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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Quintessential Songs of the 1950's

   
Author Topic: Quintessential Songs of the 1950's
RivalOfTheRose
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What are the top 15 most important cultural landmark songs of of the 1950's?

Any style, any genre.


Here's some of mine:

anything by Elvis
anything by Buddy Holly
Earth Angel - Penguins
Johnny B Goode - Chuck Berry
Great Balls of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis
Lollipop - The Chordettes
Mr. Sandman - The Chordettes
La Bamba - Richie Valens

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AchillesHeel
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Isn't it a bit soon for this? I think I need some more time to let everything from the 50's really sink in.

I'll get back to you.

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Samprimary
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"anything by X" is kind of a useless dilution, unfortunately. A list for 15 songs should have 15 songs.
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kmbboots
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I would say that Elvis is as much 60ish and even 70ish as 50ish. Nat "King" Cole's "Mona Lisa" would be a good addition. Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis were recording well into the 50s and even 60s.
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Orincoro
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These are all songs that belong in the category: "Songs from the 1950s whored out by their record labels to Hollywood, making it appear as if they were the actual soundtrack to the 1950's"

Really, these are just songs which have been re-popularized by Hollywood since the 1980's. At least three of these appeared in "Back to the Future," which for many people of my generation, was the first exposure we had to the culture of the 1950's, and it was made in the 80's.

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kmbboots
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Hank Williams was big in the 50s. Patti Page, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney. The 50s weren't all rock and roll.

[ June 04, 2012, 06:23 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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LargeTuna
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my favorite 50's song is You Send Me by Sam Cooke
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Mr. Y
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"Tennessee Waltz" by Patti Page
"Rawhide" by Frankie Lane
"Mona Lisa" by Nat King Cole
"Papa Loves Mambo" by Perry Como
"Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera)" by Doris Day
"Tiger Rag" by Les Paul & Mary Ford
"Yakety Yak" by The Coasters
"Banana Boat Song" by Harry Belafonte

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
These are all songs that belong in the category: "Songs from the 1950s whored out by their record labels to Hollywood, making it appear as if they were the actual soundtrack to the 1950's"

Really, these are just songs which have been re-popularized by Hollywood since the 1980's. At least three of these appeared in "Back to the Future," which for many people of my generation, was the first exposure we had to the culture of the 1950's, and it was made in the 80's.

Hard stop, Super-user! That's a bold statement. I reckon that you need to provide us with an accurate list of songs in order of popularity, a justification of why they are (indeed) valid popular songs from the 50's, and a bibliography that validates your claim.

What's the point in having experts if they only point out fault? School us, Mr. Edumacator!

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Bokonon
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You'd probably want an Everly Brothers and/or Little Richard song on there.
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Tuukka
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As far as cultural landmarks go...

"Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets. While technically not the very first rock'n'roll hit, it's widely considered to be the most important song in bringing rock and roll into mainstream culture.

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SenojRetep
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Here are the longest lasting #1 singles on the Billboard magazine's charts from the 1950s.

Tennesee Waltz - Patti Page - 1950 (11 wks)
Cry - Johnny Ray - 1951 (11 wks)
Unchained Melody - Les Baxter - 1955 (10 wks)
Goodnight, Irene - Weavers - 1950 (10 wks)
Song from Moulin Rouge - Percy Faith & his Orchestra - 1953 (10 wks)
Little Things Mean a Lot - Kitty Kallen - 1954 (10 wks)
How High the Moon - Les Paul & Mary Ford - 1951 (9 wks)
Wheel of Fortune - Kay Starr - 1952 (9 wks)
Auf Wiedersehn, Sweetheart - Vera Lynn - 1953 (9 wks)
Via Con Dios - Les Paul & Mary Ford - 1953 (9 wks)
Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley & his Comets - 1955 (8 wks)
Because of You - Tony Bennett - 1951 (8 wks)
The Doggie in the Window - Patti Page - 1953 (8 wks)
Oh My Papa - Eddie Fisher - 1954 (8 wks)
Singing the Blues - Guy Mitchell - 1956 (8 wks)
Mr. Sandman - Chordettes - 1954 (7 wks)
Sh-Boom - Crew Cuts - 1954 (7 wks)
Wanted - Perry Como - 1954 (7 wks)
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford - 1955 (7 wks)
Wayward Wind - Cogi Grant - 1956 (7 wks)
Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog - Elvis Pressley - 1956 (7 wks)
Teddy Bear - Elvis Pressley - 1957 (7 wks)

There's some non-stationarity, in that the list is dominated by songs from the first half of the decade. I would guess that the business became more diverse (and diversified) as the decade went on, making it more difficult to last as the #1 song for long periods of time. To do this right you should probably normalize each song's time at #1 by the smoothed time average of the length of time singles spend in the #1 slot.

[ June 05, 2012, 02:41 PM: Message edited by: SenojRetep ]

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Lyrhawn
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Sam has ruined me with his jerk thread. I keep expecting this thread to pop to the top as "Quintessential Jerks of the 1950s."
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SenojRetep
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It seems like the average time spent in the #1 position declined from about 5 weeks at the beginning of the decade to about 3 weeks by the end, falling off roughly linearly. Using that linear normalization leads to the following ordered list of the most anomalously popular songs of the era:

Unchained Melody - Les Baxter
Cry - Johnny Ray
Little Things Mean A Lot - Kitty Kallen
Tennessee Waltz - Patti Page
Song from Moulin Rouge - Percy Faith & his Orchestra
Goodnight, Irene - Weavers
Via Con Dios - Les Paul & Mary Ford
Auf Wiedersehn, Sweetheart - Vera Lynn
Singing the Blues - <edit>Guy Mitchell</edit>
Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley & his Comets
Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin
Wheel of Fortune - Kay Starr
Teddy Bear - Elvis Presley
How High the Moon - Les Paul & Mary Ford
Oh My Papa - Eddie Fisher
Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog - Elvis Presley

[ June 05, 2012, 03:44 PM: Message edited by: SenojRetep ]

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