The starts of different genres of music are probably some of the greatest times in history. Rockabilly fits in because it introduced the world to the legendary Elvis Presley. However, there were other great songs during that era that we never heard of.
Rockabilly gained popularity in the 1950s. It was an early version of rock and roll music coming out of the American South. “Hillbilly” is the name given to people who live in these countryside areas of the South. Hence the name “Rock” and “abilly”.
Deciding how to rank music is never easy. As such, we are going to use different criteria to rate songs. We will look for:
- song popularity
- impact on the industry
- status of musician
Read on to learn the top songs of all time.
Best All Time Rockabilly Songs
Music is subjective. No one can tell you how to feel about it or why it should be your favourite. But some songs transcend all that.
Here is a list of the best Rockabilly songs of all time:
1. That’s All Right by Elvis Presley (1954)
The first song had to come from the legend himself. This song is the foundation for this genre of music. Mississippi bluesman Arthur Crudup wrote it for Presley.
This song gave others the blueprint for the genre. It involved singing with an emotive country voice accompanied by various instruments. It included:
- strumming an acoustic guitar
- slap-back playing style on bass guitar
- electric guitar solos
- upbeat drumming
- piano playing
2. Blue Suede Shoes by Carl Perkins (1956)
Carl Perkins was a star from the RCA recording label. Blue Suede Shoes is probably the best song in this genre. It was so good that even Elvis Presley recorded his version of the song.
Perkins wrote the song himself. He got his inspiration from watching a dancer trying not to ruin new shoes. Its lyrics say, “…step in my face, slander my name…you can do anything but lay off my blue suede shoes”.
3. Fujiyama Mama by Wanda Jackson (1957)
If Elvis Presley is the King, then Wanda Jackson is the Queen of Rockabilly. He is one of her musical influences. She influenced many aspiring female musicians and brought female glamour to the genre.
Some of the fashion from that era showed women as both independent and stylish. Having a female presence helped to shape the fashion. Her songs showed the power of the female voice.
Jackson wrote Fujiyama Mama and other hits. Even though it is a very suggestive song, it got international acclaim.
4. Be-Bop-A-Lula by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps (1956)
This is a cool Rockabilly song with an even better guitar solo. Many people know the song from the Beatles’ John Lennon. Yet, the original version is a top 10 hit from the 50s by Gene and his crew.
Gene’s manager, Bill Davis, bought the rights to the song from Donald Graves. The song is about a woman, her beauty, and the love she has for the singer.
5. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On by Jerry Lee Lewis (1957)
Lewis was part of the team of stars signed to Sun Records. This included Presley and Perkins. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On was a remake of the original from 1955. Song authors were Dave Williams and James Hall.
The new version by Lewis added a fast piano beat and energetic drumming. The risqué lyrics were about inviting a girl to a barn dance. He suggests she should dance by wiggling “around just a little bit”.
6. Ooby Dooby by Roy Orbison (1956)
Ooby Dooby is another dance hit from the Rockabilly era. The original composers are Dick Penner and Wade Moore in 1955. Orbison was their friend from the University of North Texas and went to record the song with the Sun label.
The song was a commercial and chart success. It got to number 59 on the Billboard’s Hot 100. Its sales were over half a million copies.
7. Will You, Willyum by Janis Martin (1956)
Janis Martin was another strong woman to break the men’s stranglehold on the genre. People said she was the female Elvis due to a similar dancing style.
Station announcer Carl Stutz wrote Will You, Willyum. It was a love song about a guy called William.
Despite being 15 years old, her demo performance of the song led to a recording session. After that, the song became a big hit in the charts. It sold more than 700,000 copies.
8. Tear It Up by Johnny Burnette and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio (1956)
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio consists of Johnny and Dorsey Burnette, and Paul Burlison. Their song ‘Tear it up’ is one of the Rockabilly classics. Other artists such as Rod Stewart have their versions of this song.
This song calls on a woman to join the singer on the dance floor. They give it their all such that they “tear up” the dance floor.
9. Train Kept A-Rollin’ by Johnny Burnette and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio (1956)
Still with the same artists, Train Kept A-Rollin’ was their top-selling song. The original belongs to jazz and R&B artist Tiny Bradshaw. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio changed the song using a distorted guitar sound.
At the time, this distortion was a game changer in the industry. Paul Burlison, the guitarist, noticed that a loose amplifier tube caused the distortion. Thus, he kept playing it that way. The signature guitar riff confirms the song’s classic status.
Other groups, such as Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, have played this song in their concerts.
10. Twenty Flight Rock by Eddie Cochran (1957)
Twenty Flight Rock is a song about dancing with a girl who lives on the twentieth floor. The problem explained in the song is that the elevator is broken down. Unfortunately, Eddie gets tired before he makes it to her floor.
With Rock ‘n’ Roll, there is a double meaning in some songs. Hence, this could also be a song about getting intimate.
Ned Fairchild and Eddie Cochran wrote the song. It also has a frenzied guitar riff solo that audiences love.
Get High-Quality Fashion
Music goes hand in hand with fashion. The list above gives you some of the best Rockabilly songs. Yet, you don’t get to see how the music affected the fashion of the day.
There are cool fashion designs from that era that will improve your style. Visit us and get high-quality dresses.