Remember These 50s Music Legends? Test Your Skills!

By: Rebecca Curran
Published: Tuesday, April 2, 2024
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The 1950s is the classic decade of American culture and society. Some would go as far as to say that it was the most American era. The drive-in was lit up with the latest giant monster flick,  the radio was alive with the birth of Rock ’n’ Roll, and the entire world was hopping to the beat after the end of World War II. The 50s has never left America’s popular imagination and the music from the decade is just as good today as it way nearly 70 years ago!

The 50s had all the artists that would go on to shape the world of music to this very day. Dean, “The King of Cool,” Martin had America swooning with his songs and legendary charisma. Musicians like Buddy Holly with his hit “Peggy Sue” set the groundwork for everything from the Beetles to Weezer. It wasn’t all Rock ’n’ Roll establishing the 50s as American’s most iconic era for music. Country was booming with legendary acts like Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and George Jones brought American country music to the international stage and turned a rural genre into a national mainstay. Country didn’t go unchanged, however. The popularity of Rock ’n’ Roll changed music across the spectrum.

The 50s Saw the birth of a new category of music known as Rockabilly. “Rockabilly” is a portmanteau of the “Rock” from Rock ’n’ Roll and the “billy” from the word Hillbilly. Again, owing to Rock’s influence, American Hillbilly music adopted a more rockin’ beat and a catchier sound. Musicians like Carl Perkins, Bill Halley, and the iconic Johnny Cash made Rockabilly the music genre for tough greasers from coast to coast. There is one musician that combines all of these traits and, perhaps more than any other, embodies what 1950s American music was all about.

Elvis Presley, The King of Rock and Roll, reigned over American music in the 50s. His unique approaching to blending Rock, Country, Rockabilly, and the then trendy Hawaiian sound kept him at the forefront of American music until his tragic death in 1977. While the King may have had humble beginnings in Tupelo, Mississippi, he was destined for international fame. In a way, he embodied the 50s more than any other musician of that decade. Elvis was simultaneously an icon of picket fence America and a beacon for controversy.

The 50s, like Elvis, is both the picture of nostalgic America and a lightning rod for change. The Cold War and beginning of the Civil Rights Movement took the country through a rapid, and at times chaotic, period of change. Ray Charles, Eliza Fitzgerald, and James Brown broke new ground for African American musicians and pushed the envelope in ways we can still feel today.

It’s time to turn on the radio and see what America was rocking to in the 1950s! Put your music trivia skills to the test and see if you can answer all of these Rock and Roll questions!