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Popular Music From The 50s
On The Acoustic

Let's learn some popular music from the 50s on the acoustic guitar that you can use to amaze your family, friends and observers. You're in the right place.

popular music from the 50s

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Popular Music From The 50s
Chords, Lyrics, Demos, Tutorials

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.

I play this one with Drop D Tuning in standard tuning and put a bit of lead in my version. For rhythm play down-strokes and a steady shuffle with bass notes with the chords A, A7, D and an E.

Chords & Lyrics


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2. Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino

blueberry hill 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.

Capo on the 3rd fret in standard tuning is where this one works best play the chords G, C, D, Am7, Gb, Bm, B7, D7 and Cm. For rhythm play a down down up down down up and repeat with walking bass. A bit of lead required in this lesson.

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3. I'm Walkin - Fats Domino

im walkin fats domino

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".

Capo on the 2nd fret is the original key playing the chords G, D, C, G7 and a Cm. For rhythm play a down up down up and repeat with walking bass blended into the rhythm. I add a bit of lead in my version here.

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4. Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley

rock around the clock 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.

There is a lead break in this one playing the three chords of A, E7 and D7. For rhythm play a down up down up down up and a few down-strokes.

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5. Rockin Robin - Bobby Day

rockin robin bobby day

Rockin' Robin was a big hit song in 1958. It was written by Leon René, using the name Jimmie Thomas, and sung by Bobby Day. It reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was number one on the R&B sales chart for a week. Michael Jackson also recorded a version of the song in 1972, which did well too.

This one I play in standard tuning using a down up down up rhythm pattern with some walking bass. A little picking required while playing the chords G, C, D and C7.

Chords & Lyrics


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6. Runaway - Del Shannon

runaway 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".

A standard tuning song with some lead from the keyboard here from Del Shannon using the chords Am, G, F, E, E7, Gbm and D. Play a root down up root up down up rhythm pattern.

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

shama lama ding dong

Shama Lama Ding Dong is a fun song from the 1978 movie National Lampoon's Animal House. Mark Davis wrote it, and it was performed by a fictional band called Otis Day and the Knights. Although DeWayne Jessie played Otis Day in the film, the vocals were actually sung by Lloyd G. Williams, with Melvin Britt and Sidney Juston doing backing vocals.

The song was popular and won an award in 1995. John Mellencamp covered it in 1987, and it's also played by the band Goose. It's been recorded by different groups like the University of California Men's Octet and the Dartmouth Aires.

This song is higher vocally than where I am here as it's original key is C and my demo here is lower in A. I'm playing with a capo 2nd fret so my four chords are G, Em, C and a D. For rhythm you'll need a root down up down up down up and repeat. I have a little lead section in this one.

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8. Take Good Care Of My Baby - Bobby Vee

take good care of my baby bobby vee

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.

I play this one with a Drop D Tuning and a capo on the 3rd fret. A few riffs but no lead while playing the chords D, Bm, G, A7 and Daug. Play a down down up down up down up rhythm and repeat.

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

the blues dont mean a thing melvin endsley

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.

For rhythm play a root down root up down up and repeat rhythm pattern with a little picking. For chords, play an A, D7, E, B7 and an E7.

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10. We Belong Together - Los Lobos

we belong together 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".

The original key is a capo on the 3rd fret with the chords D, Bm, Em, A7, G, D7, Gm and E7. My picking is an arpeggio riff as you play thru this one and use a down down down up  down down and repeat pattern.

Chords & Lyrics


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

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