A History of Pop Music – 1955

Featured song: Bill Haley & His Comets with “Rock Around the Clock”.

This is a series of articles looking at pop music from 1955 when in my opinion proper pop music began up to 1999 when they stopped making it. (Please note the top selling single in 2000 was Bob the Builder with “Can we fix it”. I rest my case). One article for each year.  I was going to start in 1956, my birth year, but Bill Haley & His Comets doing Rock around the clock, whilst recorded in 1954 was a big hit here in 1955, and for me the start of it all.

I am only going to select one featured song for each article, which makes it hard. I am going to try and select a different artist for each year, however, I make no promises, especially when it come to 1962 and some Beatles songs come into play.

The songs that will not be on my favourites will be Tay Tay and Phil Collins.  Please deal with it.

I will list at the end of the article my favourite tunes from each year.

For many people, and I include myself, you tend to still like the tunes you heard during childhood, which your parents often played. So rather than just pick the top 10 hits of each year, I shall let you know what they were, but also the tunes of that year not necessarily in the top 10 or so, what were in my view classics.  I will also add a couple of events in history for that year, it helps bring back memories, and hopefully happy ones.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

So on we go with memories from 1955: (Thank you Wiki)

What was I doing in this year?  – Here is a very early picture of me in 1955;

Phil the test manager, Going Postal

5th April – Prime Minister – Winston Churchill resigned due to ill health.  Anthony Eden took over.

24 May – The Dam Busters film released.  17 July – Stirling Moss becomes the first English winner of the British Grand Prix at Aintree Motor Racing Circuit.

26 September – Clarence Birdseye begins selling fish fingers in Britain.

23 October – Kim Philby is named as the “Third Man” of the Cambridge Spy Ring in the U.S. press, a claim repeated on 25 October in the House of Commons by Marcus Lipton.

16 December – the Queen opens a new terminal at London Airport.

20 December – Cardiff becomes the official capital of Wales

The Top 10 Singles with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top Hits of 1955
   1 Tennessee Ernie Ford Give Me Your Word
   2 Slim Whitman Rose Marie
   3 Jimmy Young The Man From Laramie
   4 Eddie Calvert Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White
   5 Bill Haley & His Comets Rock Around The Clock
   6 Ruby Murray Softly Softly
   7 Rosemary Clooney Mambo Italiana
   8 Tony Bennett Stranger In Paradise
   9 Dickie Valentine Christmas Alphabet
   10 Dickie Valentine Finger Of Suspicion

Top pick for me is of course Bill Haley & His Comets with “Rock Around the Clock”. Still sounds good and fresh today, which is over 63 years ago.  It was not the first rock and roll record, nor was it the first successful record of the genre (Bill Haley had American chart success with “Crazy Man, Crazy” in 1953, and in 1954, “Shake, Rattle and Roll” sung by Big Joe Turner reached No. 1 on the American Billboard R&B chart).  Haley’s recording nevertheless became an anthem for rebellious 1950’s youth and is widely considered to be the song that, more than any other, brought rock and roll into mainstream culture around the world.  More writings on this song here:  Rock_Around_the_Clock

My dad told me that in these days he was a “Teddy Boy”, winkle-picker shoes, the lot! He went to see the film “Rock Around the Clock” and he and his mates slashed the cinema seats and started fighting with rival mobs.  Happy days.

Phil the test manager, Going Postal

Only Rock Around the Clock from the actual top 10 made my list.

In my view the best songs of the year, after the featured track are:

The Platters – Only You (and you alone) – I defy you to play this and not sing along!

Little Richard – Tutti Frutti

Chuck Berry – Maybelline

Fats Domino – Ain’t That A Shame

Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues – Live at San Quentin

Hat tips to:

http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/  These give the top 100 selling charts for each year

http://www.everyhit.com/chart1.html   These give the top 10 songs for each year

https://www.youtube.com/  You know them.

Enjoy everyone.  Next time, 1956.

© Phil the test manager 2018

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