“Thirteen of the group’s albums reached the Top 10, and in 1959 alone four of its albums placed in the Top 10, a record matched only by the Beatles.”
Reading Nick Reynolds’ obituary today, I was surprised to learn that The Kingston Trio began in the late 1950s. Somehow I thought they begain in the Sixties - but then, the Fifties bled all the way through to 1964.
Anyway, I remember hearing them on someone’s portable radio at a beach party in Seaside Park NJ in 1960, and their sound was so refreshing, especially in the context of most of the pap that passed for "popular music” at the time.
At another beach party later that summer, someone broke out a guitar and suddenly we were all singing along to “Tom Dooley.”
Over the following couple of summers, our hair grew longer and the music changed to Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles.
And then things really took off.
The Kingston Trio had that buttoned-down ivy league look, like the early Beach Boys, and their songs were definitely not political. But they expanded the boundaries of popular music and made it OK to play guitar, sing along, and maybe even write a song or two.
They will never make it in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but The Kingston Trio was there at the creation.