Lastly, if you think I may have missed any great acoustic songs in the list above, don’t forget to leave a comment below. Various versions have surfaced in the movies and on TV, sh-booming through Johnny Depp’s Cry-Baby and Patrick Swayze’s Roadhouse as well as appearing in Dennis Potter’s 50s pastiche Lipstick On Your Collar for the BBC. Named after the Creole rice and meat dish, ‘Jambalaya’ has become one of ill-starred country singer Hank Williams’ most lasting tracks. The birth of rock ‘n roll meant that screaming teens were the norm. Music from 1950 -1959. 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. 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. Appropriately the rugged anthem was full of bolshy swagger and teenage ballsiness. 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. If there were any blues contained in this summer, we couldn’t detect them. Subsequently revived by all manner of crooners, from Michael Bolton (questionable) to Aretha (worth a listen). if(viewportWidth >= 800){ Not bad for a tune about footwear. Subsequently covered by everyone from Elvis Presley to Carl Perkins – and Bubba Sparks. 100 best tracks of the ’50s – Spotify playlist. Music, Film, TV and Political News Coverage. Where the sound of street doo-wop met rock and roll, the precocious Harlem teen Lymon and his vocal harmony group The Teenagers sang with the type of honesty about teenage love angst which that only a (then) 15 year old could have known about . A perennial blues fave, ‘Don’t Start Me Talkin” was a self-penned hit for Williamson and housed a who’s who of blues heavyweights in its credits, including Willie Dixon on bass and Muddy Waters on guitar. Chuck Berry’s cut remains the set text, though. It remains a mystery but we’re very much on board for the ride. 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 Backed by ‘Hound Dog,’ the track became one of the biggest sellers of his career. 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. By Tim Chester. 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’. It's subjective, of course, but it covers the early days of rock 'n' roll in search of the saddest and most morbid teen songs. 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”. 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). An early work of rock genius. Armed with an amazing rockabilly riff (so good that it was later covered by The Who), ‘Summertime Blues’ pulverizes with Cochran’s “gee, shucks” vocal style and jumping, speed demon rhythms. Weepy Johnnie Ray found his signature tune here, swamping Churchill Kohlman’s song with his sobbing tones and topping the Billboard chart too. Similar song lists for further reading: 1960s love songs; 1970s love songs; 1980s love songs; 1950s Love Songs. It’s hard to believe but this track, Ray Charles’ first gold record, the one he finished every set with, one of the cuts that’s credited as kick-starting a small genre known as soul, a frisky nugget currently residing in the national recording registry, started life as an improvised thing at the end of a set. 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. 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. 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. 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. In the world of rock mythology, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ was inspired by a real life suicide, the story of which propelled songwriting duo Axton and Durden to pen this track. The world's defining voice in music and pop culture since 1952. It sounded like a puffy white cloud floating in the sky. 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’. Parping sax and handclaps drove a kinetic track that earned a reputation as a crucial bridge between black music and white audiences, and it remains the calling card of a band that endures with Speedoo Carroll still upfront. 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. Think blues and you think Howlin Wolf and ‘Smokestack Lightnin’. The 1950s marked the birth of rock’n’roll. “You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain / Too much love drives a man insane”. It's very hard to accurately track down dates for a lot of worthy 50's era music. 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. 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. © 2021 NME is a member of the media division of BandLab Technologies. The Twist is the most popular of all dances, with ten hits represented. Words by Matthew Horton, Tim Chester, Priya Elan. 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. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below. Hard to believe sometimes that Cliff was once a genuine, lip-curling rock’n’roller, but ‘Move It!’ is a convincing start. $(document).ready(function(){$("#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). 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. Nina Simone’s hepcat jazz cut was a cover of a number from the 1930 musical Whoopee! 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’. Top Hindi Songs of The 50s Music Playlist on Gaana.com. Chicago DJ,Chicago Wedding DJ,Fourth Estate Audio,Top Songs of the 1950s This was the first version, and inspired no less than six covers within a month of its release. 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. 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. The biggest hits of the 1950s according to Billboard Magazine. 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvKDr8AgvK8. 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. Although Cash’s music and career would inhabit darker, more complicated and ornate territory, the simplicity of ‘I Walk The Line’ is one of his most memorable moments. Few songs come spring-loaded with the amount of energy this tune packs. 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. 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. One of the rawest early rock tracks, Bo Diddley’s self-regarding jerker has been covered, ripped off and filleted repeatedly since. 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. 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. 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. 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. The cad! Where’s it coming from? A simple blues-rockabilly shake-down which was enlivened by sprawling axe work from future guitar legend James Burton. Best 1950s Music is a list of the most popular songs of the 1950s to hit the charts and become hits in American culture. Jimmy Reed’s first US chart hit, ‘Honest I Do’ is a slow blues drawl featuring guitar and harmonica duelling from the man himself. This was the second song Robert Johnson ever recorded, but its creation has also been attributed to Elmore James. 100 Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Songs of the 50s 1950 1. However, Fats did it best, and it remained his biggest track. Released after his death, it would typify a sort of ageless, heart-sore balladeering form that Williams helped inaugurate. But that’s not his fault. Find album reviews, stream songs, credits and award information for 100 Greatest 50s & … 1 earning the greatest … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twQNeIBGntg. So begins the third greatest song of the entire decade and one of the best rock ‘n’ roll tracks ever. 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. 55 songs 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. 9th March 2012. One of the many tracks that’s been claimed as the first rock and roll record (alongside efforts from Fats Domino, Bill Haley, and Roy Brown), the Pelvis’ cover of blues singer Arthur Crudup’s ‘That’s All Right’ is certainly the one that broke him. 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. But then everything changed. Here are the top 100 tracks from the decade that that sparked a musical revolution. Bob Dylan’s favourite intrumental has been pilfered by Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Rodriguez (Roadracers), Spongebob and the Sopranos. But his delivery belied the lyrics, which rather unsettlingly suggested the creeping sense of an inescapable obsession. Here's a list of the best teen tragedy songs of the '50s and '60s, hand-picked by your guide. 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. 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. $(".photo-thumb-link").lightbox();$(".comp-slideshow-03 p a").lightbox(); An air of otherworldly mystery hangs about this bluesy stomp. From big band tracks to jazz standards, until midway through the 20th century, music was a resolutely parent-friendly zone. Sonia also did a version in 2010, but the less said about that the better. 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. 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. ‘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’. ‘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. Makes you proud to be human. The Everly’s celestial harmonies were goose bump inducing, and would later influence everyone from The Beatles to Fleetwood Mac. 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. 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ2IJQy4iuM. $(document).ready(function() { Still, his salsa-tinged instrumental lives on, a cheeky soundtrack to shenanigans the world over. }); In one form or another The Dells have stuck around for the past 60 years, but it was ‘Oh, What A Night’ that gave them their first hit. 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 . ‘In The Still Of The Night’ enjoys the perhaps tainted honour of being an integral part of the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. 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. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 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. 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. Sometimes the best songs are the most simple. The most Romantic Old Songs in the 50s & 60s. From its brassy train whistle to the evocative lyrics, few tunes encapsulate a sense of travel and wonder as this early ‘50s classic. Little Richard’s best track was revolutionary in terms of how it shaped rock and roll, not just in musically but in its pioneering use of double entendre. ‘C’mon Everybody’, with its motorik guitar foundations and raspy vocal from Cochran still stands up and was memorably covered in 1979 by Sid Vicious – another briefly burning rock’n’roller. Rankings are based on the popularity of each song during the period of 1950 through 1969. 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. ‘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. While it bizarrely only reached 49 in the UK charts it’s gone on to become a household classic. 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 subject of discord over writing credits, ‘Blue In Green’ is now credited to Davis and occasional collaborator and legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans. 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEl3UUl1Fmw. 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. Danny Rapp sustains his lead vocal over a breakneck couple of minutes, but it’s baritone Joe Terranova who steals the show. Written by Quartet member Paul Desmond, ‘Take Five’ features Brubeck on nudging, insistent piano and Desmond on the meandering sax, and was a pioneering jazz/pop crossover. The 1950s marked the birth of rock’n’roll. A meld of baby rock’n’roll and doo-wop, The Cadillacs’ ‘Speedoo’ was so called after their lead singer Earl Carroll’s nickname. Recorded when the remarkable Anka – who also managed to co-write it – was only 15, this perky slice of doo-wop turned into one of the biggest selling singles of all time, apparently shifting nine million units. 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. 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 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. It also meant that it was just a matter of time before songs were written about them. 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. Written as a pledge of marital devotion and penned as a ballad, it was producer Sam Phillips who suggested the breezy, arrangement. 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. 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. It’s remarkable for its minimalist presentation, with London accompanied only by Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on double bass. A 12-bar blues jaunt that was unlike no other. var WRInitTime=(new Date()).getTime(); After years of prom-friendly sweetness, here was a track that finally soundtrack the rampant, fiery nature of spurned love. Vladimir Putin attempted it live last year – every time someone watches that rendition, a cat is tortured somewhere on the globe. 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