Friday, May 15, 2020

The Birth of Rock and Roll: The Top 100 Songs

First posted 4/13/2020; updated 5/15/2020.

Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Origins:

Top 100 Songs

The initial intent behind this list was to pinpoint a few key candidates in the birth of rock and roll. As one can see by the multiple resources at the bottom of this page (which includes an entire box set and book devoted to the topic), there is no definitive agreement. In addition, efforts to create a list of candidates for first rock song so regularly crossed over with lists of early rock and roll songs that this became an amalgamation of the two. In other words, this evolved from not just a look at the birth of rock and roll but a glimpse of its “toddler years,” if you will, as well. That leaves it up to you, the reader, to form your own opinions aout which songs are the most important in the early development of rock and roll.

Note: click here to see other genre-specific song lists.

  1. Bill Haley & the Comets “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” (1954)
  2. Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats “Rocket 88” (1951)
  3. Chuck Berry “Johnny B. Goode” (1958)
  4. Little Richard “Tutti Frutti” (1955)
  5. Elvis Presley “That’s All Right, Mama” (1954)
  6. Jerry Lee Lewis “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (1957)
  7. Wynonie Harris “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (1948)
  8. Carl Perkins “Blue Suede Shoes” (1956)
  9. Elvis Presley “Hound Dog” Elvis Presley (1956)
  10. Big Joe Turner “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” (1954)

  11. Little Richard “Good Golly Miss Molly” (1958)
  12. Buddy Holly & the Crickets “That’ll Be the Day” (1957)
  13. Ritchie Valens “La Bamba” (1958)
  14. Buddy Holly & the Crickets “Peggy Sue” (1957)
  15. Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” (1956)
  16. Jerry Lee Lewis “Great Balls of Fire” (1957)
  17. Chuck Berry “Maybellene” (1955)
  18. Fats Domino “The Fat Man” (1950)
  19. The Penguins “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” (1954)
  20. Elvis Presley “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956)

  21. The Chords “Sh-Boom” (1954)
  22. The Everly Brothers “Wake Up Little Susie” (1957)
  23. Elvis Presley “Jailhouse Rock” (1957)
  24. Fats Domino “Blueberry Hill” (1956)
  25. Bo Diddley “Bo Diddley” (1955)
  26. Eddie Cochran “Summertime Blues” (1958)
  27. Lloyd Price “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (1952)
  28. Chuck Berry “Rock and Roll Music” (1957)
  29. Fats Domino “Ain’t That a Shame” (1955)
  30. Danny & the Juniors “At the Hop” (1957)

  31. The Crows “Gee” (1954)
  32. Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton “Hound Dog” (1953)
  33. Johnny Cash “I Walk the Line” (1956)
  34. Trixie Smith “My Man Rocks with Me One Steady Roll” (1922)
  35. Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians “Rock the Joint” (1949)
  36. Elvis Presley “All Shook Up“ (1957)
  37. The Everly Brothers “Bye Bye Love” (1957)
  38. The Dominoes “Sixty Minute Man” (1951)
  39. The Platters “Only You and You Alone” (1955)
  40. Little Richard “Long Tall Sally” (1956)

  41. The Platters “The Great Pretender” (1955)
  42. The Big Bopper “Chantilly Lace” (1958)
  43. Dion & the Belmonts “A Teenager in Love” (1959)
  44. Arthur Crudup “That’s All Right, Mama” (1946)
  45. Elvis Presley “Don’t Be Cruel” (1956)
  46. Chuck Berry “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956)
  47. Sam Cooke “You Send Me” (1957)
  48. The Dell-Vikings “Come Go with Me” (1957)
  49. The Everly Brothers “All I Have to Do Is Dream” (1958)
  50. The Champs “Tequila” (1958)

  51. Louis Jordan “Saturday Night Fish Fry” (1949)
  52. Ray Charles “What’d I Say” (1959)
  53. Wild Bill Moore “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll” (1947)
  54. The Flamingos “I Only Have Eyes for You” (1959)
  55. Freddie Slack & Ella Mae Morse “The House of Blue Lights” (1946)
  56. The Coasters “Yakety Yak” (1958)
  57. Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps “Be-Bop-A-Lula” (1956)
  58. Little Richard “Lucille” (1957)
  59. The Five Satins “In the Still of the Nite (I’ll Remember)” (1956)
  60. The Diamonds “Little Darlin’” (1957)

  61. Bobby Darin “Mack the Knife” (1959)
  62. John Lee Hooker “Boogie Chillen’” (1949)
  63. Hank Williams “Your Cheatin’ Heart” (1953)
  64. Les Paul & Mary Ford “How High the Moon” (1951)
  65. Bill Haley & His Saddlemen “Crazy Man Crazy” (1953)
  66. The Isley Brothers “Shout (Parts 1 and 2)” (1959)
  67. Ella Fitzgerald “Rock It for Me” (1938)
  68. Hank Williams “Move It on Over” (1947)
  69. Arthur Smith & His Cracker Jacks “Guitar Boogie” (1948)
  70. Chuck Berry “Sweet Little Sixteen” (1958)

  71. Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers “The Honeydripper” (1945)
  72. Chuck Berry “School Days” (1957)
  73. Ray Charles “I Gotta Woman” (1955)
  74. Hank Ballard & the Midnighters “Work with Me, Annie” (1954)
  75. Del Shannon “Runaway” (1961)
  76. Johnny Cash “Folsom Prison Blues’ (1955)
  77. Huey “Piano” Smith & His Clowns “Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie-Woogie Flu” (1957)
  78. The Platters “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (1958)
  79. Roy Brown “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (1948)
  80. The Boswell Sisters “Rock and Roll” (1934)

  81. Stick MgGhee “Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” (1949)
  82. The Drifters “Money Honey” (1953)
  83. Tampa Red & Georgia Tom “It’s Tight Like That” (1928)
  84. Elvis Presley “Blue Suede Shoes” (1956)
  85. James Brown “Please, Please, Please” (1956)
  86. Bobby Day “Rockin’ Robin” (1958)
  87. Buddy Holly & the Cickets “Rave On” (1958)
  88. Lloyd Price “Stagger Lee” (1958)
  89. Shirley & Lee “Let the Good Times Roll” (1956)
  90. The Marcels “Blue Moon” (1961)

  91. The Clovers “Love Potion No. 9” (1959)
  92. The Monotones “Book of Love” (1958)
  93. Bobby Freeman “Do You Want to Dance?” (1958)
  94. Bobby Darin “Splish Splash” (1958)
  95. Phil Phillips & the Twilights “Sea of Love” (1959)
  96. Ruth Brown “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean” (1953)
  97. Eddie Cochran “C’mon Everybody” (1958)
  98. Ritchie Valens “Donna” (1958)
  99. Conway Twitty “It’s Only Make Believe” (1958)
  100. Fats Domino “I’m Walkin’” (1957)

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