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Unforgettable 50s Karaoke Songs – Rock ‘N’ Roll Days!


Get those blue suede shoes on, get ready to shake, rattle, roll and rock around the clock to some of the greatest 50s karaoke songs ever recorded !! 

The birth of rock 'n' roll dominated popular music in the 50s' with the combined elements of R 'n' B, Pop, Blues & Hillbilly music creating a sound that took America by storm.

One of the greatest names in rock 'n' roll history Elvis Presley, changed the lives of teenagers around the world in the 50s'. His new fashion style and pelvis dance moves left most parents 'Aghast'. His provocative performances did not go down well with most older people while teenagers could simply not get enough!

At one point when Elvis appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show the network censored his performance by filming him only from the waist up!! He was not amused !!

Elvis epitomized Rock 'n' Roll and deserved the title 'King of Rock 'n' Roll'.

In this decade R'n'B and Rock 'n' Roll music also gave many 'black' artists a platform to showcase their work whilst others were denied the opportunity due to 'segregation'. 

Rockabilly

Country, R'n'B and Rock combinations gave us a style referred to as Rockabilly. Carl Perkins who wrote and first recorded Blue Suede Shoes was one of the pioneers of rock music and this song was considered to be one of the first Rockabilly records.

There were many other great artists in this genre including:

  • Buddy Holly
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Gene Vincent

Whilst Elvis made rock 'n' roll music popular, there were many African American artists responsible for creating the genre who were never even given an opportunity to record their music at the time:

  • Chuck Berry
  • Fats Domino
  • Chubby Checker
  • Little Richard
  • The Coasters

Racial tensions were notably increased with the onset of the Civil Rights Movement and music reflected a lot of those tensions. Many believed that 'white' artists were responsible for stealing music from African Americans and they went on to achieve great success unlike the original black artists who owned the songs.

However, the 50s' decade influenced music right through to the present day. It was an era that brought Rock 'n' Roll to the forefront and introduced us to some of the most talented artists in music history. They gave us a catalog of great 50s karaoke songs to enjoy for many more years to come.

So let's take a step back in time to when hip shaking & screaming teenagers left our grandparents wondering 'What in God's Name Just Happened? !!

50s Karaoke Songs:

bill haley and the comets rock around the clock

In the Spring of 1955 this song was played over the opening credits of the film 'Blackboard Jungle' and went on to sell over a million copies that month.

One of many great 50s karaoke songs that will have everyone up on their feet 'rockin' around the clock' all night long!!

buddy holly and the crickets that'll be the day

First recorded in 1956 by Buddy and his first group 'The Three Tunes' and re-recorded a year later with his new band The Crickets, That'll Be The Day went on to achieve incredible success. 

The song actually came about after Buddy Holly went to see a movie 'The Searchers' starring John Wayne who repeatedly used the phrase 'That'll Be The Day' throughout the film.

Buddy took his inspiration from this and went on to write this unforgettable 50s song along with his drummer in The Crickets Jerry Allison.

the platters the great pretender

Released in 1955 this timeless classic song made The Platters the first R'n'B group to achieve a No.1 position in the pop charts. The song describes a man who masters the art of smiling through the pain of heartbreak.

The lyrics were written by Buck Ram(The Platters Producer) while he was in the washroom of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas where the group were performing. Now we can all have the opportunity to become Great Pretenders with one of the greatest 50s karaoke songs ever!!

chuck berry johnny be goode

This amazing Rock 'n' Roll song is based on Chuck Berry's life, from his humble beginnings to his unparalleled success in the music industry.

 Believe it or not, in 1977 a copy of the song was sent by NASA on the Voyager Space Probe as part of a package meant to represent the best in American Culture.

Who knows, maybe one day 'little green men' might come across it and discover the one and only, great, Chuck Berry. Imagine what a great alien 50s' karaoke night would be like!!!! We should send some more great 50s karaoke songs up on the next shuttle!!!

elvis presley that's all right mama

Recorded at Sun Records in Memphis on July 5th 1954 this was Elvis's first single and the first song he performed in concert.

In 2004 exactly 50 years after Elvis recorded the song it was re-released. Although it did not recieve much attention in the USA it still made the charts in Australia & Canada and reached the No.3 spot in the UK.

To this day many music historians consider this to be the first 'Rock' song due to the up-tempo blues variation of the recording. 50s karaoke songs from the King of Rock'n'Roll always smash it with any karaoke crowd!!

little richard long tall sally

Written by Little Richard when he worked as a dish washer at a Greyhound bus station in Georgia, this was his biggest hit.

Famous for his electrifying performances, Little Richard never achieved huge success on the charts but will always be renowned as a Rock 'n' Roll innovator.

This classic has been performed by many famous artists throughout the decades including The Beatles who were greatly influenced in their music by Little Richard.

fats domino blueberry hill

This song was originally written for the 1940 western 'The Singing Hill' and performed by the great 'Singing Cowboy', Gene Autry. Although in 1940 many jazz bands including the Glen Miller Orchestra went on to cover the song too.

It was the Glen Miller Orchestras' biggest selling hit that year. The Fats Domino version went on to be a massive hit and turned 'Blueberry Hill' into a Rock 'n' Roll great.

One of the greatest 50s karaoke songs and a great crowd pleaser!!

jerry lee lewis whole lotta shakin' going on

It's hard to believe that many radio stations found ridiculous reasons NOT to play this great song. They said it was too suggestive and that Lewis cursed on it. 'We-e-ll-a' sounded like 'We-hella', and others said he sounded like a 'black singer' and at that particular time many radio stations refused to play black artist songs. 

Obviously in the Southern States the sales of the song were good but it was his TV debut on 'The Steve Allen Show' in 1957 that skyrocketed sales to over six million....

Jerry Lee Lewis did not typify a singer coming from the Bible Belt and there was a lot of controversy generated by the song as people found the lyrics to be quite shocking.

Nevertheless, Lewis was inducted into The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and to this day is revered as a pioneer of Rock 'n' Roll..... Time to get a whole lotta shakin' going on with one of the greatest 50s karaoke songs ever recorded.

the coasters searchin'

The Coasters created a catalog of 'story-telling' tracks considered to be the most entertaining from the Rock 'n' Roll era. 

Searchin' was the first US Top 10 Hit and it also topped the R'n'B charts for an amazing 13 weeks becoming the biggest R'n'B single of 1957.

ritchie valens la bamba

Richard Steven Valenzuela was rock musics' first Latino star. He was persuaded by his record label to shorten his surname to Valens to make it more radio friendly which he was happy to do.

During his short life he achieved incredible success with hits 'LA BAMBA' & 'DONNA'.

He was 17 years old when he died in a plane crash along with the 'Big Bopper' and Buddy Holly after winning his seat on the ill-fated flight from the toss of a coin.

The tragic loss of these great artists was later immortalized as 'The Day The Music Died' in Don McLeans song 'American Pie'.

Ritchie Valens was posthumously inducted into The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and 'LA BAMBA' was included in the 500 greatest songs of all time in Rolling Stone Magazine.

One of many great 50s karaoke songs that everybody will know and love....

the big bopper chantilly lace

It was in 1957 that Jiles Perry Richardson Jr or 'Jape' as he preferred to be called recorded his most famous song, Chantilly Lace which went on to be one of the most played songs in 1958.

Whilst working in Beaumont Texas for KTRM Radio he adopted the name 'The Big Bopper' which he continued to use for the duration of his short life.

In 1959 along with fellow muscians Buddy Holly & Ritchie Valens he lost his life in a plane crash in Mid-West United States.

bobby darin dream lover

Bobby Darin's good looks and suave appearance made him one of the most popular 1950's teen idols.

In 1958 he wrote 'Splish Splash' a song that reached the top 5 in the pop charts selling over a million copies. He followed this success up with two more great songs Dream Lover & Mack The Knife.

His success and popularity continued well into the early 60s' when he moved from the stage to the big screen starring in a great number of movies after being the only actor ever to be signed to 5 major Hollywood Studios.

Sadly in 1973 Bobby Darin passed away from heart failure at the age of 37.

eddie cochran summertime blues

Released in August 1958 this classic song was written by Cochran and his manager Jerry Capehart. 

Eddie Cochran was an American Rock 'n' Roll artist with a rebellious and cocky image unlike Elvis, Bobby Darin & Paul Anka who had a much milder brand of music.

However in Britain Rock 'n' Rollers like Gene Vincent & Eddie Cochran were becoming more & more popular. It was while Cochran was on his triumphant tour of Britain in the 1960's that he was killed in a car crash en route to the airport in London to return to the USA.

His untimely death at the age of 21 in 1960 was another great loss to Rock 'n' Roll but his music still lives on to the present day.

50s karaoke songs of this calibre will always make any party a night to remember!!

jackie wilson reet petite

This was Jackie Wilsons' first chart single as a solo artist. He had previously been in a group called the Dominos but decided to try a solo career when he left the group.

Reet Petite was written by Berry Gordy (Motown) & Tyran Carlo in 1957. Royalties from the song and a succession of hits by Marv Johnson enabled Berry Gordy to finance Motown Records and the rest is history.

The single Reet Petite was re-issued in 1986 and topped the charts in the UK and Ireland. It also made the Top 10 in many other countries around the world.

Whilst performing at a New Jersey nightclub in 1975 Jackie Wilson collapsed after suffering a heart attack. He would spend the next 9 years in a coma from which he never recovered. Sadly he died in 1984.

elvis presley blue suede shoes

This Rock 'n' Roll classic was originally recorded in 1955 by Carl Perkins. Incorporating Blues, Country & Pop it is considered to be one of the first Rockabilly records.

By mid April Perkins earned a Gold Record for sales over one million. This was the first time ever that a Sun Records artist had achieved this amazing success.

Throughout the 50's it was common practice for artists to do covers of popular songs. Elvis having recently signed with RCA Victor was encouraged by the label to record Blue Suede Shoes.

Initially he did not like the idea but after some persuasion he agreed as long as the release date would be held back until Perkins version had run out of steam.

Elvis went on to perform Blue Suede Shoes three times on national television in 1956. This was a defining moment in Rock 'n' Roll history.

Blue Suede Shoes has been covered by many great artists including:

  • Buddy Holly
  • Bill Haley
  • Eddie Cochran
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Motorhead
  • Black Sabbath
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • The Grateful Dead

What was most heart warming was the sense of achievement and pride it gave to its' creator. 

"After all those days in the cotton fields, the dreams came true on a gold record. It's in my den where I can look at it every day. I wear it out lookin' at it." 

Carl Perkins

As we all know Elvis went on to achieve unparalleled success as 'The King of Rock 'n' Roll' and Blue Suede Shoes was only one of an amazing catalog of songs that Elvis gifted to the world.

He sold more than 500 million records and holds the record for the most songs charting on Billboards Top 40 with 114 hits.

In November 1956 Elvis Presley made his film debut in 'Love Me Tender' and went on to make a further 30 movies all of which enjoyed financial success for the studios. 

The Legend that is Elvis still lives on even after his untimely death at the age of 42 in 1977. His name is celebrated throughout the world, he was loved and admired by people of all ages and will continue to be for many more years to come.

Elvis

The King is Dead...... Long Live The King!!!

We hope that somewhere amid our picks of 50s karaoke songs you will find one that gives you the opportunity to showcase your voice and bring some 50's nostalgia back to your audience.

The 50s', A Decade Of Music That Changed The World

Rolling Stone

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About the author 

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Hi, I'm Andrew and I am a Web Designer, Front-end Developer and Writer. I love anything that involves a challenge and will work continuously until I solve the problem. I live in the countryside in Ireland with my pet pooch Lola.Life is good!

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