The early 1950's music charts were dominated by traditional vocalists, harmony groups and orchestral instrumentals. Some rhythm and blues and country singles sporadically crossed over to the pop chart. 1956 was the first year in which the new sound of rock and roll would achieve wide spread success. But in the first month of the new era, it was an old school crooner who scored the first new #1 of 1956. "Memories Are Made of This" was a song very much at home in the early fifties, but it did have some leanings toward the new sound, with the steady beat and backing vocals. It was written by Terry Gilkyson who would later have a top ten hit with the Easyriders, "Marianne." As a matter of fact the Easyriders sang backup on "Memories." Replacing Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons" which had held the top spot on Billboard seven weeks, "Memories" would have a five week run of its own.
The rest of this early chart from 1956 can best be described as a remnant of the early fifties as well, with crooners Frank Sinatra, Don Cherry, and Al Hibbler,and the harmony group The Four Lads placing records in the top ten. Gale Storm managed to parlay her television stardom ("My Little Margie" and "Oh, Suzanna") into a successful singing career with two records in the top twenty.
The January 14th chart gave a nod to the trend that was coming as two Platter's records made the top ten. The Platters were one of the more mellow rhythm and blues groups. Their hit, "Only You" was a re-recording of an earlier release. "The Great Pretender" would eventually become their first number one in February.
Kay Starr's "Rock and Roll Waltz" and Nelson Rddle's "Lisbon Antigua" would also eventually achieve a number one ranking.