BARRY LEVINE: Video jukebox site the best for music from the 40s to the 90s

THE OLD ROCKER: Retired federal employee generates site with more than 3,500 songs

Christmas came five months early this year for the Old Rocker, thanks to an email from Don Picciotto of Lee County, our Ryan’s lunch-buddy who forwarded absolutely the best site for music that I have ever used.

The free site, www.1959bhsmustangs.com/VideoJukebox.htm, has songs to suite everyone’s taste and plenty of them. The site has music from the 1940s to the 1990s and contains every imaginable genre.

Consisting of more than 3,500 songs, the site is the brainchild of 73-year-old Paul Chester, of Crofton, Md.

A retired federal employee, Chester has had his site working for approximately four years.

“After I retired, I was bored and wanted to do something so I started the Juke Box.” Chester said during a recent telephone interview. “I always loved the 50s and early 60s music and felt the music from that era was not getting its just do.”

Chester revealed that he got much of his information by using YouTube as a source.

“Honestly, I had no master plan when I started the site… It just evolved into what it is today,” he explained..

Chester, who designed the site, revealed that he got some of its ideas from users who would email suggestions to him.

The site basically is divided into two major sections.

The top section contains the list of the performers and the number of songs in that set.

Here’s a list of the groupings and the number of songs in parenthesis.

Country classics (99), classic instrumentals (64), Elvis Presley (80), Roy Orbison (44), The Beatles (52), All-Girl Groups (144), Chuck Berry (25), James Brown (48), Motown (92), Beach Boys (48), Four Seasons (42), Doo-Wop Classics Part I (151), Doo-Wop Classics Part 2 (150), Doo-Wop Classics Part 3 (149), 1940s (119), British Invasion (130) and Novelty (86).

Also, Ink Spots (38), Mills Brothers (47), Five Keys (28), Johnny Cash (44), Leiber & Stoller (52), Vintage TV Commercials (44), Vintage TV Theme Songs (76), Patriotic Songs (38), Dance Songs (61), No. 1 hits 1940-44 (49), No. 1 hits 1945-49 (50), No. 1 hits 1950-54 (49), No. 1 hits 1955-59 (86), No. 1 hits 1960-64 (100), No. 1 hits 1965-69 (100), No. 1 hits 1970-74 (124), No. 1 hits 1975-79 (159), No. 1 hits 1980-84 (74) and No. 1 hits 1985-89 (106).

The bottom section consists more than 1,100 individual blocks with the name of a song, the performer and its year.

The performers in this section range from Patti Page, Jo Stafford, Johnny Ray, Kay Star and Les Paul and Mary Ford from the early 1950s to Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, The Drifters, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Everly Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis from the late 1950s and to the 1960s..

One of the more interesting sections on the site is the 73-song unit of TV theme songs.

Among the tunes were several from the 1950s including “Dragnet,” “The Adventures of Superman,” “Howdy Doody,” “The Cisco Kid,” “Captain Video,” “The Lone Ranger,” and “The Honeymooners. “ There also are several from the 1970s such as “Welcome Back, Kotter,” “The Jeffersons,” “All in the Family,” “Laverne and Shirley” and “Happy Days.”

Another aspect of the site that I liked was the way Chester divided all of the No. 1 hits into five-year segments.

The group of No. 1 hits from 1955 to 1959 was especially entertaining. What separates this from many other sites is that you can see most of the performers actually singing their tunes. Many were garnered from the Ed Sullivan Show, the Steve Allen Show, American Bandstand, the Dinah Shore Chevy Show and the Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show.

Among the songs in this bracket were “Rock & Roll Waltz” by Kay Starr, “Poor Little Fool” by Ricky Nelson, “Witch Doctor” by David Seville, “Bird Dog” and “Wake up, Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers, “Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Let Me Go, Lover” by Joan Weber, “Love Letters in the Sand” and “April Love” by Pat Boone and “Lonely Boy” and “Diana” by Paul Anka.

Also, “Chances Are” by Johnny Mathis, “Venus” by Frankie Avalon, “All Shook Up,” “Love Me Tender” and “Teddy Bear” by Elvis Presley, ”Twilight Time” by the Platters, “Young Love” by Tab Hunter, “Wayward Wind” by Gogi Grant and “That’ll be the Day” by the Crickets.

If those songs and the songs on this site don’t whet your oldies appetite, nothing will.

For oldies fans, this site definitely needs to be checked.

Barry Levine writes entertainment stories for The Albany Herald. He can be reached at dot0001@yahoo.com.