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Published on Feb 15, 2013
The oft-maligned Pat Boone sings TUTTI FRUTTI. Musical tastes in 1957 reflected Bing Crosby, Patti Page, and comfy Middle-America. There were no country crossover artists, R&B was on only a few radio stations, and nobody worked on Sunday. Mainstream artists smoothed the edges off African music (The Weavers and Wimoweh). Classical music was modified for mainstream tastes (by Arthur Fiedler among others, and by turning famous melodies into pop hits like "Till The End of Time"). And, yes, a lot of black artists had to be "mellow" to get on the radio, including The Platters, Ink Spots or Nat King Cole. The Beatles covered Little Richard, making his raw sound a little more commercial for tastes of the day. Ethnic music, whether C&W or R&B played to very small local radio stations. It was more a matter of mainstream tastes back then, not necessarily racism. If an artist was mainstream (like Jim Reeves or Johnny Mathis) he was welcomed. Now? Some people STILL prefer the Beatles or Boone's versions over Little Richard, but at least we have them all to choose from. Here's Pat Boone from a 1957 TV broadcast.