1955 in rock music: vintage rock n' roll photos, classic bands, solo artists and the hit songs of '55. 1955 Rock Music History Timeline
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1955
1955
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1955
1955
Bo Diddley 1955
Jan '55
Rock Around The Clock 1955
The movie Blackboard Jungle propels Bill Haley's "Rock Around The Clock" to #1 for two months. This is the first Rock and Roll record to top the Pop charts.
Bo Diddley's self titled single b/w "I'm a Man" is #1 on the R&B charts. (more)
Mar '55
Fats Domino - Ain't That A Shame 1955
Aug '55
Fats Domino hits #1 on the R&B chart and #10 on the Pop charts with "Ain't That a Shame". (more)
Chuck Berry - Maybelline 1955
Chuck Berry records his first single "Maybelline" on Chess Records. The song tops the R&B charts for 11 weeks.(more)
Elvis Presley signs with RCA 1955
After several regional hit singles fail to score nationally, Sam Phillips of Sun Records sells Elvis Presley's recording contract to RCA for $35,000  (more)
Dec '55
Little Richard records "Tutti Frutti" at J&M Studios in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Going to #2 on the R&B charts, by January it crosses to the Pop Charts, reaching #17. (more)
Little Richard - Tutti Frutti 1855
Sep '55
Carl Perkins - Blue Suede Shoes
Nov '55
Carl Perkin's "Blue Suede Shoes" is recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis and charts on the Country, R&B and Pop Charts. The single sells more than a million copies by April and is one of the first  Rockabilly hits.
(more)
Johnny Cash Folsom Prison Blues 1955
Dec '55
Johnny Cash records Folsum Prison Blues at Sun Studios in Memphis.
(more)
May '55
Pat Boone
Aug '55
Pat Boones watered down cover of Fats Domino's "Ain't That A Shame" goes to #1 on the Pop Charts. (more)
Rythym and Blues
US Juke Box operators say R&B selections are up 60% over 1954.   
Sep '55
Marlon Brando - On the Waterfront
Mar '55
The movie "On The Waterfront" starring Marlon Brando wins the Oscar for Best Picture and influences teen culture. (more) 
James Dean
Sep '55
James Dean is killed in a car accident a month berfore the release of Rebel Without A Cause, the hugely influential teen movie.  (more)
The Platters
The Platters single "Only You" is #1 on the Rhythm & Blues Charts and crosses over to #5 on the pop charts. (more)  
Oct '55
The Penguins - Earth Angel 1955
Jan '55
Los Angeles Doo-Wop group The Penguins are #1 on the R&B charts with "Earth Angel". The song would also hit #8 on the pop charts when covered by the Crew Cuts.  (more) 
The Cheers
The Cheers score a top ten pop hit with the teen tragedy song "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots".  (more) 
Oct '55
The Moonglows 1955
Jan '55
Cleveland doo wop group, The Moonglows, hit #1 R&B with "Sincerely" later taken to the top of the Pop charts by the McGuire Sisters. (more)
Apr '55
Los Angeles girl group, The Peaches, featuring Etta James have a #1 R&B hit with "The Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry)" an answer song to Hank Ballard's "Work With Me Annie".  (more)
Etta James
Johnny Ace
Feb '55
Memphis, TN native Johnny Ace has a posthumous #1 R&B, #17 Pop hit with "Pledging My Love". (more)
LaVerne Baker
Mar '55
Chicago, IL singer LaVerne Baker takes "Tweedle Dee" to #4 R&B, #14 Pop. The cover by Georgia Gibbs goes to #1 Pop. (more)
Smiley Lewis
Oct '55
New Orleans musician Smiley Lewis goes to #2 R&B with "I Hear You Knockin". The song is also covered by Gale Storm and goes to #2 Pop. (more)
1955 in Rock & Roll History

In 1955 the first Rock and Roll single to go to #1 is Bill Haley's "Rock Around The Clock". Teenagers are quick to pick up on the new "rock" sound. Top 40 radio is still dominated by "parents music" and rock n' roll is considered a novelty for the kids. But a growing number of urban and southern white teenagers are tuning in to R&B radio stations and purchasing R&B records. US Juke Box operators say R&B selections are up 60% over 1954. Influential DJ Alan Freed moves from Cleveland to New York City. Bo Diddley debuts on national television on Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town.  Elvis Presley is signed by RCA.


Top 60 Singles of 1955
Worldwide:

  1   Bill Haley & his Comets
       Rock Around the Clock
  2   Tennessee Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons
  3   The Platters
       Only You (And You Alone)
  4   Perez Prado
       Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White
  5   Four Aces
       Love is a Many Splendoured Thing
  6   Al Hibbler - Unchained Melody
  7   Four Aces - Mister Sandman
  8   Frank Sinatra - Learnin' the Blues
  9   Frank Sinatra - Love & Marriage
10   Chuck Berry - Maybellene
11   Mitch Miller - Yellow Rose of Texas
12   Little Richard - Tutti Frutti
13   Slim Whitman - Rose Marie
14   Les Baxter & his Orchestra
       Unchained Melody
15   Four Aces - Stranger in Paradise
16   Dreamweavers - It's Almost Tomorrow
17   Fats Domino - Ain't That a Shame
18   Billy Vaughn - Melody of Love
19   Nat King Cole - A Blossom Fell
20   Teresa Brewer - Let Me Go Lover
21   Julie London - Cry Me a River
22   Ruby Murray - Softly Softly
23   Muddy Waters - Mannish Boy
24   Four Aces - Melody of Love
25   Frankie Laine - Cool Water
26   Eddie Calvert
       Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White
27   Nat King Cole
       Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup
28   Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley
29   Roger Williams - Autumn Leaves
30   Johnny Desmond
       Yellow Rose of Texas
31   Perry Como - Tina Marie
32   Tennessee Ernie Ford
       Ballad of Davy Crockett
33   Eddie and Tania Constantine          L'Homme et L'Enfant
34   Bill Hayes - Ballad of Davy Crockett
35   Jacqueline Francois
       Les Lavandieres du Portugal
36   Pat Boone - Ain't That a Shame
37   Bill Haley & his Comets
       Mambo Rock
38   McGuire Sisters - Sincerely
39   Georgia Gibbs - Tweedle Dee
40   Al Hibbler - He
41   Frankie Laine - A Woman in Love
42   Tennessee Ernie Ford
       Give Me Your Word
43   Jimmy Young - Unchained Melody
44   Alma Cogan - Dreamboat
45   Jimmy Young
      The Man From Laramie
46   Fess Parker - Ballad of Davy Crockett
47   Dean Martin
       Naughty Lady of Shady Lane
48   The Crew-Cuts - Earth Angel
49   Gale Storm - I Hear You Knockin'
50   Boyd Bennett & his Rockets               Seventeen
51   Caterina Valente - Ganz Paris traumt          von der Liebe (I Love Paris)
52   Peter Alexander & Caterina Valente        Eventuell
53   Cyril Stapleton Orchestra
       Blue Star (The Medic Theme)
54   Dickie Valentine - Christmas Alphabet
55   Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line
56   Johnny Ace - Pledging My Love
57   Bill Haley & his Comets
       Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie
58   The Fontane Sisters - Seventeen
59   Elvis Presley - Mystery Train
60   Peter Alexander
       Der Mond halt Seine Wacht


All chart information above is from Tsort and uses a formula based on splitting the world into four regions based on sales, the USA (about 35%), other English speaking countries (about 20%), the rest of Europe (about 25%) and the rest of the world (about 20%).  We feel this is the best methodology available to show the global impact of a song or album. More detailed chart info is available on the Tsort website. Actual US & UK charts are linked at the bottom of each year timeline on this site.
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