Rocking50s Classic Oldies


Birth:Feb. 26, 1932Death:Sep. 12, 2003trans.gif
Country Singer, Musician, Actor, Entertainer. Legendary Country Music Singer and songwriter who was known as "The Man in Black" for his trademark wearing of all black clothing. Contrary to his songs and image, he never spent time in prison (except to visit). Most remembered for the songs "Ring of Fire," "Folsom Prison Blues," "A Boy Named Sue," and "I walk the Line." Born in Kingsland, Arkansas, one of seven children, in 1951, he enlisted into the United States Air Force, was stationed in Germany, and was honorably discharged in 1954. He began his singing career in 1955, with the hit single "Hey, Porter" for Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee while working for radio station KWEM. In 1958, he changed to Columbia Records. In the mid-1960s, he became addicted to drugs, but with the help of singer June Carter of the legendary Carter Country Music Family, he was able to break the addiction, although he had relapses several times, including going through rehab at the Betty Ford Center in 1984. He was married twice, first to Vivian Liberto (1954 to 1966, divorced), with whom he had four daughters, then to June Carter (1968 to her death in May 2003), with whom he had a son, John. In 1961, he began to appear in movies, starting with "Door to Door Maniac" and also appeared in television, beginning in 1958, and made numerous guest appearances on various television shows. He was inducted into the Songwriters, the Country Music and the Rock and Roll Halls of Fame, the first to be inducted into all three Halls of Fame. He died about four months after the death of his wife, June.


The beginning of the decade saw the continuation of the soft and soulful music which dominated in the forties. It was around the same time that a new generation found its voice and the rhythm and blues began to develop. These formed the foundation of the music which was eventually called rock and roll. The rock and roll music managed to combine this with mainstream music and what developed was an entirely new genre. Some of the greatest musicians rose to prominence during this time and the universality of their music caused a new era to develop. It was an era of vivacity and energy and the music composed still continues to charm its way into the hearts of millions.

The major artists whose talents emerged in the 1950's were both rock and roll artists together with those who remained entrenched in their respective genres. In the field of rock and roll, the greatest artists were Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Bill Haley and his Comets, Carl Perkins and Ray Charles with hits like "Blue Suede Shoes", "jailhouse Rock", "Johnny B. Goode", "Rock around the clock", "What'd I say" and "Bo Diddley". The other major artists who dominated in the fifties were Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, Nat "King" Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Orbison and BB King. These covered the most divergent genres from soft soulful music to western style and the blues.

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