Events in Music in 1956

#1 in the Charts

Jan 8 Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog" single goes #1 and stays #1 for a record 11 weeks (for a single)

Music History

Jan 9 Musical "Peter Pan", starring Mary Martin broadcast live, for a 2nd time, on NBC as part of "Producers' Showcase" series

Appointment of Interest

Jan 15 Dmitri Shostakovich appointed honorary member of Academia Santa Cecilia

Music Recording

Jan 20 Buddy Holly records "Blue Days Black Night" in Nashville, Tennessee for producer Owen Bradley

Theatrical Finale

Jan 21 "Comedy in Music (Victor Borge)" closes at Golden NYC after 849 performances

  • Jan 27 RCA records releases Elvis Presley's single "Heartbreak Hotel", his first million-seller (written by Mae Boren Axton and Tommy Durden)
  • Jan 28 Elvis Presley's 1st appearance on national TV on the Dorsey Brothers's "Stage Show"
  • Jan 30 Elvis Presley records his cover version of Carl Perkins' song "Blue Suede Shoes"

Music Concert

Feb 24 Walter Piston's 5th Symphony, commissioned by the Juilliard School of Music for their 50th anniversary, premiere performance by the Juilliard Orchestra, conducted by Jean Morel

  • Mar 1 "Crazy Arms" single released by Ray Price - his 1st no.1 (Billboard Song of the Year 1956)
  • Mar 2 "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" single cover released by Elvis Presley
  • Mar 3 Elvis Presley's 1st hit in Billboard's top 10: "Heartbreak Hotel"
  • Mar 15 "My Fair Lady" opens at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC for 2,715 performances

Music Premiere

Mar 22 Musical "Mr Wonderful" with Sammy Davis, Jr. and father Sammy Davis, Sr. opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 383 performances

  • Apr 11 Singer Nat Cole attacked on stage of Birmingham theater in racial incident
  • Apr 14 "Plain & Fancy" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 476 performances

Theatrical Finale

Apr 14 Cole Porter's final Broadway musical "Silk Stockings", loosely based on the Melchior Lengyel's "Ninotchka", closes at the Imperial Theatre, NYC, after 478 performances

Music Premiere

Apr 25 Noël Coward's musical "South Sea Bubble" premieres in London

  • May 3 Frank Loesser's musical "Most Happy Fella" opens at Imperial Theater, NYC; runs for 678 performances
  • May 11 Elvis Presley's 1st entry on UK charts with "Heartbreak Hotel"
  • May 24 1st Eurovision Song Contest: Lys Assia for Switzerland wins singing "Refrain" in Lugano

Music History

May 29 Arnold Schoenberg's "Modern Psalm" premieres

  • Jun 13 "Shangri-La" opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 21 performances
  • Jun 14 "New Faces of 1956" opens at Barrymore Theater NYC for 221 performances

Music History

Jun 19 Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin end partnership after 10 years, and 16 films

  • Jun 23 "Transfusion" by Nervous Norvous peaks at #8
  • Jun 30 HArry WArren and JAmes Hilton's musical "Shangri-La", based on Hilton's novel "Lost Horizon, and featuring Jack Cassidy and Alice Ghostley, closes at Winter Garden Theater, NYC, after 21 performances

Musical Finale

Jun 30 Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical "Pipe Dream", based on John Steinbeck's novel "Sweet Thursday", closes at Shubert Theater, NYC, after 245 performances, and a Tony Award for costume design

Film Release

Jul 17 MGM releases film "High Society", a musical re-working of "The Philadelphia Story" set in Newport, Rhode Island; starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra, with songs by Cole Porter

Sports History

Sep 29 "I Love Mickey" by Mickey Mantle & Teresa Brewer peaks at #87

Music History

Oct 29 Greek-American soprano Maria Callas makes her Metropolitan Opera debut, in the title role of Bellini's "Norma"

The Wizard of Oz

Nov 3 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" televised for 1st time - hosted by Bert Lahr and 10 year old Liza Minnelli, as the finale of the Ford Star Jubilee series (CBS-TV)

Television Debut

Nov 5 "The Nat King Cole Show" debuts on NBC, the first variety program to be hosted by an African-American

Music Premiere

Nov 10 Gene de Paul and Johnny Mercer's musical "Li'l Abner", based on the hillbilly comic strip, opens at the St. James Theatre, NYC; runs for 693 performances

  • Nov 15 "Li'l Abner" opens at St James Theater, NYC; runs for 693 performances
  • Nov 15 "Love Me Tender" (The Reno Brothers) film with Elvis Presley in his debut premieres in the US
  • Nov 16 Guido Cantelli, Italian conductor, named Musical Director of La Scala, Milan
  • Nov 24 Richard Adler and Jerry Ross' musical "The Pajama Game" closes at St James Theater, NYC, after 1063 performances, and a Tony Award for Best Musical

Music Premiere

Nov 29 Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green's musical "Bells Are Ringing", starring Judy Holiday, opens at Shubert Theater, NYC; runs for 924 performances, wins 2 Tony Awards

Music Premiere

Dec 1 Leonard Bernstein's musical "Candide" opens at Martin Beck Theater, NYC; runs for 73 performances

Music History

Dec 1 Musical comedy film "The Girl Can't Help It" starring Jayne Mansfield with cameos by rock 'n' roll stars Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, and Gene Vincent

  • Dec 6 "Happy Hunting" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 413 performances
  • Dec 8 Guy Mitchell's "Singing the Blues" single goes #1 for 10 weeks
  • Dec 16 "Fanny" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 888 performances
  • Dec 22 "New Faces of 1956" closes at Barrymore Theater NYC after 221 performances