MARCH 14, 1956 WEDNESDAY
Ampex demonstrates a working rotary head quadruplex (four-head) videotape
recorder to 200 CBS TV affiliates at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters convention in Chicago. The event causes a tremendous stir throughout the entire broadcasting world and within the four days of the show the small California
company has orders worth nearly $4m for over 70 of the first VRX1000 machines - later renamed Mark IV - at $50,000 each. The first orders come from the NBC, CBS and ABC networks and the US government.
On this date and after two years in the service in Yokohama, future Sun artist Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty) arrived back in Helena, Arkansas. He quickly realized that Elvis Presley had changed the game while he'd been away.
Bands in northeast Arkansas led by guys like Billy Riley, Sonny Burgess, and Ronnie Hawkins, were playing the new music. Twitty wanted in. ''I still had some thoughts of baseball, but Elvis Presley stirred me up'', he said later.
''Elvis knocked me out, and the first time I heard him talk it sent cold shivers up my back. Later, when I was compared with Elvis, it made me proud and still does. He's the ultimate. Of course I was influenced
by Elvis. Hundreds were. The only difference is, I admit it. I laid down my baseball bat, picked up a guitar, and decided to get with it''. Sitting on his porch at 1011 Poplar Street in Helena, he was playing guitar when another wannabilly, Bill Harris, heard
him. They assembled Harold Jenkins and the Rockhousers. Before he joined the Army, Twitty probably thought that Nashville was the center of the musical universe. Suddenly, it was Memphis - barely an hour's drive away.
MARCH 14, 1956 WEDNESDAY
Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty) leaves the Army after a four-year stint.
Boy Howdy guitarist Larry Park is born in Stockton, California. The group fashion two hits, ''A Cowboy's Born With A Broken Heart'' and ''She'd Give Anything'', before disbanding in 1996.
MARCH 15, 1956 THURSDAY
Elvis Presley's management deal with Bob Neal expires, and Neal chooses
not to exercise his option, leaving Colonel Tom Parker as Presley's sole manager.
"My Fair Lady" opens on Broadway starring Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison
as Professor Higgins. The smash hit musical comedy “My Fair Lady” debuts on Broadway during March of 1956. The musical, created by Lerner and Loewe, was based off of George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play “Pygmalion” and starred Rex
Harrison and Julie Andrews in the lead roles of Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle. The show proved to be immensely popular with audiences and was praised by critics. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical, Best Actor in a
Musical, and Best Direction. Its original run continued until September of 1962 with a total of 2,717 performances, making it the longest running musical at that time. It was revived in 1976, 1981, and 1993 and there was a popular film version released in
MARCH 16, 1956 FRIDAY
Jerry Lee Lewis and Jane Lewis have their second
son, Ronnie Guy Lewis.
MARCH 17, 1956 SATURDAY
Carl Perkins makes his first
national appearance on Red Foley's ABC-TV's "National Jubilee", sings ''Blue Suede Shoes''.
Carl Perkins Perkins became the first country artist to reach the number 3
spot on the rhythm and blues charts. He is followed by Elvis Presley with ''Heartbreak Hotel''. In the United Kingdom, the song became a Top Ten hit. It was the first record by a Sun label artist to sell a million copies. The B-side, "Honey Don't", was covered
by The Beatles, Wanda Jackson, and (in the 1970s) T. Rex. John Lennon used to sing lead on the song when the Beatles performed it before the song was given to Ringo Starr to sing. Lennon performed the song on his own as recorded on the Lost Lennon Tapes.
Elvis Presley appears for the fifth time on The Dorsey Brothers ''Stage Show'', singing ''Heartbreak Hotel'' and ''Blue Suede Shoes''. His ''Heartbreak Hotel'' reaches number 1 on the Billboard
country singles chart.
Pete Seeger leads a benefit concert to raise money for singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie, who is suffering from Huntington's chorea, at New York's
Pythian Hall. The concert is considered a significant event in the revival of folk music.
MARCH 19, 1956 MONDAY
Patsy Cline sends a letter to fan club president Treva Miller from her mother's home in Winchester, Virginia, to say she's left husband Gerald Cline: ''He told me if I was gonna sing, I wasn't going to live with him. So I'm
Roy Orbison's first single ''Tryin' To Get To You'' / ''Ooby Dooby'' released by Je-Wel Records (Je- Wel 101).
MARCH 20, 1956 TUESDAY
Elvis Presley's parents, Vernon and Gladys, move into a new house that Elvis bought for them on
Audubon Drive in Memphis, Tennessee. Purchase price: $29,500
Elvis Presley performs at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia. Backstage, he is introduced to Brenda Lee.
MARCH 22, 1956 WEDNESDAY
After playing a show in Norfolk, Virginia, on March 21, 1956, the Perkins
Brothers Band headed for New York City and their appearance on the nationally-broadcast or the Perry Como Show. Shortly before sunrise near Dover, Delaware, Stuart Pinkham, aka Dick Stuart and Poor Richard, and Charlie Feathers', brother-in-law assumed the
duties as driver. After fell asleep at the wheel, running head on into the back of a pickup truck, their car ended up in a ditch of water about a foot deep, and Carl was lying face down in the water.
Drummer W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland rolled Carl over, saving him from drowning. Carl had suffered 3 fractured vertebrae in his neck, a severe concussion, a broken collar bone, and lacerations all over his body in the crash. Carl
remained unconscious for an entire day. The driver of the pickup, Thomas Phillips, a forty year old farmer, died when he was thrown into the steering wheel of his pickup. Carl's brother Jay had a fractured neck along with severe internal injuries. Carl will
be in the hospital until April 10. Jay will never recover fully.
MARCH 23, 1956 FRIDAY
Freed stages a three day "Rock And Roll Stage Show" at the State Theater in Hartford. Although Freed denies that there was a riot, eleven teenagers were arrested over the weekend.
Francis J. Braceland of the Institute of Living in Hartford calls rock and roll a "communicable disease with music appealing to adolescent insecurity and driving teenagers to do outlandish things... It's cannibalistic and tribulistic..'' Dr. Braceland's remarks
prompt a published defense of rock and roll from Freed and three well known bandleaders of another generation, Sammy Kaye, Benny Goodman and Paul Whiteman.