All I Want Is Loving You: Popular Female Singers of the 1950s

Univ. Pr. of Mississippi. Nov. 2023. 277p. ISBN 9781496848796. pap. $30. MUSIC
This engrossing history is packed with impressive details and a healthy dose of nostalgia, set in a striking cultural framework. Bergsman chronologically traces the rise of popular white women singers into their chartbuster solo spotlights during the 1950s. From Teresa Brewer, Patti Page, and Rosemary Clooney to Doris Day and Gogi Grant, a who’s who of the famous, sometimes forgotten, is presented alongside biographical cameos, captivating career anecdotes, and the stories behind the songs, including such hits as “The Tennessee Waltz” and “Que Sera, Sera.” Comparative information on the careers of their contemporary men counterparts—Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Elvis Presley, and others—provides relevant context. Bergsman focuses on Black women singers from the same era in a companion volume (What a Difference a Day Makes). Behind-the-scenes views of the recording industry and analyses of evolving musical and social trends leading to the next decade also offer a comprehensive background. Helpful notes enhance the text, and the generously selected discography is a wonderful resource for listening while reading this well-written, valuable narrative.
VERDICT Enjoyable and educational. Will appeal to a wide range of popular-musical enthusiasts, including those who remember the era well and those eager to learn more about it.
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