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.
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.”
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.
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 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 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.