Monday, August 26, 2013

Proto-World Beat

I've said it before: Ricky Ricardo was the father of World Beat. Or at least Desi Arnaz was. The Cuban bandleader brought exotic sounds into a huge percentage of American homes via his role on I Love Lucy.

But Ricky wasn't alone. There were lots of cool international sounds -- both foreign and domestic -- flittering about the pop charts of the 1950s and early '60s.

Here are some of my favorites.

Dig the Japanese go-go girls helping Kyu Sakamoto with his hit "Sukiyaki."



Here's the great South African singer Miriam Makeba, who brought her country's music to the U.S. a quarter century before Paul Simon's Graceland.



Blame it on the bosa nova. I knew "The  Girl from Ipamena" was sexy before I even knew what sex was.




Were Art & Dottie Todd the spiritual forefathers of Stereolab?



And we love Ricky


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