1954 in country music

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This is a list of notable events in country music that took place in the year 1954.

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Events[edit]

  • January 4 — Elvis Presley records a 10-inch acetate demo at the Memphis Recording Studio; the two songs are "Casual Love Affair" and "I'll Never Stand In Your Way."[1]
  • February 20 — "Slowly" by Webb Pierce becomes the first No. 1 song on Billboard's country charts to feature the pedal steel guitar. Soon, many of country music's great songs would feature the pedal steel guitar.
  • June 19 — Top recording "I Don't Hurt Anymore" by Hank Snow begins 20 week run at #1 on Best Seller list. "One by One" by Red Foley and Kitty Wells begins 21 week run at #2 on same chart, managing a single week at No. 1 later in the year. For most of the summer and fall, "I Don't Hurt Anymore" holds "One By One" out of the top spot.
  • July 17 — Ozark Jubilee debuts (on radio) as a weekly live broadcast over KWTO-AM. On August 7, ABC Radio begins carrying 25 minutes of the program nationally, hosted by Red Foley.
  • July 6 — Elvis Presley releases his first single, "That's All Right"/"Blue Moon of Kentucky." A month later, Billboard gives the song a positive review, with the reviewer calling Presley a "strong new talent," and by September is a No. 1 hit in Memphis.[2]
  • October 2 — Elvis Presley makes his one and only appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, and is supposedly told to "go back to driving a truck in Memphis." Two weeks later, he has the last laugh, debuting on the Louisiana Hayride and is soon making regular appearances.
  • November 13 — A Billboard disc jockey poll reports that disc jockeys are playing 11 percent country on radio stations, compared to 42 percent pop and 5 percent rhythm and blues.[3]
  • November 20 — Bartenders in Hammond, Indiana request that disc jockeys at WJOB radio stop playing Ferlin Husky's "The Drunken Driver," about an intoxicated driver who causes a crash that kills two children; the song "is hurting business," the union claimed.[4]

No dates[edit]

Presley was one of several artists who make their earliest recordings for Sun Records. Late in the year, Johnny Cash records two songs he wrote, "Wide Open Road" and "You're My Baby."

Top hits of the year[edit]

Number one hits[edit]

United States[edit]

(as certified by Billboard)

Date Single name Artist Wks. No.1 Notes
January 19 Bimbo Jim Reeves 3 [2]
February 20 Slowly Webb Pierce 17
February 20 Wake Up, Irene Hank Thompson and His Brazo Valley Boys 2
May 15 I Really Don't Want to Know Eddy Arnold 1
June 12 (Oh Baby Mine) I Get So Lonely Johnnie & Jack 2 [A]
June 19 I Don't Hurt Anymore Hank Snow (The Singing Ranger) and His Rainbow Ranch Boys 20 [1]
July 3 Even Tho Webb Pierce 2
July 31 One By One Red Foley and Kitty Wells 1
November 6 More and More Webb Pierce 10 [2]
Notes
  • 1^ No. 1 song of the year, as determined by Billboard.
  • 2^ Song dropped from No. 1 and later returned to top spot.
  • A^ Only Billboard No. 1 hit for that artist.
Note: Several songs were simultaneous No. 1 hits on the separate "Most Played in Juke Boxes," "Most Played by Jockeys" and "Best Sellers in Stores" charts.

Other major hits[edit]

US Single Artist
8 As Far as I'm Concerned Red Foley and Betty Foley
2 Back Up Buddy Carl Smith
15 Backward, Turn Backward Pee Wee King
9 Beware of "It" Johnnie & Jack
9 Bimbo Pee Wee King
10 Breakin' the Rules Hank Thompson
14 Call Me Up (And I'll Come Calling On You) Marty Robbins
4 Changing Partners Pee Wee King
9 Cheatin's a Sin Kitty Wells
12 Christmas Can't Be Far Away Eddy Arnold
3 Courtin' in the Rain T. Texas Tyler
4 Cry, Cry, Darling Jimmy C. Newman
7 Dog-Gone It, Baby, I'm in Love Carl Smith
4 Don't Drop It Terry Fell
9 A Fooler, A Faker Hank Thompson
4 Go, Boy, Go Carl Smith
8 Good Deal, Lucille Al Terry
3 Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight Johnnie & Jack
7 Hep Cat Baby Eddy Arnold
14 Hernando's Hideaway Homer and Jethro
15 Honey, I Need You Johnnie & Jack
12 Honey Love The Carlisles
9 Honky-Tonk Girl Hank Thompson
9 Hootchy Kootchy Henry (From Hawaii) Mitchell Torok
3 I Love You Ginny Wright and Jim Reeves
2 I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me) Ray Price
12 I'm a Stranger in My Home Kitty Wells and Red Foley
3 I'm Walking the Dog Webb Pierce
3 If You Don't Somebody Else Will Jimmy & Johnny
8 If You Don't Somebody Else Will Ray Price
7 Jilted Red Foley
4 Looking Back to See Goldie Hill and Justin Tubb
8 Looking Back to See The Browns
13 Much Too Young to Die Ray Price
7 My Everything Eddy Arnold
15 Never Marilyn Myers and Wesley Tuttle
3 The New Green Light Hank Thompson
9 Out Behind the Barn Little Jimmy Dickens
8 Place for Girls Like You Faron Young
12 Pretty Words Marty Robbins
5 Release Me Jimmy Heap and Perk Williams
6 Release Me Ray Price
8 Release Me Kitty Wells
9 River of No Return Tennessee Ernie Ford
4 Rose-Marie Slim Whitman
8 Run 'Em Off Lefty Frizzell
2 Secret Love Slim Whitman
15 Shake-a-Leg The Carlisles
14 She Done Give Her Heart to Me Sonny James
4 Singing Hills Slim Whitman
4 Sparking Brown Eyes Webb Pierce and The Wilburn Brothers
5 Tain't Nice (To Talk Like That) The Carlisles
8 Thank You for Calling Billy Walker
10 That Crazy Mambo Thing Hank Snow
15 Then I'll Stop Loving You Jim Reeves
3 This Is the Thanks I Get (For Loving You) Eddy Arnold
2 This Ole House Stuart Hamblen
14 Thou Shalt Not Steal Kitty Wells
11 Two Glasses, Joe Ernest Tubb
10 We've Gone Too Far Hank Thompson
4 Whatcha Gonna Do Now Tommy Collins
7 You All Come Arlie Duff
2 You Better Not Do That Tommy Collins
8 You Can't Have My Love Wanda Jackson with Billy Gray
4 You're Not Mine Anymore Webb Pierce

Top new album releases[edit]

Births[edit]

  • April 29 — Karen Brooks, female vocalist best known for her No. 1 duet with T.G. Sheppard, "Fakin' Love."
  • July 18 — Ricky Skaggs, artist who successfully fused bluegrass and contemporary country sounds to become a superstar in the 1980s.
  • October 30 — T. Graham Brown, blues-styled country artist of the 1980s.
  • October 30 — Jeannie Kendall, daughter half of The Kendalls.
  • December 13 — John Anderson, honky tonk-styled singer since the early 1980s.
  • December 25 — Steve Wariner, singer-songwriter and guitarist since the early 1980s.

Deaths[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rolling Stone Rock Almanac: The Chronicles of Rock & Roll," Collier Books, MacMillan Publishing Co., New York and London, 1983, p. 6. ISBN 0-02-081320-1
  2. ^ Rolling Stone Rock Almanac, p. 7-8.
  3. ^ Rolling Stone Rock Almanac, p. 9.
  4. ^ Rolling Stone Rock Almanac," p. 9.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kingsbury, Paul, "Vinyl Hayride: Country Music Album Covers 1947-1989," Country Music Foundation, 2003 (ISBN 0-8118-3572-3)
  • Millard, Bob, "Country Music: 70 Years of America's Favorite Music," HarperCollins, New York, 1993 (ISBN 0-06-273244-7)
  • Whitburn, Joel. "Top Country Songs 1944-2005 - 6th Edition." 2005.