Give Now

Night Lights Classic Jazz

The Wild One

The Wild OneThe Wild One, Marlon Brando’s 1953 motorcycle-gang movie, was based on a real-life 1947 incident in which thousands of bikers, many of them blue-collar World War II vets from Los Angeles, descended upon a northern California town and frightened its inhabitants by drag-racing up and down the streets and hurling beer bottles through storefront windows.

Wild One jazz themesLeith Stevens, who was commissioned to write the movie’s score, was a regular at the Lighthouse jazz club in Hermosa Beach, California, where trumpeter Shorty Rogers frequently gigged. Stevens played Rogers’ Capitol Records 10-inch LP Modern Sounds for Brando, who was so impressed that he insisted Rogers be used on the soundtrack. Rogers arranged Stevens’ compositions and brought in a number of fellow West Coast musicians to record them, including Jimmy Giuffre, Bud Shank, and Shelly Manne. The resulting “rebop,” as one of the film’s characters called it, was used to suggest a grimy but exuberant anarchy and rebellion.

Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 2004)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Miss D.D
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 2004)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Wild One
Leith Stevens All Stars — Jazz Themes from The Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Apropos
Shorty Rogers — Birth of the Cool V. 2 (Capitol, 1951)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Blues for Brando
Leith Stevens' All Stars — Jazz Themes From the Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Windswept
Shorty Rogers — Jazz Themes From the Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Lonely Way
Leith Stevens' All Stars — Jazz Themes From the Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Black Rebel Ride
Leith Stevens' All Stars — Jazz Themes From the Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Drag for Beers
Leith Stevens' All Stars — Jazz Themes From the Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Chino
Shorty Rogers — Jazz Themes From the Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Beetle
Leith Stevens' All Stars — Jazz Themes From the Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Scramble
Leith Stevens' All Stars — Jazz Themes From the Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Prelude to a Rumble
Leith Stevens' All Stars — Jazz Themes From the Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Bewildered
Leith Stevens' All Stars — Jazz Themes From the Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Wild One
Shorty Rogers — Jazz Themes From the Wild One (Bear Family, 1953)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Night Lights Classic Jazz:

Support For Indiana Public Media From

About Night Lights

Search Night Lights

where to hear night lights

This Week On Afterglow

And On Piano, Oscar Peterson…

Oscar Peterson

Canadian pianist Oscar Peterson would have turned 90 this week. We'll be saluting him by showcasing his work with Ella Fitzgerald, Fred Astaire, and more.

Read more »

Afterglow is WFIU's weekly program of jazz and American popular song hosted by David Brent Johnson.

More from Afterglow »