best songs of the 50s

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It was the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, Elvis’s third, and shook its hips to the top of the charts in the US and the UK. The cad! Written by blues rock stalwarts Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, ‘A Teenager In Love’ found itself in the UK charts three times over in June 1959. Eddie Cochran lived fast and died young in classic teen rebellion style but left a beautiful body of work to show for his two short years in the business. It features the immortal line “Hail, hail, rock’n’roll”, a phrase recycled as the title for an 80s Berry documentary, and was blessed with a cover from Bart Simpson on ‘The Simpsons Sing The Blues’. A gentle waltz that relied heaving on a mountainous orchestration, it showcased the vocal talents of doo-wop quintet. As legend would have it, this track was penned by Williams about his first wife, but dictated to his second wife, whilst he was driving. Holly was inspired to write the track after his cinematic hero John Wayne repeatedly used the phrase in a film and it ended up a chart-topper on both sides of the pond. As a neat summary of rock’n’roll it’s understandably been knocked out by big-hitters from The Beatles to The Beach Boys, Humble Pie to Australian cheese captains Mental As Anything. A 12-bar blues jaunt that was unlike no other. 100 Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Songs of the 50s 1950 1. If you are looking for a complete list of the best wedding songs from the 1950s, please visit our Top 100 Songs of the 1950s. List of #1 Pop Singles for 1950. Tales of recording sessions happening in a state of inebriated revery and the track being banned for being too ‘cannibalistic’, and no wonder, Jay sounds like a cartoon villain as he intones the lyrics. If not rock ‘n’ roll’s calling card then a strong contender, this track’s been covered approximately 12,000 times, mostly notably by The Beatles for several years at the start of their career. Later recorded by The Rolling Stones and George Clinton, there’s a timeless carefree spirit about ‘Let The Good Times Roll’, which gives the whole thing a gentle ‘Happy Birthday’-like vibe. As she follows her favourite band around the country, her “sweetness” oscillates between chats with her “mommy” and struggling with “the grown up blues.”. One of the rawest early rock tracks, Bo Diddley’s self-regarding jerker has been covered, ripped off and filleted repeatedly since. Appropriately the rugged anthem was full of bolshy swagger and teenage ballsiness. What else could it be, really? $(".photo-thumb-link").lightbox();$(".comp-slideshow-03 p a").lightbox(); The grubby fuzz that attached itself to the tinny twang of Burlison’s guitar lent ‘Train Kept A-Rollin” a roughneck danger that still sounds seedy and threatening five decades on. var WRInitTime=(new Date()).getTime(); Combining the boogie of Pete Johnson with Jelly Roll’s jazz and the piano virtuosity of Fats Domino, Huey Smith was a seminal r ‘n’ b pianist whose tunes heavily influenced early rock and roll. Vladimir Putin attempted it live last year – every time someone watches that rendition, a cat is tortured somewhere on the globe. Forget Lulu’s rendition – this is the real deal. Another Elvis classic recorded for the movie Loving You, it was also laid down by rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson in ’60 and used on the soundtrack for Dead Poet’s Society. The birth of rock ‘n roll meant that screaming teens were the norm. Featuring lyrics by Redd Stewart (that’s Redd, not Rod) and music by Pee Wee King, ‘Tennessee Waltz’ was another popular track for entertainers in the fifties. This article is about the US number-one songs chart from 1950–1958.. The biggest hits of the 1950s according to Billboard Magazine. ‘Cry Me A River’ made its big screen debut in Jayne Mansfield’s The Girl Can’t Help It, with London performing it as the sultry, unattainable siren. But Flores was under contract elsewhere and the writing credit had to go to one ‘Chuck Rio’. I don't doubt that a few songs from the late 40s or early 60s have accidentally slipped onto this list. “You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain / Too much love drives a man insane”. The song was listed as Number 3 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs.The song is probably best known today as the centerpiece of the 1952 musical film Singin' in the Rain, in which Gene Kelly memorably danced to the song while splashing through puddles during a rainstorm. If there were any blues contained in this summer, we couldn’t detect them. Easily one of the most recognisable cuts in the entire list, Valens’ adaption of a Mexican folk song is jam-packed with infectious refrains, classic guitar lines and monster drumming. With a ragtime piano and a crowing vocal, Little Richard creates a sonic romp that suggests there’s a lot more going under the covers than one initially suspects. An utterly tragic love story of two doomed lovers from rival American Indian tribes who drown in each other’s arms. A meld of baby rock’n’roll and doo-wop, The Cadillacs’ ‘Speedoo’ was so called after their lead singer Earl Carroll’s nickname. Hugely influential in the way it shaped the sound of the nascent rock and roll sound, the rudimentary blues contained within would later be appropriated by The Velvet Underground (who covered the track early in their career). Inspired in part by a guy’s precious love for his suede shoes over the girl he was dancing with, Perkins’ big hit went on to sell a million records in the first three months (no mean feat in ’55) and climb the country, rhythm and blues, and pop charts simultaneously. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. ‘In The Still Of The Night’ enjoys the perhaps tainted honour of being an integral part of the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Elizabeth Cotten got her belated break in 1957 at the grand old age of 62 when her shimmering guitar playing talents were finally spotted by the Seeger family. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below. An ancient 29 – and appearing years older – Haley nevertheless led a well-drilled band and he and his Comets toured incessantly to establish themselves as unexpected trailblazers. Brown was never more energized than during this early period of his career when his Gospel roots collided with the passionate blues of his Famous Flames band. It should be a swooning country ballad, instead it’s a jaunty jive, under-laid with some comical “natives American tribal chanting” (sung, in part, by the whiter than white George Jones). Beyond the fact that I wasn't born until well after the end of that decade, the 50s pose quite a few other listmaking challenges. Sometimes the best songs are the most simple. The world's defining voice in music and pop culture since 1952. Backed by ‘Hound Dog,’ the track became one of the biggest sellers of his career. McKinley ‘Muddy Waters’ Morganfield wasn’t the first artist to record ‘Got My Mojo Working’ – that accolade goes to gospel singer Ann Cole – but as a blues pioneer his thundering version has set the standard and been covered by Elvis, Etta James, Canvey Island rockers Doctor Feelgood, fellow blues legend B.B. Sonia also did a version in 2010, but the less said about that the better. While it bizarrely only reached 49 in the UK charts it’s gone on to become a household classic. Marvin Junior’s baritone plays off Johnny Carter’s falsetto to form an easy, woozy slice of doo-wop that The Dells would revisit later, a 1969 soul re-tooling proving most successful. Rock n' roll caused an explosion in the world music scene like few others, but it also signaled a taste change in what made America laugh: while the pre-rock novelties of the '50s were occasionally clever, they were also usually staid, the remnants of the Greatest Generation's safe, homespun humor. ‘Pledging My Love’ was a posthumous hit for Ace who weeks earlier had suffered the ultimate rock’n’roll demise, shooting himself in a blitzed round of Russian Roulette. London’s cool, seductive vocal carries it. ‘I Hear You Knocking’ was another Dave Bartholomew composition (with Pearl King), adorned by Lewis’s rich soulful croon and the kind of barrelling piano that Domino would make his own, sadly stealing all of Lewis’s thunder. Rankings are based on the popularity of each song during the period of 1950 through 1969. Goodnight Irene - Gordon Jenkins and the Weavers - 1950 Michael - The Highwaymen - 1961 Tom Dooley - The Kingston Trio - 1958 The Sounds of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel - 1965 Walk Right In - The Rooftop Singers - 1963 Leaving on a Jet Plane - Peter, Paul and Mary - 1969 On Top of Old Smoky - The Weavers and Terry Gilkyson - 1951 An early work of rock genius. Clarence earned his nickname from an uncanny ability to sing like a frog – as he boasts on ‘Ain’t Got No Home’, “I can sing like a bird/ And I can sing like a frog”. A sweet love letter to his darling full of earnest sentiment and unashamed admiration, this beautiful track saw Cooke shift from his gospel roots to a more soulful direction. Our top 50 acoustic and electric guitar songs represent certain moments in history that solidified the guitar as one of the most versatile and expressive instruments out there. This was the second song Robert Johnson ever recorded, but its creation has also been attributed to Elmore James. The 1950s marked the birth of rock’n’roll. Now most famous for the combination of Ray Charles sample and Jamie Foxx impression that cooked up the gold dust for Kanye West’s stupendous ‘Gold Digger’ in 2005, ‘I Got A Woman’ itself takes inspiration from gospel song ‘It Must Be Jesus’, in the process marking out the territory for what would become soul music. Almost from the get-go it established the Canadian Anka as a mainstream crooner who continues to record and perform into his 70s. It peaked at a modest 59 on the Billboard chart but registered 200,000 sales. A bluesy rock and roll number with a dour undercurrent, it was Elvis’ first number one. The Greatest of All-Time Billboard Hot 100 Songs and Artists rankings are based on weekly performance on the Hot 100 (from its inception on Aug. 4, 1958, through July 21, 2018). Also credited to his band The Teen Kings just before The Big ‘O’ stepped into the spotlight once and for all, ‘Ooby Dooby’ is a lithe bit of trad rock’n’roll that convinced Sam Phillips to give Orbison his Sun Records break and introduced America to one of its finest pop voices. Bob Dylan’s favourite intrumental has been pilfered by Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Rodriguez (Roadracers), Spongebob and the Sopranos. Once the adolescent screams had abated, ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ was revealed to be a jaunty 50s jive-a-thon, a simple plea from a puppy dog faced Elvis to not dismiss his pure, beating heart of love. But his delivery belied the lyrics, which rather unsettlingly suggested the creeping sense of an inescapable obsession. Decades after it was released, ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ would be referred to as “David Lynch-esque”. No wonder it’s permanently associated with Christmas. Habitually warring brothers Phil and Don regularly put aside their differences (or at least put them on ice for a couple of minutes) to record glorious close-harmony pop that influenced generations of bands from The Beatles to The Beach Boys to Simon & Garfunkel and beyond. Chuck Berry’s first record, and first hit, pumped more excitement and genius guitar work into its short few minutes than most post-millennial bands muster in a career. Sessions musicians were on standby just in case Vincent’s pals the Blue Caps couldn’t hack it in the studio but together Vincent and band pulled off the rockabilly riot in style. Patti Page, the biggest-selling female artist of the decade, did the honours. A brilliantly constructed couple of minutes it weaves frenetic harmonies, time signature changes and varied dynamics to irresistible effect. Take a look below, and you'll probably be shocked by more than a few of the banned songs from the '50s and '60s. It was co-written by nominal lead singer Pookie Hudson and Calvin Carter and its “doh-doh-doh” vocal rhythms often rear up on other records, including Pete Wingfield’s 1975 pastiche ‘Eighteen With A Bullet’ featured on the Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels soundtrack. Reed’s pure voice and persuasive playing had a deep impact on the approaching rock’n’roll boom, particularly The Rolling Stones who covered ‘Honest I Do’ on their 1964 debut album. It took a claymation video to finally shoot ‘Reet Petite’ to the top of the UK charts at the end of 1986, at that point setting a record for longest gap between release and hitting No.1. Being broke never sounded so good. Celebrate events from the 1950s. Not bad for a tune about footwear. Lloyd Price hit the jackpot with his very first recording, an impassioned rock’n’roll stormer that puts all its heart into telling a young lady how fine she is. It would become a standard for any jazz/soul singer hoping to prove their chops, picked up by Aretha Franklin, Sarah Vaughan and – naturally – Rod Stewart. Cole Porter had written the track back in the 1930s but it was covered by Sinatra for his ‘Songs For Swingin’ Lovers’ album in 1956 . It later became a standard, providing teen idol David Cassidy with a bit of emotional heft and giving Crystal Gayle a country chart No.1. Jack White’s so enamoured with her he once covered another of her numbers, ‘Conquest’. Music from 1950 -1959. His spry take on the song, released six months before his death from heart failure, remains definitive but well-known versions have been cut by Fats Domino and MOR legends The Carpenters. You can credit (or, occasionally, blame?) Danny Rapp sustains his lead vocal over a breakneck couple of minutes, but it’s baritone Joe Terranova who steals the show. He left behind this delicate ballad – reputedly the first record Paul Simon ever bought – that lives on in 50s-fuelled movies like Stephen King’s Christine and, of course, Back To The Future. The Waltz and the Mambo each have five, followed by the Tango with three. 20 Best Hits of the '50s is kind of a bait and switch, since all the tunes here are new stereo … Recorded by several obscure artists before and numerous big names after (from Little Richard, Eddie Cochran and Gerry & The Pacemakers to Elton John and Ten Years After), this raucous ditty was made most famous by Lewis, who less tinkles the ivories than spanks them remorselessly. Still, it had the cash rolling in, which would explain The Five Satins’ continued existence. Turner eventually disputed and won. Signed up by Capitol Records in Los Angeles as a quick fix for their lack of Elvis, Gene Vincent made an iconic splash first time out with the sexy, courageously stilted ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’. The Everly’s celestial harmonies were goose bump inducing, and would later influence everyone from The Beatles to Fleetwood Mac. These noble, traditional sentiments inspired huge swathes of artists to have a go too, tempting Elvis, The Beatles, Little Richard and – almost certainly definitively – the great Shakin’ Stevens in 1982. A cover of the bluesy Big Mama Thornton track, Elvis changed the track into hip-swiveling pound of rolling drums and grinding guitars that set teenage girls alight and made parents blush. ‘Willie And The Hand Jive’ is that old staple, a tie-in with a dance craze, but was fresh and vital enough to crack the US top 10. ‘Bye Bye Love’ pushed those voices front and centre. The Shirelles for the invention of the girl group. They would score their signature No.1 in 1960 with ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’, but ‘I Met Him On A Sunday’ was the first single, a laconic, gorgeous doo-wop call and response that got them signed to Tiara before a Decca licensing deal sent them national. The subject of discord over writing credits, ‘Blue In Green’ is now credited to Davis and occasional collaborator and legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans. Song Title Song Artist Year Genre; Top songs of the 1950's is updated by the minute by … Another one for Back To The Future – and Superman III and The Karate Kid II as the 80s went crazy disinterring early rock’n’roll era favourites – ‘Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)’ is an exquisite doo-wop pleasure written by Penguins baritone Curtis Williams that made the US top 10, the group’s only real success of note. ‘Rock And Roll Music’ is a quickfire tribute to the form, a skidding, popping workout written by Berry and produced by the Chess brothers for their own leading blues label. The number one songs of the 1950s also included teen idol hits, zany novelty tunes, folk music, country pop, instrumental songs, and various other styles. Already decades old before this version was recorded, ‘What A Diff’rence A Day Makes’ never tingled so much as when Washington gave it some of that Grammy-winning magic. This was the first version, and inspired no less than six covers within a month of its release. This decade was a turning point in American pop music, and the radical changes that took place during this era … The reverend of the double entendre, Little Richard’s portrait of a good time “mama” is unforgettable. Jimmy Reed’s first US chart hit, ‘Honest I Do’ is a slow blues drawl featuring guitar and harmonica duelling from the man himself. Chicago DJ,Chicago Wedding DJ,Fourth Estate Audio,Top Songs of the 1950s Let us know what your favorite acoustic guitar song is! With tremolo guitar from Chet Atkins, ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’ is one of the decade’s more saccharine options, but proved how vital harmonies could be to a song’s DNA. Chunky Jiles Perry Richardson went down in the same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, but not before releasing this twisting paean to a cute girlfriend. Almost krautrock in its relentless, headlong rhythm, Little Richard’s ‘Lucille’ showcases the flamboyant rock’n’roll pianist at his blistering best. 1 "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. Smiley Lewis was already in his 40s when he recorded the first version of ‘Blue Monday’, later a hit for fellow New Orleans musician Fats Domino. The rolling rumble of bass and drums and the lo-fi guitar sound would influence everyone from The Beatles to Girls, while the simplicity of its chord structure provided that the most infectious tracks often came in seemingly basic packages – the effect of which would be seen until this day. Weepy Johnnie Ray found his signature tune here, swamping Churchill Kohlman’s song with his sobbing tones and topping the Billboard chart too. Either way, it’s the latter’s version that rules, and proves beyond dispute why the guy was dubbed “the king of slide guitar”. Dad of cult funk artist Shuggie, Johnny Otis was a bandleader and multi-instrumentalist who spent as much time discovering and nurturing new talent – Etta James for one – as making his own records. Yes, the UK had its very own Elvis, for a time at least, and sent his debut single straight to No.2. Played live since his Delta blues days in the ‘30s and honed for two decades before its release in ’56, it sees harmonica, train references and a repeated E major chord collide to mesmerising effect. Chess brothers Leonard and Phil also helmed this Chuck Berry number, a riffing, jangling template that Berry would habitually plunder as he struggled to maintain his later career. Songs have been written about every topic imaginable, but the best ones -- from swooning '50s ballads to contemporary club bangers -- have been penned about the ups and downs of being in love. if(viewportWidth >= 800){ I was undeterred. ‘Rock Me Baby’ is an essential part of any blues grounding, cropping up in the oeuvre of Jeff Beck and The Animals and on Otis Redding’s 1965 classic ‘Otis Blue’. Subsequently covered by everyone from Elvis Presley to Carl Perkins – and Bubba Sparks. My Wedding Songs is a reader-supported website. Rock-n-Roll emerged in the mid-50s as the teen music of choice with Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Gene Vincent, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard, James Brown, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Bobby Darin, Ritchie Valens, Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochran, Brenda Lee, Bobby Vee, Connie Frances, Johnny Mathis, Pat Boone and Ricky Nelson being notable exp…

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