This was a pivotal decade for pop music. Elvis exploded onto the music scene and revolutionised the industry forever with his rockabilly style which would influence sixty years of rock artists. With so many great artists and catchy tunes coming out if this era, it was actually pretty difficult to limit this list to ten. So, without further ado, here’s my top ten songs from the fifties!
10. Summertime Blues by Eddie Cochran
Released in 1958, this rockabilly track is an absolute classic. Covered by The Who, you just can’t go wrong with this one.
9. I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Frank Sinatra
It wouldn’t be proper for me to leave out Mr. Sinatra from the list. We all know this timeless classic written by Cole Porter in 1956 and rightly so since its one of the most covered songs in the pop world.
8. Please, Please, Please by James Brown
Released in 1956, Etta James herself claimed that this song was composed from a three word phrase written by Little Richard on a ratty napkin. The napkin in question was kept by James Brown who was determined to write a song from just those three words. Which he did. As you do.
7. Peggy Sue by Buddy Holly
This track was a huge influence on the Beatles in years to come. It’s catchy and simple. A classic pop hit.
6. Smokestack Lightnin’ by Howlin’ Wolf
This r&b hit was released in 1956 and includes some nifty harmonica and and train references. Let’s face it, you can’t go wrong with the rough tones of Howlin’ Wolf.
5. Blue Suede Shoes by Carl Perkins
Everyone is familiar with at least one version of this classic track. In ’55 it made it on the pop, country and r&b charts to absolutely no one’s surprise.
4. Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis
Recorded for the 1957 movie Jamboree, it reached number 2 on the pop and r&b charts. Even though nowadays most people associate the words with comedy (I mean… balls… of fire), it’s still a classic.
3. Tutti Frutti by Littke Richard
This is probably one of the most catchiest tunes I’ve ever heard. Until recently I didn’t realise the lyrics talked about a good booty, which made me love it even more (don’t we all love a song about the booty?).
2. Johnny B Goode by Chuck Berry
Back to the Future fans would know this classic (or a version of it) which was released in 1958. It has everything a good song needs: a rockin’ riff, powerful piano and catchy chorus. Perfect for night out on the dance floor.
1. Hound Dog by Big Mama Thornton
Even though most people know the version by Elvis, this is the original. And it’s so much better. What you may not know about this era is that even though Big Mama originally performed the song, she saw little to no profit from it which was an unfortunate result of ridiculous racial issues of the time. Many black artists saw no profit from any white artist that covered their songs. Regardless, this song will always be my favourite song from the decade.