The Birth of Rock: Music of the 1950s Quiz
by Staff
The 1950s may seem like a sweet and innocent time, but rock 'n' roll took the world by storm during the decade, mixing with country and jazz and inspiring more diversity than you might expect. See how much you know about the decade's music.

The song "Rocket 88," released in 1951, is often credited with ushering in the era of rock 'n' roll. Who recorded it?

  • Ike Turner & the Kings of Rhythm
  • Bill Haley & His Comets
  • The Everly Brothers

Like we said, it was an era of varied musical genres, with perhaps nothing stranger than a cowboy belting out a kid's holiday song that hit No. 1 as the decade began. What musician and song made up this strange pair?

  • Roy Rogers and "Frosty the Snowman"
  • Gene Autry and "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer"
  • Tex Ritter and "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth"

Who had the most No. 1 pop hits in the 1950s?

  • Pat Boone
  • Elvis Presley
  • Paul Anka

Known for hits including "Crazy" and "Walking After Midnight," this country singer died in a plane crash in 1963.

  • The Big Bopper
  • Patsy Cline
  • Buddy Holly

She became more well-known for the movie "Pillow Talk" with Rock Hudson, but this singer also had the top hit by a woman in the 1950s. Who is she?

  • Connie Francis
  • Rosemary Clooney
  • Doris Day

At a time when most women were quiet on the issue, this singer spoke out against the idea of blaming women for the wrongdoings of men with her song "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels."

  • Patsy Cline
  • Kitty Wells
  • Loretta Lynn

A hit for Bill Haley & His Comets in 1954, this song was reintroduced to the world as a TV theme song on "Happy Days" in 1974.

  • "Wake Up Little Susie"
  • "Rock Around the Clock"
  • "That'll Be the Day"

Speaking of the reintroduction of music, in the movie "Back to the Future," what song does Marty McFly play at his parent's prom, prompting stunned and disapproving looks from the crowd?

  • "Peggy Sue"
  • "Johnny B. Goode"
  • "Great Balls of Fire"

Elvis may be synonymous with the 1950s in the minds of many, but he didn't have his first hit until 1956. What was it?

  • "Hound Dog"
  • "Heartbreak Hotel"
  • "Love Me Tender"

Johnny Cash had his first hit in 1958 with what song, which gave its name to the movie about his life in 2005?

  • "Folsom Prison Blues"
  • "Ring of Fire"
  • "I Walk the Line"

His career began in the '40s and continued into the '50s with hits like "Your Cheatin' Heart" and "Jambalaya" until his death in 1953.

  • Hank Williams
  • Johnny Cash
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford

While we're on the subject of musician deaths, who passed away "the day the music died"?

  • Hank Williams and Patsy Cline
  • Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper and Buddy Holly
  • Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra

This crooner got his start in the 1950s with his first hit "Because of You," and he hasn't slowed yet. To celebrate his 80th birthday in 2006, he recorded an album of duets with Elton John, Barbra Streisand and Bono — and he celebrated turning 85 with duets with Lady Gaga in 2011.

  • Perry Como
  • Tony Stark
  • Tony Bennett

This silky-voiced singer, best known for "The Christmas Song," became the first African-American to host a TV variety show in 1956.

  • Sammy Davis Jr.
  • Nat King Cole
  • Louis Armstrong

In 1954 Elvis made his first recordings at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. This song, which became a rockabilly hit, was the flip side of "That's All Right (Mama)."

  • "Blue Suede Shoes"
  • "Good Rockin' Tonight"
  • "Blue Moon of Kentucky"

This song made Fats Domino a household name in 1956 and was the first song Beatle John Lennon learned on the guitar.

  • "Raspberry Beret"
  • "Strawberry Fields"
  • "Blueberry Hill"

"Mack the Knife" won this singer a Grammy for record of the year in 1959.

  • Frank Sinatra
  • Dean Martin
  • Bobby Darin

This singer already had hits, including "Peggy Sue" and "That'll Be the Day," when he died at just 22 years old.

  • Buddy Holly
  • The Big Bopper
  • Ritchie Valens

This performer was shown only from the waist up for his third appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1957.

  • Chubby Checker
  • Sammy Davis Jr.
  • Elvis Presley

Before she became a princess, Grace Kelly starred in this movie musical alongside Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong.

  • "Funny Face"
  • "The Philadelphia Story"
  • "High Society"

What Dave Brubeck Quartet recording became the first jazz instrumental to sell more than 1 million copies?

  • "Blue Rondo a la Turk"
  • "Take Five"
  • "In Your Own Sweet Way"

One of the 10 original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, this singer had hits in the mid 1950s, including "Tutti Frutti," "Long Tall Sally" and "Good Golly Miss Molly."

  • Little Richard
  • Elvis Presley
  • Jerry Lee Lewis

Dick Clark introduced her song "Who's Sorry Now" on "American Bandstand" in 1958, catapulting her to success.

  • Doris Day
  • Connie Francis
  • Peggy Lee

This group's doo-wop version of "White Christmas" is second only to Bing Crosby's classic in terms of sales.

  • The Coasters
  • The Drifters
  • The Shirelles

Elvis made his movie debut in 1956 in this film — with music, of course — set in Texas following the Civil War.

  • "Love Me Tender"
  • "Charro!"
  • "The Rainmaker"

In 1958, just two years after being signed by Columbia Records, he released his greatest hits album, which stayed on Billboard's album chart for 10 years. Who was this groundbreaking singer?

  • Johnny Mathis
  • Paul Anka
  • Dean Martin

This musician's hit "I Got a Woman" reached No. 1 on the rhythm and blues charts in 1954. It was the first in a long string of hits for this versatile Georgia native.

  • Otis Redding
  • Little Richard
  • Ray Charles

In 1953 this Southern performer married his 13-year-old cousin, causing a boycott of his records and perpetuating a stereotype of Southern incest and ignorance that continues in some areas to this day.

  • Elvis
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Carl Perkins

Dale Evans wrote this song that was used at the end of the early 1950s TV show she had with her husband. It has since become as popular as saying "bon voyage" when wishing folks a good trip.

  • "Goodnight Sweetheart"
  • "Happy Trails"
  • "Goodnight Irene"

"In 1814 we took a little trip along with Col. Jackson down the mighty Mississip'," opens the song that peaked at the end of the 1950s. What's the unlikely topic of this hit by Johnny Horton?

  • a raft race down the river
  • a trip on the riverboat Delta Queen
  • the Battle of New Orleans