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Music of the 50's ~ A Decade of Distinction

Updated on April 14, 2016
Sylvestermouse profile image

"Music has been my loyal and constant companion my entire life." ~ Sylvestermouse Cynthia

Music from the 50's

The 50's music was an era of real talent, hard work and little compensation. The musical artists of the 50's were in the industry for the love of music. While some may have hoped for fame, they certainly could not expect bulging bank accounts. A few even hung around for decades helping others launch careers. They gave generously of their time, experience and wisdom earned by the hardships of exploitation.

This lens is a salute to the foundation of Pop music and Rock & Roll as well as to the icons of Country music. The legendary talent that literally "set the stage" for generations to come.

Authorship: Sylvestermouse


So much can and has been written about Elvis Presley. His musical genius, excellence of performance, duration of popularity and his good looks all contribute to why Elvis became known as the "King of Rock & Roll."

Elvis starred in movies, performed in concerts, guest starred on many TV shows, he even performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Elvis simply would not be boxed into a specific genre of music. He sang blues, country, gospel and obviously early rock & roll. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received the W.C. Handy Award for the Blues Foundation.

No one has come close to obtaining Elvis' far reaching accomplishments and no one has been more exploited.

Johnny Cash

This is a gentleman who had his own unique style. When you hear Johnny Cash sing, you never wonder if it is him or not. He has a very distinct voice unequaled by anyone.

Johnny Cash is credited for helping launch and promote many new stars! While he is primarily known as a Country Music artist, he was also a Blues, Folk and Gospel artist. He wrote over 1000 songs and released dozens of albums.

Ray Charles

Another musical genius who started his career in the 50's was Ray Charles.

Although he was trained in classical music, Ray Charles early hits were in Rhythm and Blues. In the 60's he easily transitioned to Pop music.

He won 17 Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ray Charles was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and the Jazz Hall of Fame.

Connie Francis

Connie Francis launched her career in Pop music in 1958. Over the next decade she became known as one of the most popular vocalist in the world. She was the first female singer to have two consecutive #1 singles.

Bill Haley and His Comets

This American Rock and Roll band, founded in 1952, placed 9 singles in the Top 20 list between 1954 and 1956. They continued to perform until Bill Haley's death in 1981.

Frank Sinatra

With his legendary dual career in music and acting, Frank Sinatra actually became famous in the 40's, but his career was rejuvenated in 1953 when he won an Oscar for his performance in the film From Here to Eternity. Once again he became one of the top recording artists in the world and he continued to entertain us until his death in 1998.

In addition to his remarkable list of Academy Awards and Grammy Awards, he has an impressive list of accomplishment awards including his induction into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Medal of Honor Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP, Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award and the Congressional Gold Medal.

The Platters

The Platters had over 35 hit singles. Their genres include Soul, Blues, R&B and early Rock & Roll.

The Platters were the first Rock & Roll group to have a Top Ten album in America and they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Doris Day

With renowned career in Film, TV and stage, Doris Day is one of America's true leading ladies. She is the most prolific recording artists in history, having recorded over 650 songs and is still the top ranking female box-office star of all time with 39 movies to her credit

Several of her recorded songs have received Academy Awards for Best Original Song. In addition, Doris Day has received the Cecil B DeMille Award, the Golden Globe Award, a Grammy Award and she was nominated for an Academy Award.

Carl Perkins

"Carl Perkins songs personified the rockabilly era." A legendary singer and songwriter, Carl Perkins influenced decades of music. Elvis, Johnny Cash and the Beatles each recorded his songs. I'm sure you have heard of "Blue Suede Shoes". Well, that was a Carl Perkins song.

He was inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was also a Grammy Hall of Fame Award recipient.

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Patsy Cline

A member of the Grand Ole Opry, Patsy Cline's career was cut short by death, but she is still considered by many to be one of the most influential and successful female vocalists of the 20th century.

She was the first female solo artist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame

Patsy Cline's motto: "I don't want to get rich — just live good."

Buddy Holly

Like Patsy Cline, singer and songwriter Buddy Holly's career was cut short by death, but he has been described as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll" (Bruce Eder) Not only could he write music and sing, he played the guitar, the fiddle/violin and the piano.

Buddy Holly was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and listed as #13 in Rolling Stone's "Fifty Greatest Artist of All Time."

The Drifters

Although this group has seen many changes in members over the decade, according to the Vocal Group Hall of Fame the "Drifters managed to set musical trends and give the public 13 chart hits, most of which are legendary recordings today."

Patti Page

She was the best-selling female artist of the 1950s, and has sold over 100 million records to date. Her 1950s recording of "Tennessee Waltz" was one of the best selling singles of the 20th century.

Patti Page made the country charts in five separate decades.

Frankie Laine

This singer, songwriter and actor had a career that spanned 75 years. His genre's encompass almost every style of music including Jazz, Gospel, R&B, Country and Pop.

"You can't categorize him. He's one of those singers that's not in one track. And yet and still I think that his records had more excitement and life into it. And I think that was his big selling point, that he was so full of energy. You know when hear his records it was dynamite energy." (Herb Jeffries)

Sam Cooke

Although his musical genres include pop and gospel, it has been said that Sam Cooke is one of the pioneers and founders of Soul music. He had 29 hits 0n the Top 40 charts.

He founded a record label, SAR Records and a publishing company, but this was yet another career cut short by an untimely death.

Marty Robbins

This multi-talented gentleman was not only a singer and songwriter, but he was an accomplished pianist and guitarist. With a career that started in the 50's but spanned four decades, Marty Robbins was frequently on the Country Music charts and had several pop hits.

His awards include several Grammy Awards and he received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. He was named "Artist of the Decade" by the Academy of Country Music and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Did you know that Marty Robbins was also a Nascar driver?

Etta James

Singer and songwriter Etta James is best known as a Blues and R&B performer.

According to Wikipedia "Etta James had once been considered one of the most overlooked Blues and R&B musicians in American music history." All I can say to that is I didn't overlook her in this article and I have known her name my entire life.

Etta James has won 4 Grammy Awards and 17 Blues Music Awards. She has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Bobby Darin

Bobby Darin was multi-talented actor, singer and songwriter with an outstanding list of accomplishments for such a short life. His musical genres include pop, jazz and country. He played the piano, guitar, drums, harmonica and the xylophone.

He had over 45 singles that made the Top 100 chart.

Bobby Darin owned and operated TM Music/Trio and in 1969 he started Direction Records.

Darin won multiple Grammy Awards, the Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

He was only 37 when he died.

The Five Satins

This group was best known for the hit "In The Still of the Night".

They were inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame

Have you seen this commercial?

So Many More

This list really could go on. There are so many great talents from the 50's. Here are a list of others you might remember: Frankie Avalon, Johnny Ray, Les Paul, Dean Martin, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Ritchie Valens, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Brenda Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chubby Checker, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, The Coasters, The Monotones, The Flamingos, Nat King Cole, Pat Boone, Harry Bellafonte, Tony Bennett, Burle Ives, Bing Crosby, Perry Como and many, many more!

Some of these I didn't write a section about because, even through they were important to 50's music, they actually began their careers in the 30's or 40's.

Thank you for stopping by!

Do Come Back and See Me Again!

~ Sylvestermouse ~

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© 2009 Cynthia Sylvestermouse


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