I love Rock-n-Roll. I love singer-songwriters who play their own instruments, and I like those instruments to be a guitar, bass and drums. For more exotic music a rhythm guitar or some kind of keyboard can be thrown into the mix.
The musical style of The Blues expanded out of the American South and evolved into Rock-n-Roll. That expansion and evolution experienced its first great epoch in the 1950’s.
In no particular order, here are my favorite songs from the decade of the 1950’s:
Memphis Tennessee – Chuck Berry, 1959
This is actually a pretty sad (but hopeful) song. It’s deeper than other, teeny-bopper hits of the day.
16 Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1955
For some reason, I grew up listening to this song. I mean, as a little kid I used to listen to this song over and over again.
Shake, Rattle and Roll – Bill Haley and His Comets, 1954
I mainly remember the ending credits of the movie Clue. Also, for some reason, this song makes me think of getting ready to go out for the night.
Sh-Boom – The Crew Cuts, 1956
This is also featured in the movie Clue, and I can’t help but think of Colleen Camp as the maid.
Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On – Jerry Lee Lewis, 1957
In the barn. Who’s barn? What barn? My barn!
Be-Bop-A-Lula – Gene Vincent, 1956
It may be an apocryphal story, but I once heard that, when asked what the most significant lyric in rock-n-roll is, Paul Simon answered, “Be-bop-a-lula, she’s my baby.”
That’s Alright Mama – Elvis Presley, 1954
Of course there’s lots of Elvis songs I could have put on here. I chose this one. Well Mama, she done tol’ me. Papa done tol’ me too
I Got a Woman – Ray Charles, 1954
Is he saying his woman lives way over-town? Because we use that term (over-town) here on The Island all the time.
Splish Splash – Bobby Darin, 1958
Who hasn’t sung this song with their kids at bath time?
Sea of Love – Phil Phillips, 1959
I’d fall in love to this song.
Love Is Strange – Mickey and Sylvia, 1956
Love that scene in Casino when Robert DeNiro is looking at Sharron Stone. Also, I like “C’mere loverboy!”
Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino, 1956
Perhaps more than any other song on this list, this one makes my think of a time gone by that may never have been. And it was Ritchie Cunningham’s favorite song. Of course, I also think of poor old Fats escaping to his attic during hurricane Katrina.
Sleep Walk – Santo and Johnny, 1959
For me, this has a creepy, melancholy vibe to it (perhaps because of that Stephen King movie, which features the excellently creepy Boadicea by Enya). And always goes through my head when I think about processing these pictures.
Bye Bye Love – The Everly Brothers, 1958
(Oddly, this reminds me of the much darker Bye Bye Life from All That Jazz (which features that guy from Jaws singing and dancing with Ben Vereen), but I’ll always like the original too.)
Chantilly Lace – The Big Bopper, 1958
Deepened my appreciation for ponytails. Oh baby, you know what I like!
Rip It Up – Little Richard, 1957
As with Elvis, I could have put any number of Little Richard songs on this list. This is the one I picked.
And here are the songs I was disappointed to discover were released in the 1960’s (I thought they sounded like “50’s songs”.