The 1950s (pronounced nineteen-fifties; commonly abbreviated as the '50s or Fifties) was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1950, and ended on December 31, 1959.
By its end, the world had largely recovered from World War II and the Cold War developed from its modest beginning in the late-1940s to a hot competition between the United States and the Soviet Union by the early-1960s.
Clashes between communism and capitalism dominated the decade, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. The conflicts included the Korean War in the beginnings of the decade and the beginning of the Space Race with the launch of Sputnik 1. Along with increased testing of nuclear weapons (such as RDS-37 and Upshot–Knothole), this created a politically conservative climate. In the United States, the Second Red Scare caused Congressional hearings by both houses in Congress and anti-communism was the prevailing sentiment in the United States throughout the decade. The beginning of decolonization in Africa and Asia took place in this decade and accelerated in the following decade.
The 1950's were a time of changes and the music of the decade both reflected the cultural changes that were happening while still holding on to the societal norms of the past. Following the detrimental effects of World War II, the United States was about to embark on a musical journey that would change the face of music for decades to come. Racial tensions were being strained with the beginning of the civil rights movement and music reflected many of those tensions. Rhythm & Blues (R&B) and Rock 'n' Roll popularized "black" music and many African-American musicians rose to prominence and enjoyed success, but while some were able to reap the benefits of their work, many others were forgotten or denied access to audiences through segregation. A lot of people believe that during the fifties many of the white artists stole music from African-Americans and capitalized on it for their own benefit in a way that the original artists could not. A perfect example of this happening is when Pat Boone was made to cover Little Richard's song "Tutti Frutti" and Boone's version topped higher on the charts, while considered by many to be the inferior version of the song. Others believe that the popularization of R&B and Rock 'n' Roll only helped to bridge the gap between blacks and whites and further the civil rights movement. While those genres paved the way for future music, traditional pop and country music clung to the past with old standards remaining popular and a multitude of covers topping the charts. Either way, this decade was a time of innovation that helped to influence everything that we listen to on the radio today.