The 1950s was a time of upheaval in the music industry. Many genres developed, most notably rock and roll. Though the decade is no longer a living memory for most of us, these best songs of the 1950s are still widely recognized for their catchy tunes and influence on the development of 20th-century music.
1. Diana - Pablo Anka
The song "Diana" by Paul Anka wasinspired by a girl he met at his church. Released in 1957, the song was extremely popular in the US and UK, where it spent nine weeks at No. 1 on the charts. The sad song begs Diana to give him a chance and promises a wonderful future together. I guess life got pretty boring for someone named Diana in the late 1950s.
Next:The Best Male Singers of the 1950s (Complete List)
2. I walk the line - Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash's song "I Walk The Line" is so well known that the song's title was reused for the 2005 film based on his life. The song, released in 1956,went to #1 on the chartsand it became one of the most famous songs of his career. The song exemplified Cash's signature "freight train" beat and was a promise of love to his first wife, Vivian Liberto.
Next:The Greatest Songs of All Time (Our Ultimate List of Popular Songs)
3. This is Amore - Dean Martin
There is probably not a single living person who does not know these opening lines: "When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza, that's love." The song was released in 1953 as part of the film's soundtrack.the car,Take Martin's career to the next level. It was the most recognized song of his career and even gave the title to his biopic.
Next:The Best Male Singers in Music History (Our Full List)
4. Why fools fall in love - Frankie Lymon and teenagers
"Why Fools Fall in Love" was first released in 1956 and became one of the most famous songs of the 1950s.win titleby The Beach Boys, The Diamonds and decades later by Diana Ross. It was also included on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
5. Ooby Dooby-Roy Orbison
In the great tradition of early rock 'n' roll, 1956's "Ooby Dooby" featured a gibberish refrain. Roy Orbison's band tried unsuccessfully for several years to get producers to let them play the song before finally landing a record deal in 1956. This sparked an eponymous dance craze that involved wild full-body shaking.
6. You send me - Sam Cooke
The lyrics may not make sense to us today, but in 1957 the phrase "You rule me" meant "You excite me." The music made Sam Cooke an overnight sensation and reached theTop of the Billboard 100as well as the R&B Records charts. Bridging the gap between black and white audiences, it was later covered by Aretha Franklin, Michael Bolton, Whitney Houston, The Chicks and many others.
7. Scream - The Isley Brothers
Released in 1959, the song "Shout" remains a popular party song to this day. The song turned out to contain elements of gospel, rock and roll, and R&B musicinducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The concept for the song came from musical improvisations using crowd call and response exercises at previous concerts. This resulted in the famous sequence of the song "A little softer now...".
Next:The Best Songs of the '60s (Our List)
8. Goodbye Love - The Everly Brothers
In 1957, the Everly Brothers song "Bye Bye Love" topped the charts and sold a record number of singles. Although his version was considered one of the best originals, Webb Pierce released it at the same time as a country version. The song was covered extensively by other well-known artists in later decades, including The Beatles, Simon And Garfunkel and Lacy J. Dalton.
9. Tutti Frutti - Kleiner Richard
In 1955, Little Richard's song "Tutti Frutti" made history when it was released. His unique vocalizations, musical style and percussion elements became a model for the development of the rock and roll genre. In 2007 the song was selected#1 on Top 100 Albums That Changed the World list. Fusing elements of blues, boogie-woogie and gospel, he introduced a distinctive drumming style that was copied by Chuck Berry and other artists.
Next:The Greatest Classic Rock Songs of All Time (Our Complete Playlist)
10. Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley
Heartbreak Hotel premiered in 1956, inspired by the death of a man who jumped out of a hotel window. The song stayed at the top of the charts for seven weeks and became one of Elvis Presley's most famous songs. He routinely played it at all of his live performances for the rest of his career. The sad song has been covered by many other well-known musicians, including Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan.
Next:The best and most popular singers in music history.
11. Blue Suede-Shoes – Carl Perkins
Although the song "Blue Suede Shoes" is best known for its Elvis Presley version, it was originally recorded by guitarist Carl Perkins in 1955. The song was considered revolutionary for its fusion of blues, country, and rock, leading to its name as the first rockabilly music. Perkins' version was a best-selling single for 16 weeks. It was also named one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.
Next:The best blues songs of all time.
12. La Bamba - Ritchie Valens
"La Bamba" was originally a Mexican folk song, the first recorded versions of which appeared in the 1930s. It wasn't widely known in the rest of the world until Ritchie Valens recorded a version in 1958. It fused the song's traditional elements with rock elements. and role, and became extremely popular. It is considered one of the most important songs in rock 'n' roll history.
Next:The best mariachi songs ever recorded
13. The lady sings the blues - Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday's sad "Lady Sings The Blues" was the title track of her 1956 album, released to coincide with her autobiography of the same name. The song is considered a self-declaration of Holiday's life and musical style, as she was often asked if she really was a blues singer.
Next:The Greatest Blues Singers in Music History (Our List)
14. Big Fireballs - Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis originally recorded Great Balls Of Fire for the 1957 film's soundtrack.Francachela.But the song became popular in its own right, selling a million copies in the US within 10 days of its official release. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard Top 100. The song has been used extensively on television and film, including the 1989 biopic of Lewis's life.
Next:The best movie soundtracks of all time.
15. Going After Midnight - Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline's song "Walkin' After Midnight" was recorded in late 1956. Interestingly, it had been recorded earlier by a different singer and didn't garner much attention. It wasn't until Cline put her in an episode ofArthur Godfrey Headhunterthat it became popular - so popular that his studio pushed back the release date to next month. "Walkin' After Midnight" is widely considered one of the defining songs of modern country music.
Next:The Best Female Singers of the 1950s (Our Shortlist)
16. Blueberry Hill – Fette Dominosteine
Fats Domino's version of "Blueberry Hill" wasn't the first recording of the song; In fact, it was recorded six times in 1940 alone. It wasn't until 16 years later that Fats Domino released his own rock 'n' roll-influenced version. It is widely remembered as the biggest hit of his career and has been included in many lists of the greatest and most impactful songs of all time.
17. Have a Little Dream of Me – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
"Dream A Little Dream Of Me" was composed in 1931 and has been covered countless times over the decades, including by Mamas And The Papas in 1968. But arguably his most famous cover was Ella Fitzgerald's 1950 duet with Louis Armstrong. Nothing beats the romantic singing of two jazz giants, and the song is still well known to this day.
Next:The greatest jazz artists of all time
18. Rock Around The Clock – Bill Haley y sus cometas
"Rock Around The Clock" was a 1954 cover by Bill Haley & His Comets. It stayed at #1 on the US charts for two consecutive months. It had many failures between its 1952 recording and its success, going through many covers, studios and even recording artists before making it to Billy Haley & His Comets.
19. Little Pretty - Thurston Harris
Little Bitty Pretty One was released in 1957 but is still widely known to this day. It's particularly impressive considering most of his lyrics are simple vocalizations, like a hum or repeats of "ah". But it is impossible to forget these opening harmonies, which have been played countless times in the decades since Harris' version.
20. Chord Little Susie - Die Everly Brothers
"Wake Up Little Susie" is a 1957 song recorded by the Everly Brothers. It tells the story of a teenage couple who go to a drive-in movie theater and fall asleep in their car. They wake up early in the morning to find that they have broken curfew and are afraid of what their parents will say.
Next:The Greatest Music Duos of All Time (Our Complete List of Duets)
21. Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin
"Mack The Knife" begann alsa piece from an opera from 1920. It entered popular culture in the United States in 1955 when Louis Armstrong published an English version. But Bobby Darin's 1959 cover is by far the best known. It was considered one of the greatest songs of 1959 and one of Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
22. The Battle of New Orleans - Johnny Horton
It seems odd that a song about the War of 1812 would work well in the rock era, but Johnny Horton managed to record one. "The Battle of New Orleans" is a humorous portrayal of the historical event, starringridiculous lyricsas "Then we grabbed an alligator and fired another shot... And when we touched the gunpowder, the alligator lost its head."
23. Armer Narr – Ricky Nelson
Poor Little Fool was written by Sharon Sheeley at the timeshe was only 15. He presented it to Ricky Nelson, who made some tweaks before releasing it in 1958. The song was a huge hit, peaking at No. 1 on the US Hot 100 and No. 4 in the UK.
24. Yakety Yak - The coasters
Yakety Yak may have been released in 1958, but it's still just as relatable to modern audiences. Upbeat music depicts the exchange between a father and a grumpy teenager running his errands, with frequent repeats of "Yakety Yak (Don't Answer)".
25. Love Me Tenderly - Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley's song "Love Me Tender", released in 1956, was one of the best songs of his career. Although the lyrics were written for him, the melody wasrecycled music from the Civil War era"Aura Lee". Presley took music and gave it his signature talent that went down in history.
26. Shake, Rattle and Roll - Big Joe Turner
Big Joe Turner recorded "Shake, Rattle, & Roll" in 1954 to create an upbeat blues song with pop influences. The song charted on the Top 100 and R&B charts. It became famous thanks to musicians such as Bill Haley and Elvis Presley.
Next:The best musicians and artists of the 1950s
27. This will be the day - Buddy Holly and the crickets
Buddy Holly first recorded "That'll Be The Day" as a solo artist in 1956 before releasing a new version with The Crickets the following year. The song was certified goldsold over a million albumsUS only The song has also been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and is on the National Recording Registry for its musical and cultural significance.
28. Love is a thing of splendor - The four aces
"Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing" went through many versions before The Four Aces recorded their version in 1955. However, it wasn't very popular until The Four Aces' version was released. The song was widely circulated in the 20th century, most notably by Engelbert Humperdinck.
Next:Best Movie Songs Of All Time (Movie List Songs)
29. Little Treasure – Os Diamantes
At first glance, The Diamonds' "Little Darlin'" doesn't seem like anything special. Like many other songs from the 1950s, the lyrics are about mourning a lost lover. But the 1959 song had only found fame as an R&B cover two years earlier. The Diamonds took the song and added doo-wop and rock-and-roll elements, which propelled it into the Top 40.
30. There goes my baby - The Bums
There Goes My Baby, released in 1959, was written by the famous Ben E. King and recorded by the new cast of The Drifters. The track explored elements of different instruments and musical genres, opting for free verse rather than rhymed verses. Despite this departure from tradition, it remained extremely popular and was included in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
31. Come Fly With Me - Frank Sinatra
It's hard to pick Frank Sinatra's most famous song, but 1958's "Come Fly With Me" is definitely in the running. This song showcases Sinatra's smooth voice and impressive range perfectly. Its romantic lyrics have led to its use in countless films and television shows, as well as covers by many other well-known musicians.
32. The Purple Ogre - Sheb Wooley
You thought "What does the fox say?" What was the first weird song to top the charts? Sheb Wooley did this in 1958's The Purple People Eater. The song was reportedly based on a joke Wooley heard from his friend's son. Despite the silly premise, the song topped the charts in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It is widely known to this day.
Next:Best Funny Songs Of All Time (Full Playlist)
33. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry released the song "Johnny B. Goode" in 1958. It went to the top of the charts, peaking at No. 2 on Billboard's Top R&B Pages and No. 8 on the Billboard Top 100. The song is considered revolutionary in the development of rock music and earned a place in the Grammy Hall of Fame for his influence on the genre. the music wasfamously played by Michael J. Fox1985Back to the Future.
34. Bananenboot - Harry Belafonte
"Banana Boat", released in 1956, is one of the earliest and most famous examples of calypso music (as well as elements of mento music). It was originated by Jamaican musician Harry Belafonte and became his most recognizable song throughout his career. The song, which uses a call-and-response style, is intended to evoke Jamaican longshoremen unloading cargoes of bananas.
35. Rockin' Robin - Bobby Day
"Rockin' Robin" was released in 1958 and became the most successful song of Bobby Day's career. It is still widely known for its iconic opening chorus imitating birdsong.Michael Jackson covered the song in 1972.It was the most popular track on his album that year.
Liam Flynn(Editor-in-Chief and Editor)
As Editor-in-Chief and Writer for The Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content created by professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other collaborators to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also a founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate about bringing editorial content to his readers.
Liam's lifelong love of music is what makes his role in The Music Grotto so enriching. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for the music grotto.
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What song best represents the 50s? ›
- Elvis Presley, “Don't Be Cruel”
- Bill Haley & His Comets, “Rock Around The Clock” ...
- Gogi Grant, “The Wayward Wind” ...
- Sheb Wooley, “The Purple People Eater” ...
- Mitch Miller, “The Yellow Rose Of Texas” ...
- Elvis Presley, “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” ...
- Frank Sinatra, “Learnin' The Blues” ...
- Johnny Horton, “The Battle Of New Orleans” ...
Hugh Foley, founding member of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, about Patti Page. Page was the top-selling female singer of the 1950s. She died at the age of 85 on New Year's Day in Encinitas, Calif.Who is the most famous singer in the 1950s? ›
- Elvis Presley.
- Fats Domino.
- Chuck Berry.
- Little Richard.
- The Everly Brothers.
- Bill Haley & His Comets.
- Ray Charles.
- Buddy Holly & The Crickets.
In the music industry, the Top 40 is the current, 40 most-popular songs in a particular genre. It is the best-selling or most frequently broadcast popular music. Record charts have traditionally consisted of a total of 40 songs. "Top 40" or "contemporary hit radio" is also a radio format.What was the biggest song in 1955? ›
Elvis Presley had the highest number of hits at the top of the Billboard number-one singles chart between January 1950 until August 1958 (10 songs) in addition, Presley remained the longest at the top of the Billboard number-one singles chart between January 1950 until August 1958 (57 weeks).Who is the No 1 female singer in world? ›
Madonna is recognized by Guinness World Records as the "Best-selling female recording artist of all time".What is arguably the biggest rock and roll song of the 1950s? ›
One of the biggest tracks of the 1950s, Jerry Lee Lewis' “Great Balls of Fire” sold a million copies in less than two weeks after its release, making it the biggest rock and roll song in history at the time and an essential part of the genre's development.Who is the greatest male singer of all time? ›
- David Bowie. ...
- John Lennon. ...
- Freddie Mercury. ...
- Prince. ...
- Axl Rose. ...
- Frank Sinatra. ...
- Marvin Gaye. ...
- Elvis Presley. Sometimes being cited as one of the world's first famous rock artists, Elvis was no stranger to exploring different genres.
Who was the most famous singer in 1956? ›
1956 is the year Elvis Presley and rock and roll take over the popular music charts. Elvis is #1 on the US charts for 25 weeks in 1956 and has a record nine singles in the top 100. R&B artists continue to crossover to the pop charts and rockabilly explodes out of the south.What is the number one oldies song of all time? ›
1. "Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland. This song came to popularity as the most famous track from The Wizard of Oz.What song was popular in 1957? ›
|1||"All Shook Up"||Elvis Presley|
|2||"Love Letters in the Sand"||Pat Boone|
|3||"Little Darlin'"||The Diamonds|
|4||"Young Love"||Tab Hunter|
There's even a dispute over the exact title. Yet “It's a Small World,” also known as “It's a Small, Small World” and “It's a Small World (After All),” is very likely the most played song in music history — nearly 50 million times.What was the #1 song in 1979? ›
The Doobie Brothers reached #1 on April 14th with “What a Fool Believes”. It went on to win for song and album of the year. That song, co-written by Kenny Loggins, is now a perfect example of the Yacht Rock genre of the late 70s.What is the 10 most popular songs in the world? ›
- FlowersMiley Cyrus.
- Kill BillSZA.
- Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53Bizarrap, Shakira.
- Boy's a liar Pt. 2PinkPantheress, Ice Spice.
- As It WasHarry Styles.
- Unholy (feat. Kim Petras)Sam Smith, Kim Petras.
- Creepin' (with The Weeknd & 21 Savage)Metro Boomin, The Weeknd, 21 Savage.
- Yandel 150Yandel, Feid.
- 1. “ Blinding Lights” - The Weeknd. ...
- 2. “ Shape of You” - Ed Sheeran. ...
- 3. “ Dance Monkey” - Tones and I. ...
- 4. “ Someone You Loved” - Lewis Capaldi. ...
- 5. “ Rockstar” - Post Malone featuring 21 Savage. ...
- 6. “ Sunflower” - Post Malone and Swae Lee. ...
- 7. “ ...
- 8. “
What was the #1 song in 1950? ›
"I Can Dream, Can't I?"What was the #1 song in 1951? ›
Drive-in movies were a hit during the late '50s. Teenagers liked cruising with their wheels and also taking in movies. A drive-in movie was one way to do both. A lot of the guys took their girls to the drive-in not for the movie, but for smooching and making out.What was the number 1 rock and roll song in 1955? ›
For the 1955 track lineup, just one song topped the Billboard Best Sellers in Stores chart: "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets.What was the biggest hit in 1952? ›
The Queen of Soul was unrivalled for decades when it came to having the best singing voice on the planet.
1: Aretha Franklin
Topping our list of the best female singers of all time, Aretha Franklin also stands as the most-charting female singer in history. Starting out in the gospel choir at her Baptist church, in Detroit, Franklin began her career as a recording artist in 1960, aged just 18.
Madonna is the first woman in music to earn $100 million for a year (2009) and has the most years as the top-earning female musicians (11 times).What was the number song in 1950? ›
"I Can Dream, Can't I?"What is 1950s best known for? ›
The 1950s were a decade marked by the post-World War II boom, the dawn of the Cold War and the civil rights movement in the United States.
What is the #1 most played song? ›
|1||"Shape of You"||Ed Sheeran|
|2||"rockstar"||Post Malone ft. 21 Savage|
|3||"One Dance"||Drake ft. Wizkid and Kyla|
|4||"Closer"||The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey|
The biggest-selling single of this period was "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets, which became the first single ever to sell more than a million copies in the UK.What was a popular fad in the 1950s? ›
Hula-Hoops invaded playgrounds and took the world by storm in the late 1950s. Thanks to a great marketing campaign, 25 million hoops were sold in a few months. These toys are still popular today and are now even used in adult fitness classes! Ant farms were popular in the 1950s!What was trending in 1950s? ›
1950's fashion was casual yet formal and elegant. Shoulder lines became more softened, corset waists became smaller, and rounded hips with long skirts became popular. The iconic gray felt poodle skirts emerged with white bobby socks and saddle shoes.
- “Yesterday” by The Beatles. ...
- “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. ...
- “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones: ...
- “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. ...
- “Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg, sung by Judy Garland.
#1: "The Twist" by Chubby Checker
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- 1 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen. ...
- 2 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin. ...
- 3 Imagine - John Lennon. ...
- 4 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana. ...
- 5 One - Metallica. ...
- 6 Hotel California - Eagles. ...
- 7 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd. ...
- 8 Hey Jude - The Beatles.