1954 in country music
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This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (May 2015)
This is a list of notable events in country music that took place in the year 1954.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The 45 RPM vinyl record has all but taken over, both at the radio station and in stores. Few disc jockeys are still playing 78 RPM records (save for oldies).
- Elvis Presley makes his first Sun Records recordings in Memphis, Tennessee. His 1954 releases are only regional hits, but it proved to be just the tip of the iceberg for what happened during the next two years.
- 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."
- After a string of minor successes with singles and 10" vinyl records, RCA Victor releases Chet Atkins' first LP, A Session with Chet Atkins.
- Debuts are made by two of the next biggest country music stars of George Jones and Johnny Cash.
Top hits of the year
Number one hits
(as certified by Billboard)
|Date||Single name||Artist||Wks. No.1||Notes|
|January 19||Bimbo||Jim Reeves||3|||
|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||
|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|||
- 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
|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|
|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|
|8||Run 'Em Off||Lefty Frizzell|
|2||Secret Love||Slim Whitman|
|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
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- 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.
- December 1 — Fred Rose, 56, songwriter and founder of Acuff-Rose Music. One of the first three inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
- 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
- Rolling Stone Rock Almanac, p. 7-8.
- Rolling Stone Rock Almanac, p. 9.
- Rolling Stone Rock Almanac," p. 9.
- Barry McCloud (1995) Definitive Country: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Country Music and Its Performers, p. 290, ISBN 0-399-52144-5
- 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.