Best #1 single of the decade: the 1950s

Well, now that all our year-by-year polls are concluded, it’s time to take a look at your picks from each year and pick the champion of champions. We go back now to the first half-decade of the Hot 100’s history. Since our inaugural poll covered 1956 as well as the tail end of 1955, I’ve included two songs from there (the highest-scoring overall and the highest scorer of 1955) to give us an even five songs on this poll.

Cast your vote for the favorite of this batch, and remember to vote in any '60s polls you missed before that one launches on Thurdsay.

Previous polls: 1955-56 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

Yay! I can vote again.

I’ve been fluttering in the breeze since the mid-90s.

But I’m back in the saddle again.

The Everly Brothers - All I Have To Do Is Dream

A really lovely song that’s also the musical definition of the 50s to me.

Had to go with Heartbreak Hotel. It still sounds good.

Gotta be Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel. The guy just exploded onto the scene and changed the face of rock and roll forever. He had been recording mostly country since 1954 and had a decent uncharted hit with That’s All Right, but Heartbreak hit #1 on both the country and Hot 100 charts in 1956. Nobody had ever heard or seen anything like him before. I was there, and while nine years old at the time, I remember the hullabaloo very well.

I was 2, and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard “Heartbreak Hotel.” But I’m familiar with most of the Elvis songs on the 1950s lists, and some of them still kick ass. I’ll vote for “Jailhouse Rock” because that’s the one on the list that I know, even though I’d rather vote for “All Shook Up” or “Don’t Be Cruel.”

A great tune and so completely opposite of Heartbreak. Presley in all his frenetic, squalling, hip shaking, rocking glory.

Since this is 30 years before I was born, I decided to give each a listen and then judge, so as to be fair. After listening to each single, I decided that “Jailhouse Rock” was the best of the bunch. None were BAD, but left a little to be desired. The Everly Brothers single was okay.

Damn the fifties were terrible!

Out of this brief list, “Mack the Knife” is my favorite. “All I Have to Do is Dream” is an OK song, but sadly it finishes in dead-ass last place.

Not to those who lived it. It was the dawning of rock and roll, the merging of country and blues, and the birth of the rebel figure in music and film. The music was honest and fun to listen to, if sometimes cheesy, but people were scrambling to write new lyrics and to update old blues songs for the R&R audience. The artists of the 50s/early 60s influenced and sparked the groups that would form the coming English invasion, most all of whom willingly acknowledged the early sounds.

I was born in the late '50s and much of that music still resonates.

Had to go with Jailhouse Rock, for the sheer exuberance and danceability. All I Have To Do Is Dream comes second.

Mack the Knife is an amazing song, but the original (written by Kurt Weill for the Threepenny Opera for his wife Lotte Lenye) trumps every cover.

I ended up going with “Heartbreak Hotel,” but it was neck-and-neck between that and “Jailhouse Rock” for me. On another day, I would have gone “Jailhouse Rock.”

There are a good number of songs I would have voted over it, though, including “Johnny B. Goode,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Rock Around the Clock,” “Who Do You Love,” “Peggy Sue,” and possibly “Only You.”

I assume this is a joke because it is a very sad and deluded viewpoint if you really hold it. The 50’s were awesome musically, not just because of the birth of Rock N Roll but also big changes in other styles like Country as well as the general synthesis of styles that still defines music to this day. I wasn’t born until the 70’s and I have always realized that on my own. Elvis isn’t called ‘The King’ for no reason and he was only one of a number of tremendously creative artists that broke new ground during that time.

I voted for Heartbreak Hotel but I could have voted for any of them except maybe Mack the Knife.

I said “Sixteen Tons” because it’s one of the best expressions of the working class’s point of view (and “L’Internationale” wasn’t on the list).

I had to vote for Mack the Knife because I liked all the songs but my late Aunt Mary was WILD about Bobby Darin and that song sent her right over the moon. So, in her honor, Mack got my vote.

I voted for those nice Everly boys.

I was never sure if Bobby Darrin singing Mack the Knife was a parody, or not. I’m still not sure, so I went with Jailhouse Rock. It was that, or Heartbreak Hotel. Presley was the king of the 50’s, as the Beatles were of the 60’s.


BTW, I voted Heartbreak Hotel.

You and Chefguy are right, I do like some 1950’s songs, but overall I generally do not listen to pre 1960 songs, and most of them I am very neutral to.

I find it the weakest song on this list, and I never got how it is considered by some to be a classic, great song.

I was scratching my head listening to it.