Great balls of fire: Popular music in the 1950’s, Part 5 – 1954

This programme is part of the series Great Balls of Fire
Bill Haley and his Comets
Bill Haley and his Comets (© Flickr/Dusan Savic)

In this nine-part radio essay, Pete Myers tells the stories behind the music and the people that created the sounds of the 1950’s. This was the decade in which rock ‘n roll burst upon the world, but it was also a time of memorable recordings by the likes of B.B. King and Nat King Cole, of Edith Piaf and Mario Lanza, Patti Page and Frank Sinatra. It was also a decade of outstanding instrumental and popular orchestra music from such stars as Mantovani and Henry Mancini.

Part 5 – 1954: This year made music history with not one, but two explosive hits by Bill Haley and his Comets: “Shake, Rattle and Roll” and “Rock Around the Clock”, which sold millions around the world. But there was also Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, whose “Walk with me, Annie” was the Rhythm ‘n’ Blues disc of the year. But let’s not forget the lovely, lovable Four Aces singing “Three Coins in the Fountain” and the Crew Cuts voicing their unusual “Sh-boom”.

Producer: Pete Myers

Broadcast: February 22, 1991

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