Consumerism takes off in a big way with the sale of some 7.9 million cars in the United States with 7 out of 10 families now owning a motor car, and new laws were put in place requiring seat belts to be installed on all new cars. The
average wages were now $3,851 per year, and the minimum wage was raised to $1.00 per hour. The first McDonalds was erected in 1955 and more fast foods and TV dinners are appearing including fish fingers. The first cans of Coca-Cola are sold up till then it
had only been sold in bottles. Rock and Roll music continues to grow in popularity with more idols including Elvis Presley , Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry and The Platters, and young men's fashion matches the times with pink shirts and charcoal grey
Fats Domino plays Alan Freed's sold-out ''Rock 'n'
Roll Ball'' in Harlem.
Birth of avany-garde percussionist
Hamid Drake in Monroe.
Shreveport country singer Faron
Young's ''Live Dast, Love Hard, Die Young'' marks the first of Youngs's five number 1 hits.
Abbeville's Bobby Charles has a hit on Chess Records with the song ''Later Allogator''. Bill Haley and His Comets enjoy a bigger hit with it the same year as ''See You Later, Alligator''.
After being used in the hit film about juvenile delinquency "The Blackboard Jungle", Bill Haley
& The Comets "Rock Around The Clock" becomes the first rock record to top the Billboard Pop Charts, holding the number 1 position for two months and remaining in the Top
100 for a then-record 38 weeks. It would be 39 years before that mark was broken.
Crossover records start appearing on the pop charts led by Johnny Ace's posthumous smash "Pledging My Love". Others by Fats Domino, The Moonglows,
The Platters and the first hits by Chuck Berry and Little Richard follow.
Chuck Berry's "Maybellene" cracks the Top Five on the Billboard Pop Charts and ushers in descending pentatonic double-stops
which becomes the essence of rock guitar.
attention to rhythm and blues has negative impacts as well with The Midnighters facing the toughest scrutiny resulting in their final hits of any kind for four years due to radio blackballing.
follows suit by assembling a record censorship board to prevent dirty rock records from being played on the air.
With censorship prevalent, white cover records still hold the slight edge in radio play but not in sales, with Pat Boone having the biggest impact with his watered down versions of rhythm and blues hits.
Rock and roll music warrants a mention in the year end Encyclopedia Britannica music review, which derogatorily refers to it in racist terms as "jungle music".
Bob Neal takes over Elvis Presley's management from Scotty Moore. Presley is touring at this time with Texas Bill Strenght and The Browns.
Proving that the mid 1950s was a simpler time, scoring a big hit this year was "The Ballad Of Davy Crockett" ("Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier"). Also selling truckloads of singles were the sleep-inducing piano stylings of Roger Williams, and the whole milk vocals
of Pat Boone .
Johnny Cash officially joints the Sun rooster in March. His daughter
Rosanne Cash is born.
Elvis Presley signs his RCA contract
in Sam's office at Sun, on November 21st.
phased out at the end of the year due to pressure from Max Feirtag's west coast label of the same name.
A Baton Rouge teen-ager with several years of local radio and TV appearances behind her has made
some recordings, one of which has already been aired by local disc jockeys. She is 15- year-old Hannah Faye Harger, daughter of the W.L. Hargers and known professionally as
Hana Faye. She has made two platters so fast, "It Pays To Be True" and "It's Easy To
Remember", and "Searching" backed by "Oh Why".
Chuck Berry cuts his first rock and roll records, the first ones
to have the guitar as the main instrument, and invents the descending pentatonic double-stops (the essence of rock guitar).
Bo Diddley invents the "hambone" rhythm.
The Chordettes and the Chantels are the first girl-groups.
Ray Charles creates "soul" music with "I Got A Woman'', a secular adaptation of an old
is formed by Johnny Vincent in New Orleans, specializing in black music.
The Blackboard Jungle is released featuring Bill Haley and His Comets "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock".
The Everly Brothers make their first studio recordings.
Alan Freed's Rock And Roll Ball" draws huge, half-white audience.
Carl Perkins records "Blue Suede Shoes".
Sales of 45 rpm records finally outsold 78s.
This year, future Sun star Johnny Carroll graduated from high school, the band the Moonlighters included Bill Hennen on piano and Billy Bustin on bass. Lead guitarist Jay Salem from Burleson, Texas was brought in when he came
second in a talent contest at which the Moonlighters won first prize.
The Moonlighters never made a dime more than subsistence living even though, in Carroll's words, ''We played any place we possibly could and just tried to get on stage anywhere we could. We'd managed to play in a few shows and got some reviews and
credentials even tho' I wasn't recording for anybody. Then I went to a show starring Ferlin Huskey and Hank Snow at the Northside Coliseum in Fort Worth. I got backstage and talked to Ferlin. I told him we were a local band trying to get started and that we'd
had write-ups here and there. Ferlin said 'Let me hear a little bit of what you do'. So I got my band which was Bill Hennen and Billy Buntin and Jay who was probably with us then. No drummer, just a hillbilly band. Ferlin heard us and he said 'I tell you what
I'm gonna do. There's a lot of important people out there, you go out and do the first 15 minutes of my show'. And we did and that's when this J.G. Tiger came up...''.
J.G. stood for Jack Goldman who added a flamboyant but fictional surname to increase his prestige. He was a big man, 6'4, with a booming Texan
diphthong and a black untamed, Santa Claus beard. He chewed on raw garlic and bits of the pungent tuber would lodge in it. He may have been a wrestler at one time. Johnny thought he was pushy but positive. He was impressed by Goldman's patter: ''At the time
I thought he was 50 years older then me but it turned out he was only 28 or 29''.
J.G. Tiger took the band of Johnny Carroll, now renamed the Hot Rocks, into Dallas where he owned or had an interest in the Top Ten Recording Studio. ''It was a beautiful looking studio'', remembered Johnny, ''but the sound was horrible.
Next door had a bunch of transformers and every tape that came out of that studio had a buzz on it''. The group added a drummer, one Dude Cohn, and made their recording debut at the Top Ten Studio in 1955.
''Why Cry'', ''Hearts Of Stones'', ''Sexy Ways'', Crazy Little Mama'' and ''Stingy Thing'' are among the tapes or acetates
which survive and the rhythm and blues titles demonstrate how quickly Johnny Carroll and his chums jumped on this stuff. ''Hearts Of Stone'' and ''Sexy Ways'' had been around for a year or two but the Eldorados' ''Crazy Little Mama'' aka ''At My Front Door'',
didn't enter the rhythm and blues chart until September 1955.
the meantime, Johnny Carroll continued playing sock hops, school auditoriums and hillbilly pisspots all over North and West Texas. He often appeared with Mac Curtis but also recalled opening a show for Elvis, Scotty and Bill and Hank Snow. He played the Big
D Jamboree when Elvis was there nut thought this Hank Snow bill-topper took place in Waco or Fort Worth. ''Hand hated Elvis with a passion'', he said. ''I can tell you that Hank Snow did not like Elvis at all. He way have liked him later, but I know from being
backstage that he really had some vile things to say about Elvis''.
Winston Cogswell had emigrated from the
northeast to Memphis. ''I was born in Maine, about two miles from the Canadian border'', he said in 1977. ''I moved to Memphis in 1955. My sister lived there. My brother-in-law's daddy owned a stockyard. First time I went to Memphis I was selling Kirby vacuum
cleaners door-to-door. Sold one to Sam Phillips for $285. Then I started Cogswell Livestock Trucking. I went to Sun, met Sam, and he told me that Ray Harris was looking for a guitar player''. By the time Cogswell recorded his own single for Phillips International
in 1957, he'd become Wayne Powers.