1950. Fats Domino's first record, "The Fat Man", enters the rhythm and blues charts.
1951. Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats release "Rocket 88". This hard-driving rhythm and blues number is considered by some to be the first rock and roll record.
Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed broadcasts rhythm and blues to white teenagers. He calls it "rock and roll".
1954. Bill Haley and His Comets record "Rock Around the Clock".
Elvis Presley cuts his first record, "That's All Right Mama", at Sun Studios.
1955. Chuck Berry makes his first disc for Chess Records, "Maybelline".
Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" is featured in the movie Blackboard Jungle. The record is re-released, and reaches number one in the pop charts.
Little Richard records "Tutti Frutti".
"Colonel" Tom Parker becomes Elvis Presley's manager, and negotiates a deal with the major record label RCA.
1956. Buddy Holly records some unsuccessful country and western songs, including an early version of "That'll Be the Day".
Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel", catapults him to national stardom.
Jerry Lee Lewis makes his first recordings at Sun Studios.
1957. The Everly Brothers record their first hit, "Bye Bye Love".
Buddy Holly goes into the Top 10 with a rock and roll version of "That'll be the Day".
Little Richard quits rock and roll to enter bible college.
1958. Elvis Presley is drafted into the US army and sets sail for Germany.
Jerry Lee Lewis's marriage to a 13-year-old girl is discovered. His fans desert him.
1959. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper die in a plane crash after a concert in Clear Lake, Iowa.