The 10 best rock and roll songs are not necessarily oldies, even though the music genre had its heyday in the 1950's. Periodic revivals of the art form led to quite an impressive body of music that provides a wide array of songs to choose from. Then again, the purist will insist that only the oldies truly deserve an inclusion into the list that makes up the 10 best rock and roll songs. Read on and see if you agree.
- “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley is first on the list of the 10 best rock and roll songs ever. Written in 1952 by Max Freedman, Haley recorded it in 1954. The latter released it as a single from the album “Rock Around the Clock.”
- “Shake, Rattle and Roll” was not only a Bill Haley song, but first and foremost recorded by Big Joe Turner in 1954. It is interesting to note that Haley recorded his cover just a few short months after Turner propelled to the top of the charts.
- “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On” by Jerry Lee Lewis, a.k.a. the Killer, topped the charts in 1957. The song dates back to 1955, when it was initially done by Big Maybelle.
- “Don’t Be Cruel” by Elvis Presley was recorded in 1956. It is hailed as one of the greatest songs of all time and featured “Hound Dog” on its B-side.
- “Jailhouse Rock” was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1957 as the musical backdrop to his movie. Part and parcel of an EP, it is this tune that is the most memorable and even trend-setting.
- “Good Golly Miss Molly” by Little Richard came along in 1958. It was released as a single only with “Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey” on the B-side.
- “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry is considered a quintessential Berry classic. Written and recorded in 1958, it was part of the “Chuck Berry is on Top” album.
- “Roll Over Beethoven” was initially a Chuck Berry hit dating back to 1956. For the sake of this list of the 10 best rock and roll songs, it is the cover version by The Beatles that demands an attentive ear. Released in 1964 as a track from “With the Beatles,” it features an unforgettable performance by George Harrison behind the mike.
- “Shakin’ All Over” by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates took the U.K. by storm. It was recorded as a single in 1960 and entered the U.S. with a blank label. Chad Allen, who did the cover, named his band the “Guess Who” and continued on to fame.
- “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin came along in 1970. Although some would consider it hard rock, it nevertheless deserves inclusion in the list of the 10 best rock and roll songs simply by virtue of its staccato.
It is evident that the 10 best rock and roll songs point the audiophile to the greats of the genre. By the same token, it is curious that rock and roll did not continue on as an art form, in the way that pop has continued to produce artists for decades.