Monday, November 27, 2006

The Best Songs of 1956 - Nos. 5 to 1

5. Be Bop A Lula – Gene Vincent

Gene Vincent is the most underrated artist of the fifties. He was one of the greatest rockabilly artists of all time. He brought so much soul and feeling to this performance in particular that he absolutely deserves to be ranked right up there with Chuck, Elvis, Richard, Buddy and Jerry Lee as one of the primary pioneers of rock and roll.

4. Please, Please, Please – James Brown

James Brown - Please Please Please

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This was the first single for James Brown and the Famous Flames. Although it was mostly ignored by pop audiences, it was a number five hit on the R&B charts. It was a full two years before James had another hit, but this one left quite an impression on his core audience. It remains one of his signature songs.

3. Long Tall Sally – Little Richard

This is one of Richard’s finest and most popular songs. It’s been covered by hundreds of artists over the years and tells one hell of an entertaining little story. Aunt Mary is on the lookout for Uncle John who’s foolin’ around with Long Tall Sally and Sally is built for speed. I just love this song. The infectious joy of a Little Richard song is hard to beat.

2. Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash

I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. Damn. That’s just a mean dude. He’s a remorseful guy though. He hears the whistle of the train and he knows the free folks are on the move and it tears him up. This is a damn good song that tells one hellacious story. Johnny and his deep voice are in fine form here.

1. Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley

This one made it to number one on the pop, R&B, and country charts. This was the song that truly brought Elvis to the forefront of popular music. The emotion in his voice combined with that great echo effect was highly effective. This one is definitely the best song of 1956.

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