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History of Technology of Music

This file updated 14 October 2014

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1951

1951: Birth year of KISS musician, Paul Ace Freshley.

1951: Composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in Germany helps found Studio for Electronic Music of the West German Radio. Experiments follow in producing sound by purely electronic means, such as sound generators and oscillators.


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1951: (From one of HotM's favourite emailers) I would say "Black" rock and roll started in 1951 in the US. (See 1955 below.)

1952

1952: Sam Phillips founds Sun Records in 1952 in Memphis, Tennessee, located at 706 Union Avenue. This recording studio measures only thirty by eighteen feet and is leased by Phillips for $150 per month. His main reason and goal for starting Sun Records is to record Rhythm and Blues singers along with Country and Western artists. Phillips began his career by working for several radio stations and being a record producer for his record label Phillips Records. When he began his career, working with a star like Elvis Presley was only a dream.
The name Sun Records and the name Elvis Presley are two names that belong together. Robert Burnett once said the following: "Sun Records was the creation of Sam Phillips, who nurtured and cajoled his musicians into developing the Sun sound. In doing so he ensured a place in the history books as one of the discoverers of rock 'n' roll music."

28 October 1952: Possibly the first electronic music concert in US is held at Museum of Modern Art in New York, by Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky. These two composers continued to collaborate, using live musicians plus electronically-sourced music, and both worked as co-directors of Columbia-Princeton Center for Electronic Music.

1952: Harry F. Olson, Musical Engineering. New York, 1952.

new1.gif - 3972 Bytes1953: R. L. Eby, Electric Organs. Wheaton, Illinois, 1953.


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1952-1953: Sam Phillips founds the Sun Records label in Memphis, Tennessee, and produced Presley's first record in 1954. Phillips was also credited with launching the careers of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis, sparking the beginning of the rock and roll era. He died 2003 at the St Francis Hospital but no other details of his death have been released. Previously a radio announcer and music talent scout, Phillips started Sun Records in 1952 at the now legendary Sun Studio, where the motto was "We Record Anything, Anywhere, Anytime". He was keen to take on musicians with no formal training, mainly working with black artists including BB King and Rufus Thomas. Sun got its first national R'n' B hit in 1953 with Thomas' Bear Cat.

When a young Presley went to the studios to record two songs for his mother's birthday, Phillips recognised his raw talent and signed him up. Realising the market already had enough crooners in the mould of Tony Bennett and Perry Como, Phillips wanted Presley to draw on their shared love of rhythm and blues and black music. "He was a very unusual-sounding person so I had to make sure we didn't go down the beaten path", said Phillips. I Forgot to Remember to Forget - Elvis's last single for Sun and first for RCA - went to number one in the country charts.

Other artists who recorded on the Sun label were Carl Perkins, Conway Twitty and Charlie Rich. Phillips sold Sun Records in 1969 and later oversaw operations at the WLVS radio station in Memphis, while Sun Studio exists as a tourist attraction. Phillips was elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. His sons Knox and Jerry are also record producers.

1952: Gibson Guitars introduces its own solid-body guitar, the Les Paul model. (Chronology of electric guitar)


1953

You can find an excellent music-and-recording history timeline at (Error 500 - can't connect): http://history.acusd.edu/gen/recording/notes.html

1954

1954: (Reported 3 July 2004): The Fender Stratocaster guitar has its 50th birthday about now - as invented by radio repairman Leo Fender, and by now perhaps the most recognisable guitar in use for popular music. A guitar professor at University of Southern California says "From a technical standpoint, it was a genius invention because it's absolutely practical - it moulds into the [player's] body perfectly. As soon as you hold one, it embraces you." In early 1954, Fender had a business in Los Angeles, after tinkering with improving amplified hollow-body instruments sine the late 1940s. His first solid-body guitars, including the Telecaster Broadcaster, were made from 1951. The Stratocaster, with "simple, built-in electronics", was sold from September 1954 and quickly became popular with musicians playing styles from rock to jazz to classical. Experts say, no two Strats sound alike, and they can produce a remarkable variety of sounds. Now, Fender Strats are made at the Fender plant in Corona, near Los Angeles. A replica of the first Strat made now sells for around US$5400. At charity auctions held before mid-2004, A Strat played by Eric Clapton on some of his bigger hits sold for US$959,000 and one played by Stevie Ray Vaughan sold for US$623,000.

1954: Bill Haley issues classic record, Rock Around The Clock.

1954: Publication of R. H. Dorf, Electronic Musical Instruments. New York, 1954.


1954 is birth year of Australian singer Mark Holden.


First week of July 2004: And 1954: Radio stations around the world (and including in Australia) by way of marking the 50th birthday of a musical revolution evidently believe that Rock 'n' Roll began with the Elvis Presley rendition of That's All Right, Mama. So be it.


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1954: Sun Records is looking for a very special type of voice. Sam Phillips of Sun Records thought that he could make a million dollars if he could find a white singer with a Negro sound and a negro feeling. Phillips searched hard to find that special person. The day came in 1954 when Elvis Presley cut his first record That's All Right. This was the beginning of a career for Elvis Presley who later became known as "The King of Rock 'n' Roll." It also was the beginning of the famous record company known as Sun Records.
Elvis Presley's debut recording for Sun Records -- a cover of Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right (Momma too)" paired with a hopped-up version of Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" -- forever changed the landscape of popular music and an entire generation of Americans. The sparse-but-driving instrumentation provided by Presley's Blue Moon Boys defined the rockabilly style and served as the template for rock `n' roll. Nearly every major performer who has followed Presley cites him as an influence, including Bob Dylan, who once stated that his career goal was "to be bigger than Elvis." From austere beginnings in Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley became one of the world's most famous - and beloved - entertainers of all time. His exquisite voice combined with striking good looks and animal magnetism drove young women wild and caused consternation among their parents - as a website says.
Phillips once said the following: "I knew Elvis was going to be big, but I never knew he'd be that big!" If Phillips would have chosen a career other than the one he chose, the birth of rock 'n' roll would have been prolonged. Not only would have the birth of rock 'n' roll have been prolonged, the birth of The King would have never occurred. The recording technology of Sun Records and Sam Phillips left a lasting impact on the history of America (as a website says).

1954: Elvis Presley captures the hearts and spirits of American teenagers, to the extent, that 20 years and more after his death in 1977 at age 42, his legend continues to hold them hostage. Each year millions of fans make a pilgrimage to his antebellum Memphis mansion, Graceland, to savour the life of this entertainment icon.

1954: (and 3 July 2004): The Fender Stratocaster guitar has its 50th birthday about now - as invented by radio repairman Leo Fender, and by now perhaps the most recognisable guitar in use for popular music. A guitar professor at University of Southern California says... “From a technical standpoint, it was a genius invention because it's absolutely practical - it moulds into the [player's] body perfectly. As soon as you hold one, it embraces you...” In early 1954, Fender had a business in Los Angeles, after tinkering with improving amplified hollow-body instruments since the late 1940s. His first solid-body guitars, including the Telecaster Broadcaster, were made from 1951. The Stratocaster, with simple, built-in electronics, was sold from September 1954 and quickly became popular with musicians playing styles from rock to jazz to classical. Experts say that no two Strats sound quite alike, and they can produce a remarkable variety of sounds. Now, Fender Strats are made at the Fender plant in Corona near Los Angeles. A replica of the first Strat made now sells for around US$5400. At charity auctions held before mid-2004, a Strat played by Eric Clapton on some of his bigger hits sold for US$959,000 and one played by Stevie Ray Vaughan sold for US$623,000.

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1954: Patent application is made in 1954 for the Fender Stratocaster, a model later popularized by guitar legends such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton (Chronology of electric guitar)

1954: Bill Haley issues classic record, Rock Around The Clock.


1954: (Reported 3 July 2004: The Fender Stratocaster guitar has its 50th birthday about now - as invented by radio repairman Leo Fender, and by now perhaps the most recognisable guitar in use for popular music. A guitar professor at University of Southern California says "From a technical standpoint, it was a genius invention because it's absolutely practical - it moulds into the [player's] body perfectly. As soon as you hold one, it embraces you." In early 1954, Fender had a business in Los Angeles, after tinkering with improving amplified hollow-body instruments sine the late 1940s. His first solid-body guitars, including the Telecaster Broadcaster, were made from 1951. The Stratocaster, with "simple, built-in electronics", was sold from September 1954 and quickly became popular with musicians playing styles from rock to jazz to classical. Experts say, no two Strats sound alike, and they can produce a remarkable variety of sounds. Now, Fender Strats are made at the Fender plant in Corona, near Los Angeles. A replica of the first Strat made now sells for around US$5400. At charity auctions held before mid-2004, A Strat played by Eric Clapton on some of his bigger hits sold for US$959,000 and one played by Stevie Ray Vaughan sold for US$623,000.

1955

In review: David Rosenthal, Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music, 1955-1965. 1992.

In review: Joe Goldberg, Jazz Masters of the Fifties. 1983.

fire.gif - 12205 Bytes1955: (From one of HotM's favourite emailers) I would say, "White" rock and roll started in 1955 in the US. (See 1951 above)

1956

1956: Professional stage cry-baby Johnnie Ray issues hit, Just Walkin' In The Rain.

1956: Little Richard issues hit single, Long Tall Sally.

1956: Stockhausen produces another work of electronic music, Gesang der Jinglinge. Perhaps usefully blending two schools of thought, mingling sonic material, concrete music (musique concrete) and/or electronic sound generation.

1956: Professional stage cry-baby Johnnie Ray issues hit, Just Walkin' In The Rain.

1957

1957: Probable first-ever computer-generated composition, the Illiac Suite, by Lejaren Hiller and Leonard Isaacson, named after the Illiac computer at University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign. The notes were composed by a computer but played by a traditional string quartet.


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Late 1950s: Computers enter the early electronic music scene. Experimentation moves in two directions, computer sound synthesis or computer-generated sound; and computer-assisted composition, which involves computer-generated music or algorithmic composition. At times, such productions were transcribed into ordinary notation and then played by live musicians.
See a huge book, Christopher Yavelow, MacWorld: Music and Sound Bible: The Definitive Guide to Music, Sound and Multimedia on the Mac. (Foreword by Herbie Hancock) San Mateo, California, IDG Books International, 1992.

Graphic from Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here
The music business is
not for amateurs, as
Pink Floyd once told us
(Wish You Were Here)

1957: Elvis Presley releases hit, Jailhouse Rock.

1957: Year that later-Beatles Paul McCartney and John Lennon first begin composing songs together. Up to 100 songs written before they are "noticed", including Like Dreamers Do and Hello Little Girl.

1957: Little Richard issues hit single, Lucille.

1957: Little Richard in US issues hit single, Lucille.

1957: Little Richard issues hit single, Lucille.

1957: Chuck Berry issues hit single, School Days.

1957: Jerry Lee Lewis issues unforgettable hit, Great Balls of Fire.

1957: Little Richard issues hit single, Lucille.


1957: Chuck Berry issues hit single, School Days.


1957: Jerry Lee Lewis issues unforgettable hit, Great Balls of Fire.


1958

1958: So early in career, Elvis Presley issues album, Elvis' Golden Records.

1958: Early rocker Jerry Lee Lewis releases High School Confidential.

1958: Beatles at Phillips Sound Recording Service, Liverpool, record That'll Be The Day and In Spite Of All The Danger.


1958: So early in career, Elvis Presley issues album, Elvis' Golden Records.


1958: Early rocker Jerry Lee Lewis releases High School Confidential.


1958: Carl Stalling from 1936-1958, retiring in 1958, was a composer working for Warner Brothers, providing music for Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies cartoons. Stalling's work in early 2005, as the show Bugs Bunny on Broadway is being promoted, is now being described as “striking, brilliantly arranged, clever, witty, daring, adventurous, musically exciting and “unbelievably complicated”. In 30 years, Stalling in 30 years wrote more than 2500 scores about 7-8 minutes long, associating with arranger Milt Franklyn. (The score for every Warner Bros. cartoon was written from scratch.)


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1959

1959: As a probable first, Max Mathews at Bell Telephone Laboratories in US works on computer sound synthesis, producing his MUSIC4 software. In 1961, James Tenney as composer-in-residence at Bell Labs uses MUSIC4 software to write his Stochastic String Quartet. MUSIC4 software was updated to MUSIC4B then to MUSIC5 by J. K. Randall and Hubert Howe. Bell Labs continued to work with composers.

1959: Australian singer Col Joye issues hit single, Bye Bye Baby.

1959: Jazz maestro Miles Davis issues album Kind of Blue.

1959: Australian singer Col Joye issues hit single, Bye Bye Baby.


1959: Jazz maestro Miles Davis issues album Kind of Blue.



You can find an excellent music-and-recording history timeline at: http://history.acusd.edu/gen/recording/notes.html

1960

1960: In Hamburg, Astrid Kirchher photographs The Beatles: Pete Best, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Stuart Sutcliffe... "just a band that made it very very big" - in the words of John Lennon.

1960: Beatles' home recordings include songs, Hallelujah I Love Her So, You'll Be Mine (influence from the Ink Spots?) and Cayenne (instrumental by Paul).


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For useful lists of songs songs songs by year. etc – and very impressive – see compilations at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Songs_by_year





View these domain stats begun 18 December 2005





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