Rhythm and blues music explodes into the mainstream with black vocal groups leading the
crossover thanks to such records such as the Crows "Gee", The Chords "Sh-Boom", The Charms "Hearts Of Stone" and The Penguins "Earth Angel". The often crude recording techniques, amateurish vocals and sometimes nonsensical lyrics give the indication the music
is just a novelty.
Pop record companies try desperately to capitalize on the perceived fad by having white artists cover black vocal group records and the increased distribution
and radio play assures many of those versions of becoming the bigger hits.
The Midnighters cause waves when their off-color "Work With Me Annie" and its equally suggestive
sequels become the most popular rhythm and blues records of the year resulting in many communities calling for complete bans on rock and roll.
Among those records targeted
for widespread bans are Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters explicit "Honey Love" and "Such A Night" and the Midnighters "Sexy Ways". Despite this they all become massive rhythm and blues hits.
10,000 fans attend Alan Freed's first east coast Rock And Roll Show held in Newark New Jersey, featuring the Clovers and Harptones. The success of it outside Freed's base of operations in Cleveland is further proof that rock and roll has
Ah, to be an American in 1954. Throw a steak on the grill,
stir a chilled Martini, and enjoy endless white-picket-fence prosperity. On the Hi-Fi this year were Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, and – for the youngsters – the Crew Cuts, trilling "Sh-Boom." Skies were blue and worries were none. (Except,
of course, for the rows of A-bombs the Ruskies had aimed at us, the fact that blacks couldn't vote and women were hardly allowed in the workplace – but if you don't talk about it, it's not a problem, right?)
The companies began to provide the equipment for stereo recording in major studios. The possibility of recording right hand and left hand signals simultaneously on separate tracks on quarter inch magnetic tape
had already been demonstrated and some of the major problems inherent in transferring both signals to one groove of a disc had been solved by Baumann in 1930.
"Rock Around The Clock" is the first rock song used in a movie soundtrack.
The record companies switch from 78 RPMs to 45 RPMs.
Japanese electronic company TTK (later Sony) introduces the world's first transistor radio.
Ray Charles forms his band.
In 1954, Big Joe Turner recorded the original version of the 1950s hit, ''Shake, Rattle And Roll''.
Cash forms the Tennessee Two with Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant.
pioneer Boozoo Chavis recorded ''Paper In My Shoe'' and James ''Sugar Boy'' Crawford introduces Mardi Gras Indian lore to popular music with ''Jock-a-Mo''.
signs with Sun in the summer of 1954, whilst Carl Perkins does the same three months later. (see 1954 Elvis Presley)
In 1954, while in high school, Mack Allen Smith became
lead singer in his first band, The J. Z. George FFA Band. This band consisted of Mack Allen Smith (lead singer), Charles Martin (lead guitar), Alton Alderman (rhythm guitar and harmony vocals), Sidney Nabors (rhythm guitar and harmony vocals), Junior Bailey
(harmony vocals), and Clovis Harbin (bass tub). The J. Z. George FFA Band won the State FFA Band Championship contest two years in a row (school years 1954-1955 and 1955-1956). Mack Allen Smith recorded for Sun Records in 1959.
After moved in 1947 to Hernando, just south of Memphis, future Sun recording artist Jimmy Harrell graduated from
Hernando High School and then enlisted in the United States Navy. Stationed in San Diego, California, he saw Gene Vincent, and formed an onbase band, the Jim Bobs, with two guys named Bob. ''I got out of the Navy, and there were no jobs'', he said. ''Then
we had family get-together in Forest, and my Aunt Peggy said I should come to Jackson. Alton (Lott) lived there then, working at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, so we lived in the same household. Alton didn't care for singing. He just wanted
to play the guitar'', said Harrell.
Sam Phillips has masters made
of sides recorded by Johnny O'Neal and Mose Vinson in August and September 1953 respectively. Sun matrix numbers U 96/97 and U 100/101 are assigned, but neither record is released.
Monroe weds Joe DiMaggio in San Francisco.