The word “best” is thrown around often in music history, especially when describing a decade or year when music hit its all-time peak. Most people would argue that a year in the 60’s, 70’s or 90’s was the best for many reasons. However, if it weren’t for the 50’s — more specifically 1957 — music’s history would be nothing like we know it today. A variety of influential acts made their album debuts in 1957 — Buddy Holly’s The Crickets, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, the list goes on and on. Here are a couple of those debuts that stand out for their impact and infectious sounds.
Here’s Little Richard – Little Richard
Little Richard wasn’t the architect of rock music, but what sets him apart is the way he managed to bring people together across social, racial and economic boundaries.
His phenomenal voice can turn from crooning to wailing and howling in seconds, showing inner workings of soul and alternative jazz. Everyone from all over the map, from Bob Dylan to Bob Seger, wanted to join Little Richard on tour.
More than any other artist, Little Richard brought an explosive persona with music that may have whizzed past frantically, but defined a genre for decades to come. Building the platform for rock music, Little Richard set the stage for other artists, especially the next album on this list, to explore what rock music meant.
After School Session – Chuck Berry
Saying Chuck Berry shaped rock and roll is an understatement. He invented the genre with a guitar and an attitude. His combination of rhythm and blues on After School Session went on to mold one of the most successful genres in music history.
Most people know some of his biggest hits — “Johnny B. Goode,” “Never Can Tell,” “Roll Over Beethoven” — but not as many know his earliest jams. The country influence on this album is strong, while songs such as “Deep Feeling” incorporate modern guitar techniques. “Too Much Monkey Business” takes the leap of the century, acting as a precursor to rap music.
What Little richard brought to the world with his piano, Chuck Berry brought with a guitar, expanding the audience for rock and roll and helping create a global phenomenon.