The Oscar Songs of the 1950s

Music plays an essential role in a film presentation.  Much attention is given to the director who takes a story and shapes it into his or her own image.

The musical score is added which will enhance the experience for the audience.  An original song can outlast a film for decades as the film is forgotten but the song is played and replayed, be it a new rendition on a television show or commercial or embedded in a newer film.  Oldies radio stations resurrect forgotten gems on a daily basis.

Let’s take a look at some of the original songs of the 1950s which found their way into films.  Space does not present an exhaustive listing.  These are my favorites.

1950’s Mona Lisa from Captain Carey, USA would become a number one hit for Nat King Cole.  It was composed by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston.

1952’s High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling) by Tex Ritter gave the film a haunting quality as the lone town marshal prepares to face the Miller’s Gang by himself with a new wife who does not understand why.  It was composed by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington.

1955’s Three Coins In The Fountain refers to Rome’s Trevi Fountain where if you toss a coin, you could make a wish.  It was composed by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn and recorded by the Four Aces.  Frank “Old Blue Eyes” Sinatra’s certainly made this song his.  His was the original recording before the Four Aces.

Dean Martin’s version at the 1955 Oscars is definitely right on:

Also nominated in 1955 was Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep from White Christmas.  Irving Berlin’s song has become a favorite bedtime song.  In the film Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney sang the song.

1955’s Love Is A Many Splendored Thing by the Four Aces captured the romance of the mid-fifties.  It was composed by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster.

Neil Sedaka’s Italian version L’Amore E’ Una Cosa Meravigliosa is superb:

Another song nominated in 1955 was Unchained Melody from Unchained. It was composed by Alex North and Hy Zaret. Todd Duncan with his rich baritone voice gave the song a haunting quality.

The Righteous Brothers’ 1965 version became the song of my generation.  As we all know, it was featured in the 1990 film Ghost.

1956’s Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Qué Será, Será) from The Man Who Knew Too Much was another great song from Ray Evans and Jay Livingston.  It would become Doris Day’s theme song for her television series as well as her signature piece.

The 1957 nominated song Tammy from Tammy and The Bachelor showcased the beautiful Debbie Reynolds. It was composed by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston.

The nominated Five Pennies from 1959 features Danny Kaye as musician Red Nichols who sings this song to his daughter, Susan Gordon.  Sylvia Fine, Danny Kaye’s wife, composed the song.

The above are some of my favorites from the 1950s.  You will undoubtedly have other ones that I did not mention.

Whatever your favorites are, enjoy the music and the memories. Let the music of yesteryear transport you back to a simpler time where life existed without all the techno-marvels that plague our lives today.

It was a time where we had time to listen to the radio.  In the late 1950s American Bandstand gave teenagers a chance to see their favorites perform.

The Oscar Winners

1950: Mona Lisa

1951: In The Cool, Cool of Evening

1952: High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling)

1953: Secret Love

1954: Three Coins In The Fountain

1955: Love Is A Many Splendored Thing

1956: Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Qué Será, Será)

1957: All The Way

1958: Gigi

1959: High Hopes

G. D. Williams       © 2013

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