Top 10 Songs of the 1950s

A mixture of sweet melody and the origins of rock & roll. Poodle skirts swayed to the songs on jukeboxes in every malt shop across the country as “squares” and “drapes” faced off. Here are the Billboard top 10 songs for every year of the 1950s and a few music history tidbits from the gone, but never forgotten era.

 

1950 

  1. Daddy's Little Girl - Mills Brothers

  2. Mona Lisa - Nat King Cole

  3. Music! Music! Music! - Teresa Brewer

  4. The Tennesse Waltz - Patti Page

  5. A Bushel and a Peck - Perry Como and Betty Hutton

  6. Rag Mop - Ames Brothers

  7. If I Knew You Were Comin’ I'd Have Baked A Cake - Eileen Barton

  8. Harbor Lights - Sammy Kaye

  9. Goodnight, Irene - Gordon Jenkins and the Weavers

  10.  I Wanna Be Loved - the Andrews Sisters

Guys and Dolls opens on Broadway. 
Patti Page becomes the first artist to have a #1 record on the Pop, R&B and Country charts concurrently.

 

1951 

  1. Mockingbird Hill - Patti Page

  2. Cry - Johnny Ray

  3. Too Young - Nat King Cole

  4. Cold, Cold Heart - Tony Bennett

  5. Come On-a My House - Rosemary Clooney

  6. Because of You - Tony Bennett

  7. Sentimental Journey - Les Brown & the Ames Brothers

  8. That's My Boy - Stan Freberg

  9. Be My Love - Mario Lanza

  10. Sixty Minute Man - Billy Ward and His Dominoes

Walt Disney’s Alice In Wonderland brought us such children's hits as “All in a Golden Afternoon”, “I‘m Late”, and “The Unbirthday Song”. 
Singer Dinah Shore began her first TV show in November.

 

1952 

  1. Unforgettable - Nat King Cole

  2. Blues In the Night - Rosemary Clooney

  3. High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me) - Frankie Lane

  4. You Belong To Me - Jo Stafford

  5. It's In The Book - Johnny Standley

  6. A Guy Is A Guy - Doris Day

  7. Please, Mister Sun - Johnny Ray

  8. Wheel of Fortune - Kay Starr

  9. Heart and Soul - Four Aces

  10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Guy Mitchell

On March 21 the first reported rock & roll riot breaks out at Alan “Moondog” Freed's “Moondog Coronation Ball” in Cleveland.

On October 7 Bob Horn’s Bandstand has its first broadcast on a local Philadelphia TV station. It is later renamed American Bandstand.

 

1953 

  1. That’s Amore - Dean Martin

  2. The Doggie In The Window - Patti Page

  3. Vaya Con Dios - Les Paul & Mary Ford

  4. Your Cheatin‘ Heart - Hank Williams

  5. Rags To Riches - Tony Bennett

  6. I've Got The World On A String - Frank Sinatra

  7. You Belong To Me - Jo Stafford

  8. I Believe - Frankie Laine

  9. South Of The Border - Frank Sinatra

  10. Stranger In Paradise - Tony Bennett

Elvis’ first visit to a recording studio was in the summer when he recorded My Happiness and That's When Your Heartaches Begin. 
Frank Sinatra began recording at Capitol Records. 
Country legend Hank Williams passed away on January 1.

 

1954 

  1. Shake Rattle and Roll - Bill Haley and His Comets

  2. Young At Heart - Frank Sinatra

  3. Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream) - The Crew-Cuts

  4. Mambo Italiano - Rosemary Clooney

  5. Mr Sandman - The Chordettes

  6. Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight - Spaniels

  7. Stranger In Paradise - Tony Martin

  8. Three Coins In The Fountain - Al Alberts & Four Aces

  9. Oh! My Papa - Eddie Fisher

  10. Naughty Lady of Shady Lane - Ames Brothers

Bill Haley and His Comets recorded Rock Around the Clock, which was later used as the theme song for the movie The Blackboard Jungle. 
On July 5 Elvis Presley he had his first commercial recording session at Sun Studios in Memphis, and on October 16 he made his first appearance on a radio program, The Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, LA.

 

1955 

  1.  Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White - Perez Prado

  2. Sincerely - the McGuire Sisters

  3. Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets

  4. Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford

  5.  Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing - Four Aces

  6. The Yellow Rose of Texas - Mitch Miller

  7. Ballad of Davey Crockett - Bill Hayes

  8. Autumn Leaves - Roger Williams

  9. Let Me Go Lover - Joan Weber

  10. Dance With Me Henry (Wallflower) - Georgia Gibbs

On January 14 Alan “Moondog” Freed, produced the first rock & roll concert, in New York. 
On October 15 future star Buddy Holly opened for Elvis Presley in a concert as part of a local duo called “Buddy and Bob”. 
Other future legends who started their careers this year were Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Eddie Cochran, Little Richard and John Coltrane.

 

1956 

  1. Don't Be Cruel - Elvis Presley

  2. Hound Dog - Elvis Presley

  3. Singing The Blues - Guy Mitchell

  4. The Wayward Wind - Gogi Grant

  5. Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley

  6. Rock and Roll Waltz - Kay Starr

  7. The Poor People of Paris - Les Baxter

  8. Memories Are Made Of this - Dean Martin

  9. Love Me Tender - Elvis Presley

  10. My Prayer - the Platters

Buddy Holly’s first recording session for Decca Records took place in Nashville on January 26. 
On January 28 Elvis Presley debuted on national television on The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show and he then signed a three-picture deal with Paramount Pictures on April 6. 
On July 9 1956 American Bandstand with Dick Clark as host airs. 
The start of other musical careers attributed to 1956 are Aretha Franklin, Gene Vincent, The Coasters, Charlie Rich, Bobby Darin and Willie Nelson.

 

1957 

  1. All Shook Up - Elvis Presley

  2. Love Letters In The Sand - Pat Boone

  3. Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley

  4. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear - Elvis Presley

  5. April Love - Pat Boone

  6. Young Love - Tab Hunter

  7. Tammy - Debbie Reynolds

  8. Honeycomb - Jimmie Rodgers

  9. Wake Up Little Susie - The Everly Brothers

  10. You Send Me - Sam Cooke

Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Será, Será) sung by Doris Day in the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Man Who Knew Too Much won the Academy Award for Best Song. 
On January 6 Elvis Presley made his last appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. 
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, under the name “Tom and Jerry” began their recording career with Sid Prosen of Big Records. 
On March 19 Elvis Presley purchased Graceland in Memphis.

 

1958

  1. At The Hop - Danny and the Juniors

  2.  It’s All In The Game - Tommy Edwards

  3.  The Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley

  4.  All I Have To Do Is Dream - the Everly Brothers

  5.  Tequila - the Champs

  6. Don't - Elvis Presley

  7. Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare) - Domentico Modugno

  8. Sugartime - the Mcguire Sisters

  9. He's Got The Whole World (In His Hands) - Laurie London

  10.  The Chipmunk Song - The Chipmunks

On March 24 Elvis Presley entered the US Army. 
The Bee Gees and Marvin Gaye began performing. 
On February 14 the Iranian government bans rock & roll, claiming that the music is against the concepts of Islam and is a health hazard.

 

1959 

  1. Mack The Knife - Bobby Darin

  2. The Battle Of New Orleans - Johnny Horton

  3. Venus - Frankie Avalon

  4. Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price

  5. The Three Bells - The Browns

  6. Lonely Boy - Paul Anka

  7. Come Softly To Me - the Fleetwoods

  8. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - The Platters

  9. Heartaches By The Number - Guy Mitchell

  10. Sleep Walk - Santo & Johnny 

Three major players in shaping the decade, as well as the top 10 songs of the 1950s, also perish: On February 3 Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and JP Richardson “The Big Bopper”, die in a plane crash in Iowa, and the world mourned as it faced the changing years ahead in the 1960s.