best songs of the 50s

best songs of the 50s

Where’s it coming from? 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. 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. It took a couple of years to break into the UK charts, but is now woven into the very fabric of pop’s zoot suit and remains the signature tune for the still-going Quartet. This is the one that shoved rock’n’roll into the charts, but for an essentially teen movement it was odd to see Bill Haley front and centre. Miles Davis’s ‘A Kind Of Blue’ has stuck around as an all-time great jazz album and one of the more accessible examples in its field, with ‘Blue In Green’ one of a couple of ballads revealing Davis’s more subtle, feet-up playing. The filthiest thing to be released in all of 1956. Holly And The Crickets created a penetrating slab of early, guitar driven blues. He undermines his destitution with zany voices and jaunty rolling blues, and the song found a place in cinema posterity, popping up in 80s Brat Pack movies Diner and The Lost Boys. Almost krautrock in its relentless, headlong rhythm, Little Richard’s ‘Lucille’ showcases the flamboyant rock’n’roll pianist at his blistering best. Whether you’re looking for a famous song to learn on guitar or want to discover some of the best players of all time, this list will point you in the right direction. List of #1 Pop Singles for 1950. The Everly’s celestial harmonies were goose bump inducing, and would later influence everyone from The Beatles to Fleetwood Mac. Plundering the early blues catalogue – notably Lil’ Son Jackson’s ‘Rockin’ And Rollin” – for inspiration, King created his own standard, his chiming guitar a hypnotic groove. 20 Biggest Songs of the Summer: The 1950s From mambos to the birth of rock, the best songs for hitting the drive-thru in the warmer months Top 100+ Easy Guitar Songs – BEST List For Beginners and Intermediate Players; Top 70+ Greatest Fingerpicking Songs It also meant that it was just a matter of time before songs were written about them. Number One on the country music chart for a month, Cash’s fictional account of incarceration at the Californian clink was a mid-fifties smash, and opened his seminal live album from the state penitentiary, ‘At Folsom Prison’. By Tim Chester. This was the first version, and inspired no less than six covers within a month of its release. An early doo-wop success, The Chords’ stray cat strut through ‘Sh-Boom’ would end up being their only hit, albeit a sturdy one, reaching the Billboard top 10. She’d actually written the mesmeric ‘Freight Train’ when she was 12 – after 50 years in mothballs, it was soon covered by artists including country star Chet Atkins and folkie Joan Baez. 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. London’s cool, seductive vocal carries it. Subsequently revived by all manner of crooners, from Michael Bolton (questionable) to Aretha (worth a listen). 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. From Jerry Lee to Goose and Maverick, this irrepresible dose of raw rock energy and serious piano abuse has been a stone cold classic for nearly 60 years. } It sounded like a puffy white cloud floating in the sky. $(document).ready(function() { What'd I Say - Ray Charles 4. 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. Jack White’s so enamoured with her he once covered another of her numbers, ‘Conquest’. 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. But his delivery belied the lyrics, which rather unsettlingly suggested the creeping sense of an inescapable obsession. The reverend of the double entendre, Little Richard’s portrait of a good time “mama” is unforgettable. They deserve their longevity with this meaty doo-wop stayer led by Fred Parris’s clearcut vocals and backed by rootsy, grainy sax. ‘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. 100 Best Songs Of The 1950s. Written as a pledge of marital devotion and penned as a ballad, it was producer Sam Phillips who suggested the breezy, arrangement. The man behind The Champs’ one and only hit (a massive one, mind you – No.1 in the US, No.5 in the UK) was Danny Flores, who played the wild sax solo and blurted out “tequila!”, as you do. 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. Music, Film, TV and Political News Coverage. Subsequently covered by everyone from Elvis Presley to Carl Perkins – and Bubba Sparks. After years of prom-friendly sweetness, here was a track that finally soundtrack the rampant, fiery nature of spurned love. I don't doubt that a few songs from the late 40s or early 60s have accidentally slipped onto this list. The most Romantic Old Songs in the 50s & 60s. Don’t be fooled, those Drifters soon became The Shadows, and they work up the dirty thrum behind Cliff’s still-polite but suitably snotty vocal. 1 earning the greatest … var viewportWidth = $(window).width(); Few songs come spring-loaded with the amount of energy this tune packs. Words by Matthew Horton, Tim Chester, Priya Elan. You can credit (or, occasionally, blame?) Initially sung as ‘At The Bop’ to tie in with the latest dance moves, new name ‘At The Hop’ was suggested by American Bandstand presenter Dick Clark, immediately conjuring a readymade soundtrack for high school dances the nation over. 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. 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. 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. Released after his death, it would typify a sort of ageless, heart-sore balladeering form that Williams helped inaugurate. }); 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 . That riff, that piano, and that chorus – all packaged into a timeless track about rock ‘n’ roll itself. Where’s it going? Hard to believe sometimes that Cliff was once a genuine, lip-curling rock’n’roller, but ‘Move It!’ is a convincing start. Jimmy Reed’s first US chart hit, ‘Honest I Do’ is a slow blues drawl featuring guitar and harmonica duelling from the man himself. A meld of baby rock’n’roll and doo-wop, The Cadillacs’ ‘Speedoo’ was so called after their lead singer Earl Carroll’s nickname. Elvis had flustered teenagers all shook up, while the likes of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and the like were destroying the old safety nets with a virile, passionate new sound. Sometimes the best songs are the most simple. 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. One of the earliest records to explore distortion and feedback it’s also the song that invented the power chord, ensuring Townshend and Blackmore are forever in his debt. The Waltz and the Mambo each have five, followed by the Tango with three. 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. 1 "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. Pull out your flannel and dust off your choker necklaces, it's time to remember some of the best songs of the '90s. 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. A simple blues-rockabilly shake-down which was enlivened by sprawling axe work from future guitar legend James Burton. Chicago DJ,Chicago Wedding DJ,Fourth Estate Audio,Top Songs of the 1950s The original lyrics (“Tutti Frutti, good booty / If it don’t fit, don’t force it / You can grease it, make it easy”) were so, well fruity, they made ‘Relax’ seem like a Vera Lynn track. Richard’s vocal was frazzled and spunky, half gospel apostle, half bar room holler as he told the story of Uncle John getting his ja-ja’s on with bald-headed Sally in a backstreet alley. 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. ‘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. 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’. Weepy Johnnie Ray found his signature tune here, swamping Churchill Kohlman’s song with his sobbing tones and topping the Billboard chart too. 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. However, Fats did it best, and it remained his biggest track. ‘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. King to Back To The Future, it was included on the Voyager Golden Record, a selection of discs sent into space to demonstrate the cultural capacity of life on earth. Its position in history has become murky, but ‘Rocket 88’ has a fair claim to be the first rock’n’roll record – and it was credited to a group that barely existed. ‘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. 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. TOP 100 FOLK HITS OF THE '50S AND '60S. Songs about specific dances comprise the majority of this list; songs on the subject of dancing are also included. Chuck Berry’s cut remains the set text, though. You’d be hard-pushed to pick a definitive Elvis single, but ‘Jailhouse Rock’ has to be one of the most iconic Pelvis tunes, all stop-start judder and growly holler. The smooth, daytime jazz waltz became one of his trademark tracks. LA vocal group The Platters made their name with this – their second and biggest hit, a US No.1 and UK No.5. So begins the third greatest song of the entire decade and one of the best rock ‘n’ roll tracks ever. 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. From its brassy train whistle to the evocative lyrics, few tunes encapsulate a sense of travel and wonder as this early ‘50s classic. ‘In The Still Of The Night’ enjoys the perhaps tainted honour of being an integral part of the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. A showy and expansive number, ‘The Great Pretender’ inevitably found favour with Freddie Mercury who once more took it into the UK top 5 in 1987, out-camping The Platters no doubt but possibly not wringing out similar emotion. They were so lush in fact that you could forget that they were singing lines like “I feel like I could die”. A gentle waltz that relied heaving on a mountainous orchestration, it showcased the vocal talents of doo-wop quintet. It made his legend. 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. $(".comp-slideshow-03 br").remove(); Being broke never sounded so good. Sonia also did a version in 2010, but the less said about that the better. Makes you proud to be human. 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… The 1950s marked the birth of rock’n’roll. Related Articles. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below. 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. The book covers only the post-Rock and Roll charts of the decade (late 1955 through 1959), but includes the pre-rock style of hit songs that still charted regularly, if less so as time wore on. Hard to re-appraise objectively after its use and abuse on films and adverts – from Hot Shots to So I Married An Axe Murderer, Alvin And The Chipmunks and beyond – over the years, The Platters’ sweetly harmonised ballad is nevertheless a total classic. $("#homeslider").html(''); Although it was wholesome crooner Pat Boone who took ‘Ain’t That A Shame’ to the top in the States, the song was Domino’s entry to the mainstream, paving the way for ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Blueberry Hill’. Patti Page, the biggest-selling female artist of the decade, did the honours. New Orleans pianist Antoine ‘Fats’ Domino was a profound influence on later pop idols Elvis Presley and John Lennon, bringing swing to rock’n’roll’s baby steps. Find album reviews, stream songs, credits and award information for 100 Greatest 50s & … 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. Here's a list of the best teen tragedy songs of the '50s and '60s, hand-picked by your guide. King and – well – how much time have you got? 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. ‘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’. 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. The Twist is the most popular of all dances, with ten hits represented. “You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain / Too much love drives a man insane”. 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. $(document).ready(function(){$("#tabs-menu a").click(function(){$("#nav").slideToggle("200")})}); Top songs of the 1950's is updated by the minute by, The Hawaiian Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au). 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. 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 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’. The Shirelles for the invention of the girl group. The subject of discord over writing credits, ‘Blue In Green’ is now credited to Davis and occasional collaborator and legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans. Named after the Creole rice and meat dish, ‘Jambalaya’ has become one of ill-starred country singer Hank Williams’ most lasting tracks. 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. 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. I was undeterred. The birth of rock ‘n roll meant that screaming teens were the norm. It’s also been covered by constipated ersatz soul bellower Michael Bolton, so is clearly indestructible. The cad! Appropriately the rugged anthem was full of bolshy swagger and teenage ballsiness. The 1950s marked the birth of rock’n’roll. Similar song lists for further reading: 1960s love songs; 1970s love songs; 1980s love songs; 1950s Love Songs.

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