Looking Back 1958

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

Gary:”This would be the year I turned 18 it was not really the legal age in 1958, because the age to consume or purchase alcoholic beverage was still 21.  It was an excellent year for music and for me in general. 

Yes, believe it or not I still had the same girl friend, Judy Muir, but this would change late in the year.  I would turn 18, but Judy would turn 19, she would graduate and become employed at IBM.  Our relationship, worked briefly, but as the months rolled on, she was in the work world and I was still in High School, the worlds just did not mesh, so we parted late in 1958, my first love was gone.

I still had my part-time job at the Post Office, when the union workers got a raise, we, the part-timers where included. 

I did not really have to work the dating scene until late in the year, so Judy & I went to lots of dances, and dance contests (we did win) and I guess the usual  teenager stuff.  I would run the school dances and during the middle of the year would get very involved with starting our own dances for the Willow W Club. 

I found out very early in life that “Teenagers” are not really trusted, so when we attempted to rent halls for dances, unless we had some sort of affiliation, we just could not rent anything.  So we learned a lesson and went to Toronto and got an affiliation with the Y.M.C.A. and we became the Willow Y Club. 

My buddy, Jack, and I discovered when we actually read the agreement, that the YMCA got 50% of our profits.  We did very well, so we bought everything in site and took the members on weekend sabbaticals, yeah right.  We where learning about business at a very young age and, I guess, figured out how to become resourceful.

Things that I remember from 1958:

  • Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 year old cousin, which pretty much ended his career.
  • The program we watched “$64,000 Questions” was rigged and people where given the answers ahead of time.
  • The really bad Sack Dress became popular!
  • A Drug called Thalidomide caused thousands of birth defects.
  • The Nuclear Submarine “Nautilus” went under the North Pole.
  • Dick Clark’s Saturday Night Show was launched.  All of the Rock and Roll Stars where there.
  • Elvis reports to the Local Draft Board and his mother dies and is buried on August 16 and unfortunately Elvis will die 19 years later on this date.
  • Hank Ballard writes a song called “The Twist”.


  • Yankees win World Series over Milwaukee.
  • NFL, Baltimore beats the NY Giants 23-17.
  • Montreal wins the Stanley Cup beating Boston.

Movies of 1958:

  • Best Actor / David Niven / Separate Tables 
  • Best Actress / Susan Hayward/ I want to live 
  • Best Picture / Gigi / 


Gary’s favourite Movies from 1958

  • The Defiant Ones / 
  • Vertigo / 

New TV shows in 1958:

  • 77 Sunset Strip


  • Maverick / 
  • The Rifleman / 
  • Wagon Train / 
  • The Real McCoys / 
  • Peter Gunn / 
  • The Donna Reed Show / 


These are the cars I wanted, but could not have, in 1958

  • 1958 Plymouth Fury /
  • 1958 Desoto Adventurer / 
  • The Thunderbird went to a four seater 
  • 1958 Chevrolet Impala / I loved it / 
  • 1958 Chevrolet Corvette / 
  • 1958 Pontiac Bonneville / 

New Rock and Roll artists that would make an impact in 1958:

  • My favourite / Bobby Darin / 
  • Frankie Avalon / 
  • The Champs / 
  • Dion & the Belmonts / 
  • Another favourite / Duane Eddy / 
  • Connie Francis / 
  • Canadian / Jack Scott / 
  • The Kingston Trio / 
  • The Shirelles / 
  • Neil Sedaka / 
  • Ritchie Valens / 
Other Artists that would come on the scene in 1958:
Brook Benton, The Chipmunks, Jimmy Clanton, Dee Clark, Floyd Cramer, Tommy Edwards, Bobby Freeman, Don Gibson, Earl Grant, Little Anthony & the Imperials, The Miracles, The Olympics, The Playmates, Joe South, Johnny Tillotson, Jerry Wallace, Lee Allen, The Applejacks, The Aquatones, The Big Bopper, The Casuals, The Danleers, Dickie Doo & the Dont’s, The Edsels, The Gone All Stars, Billy Grammer, Gerry Granahan, Bobby Hendricks, Ersel Hickey, The Honeycones, Ivan, The Jamies, Jan & Arnie, The Kalin Twins, The Kingsmen, Moe Koffman, The Kuff-Linx, Laurie London, Robin Luke, The Mark IV, Jimmy McCracklin, The Monotones, Donnie Owens, Bill Parsons, The Poni-Tails, Jody Reynolds, The Rinky-Dinks, The Rivieras, The Royal Teens, The Royaltones, The Sheilds, The Silhouettes, The Teddy Bears, The Tune Rockers, Link Wray & the Wray Men to name just a few.

These are the songs that I remember & purchased during the year 1958:

Dede Dinah / Gingerbread / Frankie Avalon




Twenty Six MilesBig Man / The Four Preps / 

Short Shorts  / The Royal Teens / 

Johnny B Goode & Sweet Little Sixteen / Chuck Berry / 
For Your Precious Love / Jerry Butler & the Impressions /  this would become my all-time favourite 
Rave On / Maybe Baby / Buddy Holly 
Believe What you Say & Poor Little Fool / Ricky Nelson
All I Have To Do Is Dream & Bird Dog / The Everly Brothers / 
Splish Splash/Queen of the Hop/Early in the Morning/ Bobby Darin
Summertime Blues / C’mon Everybody / Eddie Cochran / 
Leroy / My True Love / Jack Scott & the Chantones  / 
Rebel Rouser/ Moovin’ & Groovin’ / Duane Eddy
Come On, Let’s Go / Oh Donna / Ritchie Valens / 
Who’s Sorry Now & Stupid Cupid / Connie Francis 
Do You Want to DanceBetty Lou’s got a new pair of shoes / Bobby Freeman 
The Best Elvis Combo for the Year and there where a few.

?? and Elvis


Don’t / I Beg of You / Elvis /
I know that I have overlooked a 100 songs or more, but to include them all is just impossible.  On a more serious note, Chuck Willis, who’s C.C. Rider kinda started the stroll, died in surgery that year and ironically one of his last songs was “Hang up my Rock and Roll Shoes”.



4 responses to “Looking Back 1958

  1. Once again, Russ, great stuff. ‘Henrietta’ was on a CHUM chart for a week or two. Great tune. “Skinnie Minnie’ had a slick guitar doing a rhytm track that was ahead of its’ time and also one of the few straight eight tunes that were to dominate rock and roll from 1961 onwards. ‘So Tough’ by The Casuals. I thought i was the only one who would dig that when it came out. ‘Susie darlin’ is still in my repetoire. Cheers…..Ron.

    • Ron: So Tough was a song I loved. It really had two versions. The Casuals were popular on the East Coast, but on the West Coast the one that charted was by the Cuff-Linx. I own both and they are both great. Now that little band from San Antonio Texas, Jimmy Dee & the Offbeats, well they were just a favourite of mine. I remember Dick Clark being the big promoter of the group and they were actually on Bandstand. Now as far as Skinne Minnie again a favourite. Do you remember the follow up, “Lean Jean”, I own that one too. Robin Luke, from LA was living in Hawaii when discovered. Thanks for reading what I write, it is appreciated.

  2. “Henrietta” on Dot is certainly a great rocker with plenty of drive but unfortunately, it did not chart on CHUM. But, the fact that you posted it here
    must mean that you remember hearing back then, so it’s interesting to note that, presumably, CHUM or CKEY at least played it. – Andy.

    • Andy: Jimmy Dee and the Offbeats from San Antonio Texas, were always a favourite of mine. They only reached # 47 on Billboard, but Dick Clark gave them TV Time. It was a song I loved and had nothing to do with the CHUM CHART because the entire scenario is what I remember. Some of my favourite songs were not top ten and some songs that were # 1 I did not like. But that’s just the way music is. Thanks for commenting and reading what I write.

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