Lewis Buggs and His Combo, featuring Prince Rogers at the piano for your dancing pleasure, appeared at the Ebony Social Club in the Kistler Building, January 7-9, 1955.
Tiny Bradshaw and His Orchestra appeared at the Ebony Social Club in the Kistler Building, January 28, 1955.
Bud’s Music Center, 820 Excelsior Blvd. in Hopkins, opened in February 1955.
Tex Beneke appeared at the Prom Ballroom on March 23, 1955.
Anita O’Day appeared at the Flame Cafe on Nicollet on March 30, 1955.
An April Echo reported that Bermuda shorts were a big fad for guys. The Trib posed the question “Why do men wear Bermuda shorts on campus?” in a May article. A follow-up in a September Echo said that they were still popular for girls and guys.
And speaking of Bermuda shorts, Augie Garcia’s “Hi Yo Silver” is believed to be the first rock ‘n’ roll record made in Minnesota. Vic Tedesco says it sold 150,000 copies. Click on the link to see much more about the “Godfather of Minnesota Rock.”
Bill Haley’s Comets appeared at the Prom Ballroom on April 6 (teenage only) and April 9 (general public), 1955. This is significant because it was before “Blackboard Jungle” had hit Minneapolis, and there probably weren’t many who knew who he was. In fact, it was “Shake, Rattle and Roll” that was included in the ad, not “Rock Around the Clock.” Also on the bill was Henry Charles and his Orchestra.
A big Easter Cabaret Dance was held at Elks’ Rest on April 10, 1955, featuring Howard Brown’s Band. It was a benefit for the Elks Drum and Bugle Corps.
Dick and Don Maw presented Woody Herman in his first concert in Minneapolis at the Lyceum Theater on April 11, 1955. Also on the bill was Carmen MacRae. Besides promoting jazz concerts, brothers Dick (sax) and Don (drums) also had their own 12 piece band.
The Four Lads appeared at the Prom Ballroom on May 6, 1955.
The Lionel Hampton Orchestra and Revue appeared at the Kato Ballroom on April 13, 1955.
Eddy Arnold and the Jordanaires came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 8 and 9, 1955.
Duke Ellington performed at Northrop Auditorium on May 20, 1955. All proceeds went to build a student union on the St. Paul campus.
The Leon Lewis Combo had an extended engagement at Del’s Orchid Club.
Count Basie appeared at the Flame Cafe in Minneapolis on June 7-9, 1955.
Webb Pierce with his Wondering Boys and Red Sovine appeared at the Prom Ballroom on June 18, 1955.
Buddy Rich came to the Minneapolis Flame Cafe from July 13-25, 1955.
Illinois Jacquet “Rhythm & Blues King” and His 7 Piece Band appeared at the Flame in Minneapolis on July 26, 1955.
Ray Anthony and His Chesterfield Orchestra appeared at the Prom Ballroom on July 29, 1955.
The Modern Jazz Quartet appeared in the Walker Art Center Courtyard on August 2, 1955.
The movie “The Wild One” must have been the inspiration for the song “Black Denim Trousers,” written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller and sung by the Cheers, which hit the Billboard pop chart in September 1955. (The Cheers included Bert Convy, later of game show fame). WDGY played a version by someone named Jackie Brooks, and the song was also covered by Vaughn Monroe, of all people, that November. That fall the Echo reported that biker gear was gaining popularity in the high schools.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond was brought to the Lyceum Theater on October 9, 1955 by Dick and Don Maw.
On October 17, 1955, the St. Paul Dispatch published the Best Selling Pop Records:
- “Yellow Rose of Texas” by Satirist Stan Freberg. Freberg was having fun with rock ‘n’ roll. Back in 1952 he’d done a number on Johnnie Ray’s “Cry,” renamed “Try.” His “Yellow Rose of Texas,” done in a “swing march,” reached #16 on the charts. He would go on to record his versions of “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hound Dog,” but found that pretty soon rock ‘n’ roll got so goofy that it was hard to make it much goofier. Try satirizing “The Martian Hop.”
- “I Hear You Knockin'” by Gale Storm (original by Smiley Lewis, later done by Fats Domino)
- “Moments to Remember” by the Four Lads
Mantovani and his “New Music” and 45 piece orchestra came to Northrop Auditorium on October 26.
There was still no full time rock ‘n’ roll radio station, but rock ‘n’ roll was in the air. Take for example the Show of Shows! at the Grand Theater in November 1955 (Adults Only). Plus… Home Town Girl featuring Brownskin Models, Peachy Pinups – a Rocking ‘N Rolling Burlesque.
The Four Lads appeared at the Prom Ballroom on November 5, 1955.
Johnny Desmond appeared at the Prom Ballroom on November 11, 1955.
Pee Wee King appeared at the Prom Ballroom on November 24, 1955.
Eddy Howard appeared at the Prom Ballroom on November 25, 1955.
Les Elgart appeared at the Prom Ballroom on December 4, 1955. He also appeared at the Kato Ballroom on December 7.
James Moody and His Orchestra appeared at the Ebony Social Club in the Kistler Building on December 30, 1955.