A History of Pop Music – 1956

Featured song: Elvis Presley with Hound Dog

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.  One article for 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 also add a couple of events in history for that year, it helps bring back memories, and hopefully happy ones.

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.

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 1956: (Thank you Wiki)

What was I doing in this year?  – I was born in November.

1 January – Possession of heroin becomes fully criminalised

February – Release of Shirley Bassey’s first single, Burn My Candle (At Both Ends).

8 February – The first AEC Routemaster bus in London starts public service, on route 2

14 March – A memorial to Karl Marx is unveiled at the new site of his grave in Highgate Cemetery, London, by Harry Pollitt, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain.[

24 March – In the Grand National, Devon Loch, owned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and ridden by Dick Francis, is in a clear lead when he inexplicably collapses fifty yards from the finish, giving victory to E.S.B. at 100/1, ridden by Dave Dick and trained by Fred Rimell. Stan Mellor is the second placed jockey

17 April In his Budget speech, Chancellor of the Exchequer Harold Macmillan announces the launch of Premium Bonds, which will go on sale on 1 November, with a £1,000 prize available from the first draw in June next year

20 April – Humphrey Lyttelton and his band record his trad jazz composition Bad Penny Blues in London with sound engineer Joe Meek. This will be the first British jazz record to get into the Top Twenty.

3 May – Granada Television launched with a base in Manchester.

3 June Third class accommodation on British Railways trains re-designated as second class

15 October – The RAF retires its last Lancaster bomber

17 October – The Queen opens the world’s first commercial nuclear power station at Calder Hall

29 November – Petrol rationing introduced because of petrol blockades from the Middle East due to the Suez Crisis

25 December – PG Tips launches its long-running ITV advertising campaign using a chimpanzees’ tea party (with voices provided by Peter Sellers).

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

Top Hits of 1956
   1 Pat Boone I’ll Be Home
   2 The Dreamweavers It’s Almost Tomorrow
   3 Doris Day Whatever Will Be Will Be
   4 Winifred Atwell Poor People Of Paris
   5 Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers Why Do Falls Fall In Love
   6 Kay Starr Rock And Roll Waltz
   7 Johnny Ray Just Walking In The Rain
   8 Lou Busch Zambesi
   9 Elvis Presley Hound Dog
   10 Frankie Laine A Woman In Love

“Hound Dog” is a twelve-bar blues song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Recorded originally by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton on August 13, 1952, in Los Angeles. “Hound Dog” has been recorded more than 250 times. The best-known version my favourite for the year, is the July 1956 recording by Elvis Presley.  It is also one of the best-selling singles of all time. Presley’s version, which sold about 10 million copies globally, was his best-selling song and “an emblem of the rock ‘n’ roll revolution”.  More writings on this song here: More about “Hound Dog”

Elvis was, and to me still is the “King of Rock’n Roll”.

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

The Platters – My prayer

The Platters – The Great Pretender

Elvis Presley – Blue Suede Shoes

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Why Do Fools Fall In Love

Johnnie Ray – Just Walking In The Rain

The Four Aces – Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

Elvis Presley – Love Me Tender

Lonnie Donegan – Rock Island Line

I include Lonnie Donegan, as this was for me the start of enjoying skiffle type songs, that were fun as well.

You will also note, as for 1955 The Platters appear in my list, this time twice. Maybe it is just me, but once they start playing I sing along, cannot help it.

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.

Next time, 1957.

Featured image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ6-2067 Location: NYWTS — BIOG, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

© Phil the test manager 2018 2024