1960s British Rock and Pop Chronology
1956
 
 
January JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC
1 Memphis, Tennessee. Carl Perkins: "Blue Suede Shoes" [Sun, released]
3 BBC-TV, Ch1: The Petula Clark Show debuts
6 Bill Haley and His Comets: "Rock around the Clock" [Brunswick 05317, UK #1 for 2 weeks]
Lonnie Donegan: "Rock Island Line" [Decca F 10647, charts, UK #8, US #6]
10 Cyprus: Britain sends 1600 paratroopers
13 Frank Sinatra: "Love and Marriage" [Capitol CL 14503, charts, UK #3]
Gary Miller: "Robin Hood" [Nixa N 15020, charts, UK #10]
20 Tennessee Ernie Ford: "Sixteen Tons" [UK #1 for 4 weeks]
Frank Sinatra: "The Tender Trap" [Capitol CL 14511, charts, UK #2]
Dick James: "Robin Hood" [Parlophone R 4117, charts, UK #14]
26 Decca Records, Nashville, Tennessee: Buddy Holly begins recording sessions
27 Malcolm Vaughan: "With Your Love" [HMV POP 130, charts, UK #18]
 
  Other January Artifacts
  Howlin' Wolf records "Smokestack Lightnin'" [US release March 1956, Enters UK charts in June 1964]
   
 
February JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC  
3 Frankie Vaughan: "My Boy Flat Top" [Philips PB 544, charts, UK #20]
10 Ronnie Hilton: "Young and Foolish" [HMV POP 154, charts, UK #17]
11 Moscow: Maclean and Burgess appear at press conference
16 London: Introduction of bill to end the death penalty
17 Dean Martin: "Memories Are Made of This" [UK #1 for 4 weeks]
Johnnie Ray: "Who's Sorry Now" [Philips PB 546, charts, UK #17]
Max Bygraves: "Ballad of Davy Crockett" [HMV POP 153, charts, UK #20]
  Birmingham: Lew Grade's ATV (Associated Television) begins broadcasting on weekdays in the Midlands.
18 Birmingham: Associated British Corporation (ABC) begins broadcasting on weekends in the Midlands.
24 Frank Chacksfield: "In Old Lisbon" [Decca F 10689, charts, UK #15]
 
  Other February Artifacts
  Lonnie Donegan: "Diggin' My Potatoes" / "Bury My Body" [no chart action]
   
 
March JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC  
2 David Whitfield: "My September Love" [Decca F 10690, charts, UK #3]
9 Eddie Calvert: "Zambesi" [Columbia DB 3747, charts, UK #13]
16 Winifred Atwell: "Poor People of Paris" [Decca F 10681, charts, UK #1]
Jimmy Young: "Chain Gang" [Decca F 10694, charts, UK #9]
21 Delaware, USA: Carl Perkins and brother Jay crash their car on the way to perform on the Perry Como show. Both are severely injured.
23 Lita Roza: "Jimmy Unknown" [Decca F 10679, charts, UK #15]
  Pakistan: The government declares itself the first Islamic republic (but stays within the Commonwealth)
30 Alma Cogan with Desmond Lane: "Willie Can" [HMV POP 187, charts, UK #13]
Michael Holliday: "Nothin' to Do" [Columbia DB 3746, charts, UK #20]
 
  Other March Artifacts
  Elvis Presley: "Heartbreak Hotel" [US re, US #1, UK 5/56, UK #2]
   
 
April JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC  
6 The Dreamweavers: "It's Almost Tomorrow" [UK #1 for 1 week]
Cyril Stapleton: "The Italian Theme" [Decca F 10703, charts, UK #18]
7 Melody Maker: Amsterdam Police stop Lionel Hampton show when teenage fans riot
13 Winifred Atwell: "The Poor People of Paris" [UK #1 for 3 weeks]
Lonnie Donegan: "Rock Island Line" [Decca F 10647, re-charts, UK #16]
Anne Shelton: "Seven Days" [Philips PB 567, charts, UK #20]
Johnston Brothers: "No Other Love" [Decca F 10721, charts, UK #22]
Beverley Sisters: "Willie Can" [Decca F 10705, charts, UK #23]
14 Ampex Corporation demonstrates its first commercial videotape recorder
18 London: Premier Kruschev arrives for talks
20 Ronnie Hilton: "No Other Love" [HMV POP 198, charts, UK #1]
Lonnie Donegan: "Lost John" / "Stewball" [Pye Nixa N 15036, charts, UK #2]
Johnnie Ray: "Ain't Misbehavin'" [Philips PB 580, charts, UK #17]
23 London: Premier Kruschev tells audience the USSR can launch hydrogen bombs on intercontinental missles
   
 
May JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC  
3 Manchester: Granada Television begins weekday broadcasting in northern England.
4 Ronnie Hilton: "No Other Love" [UK #1 for 6 weeks]
5 Manchester: ABC opens television studios for weekend broadcasting [Melody Maker 12 May 1956, p. 2]
8 Royal Court Theatre, London: John Osborne's play, Look Back in Anger opens
11 Elvis Presley: "Heartbreak Hotel" [HMV POP 182, charts, UK #2]
Lonnie Donegan: "Rock Island Line" [Decca F 10647, re-enters, UK #11]
18 Carl Perkins: "Blue Suede Shoes" [London HLU 8271, charts, UK #10]
Winifred Atwell and Frank Chacksfield: "Port au Prince" [Decca F 10727, charts, UK #18]
Dick James: "Robin Hood" / "Ballad of Davy Crockett" [Parlophone R 4117, recharts, UK #29]
25 Elvis Presley: "Blue Suede Shoes" [HMV POP 213, charts, UK #9]
Max Bygraves: "Out of Town" [HMV POP 164, charts, UK #18]
The Three Kayes: "Ivory Tower" [HMV POP 209, charts, UK #20]
 
  Other May Artifacts
  Fats Domino: "I'm in Love Again" [US release, enters UK charts on 27 July 1956]
Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps: "Be-Bop-A-Lula" [rec, re Jun]
   
 
June JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC  
1 Cyril Stapleton Orchestra featuring Desmond Lane, penny whistle: "The Happy Whistler" [Decca F 10735, charts, UK #22]
3 Britain: British Railways eliminates 3rd class travel
8 Jimmy Young: "Wayward Wind" [Decca F 10736, charts, UK #27]
Vera Lynn: "Who Are We" [Decca F 10715, charts, UK #30]
13 Humphrey Lyttelton Band: "Bad Penny Blues" [Parlophone R 4184, charts, UK #19]
15 Pat Boone: "I'll Be Home" [UK #1 for 5 weeks]
Michael Holliday: "Gal with the Yaller Shoes" [Columbia DB 3783, charts, UK #13]
21 Fox Theater, Detroit, Michigan: Lonnie Donegan plays with The Johnny Burnette Rock ’n’ Roll Trio
22 Johnny Dankworth: "Experiments with Mice" [Parlophone R 4185, charts, UK #7]
Michael Holliday: "Hot Diggity" [Columbia DB 3783, charts, UK #14]
Jimmy Young: "Rich Man Poor Man" [Decca F 10736, charts, UK #25]
The Stargazers: "Hot Diggity" [Decca F 10731, charts, UK #28]
29 The Goons: "I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas" / "Bluebottle Blues" [Decca F 10756, charts, UK #4]
Ronnie Hilton: "Who Are We" [HMV POP 221, charts, UK #6]
 
  Other June Artifacts
  Frank Sinatra: Songs for Swinging Lovers [Capitol LCT 6106, charts, UK LP release]
   
 
July JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC  
2 Elvis Presley records "Hound Dog" / "Love Me Tender"
6 Ted Heath: "The Faithful Hussar" [Decca F 10746, charts, UK #18]
Lonnie Donegan: Skiffle Session EP [Pye Nixa 1017, EP charts, UK #20]
10 London: House of Lords rejects bill abolishing the death penalty
13 Alma Cogan: "The Birds and the Bees" [HMV POP 223, charts, UK #25]
Elvis Presley: "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" [HMV POP 235, charts, UK #14]
20 The Teenagers featuring Frankie Lymon: "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" [UK #1 for 3 weeks]
Winifred Atwell: "Left Bank" [Decca F 10762, charts, UK #14]
  London: Britain rescinds promise to help build Aswan Dam with Egypt
25 Nantucket, Massachusttes: Andrea Doria collides with the Stockholm (50 killed)
26 Suez: President Gamal Abdel Nasser seizes and nationalizes the canal
27 Ronnie Carroll: "Walk Hand in Hand" [Philips PB 605, charts, UK #13]
28 Melody Maker: Alexis Korner's "Skiffle or Piffle" appears describing the history of skiffle in Britainand complaining about the commercialization of the genre.
  Suez: Britain mobilizes forces
   
 
August JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC  
1 Britain, France, and US hold talks on the Suez
Lonnie Donegan: "Bring a Little Water, Sylvie" / "Dead or Alive" [UK release]
4 Melody Maker: "Tony Crombie forms Rock and Roll Unit"
10 Doris Day: "Whatever Will Be will Be" [UK #1 for 6 weeks]
Alma Cogan: "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" [HMV POP 223, charts, UK #22]
11 East Hampton, New York: Jackson Pollock dies in an automobile accident
24 Anne Shelton: "Lay Down Your Arms" [Philips PB 616, charts, UK #1]
David Whitfield: "My Son John" [Decca F 10769, charts, UK #22]
Frank Cordell: "Sadie's Shawl" [HMV POP 229, charts, UK #29]
31 Ruby Murray: "You Are My First Love" [Columbia DB 3770, charts, UK #16]
Frank Chacksfield: "Donkey Cart" [Decca F 10743, charts, UK #26]
   
 
September JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC  
7 The Platters: "The Great Pretender" / "Only You" [Mercury MT 117, charts, UK #5]
Lonnie Donegan: "Bring a Little Water Sylvie" / "Dead or Alive" [Pye Nixa N 15071, charts, UK #7]
9 CBS-TV: 54 million Americans watch Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show
11 Portsmouth: Tony Crombie's Rockets premier, "The crowd that issued was sober and sedate, older folk smiling faintly, the younger element contented, perhaps even sated" (Melody Maker, 15 September 1956, p. 9).
12 US, UK, and France announce creation of authority to operate the Suez Canal
14 The Goons: "Bloodnok's Rock 'n' Roll Call" / "Ying Tong Song" [Decca E 10780, charts, UK #13]
19 Suez: Egyptians seize the Canal
21 Anne Shelton: "Lay Down Your Arms" [UK #1 for 4 weeks]
Elvis Presley: "Hound Dog" [HMV POP 249, charts, UK #2]
Ronnie Hilton: "Woman in Love" [HMV POP 248, charts, UK #30]
24 London: Tommy Steele and the Steelmen record, "Rock with the Caveman"
25 First cross-Atlantic phone cable begins service
28 Jimmy Young: "More" [Decca F 10774, charts, UK #4]
Glen Mason: "Glenora" [Parlophone, charts, UK #28]
29 Melody Maker: "Scott in R & R Steele Session" [photo] "New rock 'n' roll singer and guitarist Tommy Steele seen at Decca Studios on Monday, where he waxed two sides. In the background is tenorist Ronnie Scott, a member of the all-star accompanying unit.) [p. 1]
——. "Storm over USAF Men in 'No Fee' Band, 'Matter of Principle,' Say MU Members." American servicemen from Sculthorpe US base are playing two nights a week at the Palm Court Bar, King's Lyn. "Hillbilly music" on Tuesdays; Rock 'n' Roll on Thursdays. [p. 2]
31 David Whitfield" "My Unfinished Symphony" [Decca F 10769, charts, UK #29]
 
  Other September Artifacts
  Fats Domino: "Blueberry Hill" [US release, UK release in November]
   
 
October JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC  
5 Michael Holliday: "Ten Thousand Miles" [Columbia DB 3813, charts, UK #24]
12 Johnnie Ray: "Just Walkin' in the Rain" [Philips PB 580, charts, UK #1]
George Melachrino Orchestra: "Autumn Concerto" [HMV B 10958, charts, UK #18]
14 Cheshunt: Harry Webb (eventually Cliff Richard) recieves his first guitar as a birthday present.
19 Frankie Laine: "A Woman in Love" [UK #1 for 4 weeks]
Tony Crombie and His Rockets: "Teach You to Rock" / "Short'nin' Bread" [Columbia DB 3822, charts, UK #25]
23 Hungary: An anti-Stalinist revolt begins
25 Winifred Atwell: "Make It a Party" [Decca F 10796, charts, UK #7]
26 Tommy Steele and the Steelmen: "Rock with the Caveman" [Decca F 10795, charts, UK #13]
Vera Lynn: "A House with Love in It" [Decca F 10799, charts, UK #17]
Malcolm Vaughan: "St. Therese of the Roses" [HMV POP 250, charts, UK #3]
31 Liverpool: Paul McCartney's mother, Mary, dies of breast cancer
  Egypt: Israel invades Suez Penninsula, Britain and France attempt to retake canal
   
 
November JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC  
2 The Platters: "My Prayer" [Mercury MT 120, charts, UK #4]
4 Hungary: Soviet troops crush the Hungarian Revolution
5 Egypt: British and French attack by air
6 Egypt: British and French cease attacks after rebuke from UN
  Eisenhower wins a second term as President of the United States
9 Frankie Vaughn: "Green Door" [Philips PB 640, charts, UK #2]
Ronnie Hilton: "Two Different Worlds " [HMV POP 274, charts, UK #13]
11 Empire Theatre, Liverpool: Lonnie Donegan performs. Paul McCartney is in the audience.
13 Washington, D.C.: The Supreme Court strikes laws calling for racial segregation on public buses
16 Johnnie Ray: "Just Walkin' in the Rain" [UK #1 for 7 weeks]
Elvis Presley: "Blue Moon" [HMV POP 272, charts, UK #9]
Glen Mason: "Green Door" [Parlophone R 4244, charts, UK #24]
  Suez: Egyptians block canal
23 Alma Cogan: "In the Middle of the House" [HMV POP 261, charts, UK #20]
Elvis Presley: "I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine" [HMV POP 272, charts, UK #29]
30 Tony Brent: "Cindy Oh Cindy" [Columbia DB 3844, charts, UK #16]
Johnston Brothers: "In the Middle of the House" [Decca F 10781, charts, UK #27]
 
  Other November Artifacts
  Premier Kruschev informs Western diplomats that "we will bury you"
   
 
December JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC  
4 London, Finsbury Park Empire: Tommy Steele makes his Variety debut. "...it seemed little short of a miracle that this 19-year-old youth could receive such a rapturous oration for the little musical talent he displayed" [Melody Maker, 8 December 1956, p. 8].
8 Melody Maker: Jeff Kruger (promoter, Tony Crombie): "Since you were last here three months ago, the income of this office has trebled—and it's all due to Rock 'n' Roll," claims Crombie has earned £20,000; "The BBC and ITV can't see further than the ends of their noses. Rock 'n' Roll has an enormous following here, but neither will give it a showing. They are just a bunch of stuffed shirts. They and the cinema managers, who are scared of the name, are not giving the music a fair deal" [p. 3]
——. "Petrol Ration: Many Bands May Fold" [p. 4]
7 Dickie Valentine: "Christmas Island" [Decca F 10798, charts, UK #8]
Johnston Brothers: "Join in and Sing (No. 3)" [Decca F 10814, charts, UK #24]
14 Tommy Steele and the Steelmen: "Singing the Blues" [Decca F 10819, charts, UK #1]
Little Richard: "Rip It Up" [London HLO 8336, first UK chart, UK #30]
21 Lonnie Donegan: Lonnie Donegan Showcase [Pye Nixa NPT 19012, LP charts, UK #26]
  Cuba: Fidel Castro's forces land, are defeated, and begin campaign of guerrilla warfare
24 Suez: British and French troops leave
   

Other 1956 Artifacts
Ian Fleming publishes Diamonds Are Forever
California: First commercial Ampex 8-track tape decks
Los Angeles, California: Rickenbacker introduces its Combo 400 electric guitar
Bubenreuth, West Germany: Karl Höfner Company introduces its 500/1 electro-acoustic "violin" bass.
 
1960s British Rock and Pop Chronology
Before the Flood  1957
This site is a living document. I welcome corrections and suggestions. Gordon Thompson, Department of Music, Skidmore College
Copyright © 1995 6 December, 2006 ; Gordon Thompson