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From the Land of Band Box Records

Space Race (& Cocktail Time)

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I don’t believe I have ever – ever purchased a long play album which could be classified as “Space Age Pop” – But before I could make that claim I thought I would look a little deeper into just what exactly defines that genre….

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Esquivel!’s Lunar Landing

“Space Age”, “Lounge”, “Exotica”, “Bachelor Pad”, “Cocktail” – it goes on and on.

Wikipedia keeps it simple:
“Space age pop is a music genre associated with Mexican and American composers and songwriters in the space age of the 1950s and 1960s.  Space age pop was inspired by the spirit of those times, an optimism based on the strong post-war economy and technology boom, and excitement about humanity’s early forays into space.  Although there is no exact album, date, or year when the genre was born, producer Irwin Chusid identifies its heyday as “roughly 1954 to 1963—from the dawn of high-fidelity (hi-fi) to the arrival of the Beatles.”

Along come the 1990’s – A CD is released titled “Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music”  by Julian Garcia Esquivel, and a full blown “Space Age” revival is born.

Julian Esquivel was born in January of 1918 in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico and in his professional musical career was generally referred to as simply “Esquivel!” (complete with the exclamation mark!).

He would become known as the “King of Space Age Pop”.  Beyond arranging and performing many Latin flavored standards and applying touches ranging from Chinese bells to mariachi touches – vivid orchestration and even vocally delivered nonsense syllables – often accompanied by elaborate light shows.

But Esquivel!’s style was his – There was Mancini, Zentner, Denny, Gleason, Lyman, the Mona Keys, Julie London and on and on it goes.

So who were the connoisseurs of Space Age Pop?  Who exactly was purchasing these long play albums?  One thing I know for sure, it certainly wasn’t anyone running with my crowd.

In fact, we rarely ever purchased a long play album!  I remember going to basement parties sorting through stacks of 45’s that several of us would bring along, scratching them up as they were shuffled and then placed on the portable Hi-Fi.

But I never recall anyone bringing along a long play album to one of these parties.

Now my parents owned a modest collection of long plays, and many were influenced by their occasional journeys to the “Islands” – specifically the island of Maui.  Webley Edwards’ “Hawaii Calls” series were a favorite, as were any number of Hawaiian collections – including Burl Ives performing “Pearly Shells”.

My folks counted among their friends a few couples from the generation following their own (“The Greatest Generation”) but as I recall these couples were more into some bop and swing type stuff.

Top: Martin Denny – Linda Lawson – Esquivel! – Felix Slatkin Bottom: Don Ralke – Arthur Lyman – Rene Touzet

My sister and her friends were more prone to purchasing an Eddie Fisher or Pat Boone long play before they would choose a Nelson Riddle recording.

So I suspect there were many closet “Space Agers”.  I can imagine fidelity nuts going in big time for the genre – testing out their high end audio equipment or perhaps even dabbling in Heathkits – remember those?   The Heathkit company was founded in 1912 by Edward Bayard Heath, starting off manufacturing oscilloscopes, moving into Ham radios finally moving into audiophile components to be assembled at home.

And it rode right along with the golden Rock and Roll Era – rolling right into the British Invasion.

Space Age Selected Discography

Robert Drasnin did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Robert Drasnin – Voodoo Exotic Music From Polynesia and the Far East – 1959

Esquivel! did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Esquivel! – 4 Corners of the World – 1958

During the Space Age Music Era Ferrante & Teicher placed ten LP’s on the Billboard Charts – and a total of 31 LP’s for all time

Ferrante & Teicher – Blast Off – 1958

Ferrante & Teicher – Pianos In Paradise – 1962

During the Space Age Music Era Jackie Gleason placed eight LP’s on the Billboard Charts and a total of 18 LP’s for all time

Jackie Gleason – The Torch with the Blue Flame – 1958

Morton Gould did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Morton Gould – Jungle Drums – 1956

Bobby Hammcack did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

The Bobby Hammack Quartet – Power House – 1955

Tom Harper did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Ton Harper – Lady Lonely – 1959

Richard Hayman did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Richard Hayman – Voodoo! – 1959

Dick Hyman placed two LP’s on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era and six LP’s all time

Dick Hyman – (Swings Music From) Whoop-Up – 1959

Linda Lawson did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

 

Linda Lawson – Introducing Linda Lawson – 1960

Julie London placed six LP’s on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era

Julie London – Sings Latin In A Satin Mood – 1963

Arthur Lyman placed three LP’s on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era

Arthur Lyman -Taboo – 1958

Henry Mancini placed eleven LP’s on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era and 40 LP’s all time

Henry Mancini – Combo! – 1961

Eddy Manson did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Eddy Manson – The Fi Is Hi – 1958

The Monn Keys did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

The Monn Keys – Dreamsville – 1961

Bobby Montez did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Bobby Montez – Jungle Fantastique! – 1958

Enric Madriguera did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

 

Enric Madriguera – Arthur Murray Favorites – Sambas – 1960

Nelson Riddle placed three LP’s on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era

Nelson Riddle – Route 66 Theme – 1962

 

 

Don Ralke did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Don Ralke – Bongo Madness – 1957

Walter Schumann did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

The Voices of Walter Schumann – Exploring the Unknown – 1955

Raymond Scott did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Raymond Scott – The Secret 7 “The Unexpected” – 1960

Felix Slatkin placed one LP on the Billboard Charts during the Space Age Music Era

Felix Slatkin – Paradise Found – 1961

The Smart Set did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

The Smart Set – Informally Yours – 1959

Terry Synder did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Terry Snyder – Mister Percussion – 1960

The Spencer-Hagen Orchestra did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

The Spencer-Hagen Orchestra – Essence of Romance – 1958

Carl Stevens did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Carl Stevens – African Sounds – 1962

Bob Thompson did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Bob Thompson – The Sound of Speed – 1958

Tak Shindo did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Tak Shindo – Brass and Bamboo – 1961

Rene Touzet did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Rene Touzet and the Cha Cha Rhythm Boys – Blue Bongo – 1958

Ed Townsend did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Ed Townsend – New In Town – 1959

Randy Van Horne did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Randy Van Horne – Clef Dwellers – 1958

Kitty White did not place any LP’s on the Billboard Charts

Kitty White – Kitty White – 1956

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