Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Best Songs of 1956 - No. 21 to 16

21. Hound Dog – Elvis Presley

Elvis took Big Mama Thornton’s blues hit and transformed it into early rock and roll. This was one of Elvis’s most popular singles, making it to number one on the R&B, Country, and Pop charts. Scotty Moore played a mean guitar as always. Rolling Stone ranked it at number 19 on their top 500 list, higher than any other Elvis track.

20. Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino

This was Fats Domino’s biggest hit, spending eleven weeks atop the R&B charts. It’s a rolling piano-driven love song that still stands up well. The song was originally recorded by singing cowboy Gene Autry in 1941, although it certainly must have sounded quite different.

19. Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis Presley

Elvis really rocked out on this one, although I do prefer the Carl Perkins version. This one made it to number 20 on the pop charts. Interestingly, Elvis refused to release this single until his friend Carl’s version left the charts. He really was a sweet guy, huh?

18. Why Do Fools Fall In Love? – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers

Frankie was only 13 when he sang this song and with four key changes, it was one hell of a hard song to sing well. The song made it to number 3 on the pop charts. It has since been covered several times, most famously by Diana Ross.

17. All Around The World – Little Richard

This isn’t one of Richard’s more famous songs, although it did make it to number 13 on the R&B chart. I was introduced to it in the 1985 sci-fi film “Explorers” starring a young River Phoenix and a young Ethan Hawke. I was 14 at the time and every cool sci-fi movie that came out was an instant favorite. There was a terrific scene where an alien lip-synched to this particular number and I’ve loved the song ever since.

16. Love Me – Elvis Presley

This was one of Elvis’s first great ballads making great use of his amazing singing voice and the talents of the Jordanaires, his great vocal back-up group. It made it to number six on the pop charts. It’s a really pretty love song.

more to come from 1956 in the next few days....

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