NEW MUSIC EAR’S HISTORY OF ROCK – 1955
This series will give a brief insight to the history of Rock music, including all its genres. Bill Haley and The Comets’ song “Rock Around The Clock” was not the first Rock N’ Roll record released, but was the first to reach number 1 and it started the ball rolling (no pun intended). New Music Ear will look at the artists, the styles, the top songs, music births and deaths of each year and some major news snippets. Hope you enjoy the series!
1955 News backdrop –
World news snippets – Winston Churchill resigns and is succeeded by Anthony Eden (both Conservative) in the UK. In Europe West Germany became a sovereign state and Nikolai A. Bulganin becomes Premier in the Soviet Union. The Western European Union (WEU) emerges and an Eastern European mutual defence agreement is signed entitled the Warsaw Pact. In Argentina, Juan Peron was ousted by the military, while in the USA, Rosa Parks refuses to sit on the back of a bus prompting Martin Luther King Jr to lead a black boycott of the bus system. New films this year included Animal Farm, the first full length animated feature film, The Dam Busters and The Ladykillers.
During 1955 we witnessed the styles of early Rock N’ Roll, Skiffle, Jazz, World, Folk, Doo Wop, R & B, remnants of early Pop and Folk music.
A SELECTION OF TOP SONGS IN THE UK/US –
“Rock Around The Clock” – Bill Haley And The Comets
“Cerezo Rosa (Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White)” – Perez Prado
“Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing” – The Four Aces
“Tutti Fruttie” – Little Richard
“Love And Marriage” – Frank Sinatra
“Maybellene” – Chuck Berry
“Ain’t That A Shame” – Fats Domino
“Cry Me A River” – Julie London
“Tweedle Dee” -LaVern Baker
“I Only Have Eyes For You” – The Platters
TOP ARTISTS –
Bill Haley And The Comets – Bill used to be a Country music bandleader until he recorded a Rhythm And Blues song “Rocket 88” in a Country and Western style, he changed direction to a new sound called “Rock N’ Roll”. In 1955 he released “Mambo Rock”, “Razzle-Dazzle” and “Burn That Candle” as well as the album “”Live It Up!”. The aforementioned “Rock Around The Clock” which was originally a B-side to a single released the previous year but the film Blackboard Jungle used the song in its opening credits and thus the first Rock N’ Roll number one came into being.
Chuck Berry – Said to be one of the pioneers of Rock N’ Roll music, was born Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry. He refined Rhythm And Blues to include lyrics of teen angst and consumerism merged with showstopping guitar solos and energetic stage acts. 1955 bore the first signs of this Rock legend with the singles “Maybelline”, “Wee Wee Hours”, “Thirty Days (To Come Back Home)” and ” No Money Down”.
Little Richard – Richard Wayne Penniman’s charismatic piano playing and vocals paved the way for the Soul and Funk genres. In 1955 he released “I’m Just A Lonely Guy” and the all-time classic “Tutti Frutti”. “Tutti Frutti” means “all fruit” in Italian and the original lyrics were “Tutti Frutti, good booty, If it don’t fit, don’t force it, you can grease it, make it easy”! These were thought to be “sexual humour” but were changed to “Tutti Frutti, aw rooty, Tutti Frutti, aw rooty” and thus, a massive hit was born.
Blues star Bo Diddley broke through int this year, and Elvis Presley, soon to be dubbed “Elvis The Pelvis”, had his Sun Records contract sold to RCA, after minor hits in 1955, more was to come from him later. Lonnie Donegan (the King of Skiffle) brought the Skiffle style to music with his debut “Rock Island Line”. Johnny Cash, Fats Domino and Carl Perkins all made inroads in this year.
MUSIC BIRTHS THIS YEAR –
Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen)/Howard Jones/Dee Snider(Twisted Sister)/Reba McEntire/Angus Young(AC/DC)/Pete Shelley(Buzzcocks)/Topper Headon, Mick Jones(The Clash)/John Waite/Henry Priestman(The Christians)/Steve Jones(The Sex Pistols)/Phil Oakey(Human League)/Billy Idol.
MUSIC DEATHS IN THIS YEAR –
Charlie Parker/Carmen Miranda
Look out for the next year in this series – 1956!
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