1955 Photo Gallery
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January 1955 - Cincinnati, OH vocal group Otis Williams and The Charms hit #1 R&B, #15 Pop with the single "Hearts of Stone". The Fontane Sisters cover the song and take it to #1 on the US Pop Chart.January 1955 - 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.January 1955 - The movie Blackboard Jungle is released in January and propels Bill Haley's "Rock Around The Clock" to #1 for eight weeks in July. This is the first Rock and Roll record to top the Pop charts in both the US and UK.January 1955 - Cleveland, OH doo wop group, The Moonglows, hit #1 R&B with "Sincerely" which is later taken to the top of the Pop charts as a cover song by the McGuire Sisters.February 1955 - Memphis, TN R&B singer Johnny Ace (shown above with Dick Clark) has a posthumous #1 R&B, #17 Pop hit with "Pledging My Love" after accidentally shooting himself in the head following a concert.March 1955 - Chicago singer / guitar player Bo Diddley's self titled single b/w "I'm a Man" hits #1 on the R&B charts. Diddley's unique rhythmic electric guitar and signature beat would be an ongoing influence in rock music.March 1955 - Chicago, IL singer LaVerne Baker takes "Tweedlee Dee" to #4 R&B, #14 Pop. The cover by Georgia Gibbs goes to #1 Pop. April 1955 - Los Angeles 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". James would later sign to Chess Records and become a successful solo artist.August 1955 - Fats Domino scores another  #1 single on the R&B chart and also makes #10 on the Pop charts with "Ain't That a Shame".August 1955 - St. Louis, MO singer / songwriter / guitarist Chuck Berry records his first single "Maybellene" on Chess Records. The song tops the R&B charts for 11 weeks and hits #5 Pop. Berry's lyrics, guitar style and stage show are a long term influence on rock music.August 1955 - Pat Boone's watered down cover of Fats Domino's "Ain't That A Shame" goes to #1 on the Pop Charts.September 1955 - Cover versions of hit R&B songs by white pop artists such as Georgia Gibbs, The Fontane Sisters, Pat Boone and others continue to dominate the US Pop Charts. However, US Juke Box operators say R&B selections are up 60% over 1954, reflecting a growing preference for the original R&B.September 1955 - Actor James Dean is killed in a car accident a month berfore the release of Rebel Without A Cause, the hugely influential teen movie. September 1955 - New Orleans delivers again as Little Richard records "Tutti Frutti" at J&M Studios in the Big Easy. Richard's raw, full tilt vocals drive the song to #2 on the R&B charts, and by January 1956 it crosses to the Pop Charts peaking at  #17.October 1955 - Los Angeles vocal group The Platters score with "Only You" which hits #1 on the Rhythm & Blues Charts and crosses over to #5 on the Pop Charts. October 1955 - Yet another 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.November 1955 - After several regional hit singles fail to score nationally, Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records sells Elvis Presley's recording contract to RCA for $35,000. Phillips is in debt and is confident he has other hit artists ready to develop.December 1955 - Arkansas country and rockabilly artist Johnny Cash records the song "Folsom Prison Blues" at Sun Studios in Memphis.December 1955 - 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 1956 and is one of the first and biggest pure rockabilly hits.December 1955 - UK musician Lonnie Donegan covers the Lead Belly song "Rock Island Line" and takes it to #1 UK, #8 US, igniting the skiffle craze in the UK.
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