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Fabulous Fifties

Sharing my love for the first decade of rock and roll!

Carl Perkins:

Carl Perkins was a rock, country, and primarily a rockabilly artist that influenced countless musicians, notably Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton.

Perkins’ famous songs include the smash hit, “Blue Suede Shoes,” as well as, “Honey Don’t,” “Matchbox,” and “Everybody’s Trying to be My Baby.”

He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, as well as received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

Rolling Stone has listed Perkins as #99 on its list of the Greatest Artists of All Time.

Carl Perkins-Blue Suede Shoes

Fabulous Fifties

Sharing my love for the first decade of rock and roll!

Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was a pioneer and extremely influential in the sub-genre of soul, and is considered the “King of Soul” in many circles. His distinctive voice had a substantial effect on future artists such as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and Stevie Wonder. He was also active in the Civil Rights movement with Muhammad Ali and Malcom X.

Among Cooke’s big hits include “You Send Me,” “Wonderful World,” “Chain Gang,” “Cupid,” “Twistin’ the Night Away,” “Bring it On Home to Me,” “Send Me Some Lovin’,” “Another Saturday Night,” and “A Change is Gonna Come.”

Sam Cooke-You Send Me

Cooke was shot and killed in a bizarre incident at a California hotel in 1963. The shooter, a hotel clerk, was acquitted after claiming self defense. The clerk was on the phone with the hotel owner at the time of the shooting and her story was corroborated by her boss that Cooke, intoxicated and naked, had attacked her.

Beatles or the Stones (or the Who)…

The Cedar Lounge Revolution

Entertaining to see the spat last year between McCartney, Jagger and later Daltry.

First McCartney said: “I’m not sure I should say it, but they’re a blues cover band, that’s sort of what the Stones are. I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.”

Then Jagger noted:

An amused Jagger has since shared a clip from a recent Stones show in LA gig in which he tells the audience: “There are so many celebrities here tonight, of course, you know, naturally. Megan Fox is here, she’s lovely. Leonardo DiCaprio. Lady Gaga. Kirk Douglas

“Paul McCartney is here, he’s going to join us in a blues cover later on.”


Daltry then suggested that the band (as distinct from Jagger):

“You can not take away the fact that Mick Jagger is still the No. 1 rock ‘n’ roll showman up front,” Daltrey said. “But as a band…

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Fabulous Fifties

Sharing my love for the first decade of rock and roll!

The Coasters

The Coasters were an R&B vocal group that originated in the 1950’s.  While not considered a standard doo-wop group, their style influenced many of the doo-wop outfits that came along in the decade.  The band’s classic line-up consisted of Bobby Nunn, Leon Hughes, Cornell Gunter, and Will “Dub” Jones.

Teamed with the famous songwriting team of the day, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the Coaster exploded onto the scene with a plethora of hits, including, Searchin,’ Young Blood, Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown, Along Came Jones, and Poison Ivy.  Their tunes were often humorous and tongue in cheek.

The Coasters-Searchin’

The Coaster were the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.   

Fabulous Fifties

Sharing my love for the first decade of rock and roll!

The Platters:

The Platters were formed in 1952.  They were arguably the most successful of the 50s vocal doo wop genre that exploded in the decade and continued through the early 1960’s.  The group has gone through a plethora of members, however, the “classic” or most successful line-up consisted of Tony Williams, David Lynch, Paul Robi, founder Herb Reed, and Zola Taylor.  As lead tenor, Williams possessed the voice of an angel.  The Platters charted with several hits, including, Only You (And You Alone), The Great Pretender, You’ve Got the Magic Touch, My Prayer, Twilight Time, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and Harbor Lights

The Platters-Twilight Time

The Platters routinely get the nod when I feel like slow dancing cheek to cheek with my girl, as well.

The Platters-Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Fabulous Fifties

Eddie Cochran:

Eddie Cochran-C’mon Everybody

Although he didn’t have the number of big hits enjoyed by artists such as Buddy Holly and Little Richard, Eddie Cochran’s influence on the rock and roll and rockabilly scenes was an enormous one that is still felt today.  A rarity in that he wrote his own songs, Cochran played guitar, bass, drums, and piano, often overdubbing tracks for his recordings.  This method of overdubbing paled in comparison to the standard of playing “live” in the studio to record.

Cochran’s biggest US hit was Summertime Blues, while C’mon Everybody, Sittin’ in the Balcony, and Something Else enjoyed moderate success stateside.  Meanwhile, he was a massive success in the UK, with Mean When I’m Mad, Hallelujah I Love Her So, Weekend, and My Way charting.  In addition, his posthumous release, Three Steps to Heaven hit number one in the UK.

Eddie Cochran-Something Else

Cochran was killed in the UK, travelling by taxi to the airport following his last scheduled live performance at the Bristol Hippodrome.  The driver lost control and hit a concrete lamppost, inflicting injuries on Cochran that he would succumb to the following afternoon.  Fellow rocker/rockabilly artist and tour mate Gene Vincent suffered serious injuries to his legs and collarbone.  Cochran’s fiancé, songwriter Sharon Sheely, and tour manager Patrick Tompkins survived their injuries, while the driver (George Martin) did not suffer any injuries.

Dozens of artists have covered Cochran’s songs, including rock heavyweights The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, Rush, The Who, and Led Zeppelin.  Cochran was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Eddie Cochran-Live

Top 5 Eddie Cochran Songs:

5. Skinny Jim

4. Summertime Blues

3. Nervous Breakdown

2. C’mon Everybody

  1. Something Else

Fabulous Fifties-Little Richard

Celebrating my love for rock and roll’s first decade:

Richard Wayne Penniman was born in 1932 and went by the stage name of Little Richard.  He was an influential singer, piano player, and songwriter whose work in rock and roll’s first decade earned him a forefather status in the new genre.  A charismatic and dynamic showman, Little Richard hammered on his piano keys, combining a distinguishable back beat with gravelly and abrasive vocals.  His list of hits is prolonged, and includes, “Tutti Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Rip It Up,” “Lucille,” “Keep A-Knockin,” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.” 

Little Richard-Rip It Up

Personally, if I were to recommend one performance that best personifies Little Richard, it would be this television special from the UK in 1964.  Richard gives a mind-blowing performance that at times, leaves his audience in a semi-possessed state.

Little Richard-Live in the UK

Top 5 Little Richard Songs:

5. Lucille

4. Keep A Knockin’

3. Good Golly Miss Molly

2. Long Tall Sally

  1. Rip It Up

Fabulous Fifties

Sharing my love for the first decade of rock and roll!

Buddy Holly:

Born in 1936; Died in 1959 at the age of 22 in a plane crash that also claimed the lives of fellow rock stars Ritchie Valens and JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

Holly was a musician ahead of his time, and just before his death had begun toying with overdubbing and effects while recording, such as adding orchestration into his songs. A man of many hits, including That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Everyday, Oh Boy, It’s So Easy, and Rave On.

Buddy Holly and the Crickets-That’ll Be the Day

Top 5 Buddy Holly Songs:

5. Maybe Baby

4. That’ll Be The Day

3. Brown Eyed Handsome Man

2. Peggy Sue

  1. Rave On

Everyday (1957) – Buddy Holly

One of the best of all time!

Observation Blogger

I adored this song as a kid in the coming-of-age movie Stand By Me. It is one of the monumental tracks in the origin of Rock n Roll music. Buddy Holly influenced the cream of the crop in music who started out in the 60’s. His life was tragically cut short at the peak of his young career in an air-plane crash on February 3, 1959.

Something about him seemed permanent and he filled me with conviction,” Dylan said of seeing Holly on stage. “Then out of the blue, the most uncanny thing happened, he looked at me right straight there in the eye and he transmitted something, something I didn’t know what. It gave me the chills‘. – Bob Dylan, Nobel Lecture (2016)

Today’s song, Everyday was released as the B side of Peggy Sue. Buddy Holly released it with The Crickets, but…

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Chuck Berry – Too Much Monkey Business

One of the best!

PowerPop... An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture

Love the Chuck’s bright guitar intro! Chuck is the father of rock and roll guitar. Everything comes from him. Rockabilly, pop, rock, hard rock, and heavy metal…Chuck is at the core.

The guitar influence he has over rock music is obvious but his rock and roll poetry shouldn’t be forgotten either. While Keith Richards was listening to his guitar closely…Bob Dylan was also listening to his poetry about life.

Too Much Monkey Business was released in September 1956 as the B-side of Brown Eyed Handsome Man. I love how Chuck spits out the lyrics to this song. Bob Dylan did something simiiar on Subterranean Homesick Blues a little later in the sixties.

Berry made up a word in this song, singing, “I don’t want your botheration.” This wasn’t the first time he used his own language: In Maybellene he sings about motorvating.

Too Much Monkey Business peaked at #9…

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