Best Songs of the 50s

Girls in felt poodle skirts with pony tails and guys in blue suede loafers with greased back hair – what decade other than the 50’s? This musical era ushered in the birth and boom of a new kind of music known as rock and roll. The future King of Rock and Roll himself, Elvis Presley, emerged onto the music scene from Memphis Tennessee and he, along with Bill Haley and Jerry Lee Lewis, were big drivers of the new rock and roll sound. The origin of rock and roll came from a mix of southern blues and gospel and the new sound soared in popularity with the first baby boomers, who were just beginning to hit their teenage years. Other prominent rock and roll musicians of the decade included Bo Diddley, Little Richard and Buddy Holly. Sadly, Buddy Holly (along with Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson) died tragically in a plane crash on February 3, 1959. This event was commemorated 12 years later by Don McLean who described the accident in his hit song, American Pie, as “the day the music died.”

The 50’s also brought in the beginning of “personal” music listening. The very first transistor radio hit the consumer market and became an immediate commercial success – the Regency TR-1. This battery powered radio was small enough to fit in a shirt pocket and allowed listeners for the first time to have truly portable music. Up to this point, there was generally one large radio in the house (typically in the den) and pretty much the whole family sat around and listened to it. Now, with the TR-1, people could listen to the radio just about anywhere they wanted… with or without the family. Offered initially in black, ivory, mandarin red and cloud gray, Regency soon began making the TR-1’s available in other colors as well. With their beautiful brass dials and trendy colors, the radios almost became fashion accessories – a true precurser to modern day personal electronic devices!

“Ain’t That A Shame” performed by Pat Boone or Fats Domino

“All I Have To Do Is Dream” performed by Everly Brothers

“All Shook Up” performed by Elvis Presley

“At The Hop” performed by Danny & The Juniors

“The Battle of New Orleans” performed by Johnny Horton

“Blueberry Hill” performed by Fats Domino

“Bye Bye Love” performed by Everly Brothers

“Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” performed by Perez “Prez” Prado & Alan Dale

“Cold, Cold Heart” performed by Tony Bennett or Hank Williams

“Cry” performed by Johnnie Ray

“Crying In The Chapel” performed by the Orioles

“Don’t Be Cruel” performed by Elvis Presley

“Earth Angel” performed by Penguins or the Crew Cuts

“For Your Precious Love” performed by Jerry Butler and the Impressions

“Heartbreak Hotel” performed by Elvis Presley

“Hound Dog” performed by Elvis Presley

“How High The Moon” performed by Les Paul and Mary Ford

“It’s Only Make Believe” performed by Conway Twitty

“Jailhouse Rock” performed by Elvis Presley

“Johnny B. Good” performed by Chuck Berry

“Kansas City” performed by Wilbert Harrison

“(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” performed by Elvis Presley

“Long Tall Sally” performed by Little Richard

“Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing” performed by the Four Aces

“Love Letters in the Sand” performed by Pat Boone

“Love Me Tender” performed by Elvis Presley

“Mack the Knife” performed by Bobby Darin or Frank Sinatra

“Mona Lisa” performed by Nat King Cole

“Mr. Sandman” performed by The Chordettes

“Rock Around The Clock” performed by Bill Haley & His Comets

“Shake, Rattle and Roll” performed by Bill Haley & His Comets

“Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream)” performed by The Crew-Cuts

“Sixteen Tons” performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford

“Teen Angel” performed by Mark Dinning or Donovan

“That’ll Be The Day” performed by Buddy Holly & the Crickets

“The Great Pretender” performed by Platters

Theme From “A Summer Place” performed by Percy Faith & His Orchestra

“There Goes My Baby” performed by Drifters

“Why Do Fools Fall In Love?” performed by Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers

“Yakety Yak” performed by The Coasters

“Your Cheating Heart” performed by Hank Williams

Playlist – Best Songs of the 1950’s

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