1959’s Top 100 Hot Pop Songs1959’s Top 100 Hot Pop Songs & Music Hits
1. Mack The Knife – Bobby Darin
Written by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their music drama Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera). Bobby made the song his own.
2. Kansas City – Wilbur Harrison
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in 1952, it has been recorded over 300 times.
3. 16 Candles – The Crests
This is the all-time top “16th Birthday” song.
4. I Only Have Eyes For You – The Flamingos
The Flamingos had several chart hits and near-hits through 1961, although they toured with many members coming and going through the early 2000s. Having an all-time classic like “I Only Have Eyes For You” can go a long way in the music business.
5. A Teenager In Love – Dion and the Belmonts
Another timeless song that speaks to its audience.
6. What’d I Say – Ray Charles
Raymond Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) had his first Ton Ten Hit with ‘What’d I Say’ in 1959. He had over 70 additional Top 100 Hits through 1989.
7. Sleep Walk – Santo & Johnny
This slow jam didn’t need any lyrics. Santo and Johnny Farina were brothers from Brooklyn, NYC.
8. There Goes My Baby – Drifters
Clyde McPhatter left Billy Ward & the Dominoes, and formed The Drifters in 1953. They started as his backup group, but took on a life of thier own. Usually its the other way around. (see Wham! featuring George Michael)
9. It’s Just A Matter Of Time – Brook Benton
Brook Benton was born Benjamin Franklin Peay (September 19, 1931 – April 9, 1988). He started with Gospel Music and later evolved into R&B/Pop with this song, and into his career.
10. Come Softly To Me – The Fleetwoods
Gary Troxel, Gretchen Christopher, and Barbara Ellis performed and wrote this #1 Hit song. No bad for a trio from Olympia, Washington.
11. Sea Of Love – Phil Phillips
Phil Phillips was born Philip Baptiste, March 14, 1926, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Although he co-wrote the song, he never received royalties or much credit for the song.
12. La Bamba – Ritchie Valens
Ritchiein Pacoima, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles and actually didn’t speak Spanish. He had to learn and sing phonetically to song this Spanish language song.
13. (‘Til) I Kissed You – Everly Brothers
Buddy Holly’s band, The Crickets, did backup for this song.
14. Put Your Head On My Shoulder – Paul Anka
Paul Albert Anka was born on July 30, 1941). He has teenage heartthrob who had a pop career well into the 1960s. He became an American citizen in 1990.
15. Only Sixteen – Sam Cooke
Another song about a young woman/girl. “She was too young to fall in love and I was too young to know”
16. Donna – Ritchie Valens
Richard Steven Valenzuela (May 13, 1941 – February 3, 1959). He died in the plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. A few years earlier, a plane accident over a local playground killed several of his friends. He had a fear of flying. 🙁
17. A Big Hunk O’ Love – Elvis Presley
The FLIP-SIDE of this #1 Hit was also a chart-topper, reaching #12 on the Billboard Charts with Don’t Ask Me Why. Both were featured in the Elvis film, ‘Kid Creole.’
18. Mr. Blue – The Fleetwoods
Dewayne L. Blackwell wrote this song for The Fleetwoods. He also co-wrote ‘Friends in Low Places’ for Garth Brooks.
19. Sea Cruise – Frankie Ford
Frankie Ford (August 4, 1939 – September 28, 2015) was born in Gretna, LA. He had several other minor hits before being drafted in 1962.
20. (Sorry) I Ran All The Way Home – The Impalas
Joe “Speedo” Frazier (September 5, 1943 – April 1, 2014), Richard Wagner, Lenny Renda and Tony Carlucci were in the Impalas, and they were one of the first interracial Doo Wop artists. The song peaked at # 2 on the Billboard Charts.
21. Red River Rock – Johnny and the Hurricanes
‘Red River Rock’ is an instrumental version of ‘Red River Valley’ – a folk song from the late 1800s.
22. Heartaches By The Number – Guy Mitchell
Guy Mitchell was born Albert George Cernik; February 22, 1927 – July 1, 1999. He started his career in the late 1940s with Carmen Cavallaro’s big band.
23. Poison Ivy – Coasters
“Poison Ivy, lord, will make you itch” Yes, it is about a sexually transmitted disease. The DC comic character of the same name was partly inspired by 1844 the short story ‘Rappaccini’s Daughter’ – not this song.
24. Misty – Johnny Mathis
Written in 1954 by the pianist Erroll Garner, this song has become Johnny’s Signature Song.
25. Peter Gunn – Ray Anthony
The Peter Gunn Theme has been recorded by many artists. Ray Anthony and his band are probably best know for the ‘Bunny Hop’ and the ‘Hokey Pokey.’
26. Dream Lover – Bobby Darin
Bobby wrote this song himself. It was number two on the Billboard Charts because ‘Battle Of New Orleans’ by Johnny Horton held the #1 spot for 6 weeks.
27. Back In The U.S.A. – Chuck Berry
Chuck served a prison sentence for armed robbery in the 1940s. He straightened out his act, and almost never got in trouble again. Almost.
28. Stagger Lee – Lloyd Price
Lloyd Price reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959. Stagger Lee is American folk song about the murder of Bil Lyons by “Stag” Lee Shelton in St. Louis, Missouri on Christmas Day, 1895. The song was first published in 1911.
29. High Hopes – Frank Sinatra
Written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn for the 1959 movie ‘A Hole In The Head’. It won the Oscar for ‘Best Original Song.’
30. Lonely Teardrops – Jackie Wilson
Jack Leroy “Jackie” Wilson, Jr. was born on June 9, 1934 – January 21, 1984. Jackie originally joined Billy Ward and His Dominoes to replace Clyde McPhatter, and started performing solo in 1957.
31. Personality – Lloyd Price
This song earned him the nickname “Mister Personality” and was his second biggest hit. He co-wrote the song with Harold Logan.
32. Turn Around – Harry Belafante
Although Harry’s version of this song, which he co-wrote, didn’t chart, it was recorded by many people,and a version by Dick & DeeDee reached #27 in 1964.
33. My Happiness – Connie Francis
Connie struggled to make it in the music biz until last year’s ‘Who’s Sorry Now’. ‘My Happiness’ kicked off a career that ran strong through the mid-1960s.
34. Hushabye – the Mystics
The Mystics weren’t really a “One Hit Wonder” – they also cracked near the Top 100 with ‘Don’t Take The Stars’ (#98) and ‘All Through The Night’ (#107)
35. Love Potion No. 9 – The Clovers
Who can hate a song about giving yourself an aphrodisiac?
36. Battle Of New Orleans – Johnny Horton
The Battle of New Orleans was an engagement fought between January 8 and January 18, 1815. It was also a #1 song for Johnny Horton.
The melody is based on a well-known American fiddle tune “The 8th of January,” which was the date of the Battle of New Orleans. They almost say “Hell” in the song, very risque for 1959 Pop Music.
37. The Hawaiian Wedding Song ( Ke Kali Nei Au) – Andy Williams
It was also a semi hit in 1965 when Andy sang it on his TV show.
38. Woo-Hoo – Rock-A-Teens
You may have heard this tune in a Vonage (VoIP phone) commercial.
39. The Happy Organ – Dave “Baby” Cortez
David Cortez Clowney- Dave “Baby” Cortez – was born on August 13, 1938. It is a unique sounding #1 Hit song, to say the least.
40. Bongo Rock – Preston Epps
His follow-up to this single was ‘Bongo Bongo Bongo’ in 1960. Preston was a successful session musician through the 1960s.
41. Angelina/Zooma Zooma (Medley) – Louis Prima
Louis started doing Jazz professionally in the 1920s, and changed his style as Pop Music did – Big Bands, Pop Vocals and Vegas Nightclubs. He also starred in Walt Disney’s animated feature The Jungle Book, as King Louie.
42. Teen Beat – Sandy Nelson
Sandy was a session musician, and the most successful pop percussionist of the early rock era.
43. Raw-hide – Link Wray
Fred Lincoln ‘Link’ Wray, Jr. (May 2, 1929 – November 5, 2005) was an early master of the distorted guitar sound. Frankie Laine originally recorded Rawhid for the TV show of the same name. In 1977, Link released ‘Red Hot’ with Robert Gordon.
44. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore – Buddy Holly
Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959) this recording was released just a few weeks after Buddy’s death.
45. Everybody Likes To Cha Cha Cha – Sam Cooke
The ‘cha cha cha’ was a Cuban style party song. In the late 1950s, everybody liked to cha cha cha.
46. Lavender Blue – Sammy Turner
‘Lavender’s Blue’ (or Lavender Blue) is an English folk song dating back to the 17th century.
47. Charlie Brown – Coasters
Not about the Peanuts character, it’s about a trouble-making young man.
48. (Night Time Is) The Right Time – Ray Charles
Roosevelt Sykes recorded “Night Time Is the Right Time” in 1937 Nappy Roots reworked it in 1957. Ray made it his own in 1959. It was never a huge hit for any of them, but was an important mix of old Gospel style with R&B, and has grown more popular with age.
49. Along Came Jones – Coasters
‘Along Came Jones’ was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The pair wrote many songs, usually R&B, for a wide variety of artists, including Elvis. They were a huge influence on 60’s Producer-King, Phil Spector.
50. M. T. A. – Kingson Trio
For five consecutive weeks in November and December 1959, four Kingston Trio albums ranked in the top ten of Billboard’s Top LPs chart.
51. Since I Don’t have You – The Skyliners
The original lineup for this group from Pittsburgh, PA was Jimmy Beaumont, Janet Vogel), Wally Lester, Jackie Taylor and Joe Verscharen.
52. Venus – Frankie Avalon
Francis Thomas Avallone was born on September 18, 1940, and was a singer, actor, and teen Idol. In films, Avalon and Annette Funicello ruled “Beach Party” movies.
53. Battle Hymn of the Republic – The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Can you name another Top 20 Hit that was written in 1862, and popularized by a popular church choir? PROTIP: You can’t.
54. The Three Bells – The Browns
Jim Ed Brown and his sisters Bonnie and Maxine made this song a #1 Hit. It ended with a death, but not a murder like Lloyd Price’s Stagger Lee (#28 above)
55. Why – Frankie Avalon
At great risk to his ‘Teen Idol’ career, Avalon married Kathryn “Kay” Diebel on January 19, 1963. Still together, they had 8 kids – Frankie Jr., Tony, Dina, Laura, Joseph, Nicolas, Kathryn and Carla.
56. Oh! Carol – Neil Sedaka
Neil was a Pop Star well into the late 1960s. He wrote dozens of hits for other artists. He came back with a #1 Hit ‘Laughter in the Rain’ in 1974. He came back with another #1 Hit ‘Bad Blood’ in 1977.
57. Don’t You Know – Della Reese
Delloreese Patricia Early was born on July 6, 1931. She sang, acted, hosted a TV show, game show panelist and frequent guest star. She’s an ordained minister too.
58. Lipstick On Your Collar – Connie Francis
The FLIP-SIDE was Frankie, also a Top Ten Hit. “Frankie’ written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, may or may not have been inspired by Frankie Avalon.
59. The All American Boy – Bill Parsons
Actually by Bobby Bare. Bill did, however lip-sync (and co-write) the song. Bobby was in the Army when the song came out.
Bobby was cool with it too; he just did the recording to help his friend Bill.
60. (All of A Sudden) My Heart Sings – Paul Anka
Paul is also a good guy. Regarding the song he wrote for Buddy Holly (#44 above) he said “‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’ has a tragic irony about it now, but at least it will help look after Buddy Holly’s family. I’m giving my composer’s royalty to his widow – it’s the least I can do.” Pretty generous for a 19 year old kid.
61. My Heart Is A Open Book – Carl Dobkins Jr
Carl Dobkins, Jr. was born on January 13, 1941. He only had a handful of hits but appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand over a dozen times.
62. What A Diff’rence a Day Makes – Dinah Washington
Dinah Washington was born Ruth Lee Jones on August 29, 1924 – December 14, 1963. She started out in Lionel Hampton’s band in the early 1940s.
63. Pink Shoe Laces – Dodie Stevens
Dodie Stevens was born Geraldine Ann Pasquale on February 17, 1946. She was 13 years old when she recorded Pink Shoe Laces. Catchy tune.
64. Primrose Lane – Jerry Wallace (with the Jewels)
Jerry Wallace (December 15, 1928 – May 5, 2008) In 1971, ‘Primrose Lane’ was the theme song of the ABC’s The Smith Family, sung by Mike Minor.
65. Reveille Rock – Johnny and the Hurricanes
Rock version of the US Army Bugle Call – Reveille.
66. Only You – Franck Pourcel’s French Fiddles
If you are looking for an instrumental violin version of The Platter’s 1955 hit, you found it here.
67. Waterloo – Stonewall Jackson
Country/Pop star Stonewall Jackson was born on November 6, 1932. Yes, that’s his real name. No, it’s not the same song ABBA sang.
68. Manhattan Spiritual – Reg Owen
George Owen Smith (February 3, 1921 – May 23, 1978) was born in Hackney, London.The song has an unusual sound – imagine a marching Big Band.
69. Quiet Village – Martin Denny
Martin Denny (April 10, 1911 – March 2, 2005) was best known as the ‘Father of Exotica.’ Actress Sandra Warner appeared on his first 12 album covers.
70. Danny Boy – Conway Twitty
The tune came from 1850’s Irish melody ‘Londonderry Air’ and the lyrics for ‘Danny Boy’ were written by Frederic Weatherly, in 1910. It seems everyone who ever wanted to establish themselves as an accomplished singer recorded this difficult tune.
71. Gotta Travel On – Billy Grammer
Billy Wayne Grammer (August 28, 1925 – August 10, 2011). Billy was a (primarily country) session musician.
72. May You Always – The McGuire Sisters
This was the last Top Ten Hit for the sisters. A farewell song.
73. The Big Hurt – Miss Toni Fisher
This is the first record to have phasing, mixing two versions of the song, just a touch out of sync.
74. (Seven Little Girls) Sitting In The Back Seat – Paul Evans
A very odd song for 1959. Sound like 7 girls were having an orgy in the back seat, while poor Paul chauffeured.
75. Tragedy – Thomas Wayne
Thomas Wayne Perkins (July 22, 1940 – August 15, 1971). Not to be confused with Bruce Wayne’s father, Dr. Thomas Wayne, M.D.
76. So Fine – The Fiestas
So Fine features some Doo Wop mixed with a touch of early Soul.
77. Guitar Boogie Shuffle – The Virtues
Formed by Frank Virtue (January 21, 1923 – June 11, 1994), the band also played backup for several pop stars.
78. Kissin Time – Bobby Rydell
This was Bobby’s first hit. Grease’s ‘Rydell High School’ was named after Bobby.
79. Lonely Street – Andy Williams
Howard Andrew ‘Andy’ Williams (December 3, 1927 – September 25, 2012). His career started as a backup singer in the 1940s, but he had a successful solo career through the 1970s, both in recording, TV shows and specials, and touring.
80. It Was I – Skip & Flip
Skip (Clyde Battin) and Flip (Gary S. Paxton). Gary later founded The Hollywood Argyles, best known for the 1Hit Wonder sing “Alley-Oop’.
81. Never Be Anyone Else But You – Ricky Nelson
The FLIP-SIDE was ‘It’s Late’, another Top Ten Hit.
82. Morgan – Ivo Robic
Ivo Robic (January 29, 1923 – March 9, 2000) Robic was nicknamed “Mister Morgen” following the success of ‘Morgen’ – Tomorrow, in German.
83. We Got Love – Bobby Rydell
Bobby Rydell was born Robert Louis Ridarelli on April 26, 1942. The FLIP-SIDE was ‘I Dig Girls.’
84. You’re So Fine – The Falcons
Another quality mix of R&B and early Soul Music.
85. So Many Ways – Brook Benton
Benjamin Franklin Peay (September 19, 1931 – April 9, 1988) Brook never got the (deserved) respect that other Black artists or the era got – he was always tin the shadow of artists like Nat King Cole, Al Green and Sam Cooke.
86. Makin’ Love – Floyd Robinson
When they were singing about ‘Making Love’ on the radio in 1959, they were singing about flirting, kissing and hugging. Yeah, that’s what they were singing about.
87. I’ve Had It – The Bell Notes
The quintet included: Carl Bonura, John Casey, Ray Ceroni, Lenny Giambalvo, Peter Kane
88. You Were Mine – Fireflies
The Fireflies were the first all white vocal harmonizing group to appear at The Apollo Theater.
89. A Cried a Tear – LaVern Baker
This was the biggest hit for Delores LaVern Baker (November 11, 1929 – March 10, 1997).
90. Nobody But You – Dee Clark
Delectus Clark (November 7, 1938 – December 7, 1990) wrote this, and his biggest hit, 1962’s ‘Raindrops.’
91. A Lover’s Question – Clyde McPhatter
This was Clyde’s biggest Hit, but that doesn’t hold a candle of his influence as the lead singer for The Dominoes and The Drifters.
92. The Angels Listened In – The Crests
Members included J. T. Carter, Talmadge Gough, Harold Torres,, Patricia Vandross and Johnny Maestro. Johnny went on to form’The Brooklyn Bridge’ – best known for ‘The Worst That Could Happen’.
93. Deck of Cards – Wink Martindale
Spoken word hit. Winston Conrad “Wink” Martindale (born December 4, 1933) was also a DJ, radio personality, producer and TV gane show host.
94. Robbin’ The Cradle – Tony Bellus
Tony Bellus was born Anthony J. Bellusci; April 17, 1936.
Well, in fairness, I’m not sure how old the young lady in question was. We do know that Tony was 23.
95. Broken Hearted Melody – Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) This was Sarah’s final Top Ten Hit.
96. Mona Lisa – Carl Mann
You are probably familiar with Nat King Cole’s 1950 version. This is a soft Rockabilly version.
97. Just Ask Your Heart – Frankie Avalon
At twenty years old, he was the ‘Heartthrob’ that the hippest and coolest girls had a picture of, in their bedrooms, in 1959.
98. Mary Lou – Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks
Ronald ‘Ronnie’Hawkins was born on January 10, 1935. Ronnie was a talent scout hung out with many of the “alternative’ new rockers of the 1960s – The Band, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, John and Yoko Lennon, and others.
99. In The Mood – Ernie Fields
Ernie played swing, R&B style.
100. There’s Something On Your Mind – Big Jay McNeely
Cecil James McNeely was born on April 29, 1927. Big Jay McNeely was performing at the Quasimodo Club in West Berlin the night the Berlin Wall came down, and Cold War legend has it that “Big Jay McNeely blew down the Berlin Wall on June 1990, with his earth-shaking sonic sax torrents outside the Quasimodo Club in West Germany.” That may have been an exaggeration.