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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Top 30 Songs of 1957

Merry Christmas Everyone!  This is probably my last post until the holiday unless I’m feeling Irie Xmas day at my mom’s house.   1957 obviously isn’t much different than the last couple years, however you can already tell the traditional form of rock ‘n roll is waning.  You can also hear the first teases of reggae and funk. 

30.  Hey Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley (Rock ‘n Roll)

I looked the other way on his first song that had his name in the title, but here we are again.  His genre has been defined and he does it again.  There’s nothing new for Bo going on here except that he added the word “Hey” to a song title he already had.  It’s kind of like when Malibu Stacey gets a new hat in Simpsons episode #95, 1F12.   

29.  Bye Bye Love – Everly Brothers (Pop Country)

Yes, we have pop country!  This also sounds like early Beatles though, so I shouldn’t diss it too bad.   (Also, I got the red squiggly under “diss”, so apparently even though Barbara Walters has said it, it’s still not a word.  Take that Flavor Flav!

28.  All Shook Up – Elvis Presley (Rock ‘n Roll)

Aside from “Jailhouse Rock”, it appears as if Elvis has already peaked and it’s downhill from here. 

27.  Walkin’ After Midnight – Patsy Cline (Country)

My first Patsy Cline song!  It’s not one of her best, but it’s still pretty cool. 

26.  Keep a Knocking – Little Richard (Rock ‘n Roll)

I know he’s a freak, but Little Richard always has so much energy.  It kind of works against him sometimes, but when he was good, it was his greatest asset.    It’s strange though because I’m not a high energy person, and those people typically annoy me.  I prefer “chill.” 

25.  Send For Me – Nat King Cole (Rhythm & Blues)

This is another one of those “Cosby Show” songs, that may or may not have appeared on the “Cosby Show.”

24.  I’m Walkin – Fats Domino (Rock ‘n Roll)

What’s great about Fats, is some of his songs are R&B and some are R&R, and I’m still not sure what the difference is in the 1950s. 

23.  Country Boy – Johnny Cash (Country)
22.  If The Good Lord’s Willing – Johnny Cash (Country)
21.  Remember Me, I’m the One Who Loves You – Johnny Cash (Country)

Cash in 1957 is crazy because he drops what I think is the first “good” album ever.  Every song on With His Hot & Blue Guitar is pretty good.  Cash to 1957 is sort of like Robert Johnson to the late 1930s.  Downside is many Cash songs have the same exact dynamic, so hearing many in a row gets old.   Oh, and he’s not a groundbreaking as Johnson, but that’s just common sense.  

20.  No Place For Me – Willie Nelson (Country)

So the late 50s have Cash, Patsy and Willie.  This has to be the golden age of country.  It’s too bad Hank Williams passed and couldn’t be part of it. 

19.  I’m a King Bee – Slim Harpo (Blues)

The blues are still alive … but not nearly as “well” as they used to be.  If the Stones and Doors didn’t cover this song often, I bet this song would’ve been forgotten.  Sometimes the old bluesmen have to thank whitey. 

18.  That’ll Be the Day – Buddy Holly (Rock ‘n Roll)

So far, I’m kind of disappointed with B-Holl.  Granted, we wear the same style of glasses nowadays, but I thought he’d blow me away like Elvis or something, and he hasn’t.  In fact, I cut “Everyday” because it was a freaking pop song.  I expected more from him than pop songs. 

17.  Rock Island Line – Johnny Cash (Country)
16.  I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow – Johnny Cash (Country)

Two covers already on the list, but hell, this is Johnny Cash. 

15.  Not Fade Away – Buddy Holly (Rock ‘n Roll)

By all accounts, I’m supposed to love this song, after all, I learned it on guitar, and heard the Dead play it over 10 years ago.  It’s good, but I don’t play it any more, or listen to the Dead play it any more.  Buddy Holly wasn’t doing too much more than Bo Diddley, aside from his ability to be involved in more spectacular plane landings. 

14.  Rocking Pneumonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu (Rock ‘n Roll)

I first heard of this song through Aerosmith on one of the most underrated soundtracks of all-time, and that’s the Less Than Zero soundtrack.  Aside from this number, you have “Going Back to Cali”, Poison covering “Rock and Roll All Night” and Slayer covering “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida”.  I’m now going to Wikipedia the soundtrack, but not share the results to see what other wonderful songs I’m missing because I know I’m missing at least one big one. 

13.  Wake Up Little Susie – Everly Brothers (Pop)

It’s a relief to label this country rock as pop.  They found a nice balance between country and rock ‘n roll,  and that’s why record executives get paid. 

12.  School Day – Chuck Berry (Rock ‘n Roll)
11.  Got My Mojo Workin – Muddy Waters (Blues)

It’s nice that Muddy is picking up the pace. 

10.  Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley (Rock ‘n Roll)

This song is pretty powerful.  It’s pretty silly conceptually, but it qualifies as actual hard rock, and not just rock ‘n roll. 

9.  Searchin’ – Coasters (Rhythm & Blues)

I have to love any song that influenced the Beatles. 

8.  Banana Boat (Day-O) – Harry Belafonte (Reggae)

This really isn’t reggae, but it is titled Banana Boat, which makes me feel racist just to say and it is a song every knows.  If I have to classify it, I’m going to say it’s the first popular reggae song ever, even though it doesn’t really accent the off-beat and therefore isn’t reggae.  It probably also isn’t too much fun to get high to, and is reggae about anything else for white people? 

7.  Whole Lotta Shaking Going On – Jerry Lee Lewis (Rock ‘n Roll)

It’s probably not fair of me to rank this much higher than “Rock Around the Clock” because they’re pretty much the same song, but this song has the great piano thing going on. 

6.  Think – James Brown (Rock ‘n Roll)

We are almost at funk.  Not quite there yet, but you can tell its close. 

5.  Rock and Roll Music – Chuck Berry (Rock ‘n Roll)

I typically don’t like songs about a new dance craze, or a genre, I mean, correct me if I’m wrong but the Chemical Brothers never wrote a song called “Techno” (and Creed never wrote a song called “Crap”), but Chuck Berry is one of those people that can do whatever the hell he wants and not fail, just see “My Ding a Ling”. 

4.  Suzie Q – Dale Hawkings (Rock ‘n Roll)

What’s disappointing, is the more and more you listen to pre-late 60s music, the more and more you find out Creedence songs aren’t their own.  Honestly, many bands from back then, and hell, now, are getting popular off songs they didn’t write, but when it’s a band you don’t expect, it’s sad.  That being said, music’s tradition is about people learning how to play songs they like and playing them themselves.  That’s why, when you hear an original act say “We don’t do covers”, you can’t really match that pretentiousness and realize that chances are that band is going to suck out of lack of respect.  Covers are what music is all about, well, that and originals. 

3.  Peggy Sue – Buddy Holly (Rock ‘n Roll)

It almost sounds like the beginning of surf rock, so at least Buddy Holly did something more than die in a plane crash. 

2.  Great Balls of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis (Rock ‘n Roll)

He does have a tremendous more amount of soul than Bill Haley. 

1.  Three Cigarettes and an Ashtray – Patsy Cline (Country)

It’s really hard for me to tell when some of these songs came out, but this one is a classic.  From what I’ve found online, it’s ’57.  Would I bet money on that?  No.  No I wouldn’t.  

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