By 1958, it’s clear that teenagers have the power to set trends in America, and the biggest trend is the musical style known largely as rock and roll. From established artists like Little Richard and Chuck Berry to newcomers like Eddie Cochran and Link Wray, rock and roll is king, and the sound is now pushing into previously uncharted territory. The results are some of our 12 nominees from this year for the Hall of Songs.
Our nominees from this year include quintessential rock and roll classics like “Johnny B. Goode” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” plus crossover smashes like Jackie Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops” and Lloyd Price’s “Stagger Lee.” Elsewhere, there were innovations in guitar and production with songs like “Rumble” and “Rebel-Rouser.”
While American listeners bought all the rock and roll they could handle, a gaggle of D-list songwriters attempted to get a piece of the pie with novelty songs that sounded like the hottest hits of the day.
But while the novelty songs try to take advantage of the popular new style of music, the songs throughout our 1958 nomination list actually show how the genres are splitting into their own subgenres. It’s clearly a time when popular music is branching out into new and interesting territories. Listen to our newest episode to get a sense of that period.
After listening, VOTE for the greatest songs of all time! Songs from 1958, plus tunes from 1957, 1956, and 1955, are up for a shot to make the Hall of Songs! Vote now and come back in 12 days to find out which song or songs get in!
Our 1958 nominees:
- “Good Golly, Miss Molly” as performed by Little Richard
- Written by John Marascalco and Robert Blackwell; recorded October 1956; released January 1958
- “Tequila” as performed by The Champs
- Written by Chuck Rio; recorded December 1957; released January 1958
- “Rumble” as performed by Link Wray
- Written by Milt Grant and Link Wray; recorded January 1958; released March 1958
- “Johnny B. Goode” as performed by Chuck Berry
- Written by Chuck Berry; recorded January 1958; released March 1958
- “All I Have to Do is Dream” as performed by The Everly Brothers
- Written by Boudleaux Bryant; recorded March 1958; released April 1958
- “Rebel-‘Rouser” as performed by Duane Eddy
- Written by Duane Eddy and Lee Hazlewood; recorded spring 1958; released May 1958
- “Summertime Blues” as performed by Eddie Cochran
- Written by Eddie Cochran and Jerry Capeheart; recorded March 1958; released July 1958
- “It’s Only Make Believe” as performed by Conway Twitty
- Written by Conway Twitty and Jack Nance; recorded May 1958; released July 1958
- “La Bamba” as performed by Ritchie Valens
- Written by Ritchie Valens from traditional; recorded summer 1958; released October 1958
- “Stagger Lee” as performed by Lloyd Price
- Written by Lloyd Price and Harold Logan; recorded September 1958; released November 1958
- “Lonely Teardrops” as performed by Jackie Wilson
- Written by Berry Gordy, Roquel Davis and Gwendolyn Gordy; recorded summer 1958; released November 1958
- “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” as performed by Brenda Lee
- Written by Johnny Marks; recorded October 1958; released December 1958
Listen to the full episode for more, and then vote for the songs that you think are the greatest of all-time. Scroll down or click here to vote. Then, come back on May 30, 2021, for our discussion on 1959.