The gossamer tones of Cline’s voice and honky tonk rhythms were paired with the creepy undercurrents of the lyrics, that suggested insomnia or even some sort of psychotic, night-time mania. It sounded like a puffy white cloud floating in the sky. 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 Think blues and you think Howlin Wolf and ‘Smokestack Lightnin’. A bluesy rock and roll number with a dour undercurrent, it was Elvis’ first number one. Its skittering groove would underpin many of rock’n’roll’s dancefloor cuts, most dubiously Jive Bunny’s 1988 megamixes where the Big Bopper’s “Ooh, baby, that’s what I like!” provided regular punctuation. “You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain / Too much love drives a man insane”. Words by Matthew Horton, Tim Chester, Priya Elan. 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. Danny Rapp sustains his lead vocal over a breakneck couple of minutes, but it’s baritone Joe Terranova who steals the show. I don't doubt that a few songs from the late 40s or early 60s have accidentally slipped onto this list. ‘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. However, Fats did it best, and it remained his biggest track. The smooth, daytime jazz waltz became one of his trademark tracks. It made his legend. Backed by ‘Hound Dog,’ the track became one of the biggest sellers of his career. Nice woodblocks too. Almost krautrock in its relentless, headlong rhythm, Little Richard’s ‘Lucille’ showcases the flamboyant rock’n’roll pianist at his blistering best. 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. 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. Sonia also did a version in 2010, but the less said about that the better. One of the rawest early rock tracks, Bo Diddley’s self-regarding jerker has been covered, ripped off and filleted repeatedly since. }); Covered by countless artists – Peggy Lee, Madonna, Beyoncé, funk don George Clinton, The Doors, you name ’em – Otis Blackwell and Eddie Cooley’s ‘Fever’ was originally recorded, reluctantly, by R&B warbler Little Willie John. 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… 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. Originally a Glenn Miller jazz standard from the early ‘40s, this classic was revived by Louis Armstrong at the end of the decade and reworked by Elvis Presley and Little Richard. 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. 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. The 1950s marked the birth of rock’n’roll. ‘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. Berry’s song follows one such rabid fan over a simple blues riff. That riff, that piano, and that chorus – all packaged into a timeless track about rock ‘n’ roll itself. Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley 3. The subject of discord over writing credits, ‘Blue In Green’ is now credited to Davis and occasional collaborator and legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans. 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. Forget Lady Gaga’s 2008 album monstrosity, this slinky shuffle features some top vocal lines from the Drifters’ tenor, bass, and baritone voices and, halfway through the playful sax solo, one of the greatest screams in rock history. After years of prom-friendly sweetness, here was a track that finally soundtrack the rampant, fiery nature of spurned love. 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. 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. Here are the top 100 tracks from the decade that that sparked a musical revolution. TOP 100 FOLK HITS OF THE '50S AND '60S. 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. 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’. So begins the third greatest song of the entire decade and one of the best rock ‘n’ roll tracks ever. Let us know what your favorite acoustic guitar song is! But that’s not his fault. 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. This track was famously used as a key part of his gig routine, when a handler came out, covered Brown in a cape and escorted a seemingly overwrought Brown off-stage. The comically named Spaniels formed at school in 1952 and clocked their biggest with this evergreen doo-wop number two years later. The world's defining voice in music and pop culture since 1952. Subsequently covered by everyone from Elvis Presley to Carl Perkins – and Bubba Sparks. Still, it had the cash rolling in, which would explain The Five Satins’ continued existence. 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. 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’. The filthiest thing to be released in all of 1956. The biggest hit belonged to Kim’s dad Marty Wilde but Dion DiMucci launched a career off the back of this doo-wop beauty, hitting paydirt with ‘Runaround Sue’ and ‘The Wanderer’ and still mooching around today. Pull out your flannel and dust off your choker necklaces, it's time to remember some of the best songs of the '90s. Picking the 100 best female singers of the '50s, '60s, and '70s is a challenge -- but the good news is that women have contributed so much to popular music. Decades after it was released, ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ would be referred to as “David Lynch-esque”. 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. 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 But his delivery belied the lyrics, which rather unsettlingly suggested the creeping sense of an inescapable obsession. On its initial release ‘Reet Petite’ was a throaty solo debut for Wilson, who had just left his band The Dominoes, and a lyrical inspiration for Van Morrison’s 1972 R&B classic ‘Jackie Wilson Said’. Best 1950s Music is a list of the most popular songs of the 1950s to hit the charts and become hits in American culture. 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. Still, his salsa-tinged instrumental lives on, a cheeky soundtrack to shenanigans the world over. Top 100+ Easy Guitar Songs – BEST List For Beginners and Intermediate Players; Top 70+ Greatest Fingerpicking Songs that appeared on her debut album but only made megahit status when it was used for a 1987 Chanel No.5 advert. Written and arranged by one Ike Turner, who turns in the rolling piano too, it was released on Chicago blues label Chess with singer Jackie Brenston taking all the glory and publishing cash. This decade was a turning point in American pop music, and the radical changes that took place during this era … ‘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. Where’s it coming from? 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. While it bizarrely only reached 49 in the UK charts it’s gone on to become a household classic. 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. Related Articles. 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. 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. The most Romantic Old Songs in the 50s & 60s. As introductions go, this was hard to beat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvKDr8AgvK8. Take a look below, and you'll probably be shocked by more than a few of the banned songs from the '50s and '60s. From big band tracks to jazz standards, until midway through the 20th century, music was a resolutely parent-friendly zone. 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. 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. One of the unimpeachable dawn-of-rock standards, ‘Lucille’ was a smash on both sides of the Atlantic and has been butchered by artists ranging from hair-metallers Van Halen to rock’n’roll pasticheurs par excellence Mud. 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. King and – well – how much time have you got? The Shirelles for the invention of the girl group. 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. 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). 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. $(document).ready(function(){$("#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). A brilliantly constructed couple of minutes it weaves frenetic harmonies, time signature changes and varied dynamics to irresistible effect. 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. 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. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 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. © 2021 NME is a member of the media division of BandLab Technologies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ek3eCbfqp0. The song is also performed during the opening credits of the film. 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