1958: Elvis joins the Army, still releases three #1 singles

Elvis Presley’s draft notice into the Army impacted popular culture more than any other event in 1958.

After deferring to film King Creole in the early months of 1958, The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll had to put his music and acting careers on hold for two years to serve in the Army. Presley still released eight singles that year, though, with three hitting #1 on the U.S. charts. His entry into the Army and the subsequent cultural effects inspired the 1960 Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie (which was set in 1958).

Popular music this year was varied, with doo wop, jazz, R&B, big band, pop and rock ‘n’ roll topping the charts.

Other notable events: Billboard launches its Hot 100 Chart (Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” is the first #1), Nina Simone debuted with Little Girl Blue, and Phil Spector’s recording career begins with The Teddy Bears.

Was 1958 the Greatest Year in Music? Let us know in the comments or across social media with #XPNGreatestYear.


“Volare” – Domenico Modugno
“Tom Dooley” – The Kingston Trio
“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” – The Platters
“Bird Dog” – The Everly Brothers
“It’s All in the Game” – Tommy Edwards
“Poor Little Fool” Ricky Nelson
“Fever” – Peggy Lee
“Don’t” – Elvis Presley
“Great Balls of Fire” – Jerry Lee Lewis
“I Wonder Why” – Dion & The Belmonts
“It’s Only Make Believe” – Conway Twitty
“Johnny B Goode” – Chuck Berry
“Little Star” – The Elegants
“Lollipop” – The Chordettes
“Maybe” – The Chantels
“One Summer Night” – Danleers
“Rockin’ Robin” – Bobby Day
“Short Shorts” – Royal Teens
“Summertime Blues” – Eddie Cochran
“Tequila” – The Champs
“To Know Him is to Love Him” – The Teddy Bears
“Witch Doctor” – Dave Seville
“Yakety Yak” – The Coasters


Ascenseur pour l’échafaud – Miles Davis
The Atomic Mr. Basie – Count Basie
Come Fly With Me – Frank Sinatra
Ella Swings Lightly – Ella Fitzgerald
The Fabulous Johnny Cash – Johnny Cash
Freedom Suite – Sonny Rollins
Little Girl Blue – Nina Simone

Category: 50s


Article by: Julie Miller