The 20 Best Albums of 1955
In 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers won the World Series, Gregory Peck married Veronique Passani and Frank Sinatra made the best album of the year.
I often consider 1955 to be the year where modern music truly began, hence the expanded list. One of the primary reasons for that proclamation is the fact that Frank Sinatra fully entered his artistic prime with the timeless classic In the Wee Small Hours, a melancholy pop record that remains pretty much unparalleled even today. Not only is it easily the greatest album of the year, but it’s also one of the best of the decade.
1955 was also the year that the world of jazz featured a sizable boost in popularity, largely due to the emergence of hard bop. With artists like Thelonious Monk, Clifford Brown, Max Roach and Sonny Rollins leading the way, the genre was in the midst of a modernist renaissance.
But the real reason that 1955 remains the “year where modern music truly began” isn’t really reflected in this list. Four monumental singles — “Tutti Frutti,” “Maybellene,” “Bo Diddley” and “I’m a Man” — gave birth to rock & roll as we know it. As a result, the world was forever changed.
Even though Bill Haley released “Rock Around the Clock” one year prior, he was nothing compared to the raw power of Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. In terms of albums, however, the year belonged to jazz (60% of the albums on this list).
And so, without further ado, here are the 20 best albums of 1955.