Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson's Atlantic Records has its first major hit with Ruth Brown's "Teardrops From My Eyes"
The Fender Esquire guitar is released; it is the first "mass-produced, solid body electric guitar"
1950s music timeline
The Clovers' "Don't You Know I Love You" is the first in a string of hits created under the guidance of Jesse Stone, who innovated what became known as the "Atlantic sound" in rhythm and blues.
William Warfield and Muriel Rahn become the first African American concert artists to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show
Kitty Wells' "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels", an answer song to Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life", is the beginning of the era of female country stars.[
Johnny Ray's "Cry" is the first song by a white rhythm and blues singer to top both the pop and R&B charts
The Dixie Hummingbirds' "Let's Go Out to the Programs" becomes a major hit, their signature song and a classic piece of gospel.
Elvis Presley records his first songs, "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin". These records would introduce Presley to Sam Phillips, who worked for Sun Records.
Elvis Presley records "That's All Right (Mama)" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky", both breakthrough recordings that launched his career and helped bring African American musical techniques to white audiences
Mahalia Jackson becomes the first gospel performer with her own television show, the Mahalia Jackson Show, on CBS
Elvis Presley's "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" is a major hit that establishes Presley as a country star.
Chuck Berry records "Maybellene" with Jerome Green and Willie Dixon. This song, along with Bo Diddley's "Bo Diddley" and "Pretty Thing", popularize the use of the guitar as the "focal instrument" of rhythm and blues.
Elvis Presley first performs on network television, on CBS's Stage Show, making him the "hottest act in show business" at the time
"Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins becomes a massive success and is the "first million-selling triple-play crossover (to move) from the top of the country charts, to those of rhythm & blues, and then pop"
Tommy Sands' "Teen-Age Crush" is a surprise hit after being used in the television play Singing Idol, loosely based on Elvis Presley.
Legendary gospel singer Sam Cooke releases "You Send Me", a secular song that marks the beginning of his transition into a pop singer.
The Grammy Awards are first instituted to recognize popular performers, as voted on by the United States National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
The Chantels' "Maybe" is the first of many songs from the next few years to cross "over into the mainstream and (establish) the commercial viability of 'girl groups' in the music industry"
Berry Gordy forms Motown Records, which will be among the most influential (record labels) in American popular music, and the first African American-owned label to reach great success in the American pop market
Ritchie Valens, the first Latin rock star who had a hit with an English version of a Mexican huapango, "La Bamba", dies in a plane crash with the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly, also both popular rock stars. It will become known as the Day the Music Died.
Elvis Presley is discharged from the Army and hosts a television show with Frank Sinatra, revitalizing both men's careers
Elvis Presley's "His Hand in Mine" is a landmark recording that helps define the field of white gospel.