Great balls of fire: Popular music in the 1950’s, Part 7 – 1956

This programme is part of the series Great Balls of Fire
In 1956 Harry Belafonte’s Calypso was the first full-length gramophone LPs to sell over one million copies. (© Flickr/Lawren)

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 7 – 1956: An astounding year in a monumental decade of music: Elvis Presley releases his first platinum success in the now iconic “Heartbreak Hotel”, Johnny Cash records “I Walk the Line”, Fats Domino goes on to record his sixteenth and seventeenth million-selling hits (including “Blueberry Hill”), James Brown makes his biggest breakthrough yet, Chuck Berry tells Beethoven to roll over, Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby find “True Love”, Doris Day sings “Que, Sera Sera”, and ….. Harry Belafonte is crowned “King of the Calypso” upon the release of his calypso LP and its famous “Banana Boat Song”.

Producer: Pete Myers

Broadcast: March 9, 1991

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