On This Day

Year 1955 in Music History

Events in Music


Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 7 Marian Anderson becomes the 1st African American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera

  • Jan 14 Heitor Villa-Lobos' 8th Symphony premieres by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by the composer, in Carnegie Hall, New York City

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 15 Dmitri Shostakovich's "From Jewish Folk Poetry" premieres in Leningrad

  • Jan 27 "Plain & Fancy" opens at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC for 476 performances
  • Jan 31 RCA demonstrates 1st music synthesizer
  • Feb 12 McGuire Sisters' "Sincerely" single goes to No. 1 and stays No. 1 for 10 weeks
  • Feb 24 "Silk Stockings" opens at Imperial Theater NYC for 461 performances

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Feb 24 Cole Porter's musical "Silk Stockings" opens at the Imperial Theatre, NYC; runs for 478 performances

Composer and Lyricist Cole Porter
Composer and Lyricist
Cole Porter

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 26 Leigh, Charlap, Styne, Comden and Green's musical "Peter Pan", starring Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard, closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 152 performances

Actress Mary Martin
Actress
Mary Martin

Appears on tv showTV Show Appearance

Mar 3 Elvis Presley makes his 1st TV appearance on a broadcast of radio show "Louisiana Hayride"

Singer & Cultural Icon Elvis Presley
Singer & Cultural Icon
Elvis Presley
  • Mar 7 Musical "Peter Pan", starring Mary Martin broadcast live on NBC as part of "Producers' Showcase" series; attracts a then record 65 million viewers

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 24 Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" opens for 694 performances

Playwright Tennessee Williams
Playwright
Tennessee Williams
  • Apr 6 "3 for Tonight" opens at Plymouth Theater NYC for 85 performances
  • Apr 18 "Ankles Aweigh" opens at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC for 176 performances
  • Apr 20 "Saint of Bleecker St" closes at Broadway Theater NYC after 92 performances
  • Apr 23 Robert Wright and George Forrest's musical "Kismet" closes at Ziegfeld Theater NYC after 583 performances

  • Apr 30 Cuban bandleader Pérez Prado's mambo version of "Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White" goes #1 for 10 weeks
  • May 5 "Damn Yankees" opens at 46th St Theater NYC for 1022 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 21 Harold Arlen and Truman Capote' musical "House of Flowers" closes at Alvin Theater, NYC, after 165 performances

  • May 26 "7th Heaven" opens at ANTA Theater NYC for 44 performances
  • Jun 18 "3 for Tonight" closes at Plymouth Theater NYC after 85 performances
  • Jun 20 "Almost Crazy" opens at Longacre Theater NYC for 16 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 21 Johnny Cash debuts Top 10 country song "Cry! Cry! Cry!"

Country Singer Johnny Cash
Country Singer
Johnny Cash
  • Jun 25 "Can Can" closes at Shubert Theater NYC after 892 performances
  • Jul 2 "7th Heaven" closes at ANTA Theater NYC after 44 performances
  • Jul 2 "Almost Crazy" closes at Longacre Theater NYC after 16 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jul 9 Bill Haley & Comets' "Rock Around the Clock" tops the billboards chart, one of the best-selling singles ever

Father of Rock 'n' Roll Bill Haley
Father of Rock 'n' Roll
Bill Haley
  • Jul 16 "Golden Horseshoe Revue" 1st of 50,000+ performances, Disneyland

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 19 WINS radio, announces it will not play "copy" white cover versions of R&B (DJs must play Fats Domino's "Ain't It A Shame," not Pat Boone's)

Singer Fats Domino
Singer
Fats Domino
  • Sep 6 "Catch a Star" opens at Plymouth Theater NYC for 23 performances

Music releaseMusic Recording

Sep 14 Little Richard records "Tutti Frutti" at J & M Studio in New Orleans

Singer-Songwriter and Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer Little Richard
Singer-Songwriter and Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer
Little Richard
  • Sep 17 "Ankles Aweigh" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 176 performances
  • Sep 24 "Catch a Star" closes at Plymouth Theater NYC after 23 performances
  • Oct 20 "No Time for Sergeants" opens on Broadway, starring Andy Griffith
  • Nov 5 The rebuilt Vienna State Opera reopens with Ludwig van Beethoven's Fidelio after it was destroyed in World War II
  • Nov 10 "Vamp" opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 60 performances
  • Nov 22 RCA Records make its best investment paying $35,000 to Sun Records for Elvis Presley's contract
  • Nov 25 Walter Piston's 6th Symphony, composed to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Boston Symphony, premieres, led by Charles Munch
  • Nov 26 "Boy Friend" closes at Royale Theater NYC after 483 performances
  • Nov 30 "Pipe Dream" opens at Shubert Theater NYC for 245 performances
  • Dec 15 "Folsom Prison Blues" single released by Johnny Cash (Billboard Song of the Year 1968)

BeatificationCatholic Encyclical

Dec 25 Pope Pius XII encyclical on sacred music & popular music

260th Pope Pius XII
260th Pope
Pius XII

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 29 Barbra Streisand's 1st recording "You'll Never Know" at age 13

Singer-Songwriter and Actress Barbra Streisand
Singer-Songwriter and Actress
Barbra Streisand
  • Dec 31 "Vamp" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 60 performances

Birthdays in Music

  • Jan 4 Kathy Forester, American country singer (Forester Sisters - "Mama's Never Seen Those Eyes"), born in Lookout Mountain, Georgia
  • Jan 4 Mark Hollis, British synth-pop musician (Talk Talk), born in London, England (d. 2019)
  • Jan 8 Mike Reno [Ryanoski], Canadian rock vocalist (Loverboy - "Working For The Weekend"), born in New Westminster, British Columbia
  • Jan 10 Michael Schenker, German heavy metal guitarist (MSG; UFO; Scorpions), born in Sarstedt, Germany
  • Jan 13 Fred White, American drummer (Earth Wind & Fire, 1974-84 - "Shining Star"; "September"), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Jan 13 Trevor Rabin, South African-American rock guitarist (Yes, 1983-94 - "Owner Of A Lonely Heart"), and film score composer (National Treasure), born in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Jan 13 Paul Kelly, Australian singer-songwriter (The Messengers), born in Adelaide, South Australia
  • Jan 17 Steve Earle, American roots-rock singer-songwriter (Guitar Town), born in San Antonio, Texas
  • Jan 17 Kazumasa Akiyama, Japanese jazz-fusion guitarist (Dig My Style), born in Tokyo
  • Jan 19 Simon Rattle, English orchestra conductor (Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), born in Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • Jan 20 Hiromi Ōta, Japanese pop singer (Momen no handkerchief), born in Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
  • Jan 23 Reginald Calloway, American trumpet player (Midnight Star - "No Parking On The Dance Floor"; "Operator"), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Jan 26 Lucia Mendez, Mexican actress & singer (Lucia es Luna Moreno), born in León, Guanajuato, Mexico

Person of interestEddie Van Halen

Jan 26 Eddie Van Halen, Dutch-American rock guitarist (Van Halen - "You Really Got Me"; "Jump"), born in Amsterdam, Netherlands (d. 2020)

Rock Guitarist Eddie Van Halen
Rock Guitarist
Eddie Van Halen
  • Jan 27 Richard Young, American country singer (Kentucky Headhunters - "Davy Crockett"), born in Glasgow, Kentucky
  • Jan 28 Dan Higgins, American session saxophone and woodwind player, born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Feb 12 Bill Laswell, American bassist and record producer, born in Salem, Illinois
  • Feb 13 Jan de Ligt, Dutch saxophonist (I've Got the Bullets)
  • Feb 13 Scott Smith, Canadian rock bassist (Loverboy), born in Winnipeg, Manitoba (d. 2000)
  • Feb 15 Hugh Padgham, English record producer and audio engineer (Phil Collins; The Police), born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire
  • Feb 16 Jeff Clayton, American session and touring jazz saxophonist and composer (Groove Shop), born in Venice, California (d. 2020) [1]
  • Feb 23 Howard Jones, British rock pianist, and singer-songwriter (Things Can Only Get Better), born in Southampton, England
  • Feb 24 Bob Abrams, American rocker (Buckinghams), born in Ohio
  • Feb 27 Garry Christian, English singer, born in Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • Feb 27 Peter Christopherson, English musician & video director, born in Leeds, United Kingdom (d. 2010)
  • Feb 28 Randy Jackson, American rock singer, guitarist, and keyboard player (Zebra), born in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Mar 1 Jimmy Fortune, American country singer (Statler Brothers - Class of '57), born in Newport News, Virginia
  • Mar 2 Jay Osmond, American singer and drummer (Osmond Brothers - "One Way Ticket to Anywhere"), born in Ogden, Utah
  • Mar 2 Jawanza Kobie, American jazz pianist and composer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Mar 9 Fernando Bujones, American ballet dancer, born in Miami, Florida (d. 2005)
  • Mar 10 Youssra, Egyptian actress and singer
  • Mar 10 Gary Louris, American singer-songwriter and musician (Jayhawks), born in Toledo, Ohio
  • Mar 11 Catharina "Nina" Hagen, German punk rock singer, and actress (The Go-Blue Girl), born in East Berlin, East Germany
  • Mar 13 John Hackett, British rock, classical, and new age flautist, born in Pimlico, London, England
  • Mar 14 Boon Gould, rock guitarist (Level 42 - "Hot Water")
  • Mar 15 Etterlene "Bunny" DeBarge, American rock and soul singer-songwrtier (DeBarge - "Time Will Reveal"), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • Mar 15 Daniel "Dee" Snider, American singer, songwriter and actor (Twisted Sister), born in Astoria, Queens
  • Mar 15 Steve Lillywhite, British record producer (U2; Rolling Stones; Phish), born in Egham, England
  • Mar 17 Paul Overstreet, American country singer (Daddy's Come Around), born in Van Cleave, Mississippi
  • Mar 21 Haakon Graf , Norwegian jazz keyboard player, composer, arranger and producer, born in Oslo, Norway
  • Mar 22 [Waliou] Wally Badarou, French musician (Level 42), born in Paris, France
  • Mar 26 Dean Dillon, American country music singer (Chair), born in Lake City, Tennessee

Person of interestReba McEntire

Mar 28 Reba McEntire, American country singer ("Can't Even Get the Blues"; "Consider Me Gone"), born in McAlester, Oklahoma

Country Singer Reba McEntire
Country Singer
Reba McEntire
  • Mar 30 Randy Vanwarmer, American singer-songwriter and guitarist ("Just When I Needed You Most"), born in Denver, Colorado (d. 2004)
  • Mar 31 Angus Young, Scottish rock guitarist (AC/DC - "Highway to Hell"), born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Apr 1 Emmanuel [Acha], Mexican singer (Íntimamente, La Chica de Humo), born in Mexico City, Mexico
  • Apr 3 John Mooney, American blues-funk guitarist, slide guitarist and singer (Bluesiana), born in East Orange, New Jersey
  • Apr 7 Greg Reeves, American bass guitarist (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: Déjà Vu), born in Warren, Ohio
  • Apr 10 Lesley Garrett, English soprano singer, born in Thorne, Doncaster, England
  • Apr 11 Neville Staple, English ska singer (The Specials - "Ghost Town"; "Free Nelson Mandela"), born in Manchester, Jamaica
  • Apr 13 Louis Johnson, American rock bassist and vocalist (Brothers Johnson), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2015)
  • Apr 15 Jeff Golub, American jazz guitarist (Avenue Blue; Rod Stewart), born in Copley Township, Ohio (d. 2015)
  • Apr 17 Pete Shelley [McNeish], English singer-songwriter and guitarist (Buzzcocks - "Going Steady"), born in Leigh, England (d. 2018)
  • Apr 17 Rob Bolland, Dutch singer and guitarist (Bolland & Bolland), born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • Apr 22 Arthur Baker, American music producer (Afrika Banbaataa; Planet Rock; New Order), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Apr 28 Edwin "Eddie" Jobson, British rock violinist (Frank Zappa; UK; Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure), born in Billingham, England
  • Apr 29 Gino Quilico, Canadian operatic baritone, born in Flushing, New York City
  • May 1 Nick Feldman, English musician (Wang Chung - Everybody Have Fun Tonight), born in London, England
  • May 3 Van McLain [McElvain], American rock guitarist (Shooting Star), born in Kansas City, Missouri (d. 2018)
  • May 3 Timmy Cappello, American rock & sax player (Tina Turner; Ringo Starr; The Lost Boys), born in Silver Lake, New York
  • May 4 Robert Ellis Orrall, American singer and songwriter, born in Winthrop, Massachusetts
  • May 5 Roddy Radiation [Byers], British ska and rockabilly guitarist, singer, and songwriter (The Specials - "Hey' Little Rich Girl"; The Skabillys), born in Keresley, Coventry, England
  • May 9 Anne-Sofie von Otter, Swedish opera, lieder, and rock mezzo-soprano (For The Stars, with Elvis Costello), born in Stockholm, Sweden
  • May 11 Jos Haagmans, Dutch singer (Frank Boeijen Group)
  • May 11 Mark Herndon, American country music drummer (Alabama - "Take Me Down"), born in Springfield, Massachusetts
  • May 12 Kix Brooks, American country music singer (Brooks & Dunn - "Brand New Man"), born in Shreveport, Louisiana
  • May 12 Bashiri Johnson, American session and touring percussionist (Whitney Houston; Micheal Jackson), and educator, born in Brooklyn, New York
  • May 16 Hazel O'Connor, British singer-songwriter ("Eighth Day"; "Will You?"),and actress (Breaking Glass), born in Coventry, England
  • May 20 Steve George, American rock keyboardist (Mr Mister - "Broken Wings"; "Kyrie"), born in, Bloomington, Indiana
  • May 20 Zbigniew Preisner, Polish film composer (Three Colors film trilogy), born in Bielsko-Biała, Poland
  • May 21 John Galvin, American rock keyboardist (Molly Hatchet), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • May 21 Stan Lynch, American rock drummer (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1976-94), producer, and songwriter, born in Gainesville, Florida
  • May 22 Iva Davies, Australian rock guitarist and vocalist (Icehouse), born in Wauchope, New South Wales, Australia
  • May 22 Jimmy Lyon, American guitarist (Eddie Money; The Greg Kihn Band), born in Tampa, Florida
  • May 23 Dean Friedman, American singer-songwriter (Ariel), born in Paramus, New Jersey
  • May 23 Luka Bloom [Kevin Moore], Irish contemporary folk singer-songwriter and guitarist ("I Need Love"), born in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland

Person of interestRosanne Cash

May 24 Rosanne Cash, American country singer ("Seven Year Ache"; "Black Cadillac"), born in Memphis, Tennessee

Country Singer Rosanne Cash
Country Singer
Rosanne Cash
  • May 28 Janet Seidel, Australian jazz pianist, vocalist, arranger, and educator, born in Cummins, South Australia (d. 2017)
  • May 29 Jerry Dengler, American singer (Mason Dixon - "Karen Comes Around"), born in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • May 29 Mike Porcaro, American rock bassist (Toto, 1982-2007 "Stranger In Town"), born in South Windsor, Connecticut (d. 2015)
  • May 30 Nicky "Topper" Headon, English drummer (Clash-Complete Control)
  • May 31 Tommy Emmanuel, Australian-American acoustic guitarist (Stevie's Blues), born in Muswellbrook, New South Wales
  • Jun 1 Ralph Morse, British actor, singer and writer of historical dramas
  • Jun 5 Hugh Marsh, Canadian session, touring, and jazz electric violinist, born in Montreal, Quebec
  • Jun 7 Joey Scarbury, American singer-songwriter ("Theme from The Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not)"), born in Ontario, California
  • Jun 7 Jon Balke, Norwegian jazz pianist, composer and band leader (Magnetic North Orchestra), born in Furnes, Norway
  • Jun 8 James Jonathan Sylvers, American keyboardist and vocalist (The Sylvers -"Boogie Fever"), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Jun 8 Greg Ginn, American punk rock guitarist, singer and songwriter (Black Flag), born in Tucson, Arizona
  • Jun 22 Jeffrey Mumford, American contemporary classical composer, and educator, born in Washington, D.C.
  • Jun 23 Glenn Danzig, American musician (The Misfits, Samhain, Danzig), born in Lodi, New Jersey
  • Jun 26 Mick Jones, English rock vocalist and guitarist (The Clash-Havana 3 AM), born in London, England
  • Jun 28 Thomas Hampson, American lyric baritone, born in Elkhart, Indiana
  • Jul 1 Keith Whitley, American country music singer (Don't Close Your Eyes), born in Ashland, Kentucky (d. 1989)
  • Jul 3 Neil Clark, Scottish rock guitarist (Lloyd Cole & The Commotions), born in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire
  • Jul 3 Marc Bonilla, American guitarist (Keith Emerson Band), born in Contra Costa, California
  • Jul 5 Michael Gismondi, rock bassist (Michael Stanley Band, 1979-87)
  • Jul 9 Fred Norris, American comedy writer and singer (Howard Stern Show), born in Willimantic, Connecticut
  • Jul 13 Chris White, British jazz-rock saxophonist (Dire Straits), born in Bristol, England
  • Jul 14 Matthew Seligman, British studio and touring new wave rock bassist (Robyn Hitchcock; Thompson Twins; Thomas Dolby), born in Pentageia, Cyprus (d. 2020)
  • Jul 18 Terry Chambers, English drummer (XTC), born in Wiltshire, England

Weddings in Music


LoveWedding of Interest

Apr 5 American musician Ray Charles (24) weds Della Beatrice Howard

Musician Ray Charles
Musician
Ray Charles
  • Aug 29 "Untamed Youth" actress Mamie Van Doren (24) weds trumpeter and actor Ray Anthony (33)
  • Sep 18 American actress-singer Debbie Reynolds (23) weds American singer Eddie Fisher (27); divorce in 1959

Deaths in Music

  • Jan 4 Dominicus Johner, composer, dies at 80
  • Jan 4 Francois Rasse, Belgian composer, dies at 81
  • Feb 14 Charles Cuvillier, French composer of operetta (The Naughty Princess), dies at 77
  • Feb 17 Otto J. Gombosi, Hungarian-American musicologist, dies of a heart attack at 52
  • Mar 12 Charlie "Bird" Parker, American jazz saxophonist (Ornithology), dies pf pneumonia and bleeding ulcer at 34 in NYC
  • Mar 16 Mayhew Lake, composer, dies at 75
  • Apr 10 Oskar Frederik Lindberg, composer, dies at 68
  • May 2 Tadeusz Jarecki, Polish composer and conductor, dies at 66
  • May 4 Georges Enesco, Romanian violinist and composer (Romanian Dances), dies at 73
  • May 17 Francesco Balilla Pratella, composer, dies at 75
  • May 25 Wardell Gray, American swing and bebop jazz tenor saxophonist, dies at 34
  • May 31 Raoul Gunsbourg, French composer, impresario and opera director (Opéra de Monte-Carlo, 1892-1951), dies at 95
  • Jun 1 F Melius Christiansen, composer, dies at 84
  • Jun 11 Marcel Samuel-Rousseau, French organist and opera composer (Le Bon Roi Dagobert), dies at 72
  • Jun 18 Walter Rein, German composer, dies at 61
  • Jun 18 Willy Burkhard, Swiss composer, dies at 55
  • Jul 6 Paolo Gallico, Italian-American pianist and composer (The Apocalypse), dies at 87
  • Jul 7 Franco Casavola, composer, dies at 63
  • Jul 17 Bronislaw Zygmunt Szulc, composer, dies at 73
  • Jul 25 Ilmari Hannikainen, composer, dies at 62
  • Jul 25 Isaak Iosifovich Dunayevsky, Soviet operetta and film composer, dies at 55
  • Aug 5 Carmen Miranda, Portuguese-born Brazilian samba singer and actress (Down Argentine Way), dies of a heart attack at 46
  • Aug 9 Marion Eugene Bauer, American composer, dies at 57
  • Aug 28 Bob Gordon, American cool jazz baritone saxophonist, dies in a car accident at 27
  • Sep 2 Rudolf Kattnigg, Austrian composer, dies at 60
  • Oct 15 Fumio Hayasaka, Japanese film score composer (Rashomon; Seven Samurai), dies of tuberculosis at 41
  • Oct 20 Eino Roiha, Finnish composer, dies at 51
  • Oct 26 Arne Eggen, Norwegian composer, dies at 74
  • Oct 27 Vladimir Mikhaylovich Deshevov, composer, dies at 66
  • Nov 17 James P. Johnson, American jazz composer and pianist (Charleston), dies at 64
  • Nov 22 Guy Ropartz [Joseph Guy Marie Ropartz], French composer, dies at 91 (b. 1864)

Person of interestArthur Honegger

Nov 27 Arthur Honegger, Swiss composer (King David, Pacific 231), dies of a heart attack at 63

Composer Arthur Honegger
Composer
Arthur Honegger
  • Nov 27 Luis de Freitas Branco, Portuguese composer, dies at 65
  • Nov 30 Josip Slavenski, Croatian composer, dies at 59
  • Dec 3 Charles "Cow Cow" Davenport, American boogie-woogie and blues musician, dies of hardening of the arteries at 61
  • Dec 8 Jacques Handschin, Swiss musicologist (Der Toncharakter), dies at 69
  • Dec 11 Franz Adolf Syberg, Danish composer, dies at 51