On This Day

Events in Music in 1956

Music release#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)

Singer & Cultural Icon Elvis Presley
Singer & Cultural Icon
Elvis Presley

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Actress Mary Martin
Actress
Mary Martin

Music releaseMusic Single

Jan 14 Little Richard releases single "Tutti Frutti"

Singer-Songwriter and Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer Little Richard
Singer-Songwriter and Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer
Little Richard

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 15 Dmitri Shostakovich appointed honorary member of Academia Santa Cecilia

Music releaseMusic Recording

Jan 20 Buddy Holly records "Blue Days Black Night" in Nashville

Singer-songwriter Buddy Holly
Singer-songwriter
Buddy Holly

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Comedian and Pianist Victor Borge
Comedian and Pianist
Victor Borge
  • Jan 27 "Heartbreak Hotel" single released by Elvis Presley, his first million-selling single
  • Jan 28 Elvis Presley's 1st appearance on national TV on the Dorsey Brothers's "Stage Show"
  • Jan 30 Elvis Presley records his version of "Blue Suede Shoes"
  • 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 releaseMusic Premiere

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

Singer, Actor and TV Host Sammy Davis Jr.
Singer, Actor and TV Host
Sammy Davis Jr.

  • Apr 11 Singer Nat Cole attacked on stage of Birmingham theater in racial incident
  • Apr 14 "Silk Stockings" closes at Imperial Theater NYC after 461 performances
  • Apr 14 "Plain & Fancy" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 476 performances
  • Apr 21 Elvis Presley's 1st hit record, "Heartbreak Hotel", becomes #1

Music releaseMusic Premiere

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

Playwright, Director and Singer Noël Coward
Playwright, Director and Singer
Noël Coward
  • May 3 Frank Loesser's musical "Most Happy Fella" opens at Imperial Theater NYC 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 29 Arnold Schoenberg's "Modern Psalm" premieres

Composer and Painter Arnold Schoenberg
Composer and Painter
Arnold Schoenberg
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Comedian Jerry Lewis
Comedian
Jerry Lewis
Actor, Comedian and Singer Dean Martin
Actor, Comedian and Singer
Dean Martin
  • Jun 23 "Transfusion" by Nervous Norvous peaks at #8

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 24 "Steve Allen Show" returns on NBC-TV

TV Personality, Comedian and Composer Steve Allen
TV Personality, Comedian and Composer
Steve Allen
  • Jun 30 "Pipe Dream" closes at Shubert Theater NYC after 245 performances
  • Jun 30 "Shangri-La" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 21 performances
  • Jul 1 Elvis Presley wearing a tuxedo appears on Steve Allen Show
  • Jul 2 Elvis Presley records "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel"
  • Jul 7 Douglas Moore/John Latouche' opera "Ballad of Baby Doe," premieres
  • 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

  • Aug 4 Elvis Presley releases "Hound Dog"
  • Aug 13 Elvis Presley releases music single "Don't Be Cruel"
  • Aug 18 Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel" reach #1 in the charts
  • Aug 22 Elvis Presley begins filming "Love Me Tender" (The Reno Brothers)
  • Sep 8 Harry Belafonte's album "Calypso" goes #1 & stays #1 for 31 weeks
  • Sep 9 Elvis Presley appears on "The Ed Sullivan Show" for the 1st time
  • Sep 28 RCA Records reports Elvis Presley sold over 10 million records

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Baseball Legend Mickey Mantle
Baseball Legend
Mickey Mantle

Appears on tv showTelevision Debut

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

Musician Nat King Cole
Musician
Nat King Cole

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Nov 10 Gene de Paul and Johnny Mercer's musical "Li'l Abner" premieres in NYC

Songwriter Johnny Mercer
Songwriter
Johnny Mercer
  • Nov 15 "Love Me Tender" (The Reno Brothers) film with Elvis Presley in his debut premieres in the US
  • Nov 15 "Li'l Abner" opens at St James Theater NYC for 693 performances
  • Nov 16 Guido Cantelli, Italian conductor, named Musical Director of La Scala, Milan
  • Nov 24 "Pajama Game" closes at St James Theater NYC after 1063 performances
  • Nov 29 "Bells Are Ringing" opens at Shubert Theater NYC for 925 performances
  • Dec 1 "Candide" opens at Martin Beck Theater NYC for 73 performances
  • 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