• Category Archives 1955
  • Mixes By Year: 1955 The Year In Music


    Chuck Berry














    Frank Sinatra_In The Wee













    Fats Domino














    Elvis Sun Sessions



































    What we now call the “Rock N’ Roll Era” for all intents and purposes begins in 1955. There had certainly been songs done in the rock n’ roll vein prior to ’55, particularly those done by black artists and confined to the R&B charts and radio stations. And 1954 saw the release of “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley & the Comets, which was the first big rock n’ roll hit, the first rock n’ roll song by a white artist and probably the first rockabilly hit as well. But 1955 is when the music really exploded onto the airwaves- when legends like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Ray Charles & Bo Diddley first surfaced and Elvis Presley too, even if then just on a regional level.

    Aside from rockabilly, the components that made up rock n’ roll- Doo Wop, country music and western swing & the blues had been going strong at least since the end of the previous decade. Because the Rock N’ Roll Era is no ‘Big Bang Theory’, plenty of these genres flourished throughout ’55 and many are now considered part of rock n’ roll’s pantheon. Doo Wop morphed from successful thirties and early forties vocal groups like the Ink Spots and the Miller Brothers into something more rhythmic, starting with songs like “Crying In The Chapel” by the Orioles in the late forties. By 1955 there were countless vocal groups having R&B hits and many even crossed over to the pop charts. Some were one hit wonders and others built longer careers. The best-known Doo Wop hit makers of 1955 were the Platters (of “Only You” and “The Great Pretender”), the Clovers (“Blue Velvet”), the Cadillacs (“Speedo”), the El Dorados (“At My Front Door” and “I’ll Be Forever Loving You”) and the Nutmegs (“Story Untold” and “Ship Of Love”). Gospel groups like Chicago’s Soul Stirrers, featuring soon to be soul music star Sam Cooke, were successful outside the reaches of the secular charts. Other black vocal groups like the Drifters, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters were vocal groups who were more similar to straight up rock n’ roll than to Doo-Wop.

    Elvis Presley’s big breakthrough would come in 1956 with his first huge hit “Heartbreak Hotel”, but he was doing amazing and important work with Memphis’s Sun Records in 1954 and 1955. 1955 saw the release of tracks like “Mystery Train” and “Baby Let’s Play House” which are now considered rock n’ roll standards even if they were never actual hits. Presley helped invent the rockabilly sound, which was a mix of country music with the rhythmic beat of R&B. Sam Phillips, who ran Sun, had a stable of amazing artists. Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis wouldn’t release music as early as 1955, but others like Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins did. Perkins made rockabilly in the same vein as Presley. His career was cut short by an injury in the late 50’s and he never had Presley’s sex appeal but his recordings at the time were near uniformly great. Johnny Cash needs no introduction. He is one of the most important country artists of all time and is also considered a titan of early rock n’ roll. Though he wouldn’t have his first big hit until 1956, singles from 1955 like “Hey Porter” and “Cry, Cry, Cry” are among his best. Another huge country star, the legendary George Jones, released his first hits in 1955 as well included the great “Why, Baby, Why”. “Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford is another enduring country classic from ’55, which also became a #1 pop hit.

    Most Blues music didn’t cross over to the pop charts. Some of it hit the R&B charts in the mid 50’s and others remained mostly unknown, at least by the white crossover audience, until groups of 60’s British bands like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Animals & the Yardbirds made them widely known with their own covers. In 1955 Chess Records in Chicago was the preeminent Blues record label. Muddy Waters, Etta James, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter & Sonny Boy Williamson all recorded for Chess and released great music that year. Furthermore, Chess had signed the great Chuck Berry, perhaps rock n’ roll’s first great star. His songs “Maybelline” and “30 Days” were two of rock n’ roll’s early landmarks. Atlantic Records was also a key label for both blues and early soul. Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, Ruth Brown and Lavern Baker were the labels biggest early stars. Charles, perhaps as early as 1955 with the huge hit “I’ve Got A Woman” began to craft what would become soul music.

    Pop crooners were also a big deal in 1955. Frank Sinatra, released the first of his string of mid to late 50’s classic albums with the somber “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning”, called the first concept album by some. Sinatra’s compadre Dean Martin had one of his biggest hits with “Memories Are Made Of This”. Silky, smooth jazz singer Chet Baker released his second album, which includes the wonderful “Let’s Get Lost” among others.

    There was plenty of great music made prior to 1955 in Doo-Wop, Blues, Country & R&B, but 1955 is when it all seemed to come together to form something truly new. And from here on out things would get really interesting.

  • Mixes By Year: Best of 1955 Volume 1

    Best of 1955 Volume 1 (9/4/02)

    1.  Elvis Presley- Mystery Train

    Buy Mystery Train (Remastered) Amazon


    2.  Bo Diddley- Bo Diddley

    Buy Bo Diddley Amazon


    3.  Muddy Waters- Mannish Boy

    Buy Mannish Boy (Single Version)Amazon


    4.  Ray Charles- I’ve Got A Woman

    Buy I’ve Got A Woman (Remastered Version) Amazon


    5.  Chuck Berry- Maybelline

    Buy MaybellineAmazon


    6.  Little Willie John- Need Your Love So Bad

    Buy Need Your Love So BadAmazon


    7.  The Wrens- (Will You) Come Back My Love

    Buy (Will You) Come Back My LoveAmazon


    8.  The Platters- The Great Pretender

    Buy The Great PretenderAmazon


    9.  The El Dorados- At My Front Door

    Buy At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama)Amazon


    10.  Fats Domino- Ain’t That A Shame

    Buy Ain’t That A Shame? (2002 Digital Remaster) Amazon


    11.  Johnny Cash- Cry, Cry, Cry

    Buy Cry Cry CryAmazon


    12.  George Jones- Why, Baby, Why

    Buy Why Baby WhyAmazon


    13. The Nutmegs- The Story Untold

    Buy Story UntoldAmazon


    14.  Sonny Boy Williamson- Don’t Start Me Talkin’

    Buy Don’t Start Me To Talkin’Amazon


    15.  Carl Perkins- Movie Magg

    Buy Movie MaggAmazon


    16. Billy “The Kid” Emerson- Red Hot

    Buy Red Hot Amazon


    17.  Little Richard- Tutti Frutti

    Buy Tutti FruttiAmazon


    18.  Big Joe Turner- Flip, Flop & Fly

    Buy Flip, Flop And FlyAmazon


    19.  The Cadillacs- Speedo

    Buy SpeedoAmazon


    20. Jimmy Reed- You Don’t Have To Go

    Buy You Don’t Have To Go Amazon


    21.  Lavern Baker- Tweedle Dee

    Buy Tweedle DeeAmazon


    22.  Ruth Brown- It’s Love (24 Hours A Day)

    Buy It’s Love Baby (24 Hours A Day) Amazon


    23.  Etta James & the Peaches- The Wallflower (Roll Me Henry)

    Buy The Wallflower (Aka Roll With Me Henry) Amazon


    24. The Robins- Smokey Joe’s Cafe

    Buy Smokey Joe’s CafeAmazon


    25. The Moonglows- Most Of All

    Buy Most of All (Remastered)Amazon


    26.  The Turbans- When You Dance

    Buy When You DanceAmazon


    27. The Drifters- Adorable

    Buy Adorable (Single Version)Amazon


    28.  The Clovers- Blue Velvet

    Buy Blue VelvetAmazon


    29.  Frank Sinatra- In The Wee Small Hours Of the Morning

    Buy In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning Amazon


    30.  Dean Martin- Memories Are Made Of This

    Buy Memories Are Made Of This Amazon

  • Mixes By Year: Best of 1955 Volume 2

    Best of 1955 Volume 2 (9/5/02)

    1.  Chuck Berry- 30 Days

    Buy Thirty DaysAmazon


    2.  The Hearts- Lonely Nights

    Buy Long Lonely NightsAmazon


    3. Fats Domin0- All By Myself

    Buy All By Myself (2002 Digital Remaster) Amazon


    4.  Little Willie John- All Around The World

    Buy All Around The WorldAmazon


    5.  Ruth Brown- As Long As I’m Moving

    Buy As Long As I’m Moving (LP Version)Amazon


    6.  The Marigolds- Rollin’ Stone

    Buy Rollin’ StoneAmazon


    7.  Lightnin’ Hopkins- They Wonder Who I Am

    Buy They Wonder Who I AmAmazon


    8.  Bo Diddley- I’m a Man

    Buy I’m A ManAmazon


    9. The Drifters- What’cha Gonna Do

    Buy What’ Cha Gonna DoAmazon


    10.  Screamin’ Jay Hawkins- (She Put The) Wamee (On Me)

    Buy She Put the Wammee On MeAmazon


    11.  Lavern Baker- Play It Fair

    Buy Play It Fair Amazon


    12.  Muddy Waters- I Can’t Call Her Sugar (AKA Sugar Sweet)

    Buy Sugar Sweet (1955 Single Version)Amazon


    13.  Carl Perkins- Gone, Gone, Gone

    Buy Gone Gone GoneAmazon


    14.  Frank Sinatra- (Love Is) The Tender Trap

    Buy (Love Is) The Tender Trap (2009 Remaster) Amazon


    15. The Nutmegs- Ship Of Love

    Buy Ship Of Love Amazon


    16.  Johnny Cash- Hey Porter

    Buy Hey! Porter – OriginalAmazon


    17.  Ivory Joe Hunter- It May Sound Silly

    Buy It May Sound Silly (Single/LP Version)Amazon


    18.  The Five Keys- Close Your Eyes

    Buy Close Your EyesAmazon


    19.  Big Joe Turner- Hide And Seek

    Buy Hide And Seek (LP Version)Amazon


    20.  Elvis Presley- Baby Let’s Play House

    Buy Baby, Let’s Play House (Remastered)Amazon


    21.  Ray Charles- This Little Girl Of Mine

    Buy This Little Girl Of Mine (Single)Amazon


    22.  The El Dorados- I’ll Be Forever Loving You

    Buy I’ll Be Forever Loving YouAmazon


    23.  The Cardinals- The Door Is Open

    Buy The Door Is Still OpenAmazon


    24.  Red Prysock- Hand Clappin’

    Buy Hand Clappin’Amazon


    25.  The Danderliers- Chop Chop Boom

    Buy Chop Chop BoomAmazon


    26.  The Jacks- Why Don’t You Write Me

    Buy Why Don’t You Write MeAmazon


    27.  The Platters- Only You (And You Alone)

    Buy Only You (And You Alone)Amazon


    28.  The Colts- Adorable

    Buy AdorableAmazon


    29.  The Harptones- Life Is But A Dream

    BuyLife Is But A DreamAmazon

  • Mixes By Year: Best of 1955 Volume 3

    Best of 1955 Volume 3 (2/24/14)

    1.  Lonnie Donegan- Rock Island Line

    Buy Rock Island LineAmazon


    2.  Tennessee Ernie Ford- Sixteen Tons

    Buy Sixteen TonsAmazon


    3.  Willie Mabon- Seventh Son

    Buy Seventh SonAmazon


    4.  Boyd Bennett- Seventeen

    Buy SeventeenAmazon


    5.  B.B. King- Ten Long Years

    Buy Ten Long Years (Digitally Remastered) Amazon


    6. Howlin’ Wolf- Forty Four

    Buy Forty FourAmazon


    7.  Little Walter- My Babe

    Buy My Babe (Single Version) Amazon


    8.  Robert Lockwood, Jr.- Sweet Woman (From Maine)

    Buy Sweet Woman From MaineAmazon


    9.  Bo Diddley- Pretty Thing

    Buy Pretty ThingAmazon


    10.  Little Willie John- Home At Last

    Buy Home At LastAmazon


    11.  Smiley Lewis- I Hear You Knockin’

    Buy I Hear You Knockin’Amazon


    12.  The Soul Stirrers- Nearer To Thee

    Buy Nearer To TheeAmazon


    13.  Don Julian & the Meadowlarks- Heaven & Paradise

    Buy Heaven and ParadiseAmazon


    14.  Muddy Waters- Trouble No More

    Buy Trouble No More (Single Version)Amazon


    15.  Ray Charles- A Fool For You

    Buy A Fool For You (Single)Amazon


    16.  The Hawkettes- Mardis Gras Mambo

    Buy Mardi Gras Mambo Amazon


    17.  Hank Ballard & the Midnighters- Henry’s Got Flat Feet (Can’t Dance No More)

    Buy Henry’s Got Flat FeetAmazon


    18.  Fats Domino- Poor Me

    Buy Poor Me (2002 Digital Remaster)Amazon


    19.  Little Milton- Lookin’ For My Baby

    Buy Lookin’ For My Baby – OriginalAmazon


    20.  Chet Baker- Let’s Get Lost

    Buy Let’s Get LostAmazon


    21.  Frank Sinatra- What Is This Thing Called Love

    Buy What Is This Thing Called Love? Amazon


    22.  Elvis Presley- You’re A Heartbreaker

    Buy You’re A Heartbreaker (2004 DSD remaster) Amazon


    23.  Jimmy Reed- I Ain’t Got You

    Buy I Ain’t Got You Amazon


    24.  The Valentines- Lily Maebelle

    Buy Lily Maebelle Amazon


    25. Nappy Brown- Don’t Be Angry

    Buy Don’t Be AngryAmazon


    26.  The Mellows (Feat. Lilian Leach)- Smoke From Your Cigarette

    Buy Smoke From Your CigaretteAmazon


    27.  Tony Allen & the Champs- Nite Owl

    Buy Nite Owl Amazon


    28.  Big Joe Turner- The Chicken & the Hawk

    Buy The Chicken And The Hawk (Up, Up and Away (LP Version)Amazon


    29.  The Robins- Whaddaya Want

    *Track not available via Amazon