1956’s Top 100 Hot Pop Songs1956’s Top 100 Hot Pop Songs & Music Hits
1. Love Me Tender – Elvis Presley
From the film of the same name. Written by Ken Darby, under the pseudonym “Vera Matson.”
2. Hound Dog – Elvis Presley
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It was recorded by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton and hundreds of other people. Elvis had the most popular version.
3. In The Still of the Night – The Five Satins
Although this song peaked at #24 in 1956, it is one of the most popular 50s slow tracks of all time.
4. Long Tall Sally – Little Richard
Written by Robert “Bumps” Blackwell, Enotris Johnson, and Richard Penniman, better known as “Little Richard.”
5. Why Do Fools Fall In Love – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
The Diamonds also did a version in ’56, with more of a Doo Wop feel.
6. Mack The Knife – Louis Armstrong
“Mack the Knife” (The Ballad of Mack the Knife) was originally “Die Moritat von Mackie Messer”, composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for ‘Die Dreigroschenoper’, or, ‘The Threepenny Opera’ in 1928.
7. Blue Suede Shoes – Carl Perkins
It is the first hit rockabilly recording, incorporating elements of blues, country and pop. Elvis and others recorded the song as well.
8. My Blue Heaven – Fats Domino
Gene Austin’s 1928 version sold 5 million copies, and was the biggest selling single for a long time.
9. Singing The Blues – Guy Mitchell (or Marty Robbins or Marty Steel)
This song was popular enough to earn Guy ‘ABC’s The Guy Mitchell Show’.
10. My Prayer – The Platters
It was originally written as “Avant de Mourir” by Georges Boulanger in 1926. Jimmy Kennedy added words in 1939, and it was a hit for Glenn Miller and others before The Platters topped the charts.
11. See You Later, Alligator – Bill Haley & His Comets
Originally written and first recorded by Robert Charles Guidry, known as Bobby Charles, 1955.
12. Let The Good Times Roll – Shirley & Lee
This song was written by the duo, Shirley Goodman (later Shirley Pixley) and Leonard Lee. Shirley had a hit 19 years later with ‘Shame, Shame, Shame’.
13. Roll Over Beethoven – Chuck Berry
Recorded dozens of times through the 1970s, it was a Beatle’s standard while they were playing in nightclubs.
14. The A.B.C.’s of Love – Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
Frankie was 14 years old when ABC’s peaked.
‘A, I’ll always want you B, because my heart is true C, come, come, come closer.’
15. Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera Sera) – Doris Day
Featured in the Alfred Hitchcock film ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’, starring Doris Day and James (Jimmy) Stewart.
16. (You’ve Got) The Magic Touch – Platters
Written by Samual ‘Buck Ram’ (November 21, 1907 – January 1, 1991). Buck was huge behind the scenes – songwriter, producer, manager. He was the original P. Diddy.
17. Blueberry Hill – Louis Armstrong
Also sung by Fats Domino in 1957, this song was written in 1939 and was a hit for several Big Bands including Sammy Kaye, Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey and Gene Krupa.
18. Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley
Written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton, it was inspired by a newspaper article about the suicide of a lonely man who jumped from a hotel window. Several artists declined the morbid and odd song before Elvis made it his first # 1 hit record..
19. Don’t Be Cruel – Elvis Presley
When released as a 45, the flip side was “Hound Dog” – both songs were individually huge hits.
20. I Walk The Line – Johnny Cash
Johnny said “I wrote the song backstage one night in 1956 in Gladewater, Texas. I was newly married at the time, and I suppose I was laying out my pledge of devotion.”
21. Be-Bop-A-Lula – Gene Vincent
Not to be confuded with “Be-Baba-Leba” by Helen Humes or Lionel Hampton’s “Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop” or Little Richard’s “A-wop-bom-a-loo-mop-a-lomp-bom-bom!.” The song was also featured in the 1963 avant-garde film, Flaming Creatures.
22. Tutti Frutti – Little Richard
Translated, it means ‘all fruits’ in Italian. One of the first pop hits to include the word ‘booty.’
23. Speedoo – The Cadillacs
Speedoo was lead singer Earl Carroll’s nickname. “They often call me Speedo But my real name is Mr. Earl”
24. Memories Are Made Of This – Dean Martin
Dean’s biggest hit, it was written by Terry Gilkyson, Richard Dehr, and Frank Miller, who also recorded as The Easy Riders.
25. When You Dance – The Turbans
Was actually released as the “B side” of “Let Me Show You (Around My Heart).” It peaked at # 33, but maintained airplay for over 20 weeks, which some # 1 hits don’t achieve.
26. The Great Pretender – The Platters
Released in late 1955, this was their first # 1 pop hit.
27. Standing On The Corner – The Four Lads
From the Broadway musical, The Most Happy Fella.
28. Wayward Wind – Gogi Grant
Cogi was born Myrtle Audrey Arinsberg (on September 20, 1924) in Philadelphia. She made her last album in 1984, and still made singing engagements at age 80.
29. True Love – Grace Kelly & Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly starred in the film High Society, which featured the song.
30. Eddie My Love – The Teen Queens (or the Fontane Sisters or the Chordettes)
Written by Maxwell Davis , Aaron Collins, Jr. , and Sam Ling. The Teen Queens were two African American sisters from Los Angeles, Betty and Rosie Collins born 1941. Aaron was their brother, and Maxwell played sax on the recording.
31. Rock and Roll Waltz – Kay Starr
Kaye’s biggest hit, and an insightful look at how rock and roll was bringing itself into popular culture.
32. Stranded In The Jungle – The Cadets
Originally recorded by the Jay Hawks, the Gadabouts recorded it two. The song helped all three bands become one hit wonders.
33. Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis Presley
On record, Carl Perkin’s version is best. But Elvis rocked it live like no one else.
34. I’ll Be Home – Pat Boone
The song was originally released by The Flamingos, and Pat was just starting his part-time career of making Black Music accessable to the masses.
35. Moonglow/Theme From Picnic – Morris Stoloff
Stoloff worked on many soundtracks in his day. He was the John Williams or Danny Elfman of his day.
36. Just Walking In The Rain – Johnnie Ray
John Alvin “Johnnie” Ray (January 10, 1927 – February 24, 1990). His 1951 hit “Cry” was one of the most influential songs in popular music.
37. Transfusion – Nervous Norvus
A mix of country, guitar, odd production choices and pre-rap vocal styling, yet not a quite novelty record.
38. R-O-C-K – Bill Haley & His Comets
It’s HIS Comets, not THE Comets. And sometimes Bill Haley’s Comets.
39. A Tear Fell – Teresa Brewer
Teresa began her showbiz career at age five, took a few teenage years for formal education, and continued performing and recording until 1996.
40. Tutti Fruitti – Pat Boone
In 1956, Pat’s version did just a bit better than Little Richard’s version, but time has made Little Richard’s rendition better known.
41. Rip It Up – Little Richard
Bill Haley & Elvis recorded this classic, but Little Richard had the most popular version.
42. The Green Door – Jim Lowe
“Wish they’d let me i,n so I could find out what’s behind the green door.”
43. Lisbon Antigua – Nelson Riddle
The song was originally written in 1937, with music by Raul Portela and Portuguese lyrics by José Galhardo and Amadeu do Vale
44. Confidential – Sonny Knight
Joseph Coleman Smith (17 May 1934 – 5 September 1998) was born in Maywood, Illinois. Professionally, he used the names Joe Smith, Joseph C. Smith and Sonny Knight.
45. Love Is (the Tender Trap) – Frank Sinatra
It was written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, for the 1955 film, The Tender Trap, starring Debbie Reynolds and Frank Sinatra, who each sing the song separately
46. Graduation Day – The Four Freshmen (or the Rover Boys)
Graduation day was a perennial hit for several years, and recorded by many artists including The Beach Boys.
47. In A Shanty In Shanty Old Town – Somethin’ Smith and the Redheads
In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town” was written by Ira Schuster and Jack Little with lyrics by Joe Young in 1934, and was a hit for many artists.
48. Bo Weevil – Fats Domino
It was also a hit for Teresa Brewer.
49. April In Paris – Count Basie
Written in 1932 by Vernon Duke with lyrics by E. Y. Harburg the Broadway musical Walk a Little Faster. Recorded by many, Count Basie’s is the most popular.
50. Honky Tonk (Parts 1 & 2) – Bill Doggett
James Brown also recorded it as a two-part single in 1972.
51. The Poor People Of Paris – Les Baxter
A ’56 hit for Lawrence Welk, Russ Morgan and Chet Atkins too. Edith Piaf recorded the original French version ‘La Goualante de pauvre Jean.’
52. You Don’t Know Me – Jerry Vale
Jerry was born Genaro Louis Vitaliano (July 8, 1930 – May 18, 2014). ‘You Don’t Know Me’ describes being in the Friendzone.
53. Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom) – Perry Como
Looking for a hit 50’s pop/novelty song? This is it.
54. Lovely One – The Four Voices
The Four Voices were Allan Chase (tenor), Sal Mayo (tenor), Bill McBride (baritone) and Frank Fosta (bass baritone).
55. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You – Elvis Presley
The “B side” was ‘My Baby Left Me’ – this record was the perfect storm in 1956 for getting teeny-boppers to scream his name.
56. No, Not Much! – The Four Lads
The Four Lads are probably best known for 1953’s ‘Istanbul (Not Constantinople)’ which was also recorded by They Might Be Giants in 1990.
“Istanbul was Constantinople, now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople, been a long time gone, Constantinople.”
57. A Crazy Little Palace (That’s My Home) – Billy Williams Quartet
In the early 1960s he lost his voice due to complications of diabetes. He moved to Chicago and worked as a social worker until his death in 1972.
58. Rip It Up – Bill Haley and His Comets
Elvis and Bill did pretty good efforts with Little Richard’s Rip it Up in ’56.
59. The Church Bells May Ring – The Diamonds
White Doo Wop classic.
60. To You, My Love – Nick Noble
Nicholas Valkan (June 21, 1926 – March 24, 2012). ‘Nick Noble’ was a much cooler name.
61. Canadian Sunset – Hugo Winterhalter with Eddie Heywood
Andy Williams also sang a version of Canadian Sunset with lyrics in 1956.
62. My Little Angel – The Four Lads
Vocal-oriented quartets were popular in the mid-50s. In addition to the Four lads, there were The Four Aces, The Four Coins, The Four Voices, The Four Esquires, The Four Preps, The Four Tunes, The Four Freshmen, The Four Fellows, The Four Dates and Four Jacks and A Jill. The Four Seasons got their start in 1956 as The Four Lovers.
63. Allegheny Moon – Patti Page
Clara Ann Fowler (November 8, 1927 – January 1, 2013) started her professional career as Patti Page in 1947. Although she peaked pre-1955, she was consistently on the pop charts until the mid-1960s.
64. I’m In Love Again – The Fontane Sisters
The sisters were backup singers for Perry Como in the late 1940s and early 50s.
65. Ivory Tower – Cathy Carr
Cathy Carr was born Angelina Helen Catherine Cordovano (June 28, 1936 – November 22, 1988) in The Bronx, NYC. Much like Taylor Swift, her most successful songs were a hit with younger women.
66. On London Bridge – Jo Stafford
Jo Elizabeth Stafford (November 12, 1917 – July 16, 2008) had her biggest hits 1945-1954, including ‘Candy’ (1945) ‘You Belong To Me’ (1952).
67. I’m In Love Again – Fats Domino
Fats was huge in R&B in the early 1950s, but as the decade moved forward, he became one of the first great crossover artists in popular music.
68. Too Close For Comfort – Eydie Gorme
Edie never had a number one record on the Billboard Charts, but she was consistently heard on radio and featured guest on television through the 1970s.
69. The Flying Saucer – Buchanan & Goodman
Based on Orson Well’s ‘War of the Worlds’, they were sued by Welles for copyright violations.
The court that the song was parody, and allowed. It was a very important legal case, with long-lasting ramifications.
The song also used ‘cutaways’ – much like music sampling – and was the first major pop song to do so.
70. Heaven On Earth – The Platters
This was the B-side to # 10 above. Jukeboxes, which played 45 RPM records, made many “B-sides” popular.
71. On The Street Where You Live – Vic Damone
The song was from the 1956 Broadway musical, My Fair Lady, and it was song by many artists of the day, including Eddie Fisher and Lawrence Welk.
72. Two Different Worlds – Roger Williams and Jane Morgan
Two Different Worlds was also a 1956 hit for Don Rondo and Dick Haymes.
73. Band of Gold – Don Cherry
Don was also a top-ranked amateur golfer.
74. Cindy, Oh Cindy – Eddie Fisher
Eddie wasn’t evil, but he was habitually in relationship trouble. After his second sex-detailed biography came out, his daughter, Carrie Fisher, said: “That’s it. I’m having my DNA fumigated.”
75. Portuguese Washerwoman – Joe “Fingers” Carr
Joe’s real name was Louis Ferdinand Busch (July 18, 1910 – September 19, 1979)
76. Soft Summer Breeze – Eddie Heywood
Edward “Eddie” Heywood, Jr. (December 4, 1915 – January 3, 1989) was a jazz pianist who worked with many performers beginning in 1932.
77. More – Perry Como
Pierino Ronald “Perry” Como (May 18, 1912 – May 12, 2001). How big was Perry Como? He has sold more records than Elvis. (So did Frank Sinatra & Bing Crosby)
78. Fever – Little Willie John
Little Willie John was born William Edward John (November 15, 1937 – May 26, 1968). Peggy Lee sang it hotter, but ‘Fever’ still belongs to LWJ.
79. Born To Be With You – Chordettes
The girls are best known for 1954’s Mr. Sandman.
80. Mutual Admiration Society – Eddy Arnold and Jaye P. Morgan
From the from the Broadway musical Happy Hunting. Teresa Brewer had a with the song in ’56 too.
81. Friendly Persuasion (Thee I Love) – Pat Boone
Title song from the film ‘Friendly Persuasion’ starring Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman.
82. I Could Have Danced All Night – Rosemary Clooney
From ‘My Fair Lady’ – was also a hit for Syvia Sims and Dinah Shore in 1956.
83. Memories Are Made of This – Gale Storm
Dean Martin’s signature song, but if you want it sung by a woman, this is your song.
84. My Believing Heart – Joni James
Joni James (born Joan Carmella Babbo) was born on September 22, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois.
85. The Happy Whistler – Don Robertson
If you are looking for an upbeat cellphone ringtone, this is it! We haven’t found a bad version, although we recommend a version without the lyrics.
86. Tonight You Belong To Me – Patience & Prudence
Patience Ann and Prudence Ann McIntyre’s father, Mark McIntyre worked with Frank Sinatra. The song was used in the first (and the final) episodes of American Horror Story, Season 1 Murder House.
87. Teen Age Prayer – Gale Storm
This was the flip side (B-side) of #83 above, Memories are Made of This.
88. When The White Lilacs Bloom – Florian Zabach
If someone ever asks you to name a pop artists that specialized in the violin, you can point this record out. 1951’s ‘The Hot Canary’ was also a hit.
89. Garden of Eden – Joe Valino
Although Joe had several decent recordings, this was the only one to crack the Billboard Top 100.
90. I Saw Esau – The Ames Brothers
The brothers included Joe, Gene, Vic and Ed.
91. A Rose and a Baby Ruth – George Hamilton IV
George Hege Hamilton IV (July 19, 1937 – September 17, 2014) switched to country music after his teen idol days.
92. Friendly Persuasion (Thee I Love) – Four Aces
Although the Four Aces continued making music through the late 50’s, they never really matched their 1955 success.
93. Cindy, Oh Cindy – Vince Martin and the Tarriers
A perfect example of 50s era folk/pop music. If you like this, you should check out the Kingston Trio.
94. In the Middle of the House – Vaughn Monroe
My personal favorite Eminent Domain song from 1956. Rusty Draper sang it too.
95. It Only Hurts For A Little While – The Ames Brothers
It was also a country hit for Margo Smith in 1978.
96. Sadie’s Shawl – Bob Sharples
A swingy big band sound from the UK. Pre-British invasion.
97. Lullay Of Birdland – Blue Stars of France
The title refers to Charlie “Bird” Parker and the Birdland jazz club named after him.
98. Long Tall Sally – Pat Boone
If someone asked me to find a great song written by a flamboyant black artist, Little Richard in this case, to be performed by a guy who ‘gets it” but has to be careful about it, this would be that song.
99. Blue Moon – Elvis Presley
This was a much bigger hit for The Marcels in 1961. Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934
100. From the Candy Store on the Corner to the Chapel on the Hill – Tony Bennett with Lois Winter
Tony’s peak was in the early 1950s with hits like Because Of You, Rags To Riches and Stranger in Paradise, but he continues recording, with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga and Slash.