It was 55 years ago and rock ’n’ roll was here to stay — 1957 was a watershed year for the new sounds rocketing from studios.
Sam Phillips in Sun Studios in Memphis and Norman Petty in Clovis, N.M., were among the busiest producers that year.
America’s teenagers were flooding record stores looking for copies of music by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry — and an emerging star named Buddy Holly.
Several of the stars appearing on the 2012 Winter Dance Party bill were among the hottest stars in 1957.
One was Danny and the Juniors, whose “At the Hop” hit the charts in December 1957 and whose appearance on the new “American Bandstand” helped cement its title as The Best New Group of 1957.
“We were getting some play in Buffalo (N.Y.) and Dick Clark called us when he’d had a cancellation,” said Joe Terry of Danny and the Juniors in a phone interview Friday.
“We heard the phone lines lit up after we sang and we had a No. 1 hit record,” Terry recalled. “It was very cool.”
Danny and the Juniors also appeared on a show hosted by one of the rising stars of the 1950s — Pat Boone, who will headline Saturday’s Surf lineup.
1957 marked the first year of Boone’s TV show, “The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom.” His “Love Letters in the Sand” and “April Love” were ranked among the top hits of the year.
It also marked the beginning of Boone’s movie career, with “April Love” co-starring Shirley Jones.
Another group that will perform on Saturday this year is The Bobbettes, whose “Mr. Lee” was also a No. 1 hit in 1957.
The Flamingos (today, the Flamingos starring Terry Johnson), part of Thursday’s line-up, were also working hard on hits that year.
Among the hardest workers that year was Holly himself who, after a less-than-happy experience with Decca Records, teamed with Petty to start recording on Clovis.
“That’ll Be the Day,” “Oh Boy” and “Peggy Sue” were all chart-toppers for Holly and the Crickets in 1957.
Joe Terry knew Holly and played on the same bill with him at the Paramount Theater in New York City.
“Buddy was pretty quiet, introverted — a really nice guy,” Terry recalled.
To play with him on the same bill was an honor, he added. He and the group also toured with Holly in an Alan Freed-sponsored show for 44 days in 1958. Terry was only 16 then, Holly was 20.
Danny and Juniors played the Surf almost immediately after the plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959, that killed Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens and pilot Roger Peterson.
“We walked into the Surf and it was kind of eerie,” he said. “The guy who owned the ballroom showed us the pictures (of the crash that were published in the Globe Gazette) — and that was quite a shock.”
Still, the group returns to the Surf, he said, because of its look and what it represents.
“You walk in the door and you’re in 1957,” he said. “We love playing the ballrooms.
“You know, you can build a malt shop like some do, call it ‘At the Hop,’ whatever — but the fact is there is nothing like the Surf Ballroom. It’s the real thing.”