50s Rock And Roll Songs
Vol 1
On The Acoustic

50s Rock And Roll Songs

This page contains the most popular 50s rock and roll songs you can easily learn on the acoustic guitar. You'll find artists such as Eddie Cochran, The Everly Brothers and more.

There are free demos and chord sheets along with some rhythm tips. If you'd like to purchase the full lesson tutorials for a small fee, check out the prices in the right menu.


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15 Top - 50s Rock And Roll Songs

1. Bill Haley

Rock Around The Clock was not written by Bill Haley but by Max Freedman and James Myers in 1952.  Bill Haley recorded the song in 1954 and it took only two takes combined to make the final version.

And because of a delay arriving at the studio to record the song, Sammy Davis Jr's studio time was delayed while he waited in the hallway as Bill Haley recorded this song. Bill Haley had a #1 with this song and can be found on his album of the same name.

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: down up down up down up and a few downstrokes 
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: A, E7, D7
Chords & Lyrics

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2. Carl Perkins

Everybody's Tryin' To Be My Baby was written in 1936 by Rex Griffin but often given credit to Carl Perkins who recorded the song in 1957 and covered by The Beatles in 1964.

To my knowledge the song was released as a single in 1957 but I'm not sure if it charted. The track is from the album "Dance Album Of Carl Perkins".

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down root up down up
  • Picking: No just a few riffs in the rhythm
  • Chords: E, A, B7
Chords & Lyrics
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3. Chuck Berry

Johnny B Goode was written in 1955 but not recorded and released until 1958. Chuck Berry said later on the song was a reflection of his early days and changed the lyrics country boy from colored boy to ensure the song received radio play. The opening riff was lifted from a song from 1946 entitled "Ain't That Just Like A Woman".

The song peaked at #2 on Billboards R&B chart and #8 on the Hot 100 chart. The song can be found on the "Chuck Berry Is On Top" album.

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: down up down up and repeat or use al downstrokes
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: A, D, E7
Chords & Lyrics

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Promised Land follows the melody of an old American folk song called The Wabash Cannonball. He had just gotten released from prison when this

song was released in Dec 1964 and reached #41 on Billboard a month later.  In fact, Berry used a prison atlas to chart the travels listed in the song.

This song hails from the 1964 album "St Louis To Liverpool". Download the Chuck Berry Promised Land lyrics below.

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: down up down up and repeat or use all downstrokes
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: C, F, G
Chords & Lyrics

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Sweet Little 16 was recorded and released in Jan of 1958 and managed a #2 on the Billboard chart. Berry surpassed this with a number one eventually, but not until 1972 with My -Ding-A-Ling.

This song is from his album One Dozen Berrys.

  • Drop D Tuning: Yes
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: down up down up down up with some chops
  • Picking: No
  • Chords: A, D, G
Chords & Lyrics
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4. Del Shannon

Runaway was a song written by a guy named Charles Westover, (who changed his name to Del Shannon), and a keyboard player named Max Crook. Max had built a keyboard with a unique sound and he called it a Musitron. 

When their manager persuaded them to record the song they had no idea it would peak at #1 on Billboard in the US and three weeks later top the charts in the UK. The song can be found on the 1961 album "Runaway With Del Shannon".

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down up root up down up
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: Am, G, F, E, E7, Gbm, D
Chords & Lyrics
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5. Eddie Cochran

Hallelujah I Love Her So was never released as a single by Eddie Cochran as he only ever released one album during his short lifetime. That album was in 1957 but did not have any songs that charted.

This number is actually a Ray Charles song which Eddie had recorded and it only ended up on an album after his death. You can find this song on the "Eddie Cochran Memorial Album". 

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root up down root up down up will work
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: G, G6, C, C#7, D7, Gdim, E7, Em, A7
Chords & Lyrics
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Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie was actually called Johnny Johnny Johnny and was written for the female group The Georgettes, but they never recorded the song. So Eddie Cochran changed the words and recorded as a single in 1958. It reach #98 in the US. After his death it was released again in the UK in 1961 and reached #33. It can be found on an album called "Legendary Masters Series". The Stray Cats also coved this number.

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: 2nd fret
  • Rhythm: down up down up down up
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: E, B7, A
Chords & Lyrics

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Twenty Flight Rock was a single release by Eddie Cochran back in 1957 but the song never charted. Eddie also appeared in the film "The Girl Can't Help It" with Jane Mansfield, where he performed the song in that movie.

The song was written by a lady named Nelda Fairchild.

It can be found on the album "Never To Be Forgotten", which was released after his death in 1960.

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: 2nd fret
  • Rhythm: down up down up down up and repeat with riff
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: G, C7, D7
Chords & Lyrics
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6. Fats Domino

Blueberry Hill was recorded 6 times in 1940, the same year it was published. The Glenn Miller Orchestra had the biggest hit with the song that year reaching #2 in the US.

Fats Domino had a #1 on the R&B charts and a #2 Pop Hit when he released his version in 1956. Even Russian President Putin covered the song on Dec 10th 2010 in a benefit show for sick kids.

You'll find the Fats Domino track on his album "This Is Fats Domino".

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: Capo 3rd fret
  • Rhythm: down down up down down up and repeat with walking bass
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: G, C, D, Am7, Gb, Bm, B7, D7, Cm
Chords & Lyrics
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I'm Walkin became a #1 hit on the R&B chart by Fats Domino in 1957. Others covered the song including Ricky Nelson, Nancy Sinatra and Tom Petty.

The song hails from the album "Here Stands Fats Domino".

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: 2nd fret = original key
  • Rhythm: down up down up and repeat with walking bass blended into the rhythm
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: G, D, C, G7, Cm
Chords & Lyrics
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7. Jerry Lee Lewis

Just Dropped In was considered a psychedelic rock song written Mickey Newbury. Jerry Lee Lewis first recorded the song in May of 1967. But it was Kenny Rogers and The First Edition who released their version later that year and scored a #5 hit. I don't believe Jerry Lee Lewis released his version as a single but it can be found on the album "Soul My Way".

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down root up down up
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: Dm, A7, G, Gm
Chords & Lyrics

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Whole Lotta Shakin was first recorded by Big Maybelle in 1955, but the 1957 version by Jerry Lee Lewis is the one most people know best because he radically changed the vibe.

He said he'd knew it would be a hit when he cut the song at Sun Studios in Feb 1957. It hit #3 on Billboard and #1 on the R&B Charts.

This track can be found on the "Original Hits Vol 1" album from 1969. 

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: down up down up down up down up and repeat
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: C, F, G, G7, C7
Chords & Lyrics
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8. Los Lobos

We Belong Together is a song from 1958 and first recorded by the duo "Robert & Johnny" and was a #12 R&B hit for them. Ritchie Valens recorded the song in 1959 and had success with the song.

Los Lobos, who formed in LA in 1973, were chosen to record a version of the song in 1987 for the movie about Ritchie Valens' life called "La Bamba".

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No - original key = capo 3rd fret
  • Rhythm: use a down down down up  down down and repeat will work best
  • Picking: arpeggio riff as you play thru this one
  • Chords: D, Bm, Em, A7, G, D7, Gm, E7 
Chords & Lyrics
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9. Ritchie Valens

Come On Let's Go hails from 1958 and was written by Ritchie Valens himself.

It peaked at #42 on Billboard and was one of four singles from his debut album "Ritchie Valens".

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: down up down up up down up and repeat
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: A, D, G, E
Chords & Lyrics
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Donna was recorded in Dec of 1958 as the A-side for a single which was to include La Bamba as the B-Side. The song peaked at #2 and his highest charting single of the 3 he managed to release before his death. The other was Come On let's Go.

This song appears on an album entitled "Ritchie Valens".

  • Drop D Tuning: No 
  • Capo: 3rd fret
  • Rhythm: down down up down down down down 
  • Picking: No
  • Chords: D, G, A
Chords & Lyrics

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Thanks for dropping by my 50s rock and roll songs page and I hope you found some of the info here useful.


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