"ELVIS Y EL BILLBOARD - 1955 (Part 1)" - ELVIS RADIO 24h


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30 dic 2022

"ELVIS Y EL BILLBOARD - 1955 (Part 1)"


Elvis Presley 1955


In this year 1955 Elvis continues his recordings in the Sun, editing their corresponding singles. Three will be the singles that will see the light. In 1955 Elvis's activity increased even more, since throughout the current year, to his performances at the Louisiana Hayride we had to add more than two hundred concerts that he gave in various states such as Texas.

In this way, if in 1954 Billboard magazine had chosen him as the eighth most promising country singer, in 1955 he would take the first position. Then it was found that the Elvis phenomenon was already a reality.

Thus, for example, at a concert on May 13 in Jacksonville, he ended up cornered in his dressing room with his clothes torn off. Elvis would finally end up becoming a social phenomenon when Colonel Parker managed, on November 20, 1955, for one of the main labels in the country, RCA, to sign the future star.

Elvis had met the Colonel in Texarcana, a town in the state of Arkansas, after a morning performance.

Elvis Presley 1955


We begin this review of Billboard in 1955 just as we left it the previous year, that is, with the female quartet The Chordettes and their "Mr. Sandman" at the top (you can hear this song in the movie "Back to the Future" when Marty McFly arrives in 1955).

We are in the mid-50's and the music business is characterized by a clear dominance of artists like Mitch Miller (this individual was one of those that the Colonel offered to Elvis, but when he saw the amount that Mr. Parker offered for his protégé he exclaimed the famous phrase: "Forget it! Nobody is worth that much!!"). Mr. Miller was a producer and director of Columbia and, as it could not be less, this year he once again placed one of his songs at the top. For 6 weeks he was number 1 with a version of the official Texas state anthem, "The Yellow Roses of Texas" (by the way, Elvis recorded it years later for the "Viva Las Vegas" soundtrack).

Another who was always there and who sold a huge number of records was Tennessee Ernie Ford, who was still a country singer turned television presenter. In this year his great success was "Sixteen Toons", with which he spent 6 weeks at the top. As you can see, television was still the key piece in American society.

One of the most watched series on television at that time was the Walt Disney production "David Crockett", and its main song, "The Ballad of David Crockett", sung by Bill Hayes (another song that you can hear in the movie "Return to the future" that sounds in a bar, the truth is that Robert Zemeckis knew how to perfectly fit the music with the time in this film). This topic in question was 5 weeks head on the Billboard.

Another one that continued to be a great influence when it came to consuming music was cinema, so "Love is a Many Splendoured Thing", the main theme of the movie "Farewell Hill", was number 1 for two weeks, and incidentally became I take the Oscar for best song in 1955 (people as different as José Carreras or Kenny Rogers have covered this song, and in 1975 it would be rescued for the movie "Grease").

But the one who really triumphed in this year 1955 was the singer of Cuban origin Pérez Prado, known by the nickname "El Rey del Mambo", who with a version of the song "Cerezo Rosa" was number 1 for an impressive 10 weeks. .

The vocal trio Fountane Sisters also reached number 1 that year, precisely with a song that Elvis would perform on the Lousiana Hayride show that year "Heart of Stone".

Other highlights during 1955 were the New Jersey singer Joan Weber (Let me go Lover), the pianist Roger Williams (Autumn Leaves) or the McGuire Sisters trio (Sincerely). But nonetheless, and marginally, the market was beginning to show signs that something was changing. Bill Halley with his comets was the first to place a Rock and Roll song at the top of the Billboard, and he did so for a period of 8 weeks. The theme was "Rock Around the Clock" which, although it had been recorded in 1954, was in 1955 when it reached its greatest popularity, because it was used as the main theme of the film "Seed of Evil".

Apart from this, we also have the five gold records that Fats Domino achieved for the following titles: "Thinking of you", "Ain't That a Shame", "All by Myself", "I Can't Go On" and "Poor me." And we also have that among the best-selling artists appear the first illustrious names of Rock And Roll. Two examples to illustrate: Little Richard with his Tutti Frutti (another song that Elvis also recorded, although changing the sax of the original version for an incendiary guitar solo by Scotty Moore) and Chuck Berry with Maybellene (Elvis would perform this song this year in their concerts at the Louisiana Hayride, albeit with a slight variation of the lyrics).

These first triumphs would be the link that would unite the past of the bourgeois American music with the rebellious future, and that would arrive a year later with a boy named Elvis Presley at the helm.

Article written and provided by Cesár Valle (Spain)

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