Music's Big Bang Timeline

  • Father of the Blues - W.C.Candy

    Father of the Blues - W.C.Candy
    W.C. Handy story Handy (1873-1958) was a blues composer and musician. He was widely known as the "Father of the Blues" and credited with giving the blues its contemporary form. The 1912 publication of his "Memphis Blues" sheet music introduced his style of 12-bar blues. (
  • First jazz composition ever published

    Jelly Roll Morton's "Jelly Roll Blues" was arguably the first jazz composition ever published, recording as sheet music the New Orleans traditions (Morton claimed to have written it in 1905). Reputed for his arrogance and self-promotion as often as recognized in his day for his musical talents, Morton claimed to have invented jazz outright in 1902 :)
  • Bessie Smith's first session

    Bessie Smith's first session
    Bessie Smith was signed by Columbia Records in 1923 and her first session for Columbia was February 15, 1923. She scored a big hit with her first release, a coupling of "Gulf Coast Blues" and "Downhearted Blues". Columbia nicknamed her "Queen of the Blues," but a PR-minded press soon upgraded her title to "Empress".
  • Invention of the 78 rpm record

    Invention of the 78 rpm record
    Speed of a recordWhen electrical recording was first used in 1925, it was used for the soundtrack of films and so a precise speed was needed to keep in sync with the picture. 78 rpm was chosen as the first standard speed for records, based on calculation made in America and England taking into account type of electricity and speed of electrical motors. This speed allowed approximately 3 minutes to be recorded per side.
  • The great flood of 1927

    The great flood of 1927
    Great Flood of 1927 The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States. The flood affected 10 states, killed 246 people and caused losses of 400 mill USD. The aftermath of the flood was one factor in accelerating the Great Migration of African-Americans to northern cities, particularly Chicago. (
  • Charley Patton first record<

    Charley Patton first record<
    Charley Patton first recordIf the Delta country blues has a convenient source point, it would probably be Charley Patton. His hoarse, impassioned singing style, fluid guitar playing, and unrelenting beat made him king of the Delta blues. Although he was certainly not the first Delta bluesman to record, he quickly became one of the genre's most popular, especially with his first and biggest hit -"Pony Blues".
  • The Great Depression

    The Great Depression
    The Great DepressionThe Great Depression, an immense tragedy that placed millions of Americans out of work, was the beginning of government involvement in the economy and in society as a whole. US was thrown into despair on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the day the stock market crashed - official beginning of the Great Depression. The entrance of the U.S. into World War II that ended the Great Depression.
  • AM Radio became dominant mass-media

    AM Radio became dominant mass-media
    AM Radio became a dominant mass-media in industrialized nations in the world
  • Invention of electric guitar

    Invention of electric guitar
    Invented in 1931 (commercial production began in late summer of 1932), the electric guitar became a necessity as jazz musicians sought to amplify their sound in the big band format. During the 1950s and 1960s, the electric guitar became the most important instrument in pop music. It served as a major component in the development of rock and roll and many other genres of music.
  • Elvis Aaron Presley was born

    Elvis Aaron Presley was born
    Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was an American singer, musician, and actor (but not a composer!!!). Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as "the King of Rock and Roll", or simply, "the King".
  • First recording session of Robert Johnson

    First recording session of Robert Johnson
    King of the Delta Blues Singers King of the Delta Blues Singers is a compilation album by American blues musician Robert Johnson, released in 1961 on Columbia Records. (recordings made in 1936 & 1937) Considered one of the greatest and most influential blues releases ever. In 2003, the album was ranked 27 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Influenced many from Eric Clapton to Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.
  • First "rock'n'roll" song: Good Rockin' Tonight

    First "rock'n'roll" song: Good Rockin' Tonight
    [Listen on YouTube](‎) WynonieHarris's "Good Rockin' Tonight" hits no.1 in R&B and remained on the chart for half a year. The song includes the memorable refrain, "Well I heard the news, there's good rockin' tonight!". The song has been credited with being the most successful record to that point to use the word "rock" not as a euphemism for sex, but as a descriptive for the musical style.
  • New records speed: 33 1/3 rmp

    New records speed: 33 1/3 rmp
    First LP releasedColumbia Records puts the needle down on history’s first successful microgroove plastic, 12-inch, 33-1/3 LPs in New York. Columbia engineer Peter Carl Goldmark set out with his staff in 1939 to evolve the 78-rpm record forward to 33-1/3 rpm, extend playback time to more than 20 minutes per side, and shrink vinyl grooves to an accessible, acceptable millimeter size. They managed to do that in 1948.
  • Chess Record was founded

    Chess Record was founded
    Formed and run by Polish immigrant brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, the company, based in Chicago, Illinois, was the most important indie blues label. It produced and released many important singles and albums, which are now regarded as central to the rock music canon, including those of the Holy Trinity (Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin Wolf)
  • "Rollin' Stone" release

    "Rollin' Stone" release
    "Rollin' Stone" is a blues song recorded by Muddy Waters in 1950. It was the first Muddy Waters record released on Chess Record. English blues rock group The Rolling Stones and the music magazine Rolling Stone took their names from the song.
  • The term "rock and roll"

    The term "rock and roll"
    In 1951, Cleveland, Ohio disc jockey Alan Freed began playing this music style while popularizing the phrase to describe it. This is why The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is in Cleveland,
  • Sun Records is founded

    Sun Records is founded
    Sun Records is an American independent record label founded in Memphis, Tennessee, starting operations on March 27, 1952.Founded by Sam Phillips, Sun Records was notable for discovering and first recording such influential musicians as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.
  • First record of Elvis Presley

    First record of Elvis Presley
    In July 1953, Presley walked into the offices of Sun Records. He aimed to pay for a few minutes of studio time to record a two-sided acetate disc: "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin". He wanted to hear how he sounded on tape, and gave the record to his mother as a late birthday present. Marion Keisker, assistent to Sam Phillips, owner of Sun, noted his name.
  • The transistor

    The transistor
    Texas Instruments introduces first commercial silicon transistor, leading to the first portable radio
  • First official record of Elvis Preasley

    First official record of Elvis Preasley
    Sam Phillips, owner of a small starting label, Sun Records, called Elvis to come to the studio and try recording for him accompanied by Bill Black (bass) & Scotty Moore (guitar). The result of these first recordings was in July 1954 a record That's All Right/Blue Moon of Kentucky. The first song is a classic blues song done in a white way. The second is a bluegrass song performed in a black way.
  • Period: to

    Events of 1955

    First McDonalds opened near Chicago
    First Disneyland opened near Los Angeles
    The Montgomery Bus Boycott, a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation, started on December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person.
  • Debut of Bo Diddley

    Debut of Bo Diddley
    "Bo Diddley" was a hit single that stayed on the R&B charts for a total of 18 weeks, 2 of those weeks at #1. Bo Diddley was known as The Originator because of his key role in the transition from the blues to rock. He introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged electric guitar sound, along with African rhythms and a signature beat.
  • Debut of Chuck Berry

    Debut of Chuck Berry
    Chuck Berry is often called "the father of rock and roll". He was the first great creative artist of the rock and roll era. In May 1955, Berry traveled to Chicago where he met Muddy Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess of Chess Records. So on May 21, 1955 Berry recorded "Maybellene", an adaptation of an old country and western recording, that sold over a million copies, reaching No. 1 on Billboard's R&B chart.
  • Debut of Little Richard

    Debut of Little Richard
    "Tutti Frutti" is first major hit record of Little Richard. With its opening cry of "A-wop-bom-a-loo-mop-a-lomp-bom-bom!" (a verbal rendition of a drum pattern that LR had imagined) and its hard-driving sound and wild lyrics, it became a model for Rock'n'Roll itself.
    For his explosive (piano) music and his charismatic persona that layed the foundation of Rock'n'Roll, LR was nicknames "The Architect of Rock'n'Roll".
  • Elvis Presley move to RCA

    After three major labels made offers of up to $25,000, Colonel Parker (a Dutch-born entertainment impresario, that became special adviser and then managed Elvis's interests) and Phillips struck a deal with RCA Victor on November 21 to acquire Presley's Sun contract for an unprecedented $40,000
  • Blue Suede Shoes

    Blue Suede Shoes
    Carl Perkins became first Sun Record big star when his single "Blue Suede Shoes" was the first million selling country song to cross over to both rhythm and blues and pop charts. The song is considered as one of the first rockabilly (rock and roll) records.
  • Elvis first single for RCA

    Elvis first single for RCA
    "Heartbreak Hotel", the first single Elvis recorded for RCA, topped Billboard's Top 100 chart for seven weeks, was number one on the Country and Western chart and reached number five on the R&B chart, becoming Presley's first million-seller, and one of the best-selling singles of 1956.
  • First album of Elvis

    First album of Elvis
    RCA Victor released Presley's self-titled debut album on March 23. It became the first rock-and-roll album to top the Billboard chart, a position it held for 10 weeks. The 12 tracks on this album were of a broad variety, many of them centrally defining the evolving sound of rock and roll. "He not only injected the tunes with his own vocal character but also made guitar, not piano, the lead instrument", said critics.
  • "Hound Dog" performance by Elvis

    "Hound Dog" performance by Elvis
    Elvis's single pairing "Don't Be Cruel" &"Hound Dog" ruled the top of the charts for 11 weeks (not to be surpassed for 36 years. "Hound Dog" was considered "an emblem of the rock 'n' roll revolution" (Larry Birnbaum) and became Elvis's closing number in concerts. His energetic dance on this song (famous pelvis movements) was attacked as was an "influence on juvenile delinquency"
  • Elvis on Ed Sullivan Show

    Elvis on Ed Sullivan Show
    Although at first Ed Sullivan said he would never want Elvis on his show, Sullivan changed his mind when The Steve Allen Show with Elvis as a guest had about twice as many viewers as Sullivan's show that night. After negotiating with Elvis' manager, Ed Sullivan paid Elvis the huge sum of $50k for appearing on three of his shows. Over 60 million people, both young and old, watched the first show and many people believe it helped bridge the generation gap for Elvis' acceptance into the mainstream.
  • Most potent celebration of rock music on film.

    Most potent celebration of rock music on film.
    "The Girl Can't Help It" is a 1956 musical comedy, intended as a vehicle for the American sex symbol Jayne Mansfield that plays the titular role. The unintended result: the movie has been called the "most potent" celebration of rock music ever captured on film. The title song was performed by Little Richard.
  • First hit of Jerry Lee Lewis

    First hit of Jerry Lee Lewis
    "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" was the hit that shot Jerry Lee Lewis to fame worldwide.
    Jerry, nicknamed "The Killer", is often viewed as "rock & roll's first great wild man". As a pianist, he always complained because he had to sit down during his shows. Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash suggested him to stand up. Jerry Lee accepted their advice. So he started to kick the chairs, to go up on the keyboards and even to burn pianos.
  • Debut of Buddy Holly and the Crickets

    Debut of Buddy Holly and the Crickets
    "That'll Be The Day" is the first, and probably the most well known song of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. The success of the band last only one year and a half, due to Buddy Holly's death in a plane crash, Holly is described by critic Bruce Eder as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll". Their works influenced many groups, including The Beatles.
  • Jailhouse Rock - one of most important movies of Elvis

    Jailhouse Rock - one of most important movies of Elvis
    "Jailhouse Rock" was one of the most important of the 33 movies in that Elvis played. It premiered on October 17, 1957 in Memphis, Tennessee. It peaked at number 3 on the Variety box office chart, and reached number 14 in the year's box office totals, grossing $4 million. "Jailhouse Rock" earned mixed reviews, with most of the negative reception directed towards Presley's persona.
  • Johnny Cash perform concerts in prisons

    Johnny Cash perform concerts in prisons
    Johnny Cash first prison concert was on January 1, 1958. Such performances led to a pair of highly successful live albums, JC at Folsom Prison (1968) and JC at San Quentin (1969). The Folsom Prison record was introduced by a rendition of his "Folsom Prison Blues", while the San Quentin record included the crossover hit single "A Boy Named Sue", that reached No. 1 on the country charts and No. 2 on the U.S. Top Ten pop charts.
  • Elvis drafted by the army

    Elvis drafted by the army
    Presley reported for his induction in the army on March 24 1958. Fans were upset, but parents and teachers were ecstatic. Presley had been, in their opinion, a menace to society. He served in Germany. On March 5 1960, Presley was officially discharged from active duty. During his service Presley's mother, Gladys, died of a heart attack. Presley was deeply affected by her death and would never fully recover. Also, during his time in Germany, he would meet his future wife Priscilla Beaulieu.
  • Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode

    Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode
    "Johnny B. Goode" was a major hit among both black and white audiences peaking at #2 on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides chart and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later, the song was ranked as No. 1 in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time".
  • The Day the Music Died

    The Day the Music Died
    "The Day the Music Died" is the day in that rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson died in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, on February 3, 1959. Pilot Roger Peterson was also killed. Don McLean song "American Pie" is recounting the story of that day.
  • Personality reach No 1 in Billboard Hot R&B

    Personality reach No 1 in Billboard Hot R&B
    "Personality" reached No 1 in Billboard Hot R&B and also No. 2 for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and became one of Lloyd Price's most popular crossover hits. I loved this song, long before knowing anything about Lloyd Price, the composer and singer of this, so this is why I included it in my personal timeline.
  • The Beatles got their name

    The Beatles got their name
    The Beatles was an English rock band that formed in Liverpool, in August 1960, including John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison. They worked with some drummers, before Ringo Starr joined the group, two years later. They became widely regarded as the greatest and most influential act of the rock era.
  • Hello, Dolly! by Louis Armstrong

    Hello, Dolly! by Louis Armstrong
    Louis Armstrong's "Hello, Dolly!" reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, ending Beatles' streak of 3 number-one hits in a row over 14 consecutive weeks and becoming the biggest hit of Armstrong's career, followed by a gold-selling album of the same name. The song made Armstrong the oldest artist to hit #1 on the Hot 100 in the rock era.
  • "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison

    "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison
    "Oh, Pretty Woman" is most likely the greatest success of Roy Orbison, partly due to the film with the same name. The song spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold seven million copies.
  • Death of Elvis Preasley

    Death of Elvis Preasley
    While in Germany, Presley began to become dependent on stimulants & barbiturates. These drugs, and more importantly the drugs they would lead onto, would eventually contribute to Presley's death at age 42. Commercially successful in many genres (pop, blues, gospel), he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music (estimated album sales of 600 million units worldwide). He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won three + the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.