Hits In Hi-Fi

Today we’re tak­ing a step back to the 1950s and 1960s, when home audio was new and excit­ing­ly futur­is­tic… first in mono, but then in glo­ri­ous stereopho­ny — with a pro­gramme we’re call­ing Hits In Hi-Fi.

In the ear­ly days of stereo, a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of albums were released that were designed espe­cial­ly to show off the won­ders of this new way of pre­sent­ing musi­cal enter­tain­ment, and they real­ly tried hard. Sounds “ping-ponged” across the stereo sound­stage; instru­ments appeared hard on one side and then hard on the oth­er… and there were a lot of space ref­er­ences, bloops and bleeps start­ing and end­ing the pieces — and once the Moog Syn­the­sis­er became avail­able, that was includ­ed in the mix too — all con­spir­ing to present an audio image of the imag­ined future.

A selec­tion of these albums forms the core of our music today. Often the tracks con­sist of instru­men­tal arrange­ments of pop­u­lar songs, but there are also plen­ty of orig­i­nal tunes too, and one can guess that the record com­pa­ny exec­u­tives aimed these albums at the imag­ined bach­e­lor in his pad, invit­ing his friends around to blow them away with the lat­est stereo­phon­ic sounds. Indeed, the genre is some­times called “Space-Age Bach­e­lor Pad Music” or “SABPM”; lat­er “Jet Set Pop”; or more broad­ly, “Space Age Pop”.

There is a cer­tain “lounge” feel to some of today’s music, though most falls square­ly into the “easy lis­ten­ing” genre, and includes expan­sive stereo­phon­ic arrange­ments from the likes of James Last and Bert Kaempfert. But there are also some lit­tle sur­pris­es dropped in along the way.

It’s The MOST

MOSTAnd then at 11am and 7pm Pacif­ic time, that’s 19:00 and 03:00 in the UK, don’t miss Susan­nah with the lat­est episode of The MOST — Music from the Orig­i­nal Sound Track, our month­ly oppor­tu­ni­ty to delve into the lost (or some­times clas­sic) movie and TV sound­tracks of the 50s and 60s and beyond — and to dis­cov­er some­thing of the sto­ry behind them. The MOST is always a rev­e­la­tion, and that’s cer­tain­ly true of today’s show, with music from the TV series Stac­ca­to,  the movies Bar­barel­la and the Thomas Crown Affair — and much more in this spe­cial extend­ed edi­tion.

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. If you are tun­ing in from Cana­da or the Unit­ed States, please click here. Oth­er­wise, click here to start your play­er, if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to do so. You may also like to tune in to our exper­i­men­tal High Qual­i­ty HE-AAC stream at http://minor.slserver.com:9012/live – now with meta­da­ta!

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