These 1950s Songs Dominated the Summer

The weather has us thinking about barbecues, pool parties, and vacations. Of course, there’s nothing like finding the perfect summer songs for your road trip. These ’50s songs were synonymous with warm-weather fun.

The Coasters: “Yakety Yak”

The Coasters were all about fun, and their music is nearly impossible to not move to. Yakety Yak takes a comedic look at teenage rebellion and household chores in a surprisingly catchy tune. 50’s audiences were definitely on board.

Rosemary Clooney: “Come On-A My House”

This song was understandably popular. It had modern sensibilities with some old-world style, much like some of Dean Martin’s biggest hits. The blend of traditional Italian influence with flirty fun modern style made it an instant hit. (Fun fact: Rosemary Clooney never liked the song and didn’t want to record it.) Everyone else seemed to enjoy this tune on ’50s summer nights.

Sheb Wooley: “The Purple People Eater”

This is one of those weird tunes that could have only come out of the 1950s. The originality and downright silliness made this one a hit. Do you know what’s even more strange? Sheb Wooley was a character actor who appeared in westerns like “High Noon” and “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” There, now that’s a thing you know.

Bill Haley & His Comets: “Rock Around the Clock”

There aren’t many songs that transport us back to a ’50s dance party like Rock Around the Clock. It’s hard to hear this one and not picture a packed drive-in diner on a warm summer night. This, of course, is why it became the theme of Happy Days years later.

Elvis Presley: “Don’t Be Cruel”

July of 1956, This tune took the number one spot on the charts. The same year, Presley released “Hound Dog” and made his historic appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. There was no topping Elvis when it came to Fifties’ summer jams.

Other Notable ’50s Songs

Don’t believe us about Elvis dominating the late ’50s? 1956 was also the year he recorded Shake, Rattle, and Roll and Blue Suede Shoes. Some of our other favorite ’50s songs include Fats Domino’s cover of Blueberry Hill, Long Tall Sally by Little Richard, and Maybellene by the great Chuck Berry.

Want more song ideas to recreate a ’50s road trip? Check out Rolling Stone’s 20 Biggest Songs of the Summer: The 1950s. For more like this, take a look at our other nostalgic music posts. Be sure to follow The Greatest Generation for the latest updates.

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