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The 1950's

The 1950's were a time of changes and the music of the decade both reflected the cultural changes that were happening while still holding on to the societal norms of the past. Following the detrimental effects of World War II, the United States was about to embark on a musical journey that would change the face of music for decades to come.

Popular music dominated the charts for the first half of the decade. Vocal driven classic pop replaced big band/swing at the end of World War II, although it often used orchestras to back the vocalists. 1940s style Crooners vied with a new generation of big voiced singers, many drawing on Italian Canto Bella traditions.

Rock and roll dominated popular music in the later half of the 1950s. The musical style originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, and quickly spread to much of the rest of the world. Its immediate origins lay in a mixing together of various black musical genres of the time, including rhythm and blues and gospel music; with country and western and Pop.

The 1950s saw the growth in popularity of the electric guitar (developed and popularized by Les Paul). Paul's hit records like "How High the Moon", and "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise", helped lead to the development of a specifically rock and roll style of playing of such exponents as Chuck Berry, Link Wray, and Scotty Moore. Chuck Berry, who is considered to be one of the pioneers of Rock and roll music, refined and developed the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, focusing on teen life and introducing guitar solos and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music.

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century & the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music.

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John Coltrane

John Coltrane

John Coltrane is one of the most dominant influences on post-1960 jazz saxophonists and has inspired an entire generation of jazz musicians.

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Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash was known for his deep, calm bass-baritone voice and a trademark look, which earned him the nickname "The Man in Black"

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Miles Davis

Miles Davis

American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis is regarded as one of the most innovative, influential and respected figures in the history of music.

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Featured Prints

Sex Pistols (SP001VT)

Sex Pistols

Sex Pistols on the set for the 'Pretty Vacant' video shoot at the ITN Studios, London in June 1977

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AC/DC (ACDC002JA)

AC/DC

Angus Young, from AC/DC, captured in a small street outside a press meeting in Copenhagen in 1977

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Beatles, The (TB009WHIT)

The Beatles

Shooting promotional films for the singles Rain & Paperback Writer at Chiswick Park Gardens in May 1966

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Fall, The (FALL001KC)

The Fall

Early shot of The Fall at Central Station Car Park, Manchester in the summer of 1978

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Bob Dylan (BD003ROSA)

Bob Dylan

In the studio in Santa Monica, California in 1980, Bob Dylan is captured whilst leaning on his guitar case.

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Annie Lennox (EU001SR)

Annie Lennox

This photo session was for No.1 Magazine (long since extinct) on a Eurythmics press day, they’d been doing interviews all day.

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Featured Artists

Lou Reed

Lou Reed

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Ramones, The

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The Ramones' loud, fast, straightforward musical style was influenced by music that the band members grew up listening to in the 50s & 60s.

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Smiths, The

The Smiths

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Who, The

The Who

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Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac are one of the world's greatest rock bands having sold over more than 100 million records over the last 50 years

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Stranglers, The

The Stranglers

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