Old Man Atom

Episode Air Date: October 24, 2019
Artist: Vern Partlow
Recording Title: Old Man Atom

Lyricist Vern Partlow summed up the fears associated with the Cold War pretty succinctly: Einstein’s scared, and when Einstein’s scared, I’m scared.”

Partlow was a writer for the Los Angeles Daily News, assigned to interview scientists about the bomb. He’d become increasingly alarmed (see the Einstein line) and thought the issue was ripe for a folk song.

You’re listening to Sam Hinton who recorded the tune in 1950. Bing Crosby was slated to record the song for Decca that same year…until the joint committee Against Communism opposed the song’s lyrics, which members claimed supported communist ideals. And they didn’t just stop Bing…Both Columbia and RCA would eventually pull the record from distribution.


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