1955: Our Nominees for the Hall of Songs

A massive year with some big songs. We add 10 nominees to the Hall of Songs pool. Now, it’s your turn to vote.

The film Blackboard Jungle signals that rock ‘n’ roll has arrived. About unruly high school students and the teacher who attempts to save them from destruction, the movie did well in the box office but was more popular for the song that accompanied its opening title card.

“Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets plays at the very beginning of the film. It’s a propulsive way to introduce Americans to the world of mid 1950s youth. This wild sound was what the kids were listening to, and thanks to “Rock Around the Clock” it would become much more popular.

Of course, that’s one narrative. Rock ‘n’ roll had been building and shifting already by 1955. What we hear throughout this episode are songs that seem to perfect their individual genres. Little Richard gives New Orleans R&B some sheen with “Tutti Frutti” while Elvis Presley continues to rule rockabilly with “Mystery Train.” Over in blues, Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters trade slaps and get better from it. All the while, Chuck Berry seemingly creates the first great post-“Rock Around the Clock” song.

This is 1955. Listen, then click here to vote for who you think should make the Hall of Songs.

Our 1955 nominees:

  • Bo Diddley” as performed by Bo Diddley
    • Written by Ellas McDaniel (as Bo Diddley), recorded March 1955, released April 1955
  • I’m a Man” as performed by Bo Diddley
    • Written by Ellas McDaniel (as Bo Diddley), recorded March 1955, released April 1955
  • Ain’t That a Shame” as performed by Fats Domino
    • Written by Antoine Domino (as Fats Domino), Dave Bartholomew, recorded March 1955, released April 1955
  • Rock Around the Clock” as performed by Bill Haley & His Comets
    • Written by Max C. Freedman, recorded April 1954, released May 1954 and May 1955
  • Mannish Boy” as performed by Muddy Waters
    • Written by McKinley Morganfield (as Muddy Waters), Mel London, Ellas McDaniel (as Bo Diddley), recorded May 1955, released June 1955
  • Maybellene” as performed by Chuck Berry
    • Written by Chuck Berry, Russ Fratto, Alan Freed, recorded May 1955, released July 1955
  • Mystery Train” as performed by Elvis Presley
    • Written by Junior Parker, recorded July 1955, released August 1955
  • Tutti Frutti” as performed by Little Richard
    • Written by Little Richard, Dorothy LaBostrie, recorded September 1955, released October 1955
  • The Great Pretender” as performed by The Platters
    • Written by Buck Ram, recorded fall 1955, released November 1955
  • Rock Island Line” as performed by Lonnie Donegan
    • Traditional song, recorded fall 1955, released late 1955

Check out the full episode to learn more about these songs and why they’re so great, vote now by clicking here, and come back on April 18, 2021, when we discuss our nominees from 1956.

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