If the Forties marked the end of America's innocence, then the Fifties were surely its adolescence. Music was everywhere, and the newest medium, television, was sweeping the country. One of the most popular early programs was Dragnet, whose composer Walter Schumann received the first Emmy Award presented for music. In the years to follow, ASCAP members have won the lion's share of Emmys, Grammys and Oscars.
Bebop and cool jazz emanated from the clubs of New York City. ASCAP jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Hendricks and Horace Silver pushed the art form in new directions. Tito Puente infused the music with Latin rhythms, popularizing a new genre of music in America. We welcomed other music legends to membership as well: Burt Bacharach, John Cage, Henry Mancini, Andre Previn, Ned Rorem, and present day ASCAP Board members Elmer Bernstein and Cy Coleman.
The melodies and lyrics of Broadway musicals, especially West Side Story by ASCAP luminaries Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein, marked a contemporary rebirth for a classic stage form.
The decade also marked the beginning of a new music craze: Rock 'n' Roll. ASCAP member Bill Haley wrote "Crazy Man, Crazy," the first Rock single to hit the Billboard charts; in 1954, Bill Haley and His Comets recorded "Rock Around the Clock," the first ever #1 Rock single, written by ASCAP members Max C. Freedman and Jimmy DeKnight.
Into the 1960s >>>