1954: Our Nominees for the Hall of Songs

We continue to fill up the pool of nominees as we reach 1954. Here is our next set of nominees for the Hall of Songs.

Smack in the middle of 1954, a young man from Memphis records his first single late at night during a session at Sun Records. That single, a cover of Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right,” causes a fervor in Memphis and makes a name of its singer, Elvis Presley.

While Elvis’ origin story casts a large shadow over 1954, it’s not just him making noise. In fact, 1954 is the year doo-wop really steps up and becomes a force in pop music. Two hits specifically – “Sh’Boom” and “Mr. Sandman” – prove mightiest as massive hits on the pop charts.

With all this shifting on the charts, that means the era of the big-selling, old-school pop vocalist is beginning to end. The most popular names in pop heading into 1954 are Tony Bennett, Perry Como, and Eddie Fisher, and their fortunes are soon to change. Meanwhile another major vocalist of the last 15 years, Frank Sinatra, is about to see his career take a major shift in a good way.

We talk about all of that and more in our 1954 episode of Hall of Songs.

Our 1954 nominees:

  • I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” as performed by Muddy Waters
    • Written by Willie Dixon, recorded January 1954, released January 1954
  • Work With Me Annie” as performed by Hank Ballard & His Midnighters
    • Written by Hank Ballard, recorded January 1954, released February 1954
  • Sh’Boom” as performed by The Chords
    • Written by James Keyes, Claude Feaster, Carl Feaster, Floyd F. McRae, recorded March 1954, released spring 1954
  • Shake, Rattle and Roll” as performed by Big Joe Turner
    • Written by Jesse Stone (as Charles F. Calhoun), recorded February 1954, released April 1954
  • That’s All Right” as performed by Elvis Presley
    • Written by Arthur Crudup, recorded July 1954, released July 1954
  • Earth Angel” as performed by The Penguins
    • Written by Curtis Williams, Jesse Belvin, Gaynel Hodge, recorded August 1954, released October 1954
  • Hearts of Stone” as performed by The Charms
    • Written by Eddie Ray and Rudy Jackson, recorded fall 1954, released fall 1954
  • Mr. Sandman” as performed by The Chordettes
    • Written by Pat Ballard, recorded fall 1954, released November 1954

Check out the full episode to learn more about these songs and why they’re so great, and come back on April 4, 2021, when we discuss our nominees from 1955.

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