One of the goals for the Twilight Zone show was to transport the audience back to the original time period of the show (1959 – 1964). There have been some attempts to reboot the show (and even a movie version that remade several classic episodes), but there’s something about the original that’s just hard to top. The black and white film, the slightly larger acting style, the more formal manner and dress of the every day person.
We can’t make our stage and actors suddenly look like they’re on black-and-white film (trust us…we tried!) but the music helps a lot with that transportation process.
Late fifties music had a very iconic sound. Rock had been invented, but it had a very different sound (it was still well before the Beatles and the British Invasion would reshape it). It mixed freely with singers like Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney and Tennessee Ernie Ford (who had a massive hit with the song “Sixteen Tons” in 1955). TV and movie heartthrobs like Ricky Nelson and Frankie Avalon turned almost every song they recorded into gold. And the emerging jet-set loved their music with a just a touch of international flair (like “Zou Bisou Bisou”).
So, without further ado, here’s the playlist of songs we use to help bring audiences back in time for the Twilight Zone. All of these are songs you might have heard on the radio in 1959 – 1963. All are original except the recording of Zou Bisou Bisou – the version used here was recorded for the show Mad Men in 2014.
Venus – Frankie Avalon
(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance – Gene Pitney
Love Potion Number Nine – The Clovers
Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes) – Dee Dee Sharp
Botch-A-Me (Ba-Ba-Baciani Piccina) – Rosemary Clooney
Lady Luck – Lloyd Price
King of the Road – Roger Miller
Judy’s Turn to Cry – Lesley Gore
Fly Me to the Moon – Julie London
Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford
A Rockin’ Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall in Love) – Dinah Washington and Book Benton
Mr. Sandman – The Chordettes
Teenage Idol – Ricky Nelson
Zou Bisou Bisou – Jessica Pare’
Bill Bailer Won’t You Please Come Home – Ella Fitzgerald
Everyday – Buddy Holly
Dreamlover – Bobby Darin
Why – Frankie Avalon
Travelin’ Man – Ricky Nelson
All I Have to Do is Dream – The Everly Brothers
A Little Bit of Soap – The Jarmels