Music - 1950s

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Screaming Lord Sutch

David Edward Sutch (formerly a plumber's mate from Harrow) based his act on Screaming Jay Hawkins and presented his musical horror show around British clubs in...

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Jalacy J. Hawkins was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1929. He spent his early years in an orphanage before enrolling at high school to study...

Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan was already one of jazz's most beloved divas when she opened a week-long run at the Chicago nightspot Mister Kelly's in the...

Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was born one of eight children in Chicago on 22 January 1931, into a strong church-going family. His father was a local...

Ruth Brown

Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1928,  Ruth Brown (real name Ruth Alston Weston) won an amateur night competition at Harlem's Apollo Theater in 1948 and...

Rufus Thomas

Born on 26 March 1917 in Cayce, Mississippi, Rufus Thomas first hit the stage as a dancer and comedian with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels....

Roy Orbison

Roy Kelton Orbison was born on 23 April 1936 in Vernon, Texas. Not long after, his family moved to nearby Wink, and when Roy...

Ritchie Valens

Ritchie Valens (real name Richard Valenzuela) was born in California on 13 May 1941. As a youngster he sang and played guitar at school and...

Ricky Nelson

Ricky Nelson first found fame in the 1950s during his stint on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, the popular American sitcom that starred him...

Reflections, The

Tony Micale Vocals Phil Castrodale Vocals Dan Bennie Vocals Ray Steinberg Vocals John Dean Vocals Frank Amodeo Vocals

Perry Como

Perry Como was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and worked as a barber before he embarked on a career in show business in the 1930s. His...

Platters, The

Formed in Los Angeles in 1953, The Platters were one of the very first black vocal harmony groups to reach a mass white audience. They...

Paul Anka

Paul Anka was born in Ottawa, Canada, on 30 July 1941, and started singing professionally at the age of 12 with two friends. The trio...

Patsy Cline

Patsy Cline (born Virginia Patterson-Hensley) had her breakthrough hit in 1957 - at the age of 24 - with Walkin' After Midnight and became a mainstay...

Pat Boone

Pat Boone was born Charles Eugene Boone - the great-great-great-great-grandson of pioneer Daniel Boone - in Jacksonville, Florida, on 1 June 1934 and started singing...

Nat King Cole

Learning to play the piano at an early age, Nathaniel Adams Coles secured a residency at Chicago's Panama Club with his brother Eddie while...

Moonglows, The

Originally formed in Louisville, Kentucky as The Crazy Sounds, the group moved to Cleveland where disc jockey Alan Freed renamed them The Moonglows (after his own...

Lloyd Price

A raucous rocker from New Orleans whose 1952 recording of Lawdy Miss Clawdy brought him a gold record. His next major success came when Stagger Lee stormed to...

Lonnie Donegan

Lonnie Donegan rose to international fame as one of the founding fathers of a new wave of music called Skiffle that swept the world during the...

FEATURED 1950s MUSIC POSTS

Buddy Holly (& The Crickets)

Born Charles Hardin Holley on 7 September 1936, Buddy (as he was nicknamed from an early age by his family) first performed and broadcast...

Vipers, The

The Vipers, featuring a young singer called Wally Whyton, became the first group to earn a residency at the famous 2i's coffee bar in London's Soho. Wally...

Ricky Nelson

Ricky Nelson first found fame in the 1950s during his stint on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, the popular American sitcom that starred him...

Tommy Sands

Tommy Adrian Sands was born in Chicago in 1937. Growing up he enjoyed music, particularly country music. In 1944 his mother (who had been...

Bobby Freeman

17-year-old Bobby Freeman was still at High School in San Francisco when he began enjoying chart hits - none as great as his debut Do...