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KSPC 60 For 60: The 1950s

KSPC 60 For 60

KSPC 60 for 60 is a project celebrating the past 60 years of KSPC radio! Different KSPC DJs and volunteers have chosen albums for each year KSPC has been on the air to show the variety of music KSPC airs, as well as a look at some highlights from the past six decades.

First we examine the 1950s. Not a ton of early shows are recorded to give us a sense of what KSPC sounded like in the early days of 88.7 FM. Bits and pieces survive, but there a sense of mystery remains. So here we try our best to sum up the first four years of KSPC radio.

1956 – Ella and Louis by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

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This release came out a few months after KSPC first hit the airwaves. Ella and Louis remain in the library via rereleases. On this record they take on some standards from Ira and George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and more. Louis’s gravely timbre plays well off of Ella’s softer feel. The album is strongly recommended to fans of this period of jazz and to those trying to explore the genre.

1957 – Blue Train by John Coltrane

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Coltrane’s second album featured one standard, but was otherwise entirely self composed. The hard bop jazz classic may or may not have been played on KSPC, but Coltrane currently occupies multiple spots in the station’s jazz library. Blue Train remains an important moment in Coltrane’s early catalog and earns the right to represent 1957 at KSPC.

1958 – Buddy Holly by Buddy

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The self-titled debut by Buddy Holly wouldn’t sound too out of place on some KSPC playlists, despite not quite being underground music. Holly’s rockabilly style can be seen as direct or indirect influence on numerous artists played on KSPC. Without Holly’s work, KSPC might sound very different from how it sounds today. Thus, his debut is very deserving of representing 1958 at KSPC, even if it might’ve been more heard on popular radio at the time as opposed to 88.7 FM.

1959 – Indeterminancy: New Aspect Of Form In Instrumental And Electronic Music by John Cage and David Tudor

Pomona dropout John Cage is best known for 4’33”, his experimental piece of music composed of silence. However, his 1959 composition in collaboration with David Tudor, Indeterminancy: New Aspect Of Form In Instrumental And Electronic Music, is itself a unique piece of vocal recordings of odd stories, distortion, banging, and other sounds you can expect to hear on KSPC during the average day.

By Luke Sawyer

Stay tuned to kspc.org for the next installment of KSPC’s 60 For 60!

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