Friday, November 24, 2006

The Best Songs of 1956 - Nos. 10 to 6

10. Hallelujah, I Love Her So – Ray Charles

Here’s a story of a terrific girl. Ray goes on about her great qualities in his incredibly soulful voice. The piano and sax work are fabulous. It’s another in a group of great songs that Ray recorded in the fifties.

9. Rip It Up – Little Richard

This one’s about a guy blowing his whole paycheck partying on the weekend. Richard tears it up again. Nobody else of this era really expressed that feel of utter abandon and cutting loose like Richard and this is a fine example. The song only made it to number 17 on the pop charts, but it was a number one hit on the R&B charts.

8. Roll Over Beethoven – Chuck Berry

Kicking off with one of the great guitar riffs, this song makes explicit the rise of rock as the popular music of the day. It features some of the finest guitar work of the decade. It is also one of the most widely covered songs if the era. As John Lennon said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”

7. I Walk The Line – Johnny Cash

This is a song about faithfulness. It was written about Johnny’s first wife, Vivian. One of the things I love about Johnny is the depth of his voice, which is greatly evident on this track. As a natural bass myself, I’ve always been irritated by how many pop songs are written for tenor voices. Johnny gives hope to us low-voiced guys.

6. Drown In My Own Tears – Ray Charles

Oh, so soulful. Such great piano work. That stop and start beat. Ray’s voice just dripping with passion and emotion. The Raylettes were fantastic. This is an amazing song and one of the great soul numbers of all time.

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