stay with me my entire life, while in Sales in the 70’s I owned 32 Suits, 70 Shirts, 40 Ties with matching Puffs, 22 pairs of shoes, various colours).  I did not look like Elvis, so I did what ever I could to look good. 

One thing that I have not mentioned is Hair.  I have always had lots of it (including today), I spent a lot of time combing and styling and of course I had to use some Vitalis with V-7 or else some Brylcreem. 

I knew, because my mother told me, that sometimes I used too much stuff in my hair, so I guess that’s where the term “Grease” came from. It was on my pillow at night. 

No, we did not all wear Jeans with rolled up cuffs and cigarette packages rolled in the sleeves of our Tee Shirts; that’s for TV.  That style existed, but not to the extent that it is portrayed today.

My life was changing.  For the first time since late 1956, I had a “Steady” girlfriend and would be with her until late 1958. 

Judy Muir and Gary Copeland

I guess looking back “Judy Muir” was my first love, whether she sees it that way, well who knows.

The other great thing in 1957, was Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” went National.  We watched the program on a Buffalo Station WKBW and Judy and I would go to her house or mine, after school and practice dancing.  We got very good and won quite a few dance contests. 

Now Judy was the “Older Woman”, I think she was 10 months older, but it meant she was one year ahead of me and would graduate earlier and that would be what eventually ended our relationship.

I still took the bus and walked.  I still had my job at the Post Office.

My first flight in a commercial airliner (TCA: Trans Canada Airlines) took place in 1957, Toronto to New York City, where I was in the audience for the Ed Sullivan Show (Buddy Knox was on the show) and I also got to see my first Broadway musical, Lil’ Abner.

What does a 17 year old teenager remember about 1957.

  • Ford introduced the “Edsel”
  • The first Test of the Atlas Missile explodes at Cape Canaveral (It was televised)

    Vanguard Missile Explosion

  • The Soviet’s put “Sputnik” into orbit.  It was fascinating and scary.
  • The Russian’s put a Dog into orbit.
  • The first Cancer scare vs. smoking was announced.  I still smoked back then; it was cool, but I have not smoked for Forty Years
  • American Bandstand is on the air in August, first song played “That’ll Be The Day” by Buddy Holly and the Crickets. (that’s all of this useless information I have in my head)

    Dick Clark

    Teens dance during "American Bandstand" in Philadephia in this undated photo.  "American Bandstand" first aired as a local show in Philadelphia, gained popularity with host Dick Clark after he joined the program in 1956, and then went national in 1957

    American Bandstand Dancers

  • “The Adventurers of Ozzie and Harriet” TV Show would put a 17 year old “Ricky Nelson” up front singing “A Teenagers Romance” and “I’m Walkin”. The show would skyrocket and he would quickly become a Teen Idol (One of my Favourites).
  • Little Richard, in reaction to Sputnik would announce he is going back to the church and giving up show business.  He would throw Thousands of Dollars worth of rings and Jewellery into the water, in Australia.  He would go back and forth a few times between show business and the church.
  • Frankie Lymon leaves the Teenagers.

    Frankie Lymon

  • One song by two different artists would both reach #1 for the first time in History.  The Song: “Young Love”  – Sonny James sang the best version; Tab Hunter sucked.

    Marty Robbins


    Tab Hunter

  • In January Elvis would make his last appearance on Ed Sullivan, singing 7 songs. We would not see him on TV for three more years.
So that’s about all this old brain can remember that was important to me in 1957.  This would be another “Banner Year” for Rock and Roll (nothing could stop us now) it comes close to rivaling 1956, but 56 was the break out year. 


  • Milwaukee Braves win the World Series, beating the NY Yankees.
  • Detroit Lions beat the Cleveland Browns 54-14
  • Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup, beating the Boston Bruins


  • Best Actor: Alec Guiness / The Bridge on the River Kwai 

    Alec Guinnes

  • Best Actress:  Joanne Woodward / The Three Faces of Eve 

    Joanne Woodward

  • Best Film: The Bridge on the River Kwai 
  • Of Course as a Teenager we went to see
  • Best Rock and Roll Movie 
  • 12 Angry Men ( One of My Favourite’s) /
  • Sweet Smell of Success /
  • Old Yeller /
  • Witness for the Prosecution /

New on TV in 57:

  • Have Gun Will Travel / 

    Richard Boone: Have Gun Will Travel

  • Make Room for Daddy

    Danny Thomas as “Daddy”

  • The Restless Gun
  • Tales of Wells Fargo
  • Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
  • Leave it to Beaver / 
  • Perry Mason / 


Some of The Fantastic Cars of 1957:


Chevrolet Bel Air 


57 Chev Corvette



Oldsmobile Rocket 88 

57 Olds Rocket 88

Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was $13,074 in 57 

57 Cadillac Eldorado

Ford Fairlane 

57 Ford Fairlane

Ford Thunderbird (last year for the two seater, sad) 

57 Ford Thunderbird

Lincoln Continental Mark II, it’s last year 

57 Lincoln Continental

Edsel (it would only last 3 years) 

57 Edsel

Plymouth Fury 

57 Plymouth Fury

Desoto Adventurer 

57 Desoto Adventurer

Studebaker Golden Hawk (supercharged)

57 Studebaker Golden Hawk


Now to my favourite part of the year… MUSIC !

Some of the new Artists of 1957:


Paul Anka, from Ottawa Ontario Canada


The Chantels 


Eddie Cochran (One of the Best)  


Sam Cooke 


The Crests (featuring Johnny Maestro) 


The Crickets (with the great Buddy Holly) 


Danny & the Juniors 


The Del Vikings 


The Everly Brothers 

Dick Clark and The Every Brothers


Buddy Knox (with the Rhythm Orchids, including Jimmy Bowen)


Brenda Lee 


Jerry Lee Lewis 


Ricky Nelson 


Jimmy Rodgers 


Conway Twitty & the House Rockers 


The Great “Jackie Wilson”


other new artists of 1957:

Patsy Cline, Bobby Day, Jimmy Dean, The Dubs, Bobby Helms, Sonny James, Johnny Mathis, Johnny Nash, Ray Price, Della Reese, Lee Andrew & the Hearts, Joe Bennett & the Sparkletones, Billy & Lillie, The Bobbettes, Jimmy Dee, Johnny Dee, Tommy Edwards, Charlie Gracie, Thurston Harris, Dale Hawkins, The Hollywood Flames, The Jive Bombers, Johnnie & Joe, Bill Justis, Little Joe & the Thrillers, The Rays, The Shepherd Sisters, Huey “Piano” Smith & the Clowns, Tom & Jerry (Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel), The Tune Weavers, Larry Williams… and they were just the ones that I listened too; there were many more.

there were so many songs, These  I enjoyed the most.

Blue Monday / I’m Walkin’ / Fats Domino 
Come Go With Me / Whispering Bells / The Del Vikings
Young Love / Sonny James (best version)/ Tab

Sonny James

Tab Hunter

Lucille & Send me some Lovin’Jenny Jenny & Miss Ann / Little Richard and the Upsetters /

Little Richard & The Upsetters


Bye Bye Love & Wake Up Little Suzy / The Everly Brothers
Searchin’ & Young Blood / The Coasters






Jailhouse Rock & Treat Me Nice / Teddy Bear & Lovin’ You / Elvis Presley/


Peggy Sue & Everday / Buddy Holly






Whole Lotta Shakin’ & Great Balls of Fire / Jerry LeeLewis






I have left out literally 100’s of songs, so I apologize, but I just could not fit them all in.

7 responses to “Looking Back 1957!

  1. Hi Gary,
    This one really hit home for me. I just sang along to every one of the songs that you have linked. 1957 was the year I finally convinced my mother that classical piano and I were not a good match, and she let me switch to taking ‘popular’ piano lessons at the North York Conservatory on Sheppard. It was in an old house just west of Yonge and the lady who ran it was named Olive Fenwick. I wonder if anyone else studied there? Anyway, my new piano teacher wrote up the sheet music for all the songs on this edition of your blog and I’ve still got them in my piano bench – Love Letters in the Sand, Young Love, Blueberry Hill, A White Sports Coat and a Pink Carnation etc. I just might get them out and play them!! Thanks for the memories.

    • Rosalind: Thank you, it is nice to know that you do enjoy it. It has been a lot of work, which I certainly do not mind as long as I reach and please the bloggers. I have put about 30 hours into 1961 so far. I may call Grace just to verify some time-lines. Again, I’m glad my effort is making you happy.

    • Hi Rosalind,
      The North York Conservatory on Sheppard was where I took some saxophone lessons. That would have been around 1954. I was in Grade 10 at Earl Haig, just starting out on the sax. Wow. I’d forgotten where that was til you reminded me.
      – Russ

  2. Hi Gary,
    A lot of what you are sharing here, many of us can identify with!
    So you turned 17 on May 27th, 1957? Toronto’s first CHUM chart has the same date!

    • Andy: That fact I had totally forgotten about. I own many books relating to Music facts and one is “The Chum Chart Book” by Ron Hall. I use it in my research, but because we have a large American following, I also use Norm N Nites three books Rock On 1 & 2 and his Rock and Roll Almanac plus the Billboard Top 40 listings from 1955 to 2000 and of course the internet. We do forget that the Chum Chart was the longest running chart of it’s type in the world. It’s actually hilarious that we all did the same things during that time period. I really enjoyed High School and that time period but for the wrong reasons. I have found the best Oldies for 50’s music is “The Fifties on Five” Sirius Radio. There were many more songs than the top 10 and they play them and those are songs I remember.

  3. Gary & Russ: You are doing a terrific job bringing the best 50s music into a form we can hear today. We all have our favorite old records, but not in the best repair perhaps. Russ about croaked when I moved two years back and turfed boxes full of this era records in all materials (78s, vinyls, 45s) some very old and in mint condition. I thought there would never be a use for them. SORRY!

  4. On my 15th birthday in April, my parents’ best friends brought me a birthday gift…….78rpm recording of “Young Love”…….to my dismay by……Tab Hunter! I could barely hide my disappointment! I played that record once…….while they were sitting in our living room……never again!
    Thanks once more for the wonderful memories. Always appreciated!

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