Aired on Treasure Island OldiesAug 06, 2023

During the early days of Rock & Roll, from the mid-50s to the early 60s, instrumentals played a significant role in shaping the genre’s popularity and appeal. While vocal-driven Rock & Roll songs dominated the charts, instrumentals found their own unique niche and contributed to the diverse landscape of the burgeoning Rock & Roll movement.

Instrumentals were not entirely new to the music scene, as they had been popular in jazz and other genres before Rock & Roll emerged.

In June of 1956, a jazz musician made it onto the Billboard pop charts with two instrumentals. Released a week apart, they soared to the #2 and #11 respectively. Sadly, the latter one is rarely heard today …


Born in 1915 in Atlanta, Georgia, this jazz musician, who was trained by his father from the age of 12, found himself playing piano in a pit band at a vaudeville theatre, occasionally accompanying singers such as Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters.

After starting his own band, he ended up accompanying Billie Holiday now and then in 1941.

In 1947, he was stricken with a partial paralysis of his hands and was unable to perform. However, he made a comeback in 1951.

In 1956, he recorded his composition, “Canadian Sunset,” with Hugo Winterhalter and His Orchestra for RCA Victor. It went to #2 on the pop charts and #7 on the R&B charts. It enjoyed further success when Norman Gimbel’s lyrics were added to an Andy Williams’ release that went to #7 on the pop charts as well that year.

Concurrently, our jazz musician had another instrumental hit on his hands. Appearing on the pop charts, just one week after “Canadian Sunset,” this beautiful composition would last 25 weeks on these charts, peaking at the 11th position.

Sadly, it would be the last time, this jazz musician would grace the Billboard pop charts with his talents. His name was Eddie Heywood and come this time of the year, we all welcome a “Soft Summer Breeze,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.

YouTube video of this song:

This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.