1950s, Culture, High School, History, Music, Nostalgia, Photography, Vintage

Johnny Got A Guitar


You have to pronounce it with emphasis on the first syllable: GUI-tar. That’s how it’s said.

So here’s what confuses me on this (my I Don’t Get It moment). This looks like a 50s rock ‘n’ roll impromptu set in the commons, some ragtag gathering of rebellious devil music. But if this Texas yearbook is a 1951 edition, then the schoolyear was only ’50-’51, and the first legit rock hit wasn’t until 1955 with Bill Haley and the Comets’ (see the Comet connection?) hit “Rock Around The Clock.” It wasn’t even written until 1952.

Elvis was only 16 in 1951. Ritchie Valens a mere 10. So what was this kid doing with his guitar? Surely not playing these top ten hits of 1951.

1 Nat King Cole Too Young
2 Tony Bennett Because Of You
3 Les Paul and Mary Ford How High The Moon
4 Rosemary Clooney Come On-a My House
5 Mario Lanza Be My Love
6 Weavers On Top Of Old Smoky
7 Tony Bennett Cold, Cold Heart
8 Perry Como If
9 Mario Lanza Loveliest Night Of The Year
10 Patti Page Tennessee Waltz

Now the interwebs tell me that classic rock and roll is “usually played with one or two electric guitars (one lead, one rhythm), a string bass or (after the mid-1950s) an electric bass guitar, and a drum kit.” And I’m sure Mark the Music Man will know more about this than I. It just seems a bit early to go taking your first real six-string (if that’s what it is; I am ignorant) to school to serenade your peers, especially to play lame old people music. On top of old smoky…♫ ♫ ♫


18 thoughts on “Johnny Got A Guitar”

  1. Excellent point, Maybe he was playing Gene Autry, or Tex Ritter. Les Paul was a good possibility as well, or Montoya. Who knows what the boy was playing. Heck maybe it is an actual Back to the Future moment. He was just warming up to bust out a Jimmy Hendrix riff.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t get me started on THAT song. While in the courting phase, my husband had taken allergy meds and decided to clean his gun instead of come visit me at my home. Long story short: there was a 45 hollow pt bullet in the chamber and boom, there went the palm of his hand and for weeks afterward, folks at church would sing when he walked in the door: “Jimmie’s got a gun…”

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Now, now, Norm. Lame in THEIR eyes. The teens. Not mine. I’d love to sing a duet with Tony Bennett right now. Just let me get my good dress and heels. I’d sure as H do a better job than Lady Gaga, who seems to be on some very potent medications lately.


    1. Thank God I can be young today. This land is your land, this land is my land…When I think folk, I think hippies and tambourines. I don’t think fat jolly Burl Ives and his big rock candy mountain. That sounds like an adult movie. And Paul Robeson is in that list? He’s the guy with the crazy low voice singing “Ol’ Man River.” I know that one. Last night on The Tonight Show, JK Simmons was doing a baritone-off with Jimmy. JK won, singing the lowest.


Observation and Interpretation:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s