10 ALMANAC ENTRIES FROM 1955

Chuck Berry records his first single, “Maybelline”, for Chess Records in Chicago [May 21]. Despite the vitality of his early songs and his significance as a writer/performer, surprisingly few of his singles crossed over from the R&B charts to the upper echelons of the pop hit parade.

Chuck Berry box set CD

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“Rock Around the Clock” becomes the first rock and roll single to reach Number One on the American charts [July 9] after disappointing initial sales. It took off after being used in the film ‘The Blackboard Jungle’. The song hit the top spot three days after Bill Haley’s thirtieth birthday. Some teen idol, eh?

Bill Haley Rock Around the Clock sheet music

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Little Richard records “Tutti Frutti” [September 3]. Some re-writing of the lyrics was deemed necessary for mass consumption (as distinct from mass hysteria).

The original lyrics were:

Tutti Frutti, good booty

If it don’t fit, don’t force it

You can grease it, make it easy

Can’t imagine why that lyric was deemed risqué, can you? This is the replacement:

Tutti Frutti, aw rooty

Tutti Frutti, aw rooty

Little Richard

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Stockhausen composes “Gesang der Jünglinge” (Song of the youths). This meticulously assembled tape collage of children’s voices and electronic sounds remains a fascinating and unsettling composition to this day.

Stockhausen+Gesang+Der Jnglinge

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Fats Domino has a hit with “Ain’t that a shame”, a song guaranteed inclusion in the Eternal Jukebox.

Fats Domino

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Some fine jazz albums are released. (Of course there were many more than this small selection from the Vinyl Connection collection)

Jazz 1955

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Charlie Parker dies [March 12] in the Hotel suite of Baroness Kathleen Annie Pannonica de Koenigswarter, a patron of bebop jazz. The coroner estimates the saxophonist’s age to be between 50 and 60. He was 34 years old.

Parker, Charlie

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Cassandra Wilson, sultry jazz chanteuse, songwriter and producer, is born in Jackson, Mississippi [December 4]. She was named ‘America’s best singer’ by Time magazine in 2003.

Cassandra Wilson

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Colin Moulding, the song-writing foil of Andy Partridge in XTC, is born in Swindon, Wiltshire [August 17]. His songs add an enriching humanity to XTC records, as demonstrated on the wonderful Apple Venus. That’s Colin top right, doing his best Timothy Spall impersonation.

XTC

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18 comments

  1. That Chuck Berry box set looks, in a word, incredible!

    Aaron and I were rockin’ the Little Richard on Saturday at one of the record stores we visited. I was loving it. Aaron noted that all his songs are basically the same with different words. I think he might be right!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And the same can definitely be said about Mr Berry too. It’s all in the spirit, man!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m personally more a Little Richard fan, with all respect due to Mr. Berry. Ever since I was a kid, really! First Little Richard song I ever heard, I was hooked. I thought he was great. I have also always been a sucker for the piano in rock and roll.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep, me too. Love those 88s!
          I really love some of Chuck’s lyrics. Just brilliant. Here is one of my all time faves, Too Much Monkey Business.
          http://www.lyricsfreak.com/c/chuck+berry/too+much+monkey+business_20030912.html

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Great stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That Timothy Spall impression is spot on, well observed Bruce!
    Just had Apple Venus I on the other day, a fine recording.
    Hadn’t heard those initial Tutti Frutti lyrics, not quite so sing-a-long-able!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, not in polite society, anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very good indeed.
    I always heard (and was it Freudian?) Tutti Frutti, I want a Rooty!
    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your ears certainly caught the general drift of the song, then!

      Like

  5. I had no idea what the original Tutti Frutti lyrics were! Oh, the depravity!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow. I didn’t know about those original ‘Tutti Frutti’ lyrics, you’ve just amazed me right there! And interesting to see Cassandra in these pages, did you catch up with all that controversy about her recent London Jazz Fest show?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just read about it now. ‘Tired and emotional’, perhaps?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah – Little Richard … such a cheeky chap. Actually more surprised that he changed them!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great year for rock ‘n’ roll.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Besides some songs from compilations — ‘Elvis at Sun,’ ‘Johnny Cash: The Sun Years,’ ‘The Buddy Holly Collection,’ ‘Chuck Berry: Golden Hits,’ ‘The Very Best of Little Richard,’ ‘Dean Martin: Collected Cool’ and ‘Lefty Frizzell: Look What Thoughts Will Do’ — my only full-blown 1955 “original” holding is Sinatra’s fantastic ‘In the Wee Small Hours.’ That so many of the songs from that year are accepted and venerated canon 60(!) years later however reinforce the debt owed to that momentous musical time.

    Please confirm that the Charlie Parker “Vogue Microgroove” photo comes from your own collection; I very much want you to own that awesomeness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Six of the nine photos for this post were taken by the undersigned, the other three borrowed from the internet.
      I can confirm that the Parker 10″ is indeed part of the VC collection. Sadly, its condition does not encourage (or – to be truly honest – allow) playing but it sure is a nice artefact to have. Came from a box of records the very wealthy father of a workmate asked me to sell at a Record Fair on his behalf. I cleaned them, priced them and returned the modest proceeds to him. Not a word of thanks was forthcoming. As it hadn’t sold, I took this as my commission. It’s not worth much, but still I felt that savage yet ultimately guilty vindication of the wronged. True story, I’m afraid.
      As even the perspicacious might have missed, being venerated six decades later was the covert theme of this post.

      Like

      1. Whew, glad for the Bird confirmation, and doubly pleased to get a bonus story of righteous sin alongside.

        A candle has been placed on the altar (and subsequently blown out) here at VotF in honor of things birthed in ’55!!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Great choices. Stockhausen, i missed that one. Couple things, have you checked out Cassandra’s tribute to Billy Holiday? Fantastic. Seen her do it on Austin City and she killed it. She lets loose on ‘Strange Fruit’. Also Dave Alvin cut a song ‘Haley’s Comet’ co written with Tom Russel. Great song.

    Liked by 1 person

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