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Forgotten Songs Of The 50s
On The Acoustic

forgotten songs of the 50s

On this forgotten songs of the 50s page are some very popular artists whose music is fun to learn on guitar.

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Forgotten Songs Of The 50s


1. Ain't That A Shame - Fats Domino

aint that a shame fats domino

"Ain't That a Shame" is a famous rock and roll song written by Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. Fats Domino recorded the song in 1955, and it became really popular. It reached number 1 on the R&B chart and number 10 on the pop chart.

The song is about feeling sad and disappointed because of a breakup. Fats Domino included it in his first album, "Rock and Rollin' with Fats Domino," released in 1956. The song's success helped Fats Domino become well-known in the rock and roll genre.

An interesting fact is that the original title was "Ain't It a Shame," but it was changed to "Ain't That a Shame" for the single release. Many artists have covered the song, but Fats Domino's version is the most famous. The song is a classic in rock and roll history and played a big role in Fats Domino's success.

  • Drop D Tuning = Yes
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm - down-strokes and a steady shuffle with base notes
  • Picking - Yes
  • Chords = A, A7, D, E
Chords & Lyrics

 

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2. Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino

50s rock

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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3. Come On Let's Go - Ritchie Valens

50s rock and roll music

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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4. Donna - Ritchie Valens

50s rock and roll songs

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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5. Everybody's Tryin' To Be My Baby - Carl Perkins

50s rock bands

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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6. Gee - The Crows

50s rock music

Gee was the only hit from this group who formed in 1951 and released this song in 1953. Many considered this song to be the first rock and roll song.

The song reached #14 on the Pop charts and #2 on the R&B charts.

  • Drop D Tuning: No 
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: down up down up down up 
  • Picking: a little in the rhythm
  • Chords: D, Bm, Em, A7, G, D7, Ab
Chords & Lyrics

 

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7. Hey Joe - Billy Roberts

heyjoe

Hey Joe was copyrighted by Billy Roberts in 1962. Later the song was covered by many artists and groups including The Leaves in 1965 and Jimi Hendrix in 1966.

To my knowledge this song was a single release and never appeared on a Billy Roberts album.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm = down down up down down up and repeat
  • Picking = one main riff
  • Chords = E, C, D, G, A
Chords & Lyrics

 

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8. Honeycomb - Jimmy Rodgers

"Honeycomb" is a song recorded by Jimmie Rodgers, but it was released in 1957.  The song was written by Bob Merrill.  The song was a major hit and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1957. The success of "Honeycomb" contributed to Jimmie Rodgers' prominence in the music scene during that time.

In the song "Honeycomb," the term "honeycomb" is used metaphorically to describe the sweetness of love. The lyrics use various images to convey the joy and delight that love brings, and the term "honeycomb" is part of that imagery. The song's lyrics talk about the positive aspects of being in love and finding happiness, much like the sweetness of honey in a honeycomb.

The song was never released on an album.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No for the original key
  • Rhythm = root down up bass up down up
  • Picking = Yes
  • Chords = G, C, D, G7, D7

Chords & Lyrics

 

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9. I'm Walkin - Fats Domino

50s rock stars

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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10. Just Dropped In - Jerry Lee Lewis

rock bands from the 50s

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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11. Lets Twist Again - Chubby Checker

letstwistagain

Let's Twist Again was released in 1961 and probably his best know song, reaching #8 on Billboard and #3 on the Cash Box charts. The song won a Grammy in 1962. He also recorded the song in German and Italian.

The song was #1 in the UK, Holland and Belgium. The song is found on the album of the same name.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = 3rd fret
  • Rhythm = down down up down up down up and repeat
  • Picking = Yes
  • Chords = G, C, Am, F, C7
Chords & Lyrics

 

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12. Party Doll

Party Doll ... info soon

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm = root down root up down up and repeat
  • Picking = a little
  • Chords = A, E, D
Chords & Lyrics

 

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13. Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley

rock bands of the 50s

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 down-strokes 
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: A, E7, D7
Chords & Lyrics

 

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14. Rockin Robin - Bobby Day

Rockin Robin info soon.

  • Drop D Tuning = No
  • Capo = No
  • Rhythm =  down up down up with some walking bass
  • Picking = Yes
  • Chords = G, C, D, C7
Chords & Lyrics

 

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15. Runaway - Del Shannon

rock in the 50s

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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16. Shama Lama Ding Dong - Otis Day & The Nights

Shama Lama Ding Dong ... info soon

Chords & Lyrics

 

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17. Take Good Care Of My Baby - Bobby Vee

takegoodcareofmybaby

Take Good Care Of My Baby was co-written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin but made famous by Bobby Vee in 1961. Vee had a #1 hit with this song.

It can be found on the album of the same name.

  • Drop D Tuning = Yes
  • Capo = 3rd fret
  • Rhythm = down down up down up down up and repeat
  • Picking = a few riffs
  • Chords = D, Bm, G, A7, Daug
Chords & Lyrics

 

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18. The Blues Don't Mean A Thing - Melvin Endsley

rock music of the 50s

The Blues Don't Mean A Thing was one written and recorded by Melvin Endsley but the only reference to the song is on a rockabilly album called The Last Great Rockabilly Saturday Night.

Most of the artists listed on the album cover are not well known. Endsley himself had a successful career as a writer, penning over 400 songs, but his commercial success as a singer was limited.

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down root up down up and repeat
  • Picking: a little
  • Chords: A, D7, E, B7, E7

Chords & Lyrics

 

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19. To Know Him Is To Love Him - The Teddy Bears


Chords & Lyrics

 

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20. We Belong Together - Los Lobos

rock songs 50s

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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21. Whole Lotta Shakin - Jerry Lee Lewis

rock songs from the 50s

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


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