My “33” Favorite Songs From The 1950’s


Ahhh yes the 1950’s. My parents grew up. Music really started to take shape. Rock N Roll was born. I got exposed to this culture especially the music when I grew up in the 1980’s. Why? Because of oldies radio stations and cassette tapes my dad played in his Ford pickup truck. So what’s so special about the 1950’s?

Rock n’ roll was a creation of the Fifties; bringing with it, the attitudes of teenage rebellion that still exist today. It was during the Fifties that the Beat poets (like Allen Ginsberg) let loose a radical literary howl against boring mainstream culture. And it was during the Fifties that tons of radical technological innovations—even beginning with the computer—began to shift a change the way we were used to living our lives……forever. Dramatic changes in technology, transportation, culture, race relations, and social structures all came heavy like a ton of bricks during the Fifties, and all of these things left their mark on our modern world.

The decade was, more than we usually imagine, a time of change. Radical cars, fashions and Cherry Cokes. But Music did it the most, for me.

In the early days of what is referred to as “rock and roll” styles of the late 1940s and early 1950s, either a piano or saxophone would be the lead instrument, but they eventually got replaced by guitars in the middle to late 1950s. The beat is basically a blues rhythm. Snare drums became the “back beat.” So many styles evolved from this simple twist and “shout.”

So now I present to you the 33 great artists and their essential songs. I choose 33 because it represents the “33 & 1/3 rpms” of a record. Just being clever. The artists and songs were all chosen primarily on my personal favorites but I also incorporated the trends, chart positions, popularity and reviews in various magazines. So what you are about to read is a collection from the true representations of these amazing artists. Feel free to go to Youtube and see and hear these great songs. Here’s the list (not ranked….no particular order):


1 Chantilly Lace Big Bopper
2 Rock Around The Clock Bill Haley & The Comets
3 Who Do You Love Bo Diddley
4 That’ll Be The Day Buddy Holly & The Crickets
5 Blue Suede Shoes Carl Perkins
6 Tequila The Champs
7 Johnny B. Goode Chuck Berry
8 Yakety Yak The Coasters
9 At The Hop Danny & The Juniors
10 A Teenager In Love Dion & The Belmonts
11 There Goes My Baby The Drifters
12 Summertime Blues Eddie Cochran
13 Heartbreak Hotel Elvis
14 Wake Up Little Susie The Everly Brothers
15 Blueberry Hill Fats Domino
16I Only Have Eyes For You The Flamingos
17 Why Do Fools Fall In Love Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
18 Be-Bop-A-Lula Gene Vincent
19 Please, Please, Please James Brown
20 Great Balls Of Fire Jerry Lee Lewis
21 I Walk The Line Johnny Cash
22 Greenback Dollar The Kingston Trio
23 Rumble Link Wray & His Ray Men
24 Long Tall Sally Little Richard
25 Sincerely The Moonglows
26 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes The Platters
27 What’d I Say, Pts. 1 & 2 Ray Charles
28 Poor Little Fool Ricky Nelson
29 Donna Ritchie Valens
30 You Send Me Sam Cooke
31 Shout Isley brothers (1959….most people think 60’s….it was not)
32 Etta James – The Wallflower (Dance with me Henry)
33 Screaming Jay Hawkins- I Put a Spell On You

So there ya go. I don’t have the patience to post sound clips. But the internet is a wonderful thing. Feel free to contest what I posted and/or offer something I totally missed. But I am pretty sure I have most of my bases covered. Comments are still welcomed.

I leave you with this……….cool cars right?


Album Reviews

“Rock & Roll” by The Velvet Underground

This is an incredible song! A joyous celebration of the power of rock ‘n’ roll! I name it as my favorite rock and roll song ever written and recorded. No pun intended. It has a real catchy hook to it. The lyrics evoke that sense of being saved by this music. I picture myself cruising through a busy street or by the ocean or on a country road or anywhere for that matter and listening to this rock song.

It tells the story of a girl named Ginny who was “just five years old,” messing with the dials of her radio in her car until she turned “on a New York station and she couldn’t be-lieve what she heard at all.” Lou Reed is a fantastic song writer and guitar player!

Lou Reed praises the glory of “Rock & Roll” with brutal delight in this Velvet Underground song of that simple title, seeing it as the solace of that young girl, previously mentioned when it explodes out of that radio. It is the third track on the band’s 1970 album, Loaded. I think a fresh audience discovered it when this ten-minute version appeared on Lou Reed’s 1974 live album Rock’n’Roll Animal. What a fantastic record that one is! But the song alone,”‘Rock & Roll,'” is about me, you, anyone really whose eyes and ears suddenly are opened. For me, if I did not hear any rock & roll on the radio, including the song, then I would not be the man that I am today.

But why do I love it? It just feels so damn good on my ears!!!

Take a listen: