Arguably the first Rockabilly band was The Maddox Brothers and Rose. Their music throughout the late 1940s and into the 1950s not only provided great energy within their music featuring the slap bass of Fred Maddox, but they were great showmen and always entertained their audiences with their on-stage antics. In 1951, in what is considered to be one of the earliest rockabilly recordings, Bill Haley recorded "Rocket 88" with his group, the Saddlemen. Later in 1954, Bill Haley & His Comets recorded "Rock Around the Clock." With an estimated 25 million copies sold, this recording was recognized by Guinness World Records as having the highest sales claim for a pop vinyl recording, only to lose that distinction in the late 1990s.
Rockabilly music was extremely popular throughout the mid 1950s, but a number of events began to erode this popularity. Elvis Presley's induction into the army in 1958 and the tragic death of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper in 1959 were some of the main events that saw the popularity slowly decline in America. Rockabilly did continue to retain its popularity in England through the mid 1960s. In the 1960s, many of the 1950s rockabilly performers looked to other musical genres, such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, moving to Country & Western music, and Elvis Presley spending much of his time attempting to make movies. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, rockabilly had a major comeback with bands such as the Stray Cats. Rockabilly continues to enjoy a strong following in America and Europe.