10 Best Rock And Roll Songs Of The 50s And 60s
The Best Rock And Roll Songs Of The 50s And 60s can be said to be 1. Tutti Frutti 2. Here Comes the Sun and more. These are two important decades for Rock.
Rock and Roll evolved in the 1950s from the more African-American-centric R&B and Blues music of the preceding two decades. As more Caucasian artists were getting influenced by acts like Muddy Waters and BB King, they started putting their own spin on it.
Thus Rock & Roll as we know it was born. It would slowly grow in popularity through the decade and spread overseas, most prominently in the UK.
There, many groups would start to emerge in the 1960s who would create more changes to the genre. In fact, a British Invasion of sorts would occur when these groups made waves in the UK and solidified Rock as the predominant genre of the era.
10 Best Rock And Roll Songs Of The 50s And 60s
|Song Name:||Release Year:|
|Tutti Frutti by Little Richards||1955|
|Come Together by The Beatles||1969|
|Hound Dog by Elvis Presley||1956|
|Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones||1968|
|Bird Dog by The Everly Brothers||1958|
|All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix||1968|
|Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry||1958|
|My Generation by The Who||1965|
|Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis||1957|
|You Really Got Me by The Kinks||1964|
1. Tutti Frutti by Little Richard
Tutti Frutti by Little Richard is one of the Best Rock And Roll Songs Of The 50s. It was written by Richard himself alongside songwriter Dorothy LaBostrie.
The singer's first big hit, the song is known for its vibrant energy, unbeaten swagger, and wild lyrics. For many of the era, it was THE song that awakened them to Rock and Roll.
In fact, the song served as the pinnacle of everything Richard could achieve in his music, and in turn became the pinnacle of the youthful vibrancy that could be achieved in Rock and Roll itself. Many bands since have attempted to recreate the raucous energy that Richards made able in his debut single.
The track has endured to this day and currently boasts over 108,749,286 monthly plays on Spotify. Suffice it to say, it is one of the breakthrough records of its generation.
2. Come Together by The Beatles
Come Together by The Beatles is in turn one of the Best Rock And Roll Songs Of The 60s. It comes from their penultimate album Abbey Road.
It is one of their most recognizable songs precisely due to bassist Paul McCartney's slow but sure bassline and singer John Lennon's nonsensical and faux-philosophical lyrical musings. Plus, it features all four of the members at the height of their musical powers.
Part of the aforementioned British Invasion, alongside the Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Kinks, The Beatles are part of the big four British Rock bands of the era. Though they were the shortest lasting, they are simultaneously the most successful and influential not only of the four but of the decade.
This song in particular has been covered by everyone from Ike & Tina Turner to Aerosmith to even Michael Jackson. As for relevancy, it currently has over 605,125,888 plays on Spotify.
3. Hound Dog by Elvis Presley
Hound Dog by Elvis Presley is a Rock And Roll example of 50s Music. There is a reason why Elvis is called the King of Rock and Roll.
It didn't have to do with his pen. In fact, Presley didn't write many songs and even this one, his biggest hit with over 10 million records sold, was originally written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stroller for Big Mama Thornton.
What Presley did have was an undeniable charm, charisma, looks, and voice that took this song and turned it into his signature track. Even now, over half a century later, the song is remembered chiefly for his version, with Thornton's original track known only by music aficionados.
It boasts over 213,973,249 plays on Spotify while Thornton's track has only 18.5 million plays comparatively.
4. Sympathy For the Devil by The Rolling Stones
Sympathy For the Devil by The Rolling Stones is an example of Rock and Roll 60s music. This 1968 track comes from their album Beggars Banquet.
It was around this time that the Stones were coming into their own as a musical outfit and escaping the Beatles' shadow. In the coming years, their Liverpudlian rivals would split up while these lads would go on to produce essential album after album.
What makes this song particularly representative of the group is that it sees the songwriting partnership of singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards start evolving out of simplistic love songs. Here, they are spinning a whole yarn about the Devil once again seducing the world to his point of view.
So, it comes as no surprise that the song has over 487,507,402 plays on Spotify. It is their fifth most popular song on the app overall.
5. Bird Dog by The Everly Brothers
Bird Dog by The Everly Brothers ranks high amongst good Music From The 50s And 60s. This 1958 track hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Aside from the main chart, it also peaked at #2 on the R&B charts for three weeks and peak the Country charts for over six weeks. Unlike many of their songs, this track was actually written by songwriter Boudleaux Bryant.
Lyrically, it tells the story of Johnny, who is trying to steal the narrator's girlfriend. The song title comes from the makeshift insult the narrator is trying to throw at Johnny.
The song endures chiefly because of its unusual musical structure as it has a 12-bar blues stanzas crosssection with an 8-bar blues chorus. As for modern relevancy, the song has over 4,753,219 million plays on Spotify.
6. All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix
All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix might just be one of the greatest Rock Songs From The 50's And 60's. It is a cover of a Bob Dylan track.
Dylan originally released his original in 1967 for his album John Wesley Harding. The original is a folk-rock song that features acoustic arrangements and a harmonica.
A year later, Hendrix released his own version of the song that completely blew away the original to the point that not only did Dylan proclaim the song now belonged to Jimi, but in subsequent live performances has started playing the song the same way as the cover.
This can be seen in the two songs Spotify plays as well. Dylan's original has over 31,035,069 plays while Hendrix's has over 608,809,980 plays. In fact, even among hoi polloi, many believe the song to originally be by Hendrix.
7. Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry is the quintessential Rock song. It stands next to Tutti Frutti as the most influential piece of Rock and Roll from the 50s.
Though Elvis bagged the title due to the racial tensions and history of the country and the time, the true King of Rock and Roll is and always will be Chuck Berry. This song exemplifies why he should be crowned as such now and forever as it is the first Rock and Roll song about why being a Rock and Roll star is so amazing.
Lyrically, the song is quite simple as it tells the story of the titular Johnny who doesn't know how to read or write too well. But what he does know is to play the guitar as easily as ringing a bell and he's off.
The song still boasts a lot of cultural relevancy as it has over 388,229,047 plays on Spotify. It is the most popular track on Berry's page.
8. My Generation by The Who
My Generation by The Who is a delightfully raucous song by the third of the Big Four British bands. It is one of the group's signature tracks.
While The Beatles were known for their songwriting and the Stones were known for their swagger, The Who were initially known for one thing and one thing only: for being the loudest band out of anyone in the UK.
This track lends to that reputation well as it may seem lukewarm to our modern ears after years of Punk, Hard Rock, and Heavy Metal, but for the 1960s, The Who were as hard and fast as you could get.
The song still maintains a large following today as it has racked up over 215,772,439 plays on Spotify. Though The Who would go on to change their sound vastly, this early track remains beloved.
9. Great Balls Of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis
Great Balls Of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis is one of the Oldies But Goodies of the 50s. It largely influenced the 60s and even 70s music.
This 1957 single was written by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer and produced by the indelible Sam Phillips. However, it was recorded and performed by the one and only Jerry Lee Lewis.
During his time, Lewis was one of the few people who could stand up to Presley for the title of the King of Rock and Roll. Sadly, a life filled with controversy and bad choices stopped that from occurring.
However, this track still remains one of his greatest songs as it sold 1 million copies within 10 days of its release. Even now, it still boasts over 169,045,506 plays on Spotify.
10. You Really Got Me by The Kinks
You Really Got Me by The Kinks is one of the greatest singles of the British Explosion of the 1960s. The Kinks are the last of the Big Four British bands.
They are the least successful of the four precisely because, unlike the others, they could never make a crossover into America due to some legal issues. However, they managed to make their own, Anglo-centric, niche that brought them a lot of success and a lasting legacy.
None of that applies to this song though as this track is seen as one of the first Rock records to predict Punk and Heavy Metal. It also remains The Kinks' best-known track with over 273,711,185 plays on Spotify.
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