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Atlantic Timeline - 1956

1956 – President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon are running America, the country is still enjoying the post-war economic boom, and the Civil Rights movement is gaining more and more momentum. Elvis Presley enters the US music charts for the first time, with Heartbreak Hotel , Norma Jean Mortenson legally changes her name to Marilyn Monroe, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott ends when the Supreme Court rules racial segregation on buses to be unconstitutional.

Atlantic Records relocates to 156 West 57th Street. Atlantic Studio 2 would soon become the first studio to feature state-of-the-art eight-track recording capability with the inclusion of only the second-ever Ampex eight-track system made (guitarist Les Paul owned the first). With Ahmet Ertegun as President, Nesuhi Ertegun as producer, and Tom Dowd as engineer, Atlantic Records had releases from such artists as LaVern Baker, The Coasters, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Charles Mingus, The Sensations, The Drifters, The Cardinals, Ruth Brown, Clyde McPhatter, The Clovers, Chuck Willis, and Ivory Joe Hunter.

14-year-old Ray Charles fan Joel Dorn begins writing fan mail to Nesuhi Ertegun and the two develop a friendly correspondence. Ten years later, Dorn is hired as Ertegun's assistant and soon joins the label’s team of talented producers.

Atco signs The Coasters along with their songwriters, arrangers, and producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller – the first time an independent production team has been signed by a record label. Leiber and Stoller go on to become one of the great songwriting and production teams of all time.

With Ertegun producing and Dowd manning the board, bassist/composer/bandleader Charles Mingus records the landmark jazz album, Pithecanthropus Erectus.

The Modern Jazz Quartet – vibraphonist Milt Jackson, pianist/musical director John Lewis, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Connie Kay – release their Atlantic debut, Fontessa.

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Tags: Ray Charles, Charles Mingus, Timeline, Time Capsule

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