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

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3.  Muddy Waters- Mannish Boy

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4.  Ray Charles- I’ve Got A Woman

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5.  Chuck Berry- Maybelline

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6.  Little Willie John- Need Your Love So Bad

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

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8.  The Platters- The Great Pretender

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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

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

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15.  Carl Perkins- Movie Magg

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16. Billy “The Kid” Emerson- Red Hot

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17.  Little Richard- Tutti Frutti

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18.  Big Joe Turner- Flip, Flop & Fly

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19.  The Cadillacs- Speedo

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20. Jimmy Reed- You Don’t Have To Go

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21.  Lavern Baker- Tweedle Dee

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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

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25. The Moonglows- Most Of All

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26.  The Turbans- When You Dance

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27. The Drifters- Adorable

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28.  The Clovers- Blue Velvet

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

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30.  Dean Martin- Memories Are Made Of This

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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

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7.  Lightnin’ Hopkins- They Wonder Who I Am

Buy They Wonder Who I AmAmazon


8.  Bo Diddley- I’m a Man

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9. The Drifters- What’cha Gonna Do

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

Buy She Put the Wammee On MeAmazon


11.  Lavern Baker- Play It Fair

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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

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

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


15. The Nutmegs- Ship Of Love

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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

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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’

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25.  The Danderliers- Chop Chop Boom

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

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

Buy Only You (And You Alone)Amazon


28.  The Colts- Adorable

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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

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2.  Tennessee Ernie Ford- Sixteen Tons

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3.  Willie Mabon- Seventh Son

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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

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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

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10.  Little Willie John- Home At Last

Buy Home At LastAmazon


11.  Smiley Lewis- I Hear You Knockin’

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12.  The Soul Stirrers- Nearer To Thee

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13.  Don Julian & the Meadowlarks- Heaven & Paradise

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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

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

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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

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25. Nappy Brown- Don’t Be Angry

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

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27.  Tony Allen & the Champs- Nite Owl

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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