The 1950s marked the birth of rock'n'roll. From big band tracks to jazz standards, until midway through the 20th century, music was a resolutely parent-friendly zone. But then everything changed. Elvis had flustered teenagers all shook up, while the likes of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and the like were destroying the old safety nets with a virile, passionate new sound. Here are the top 100 tracks from the decade that that sparked a musical revolution. Words by Matthew Horton, Tim Chester, Priya Elan. 100 best tracks of the '50s - Spotify playlist

70Roy Orbison, 'Ooby Dooby'

Also credited to his band The Teen Kings just before The Big 'O' stepped into the spotlight once and for all, 'Ooby Dooby' is a lithe bit of trad rock'n'roll that convinced Sam Phillips to give Orbison his Sun Records break and introduced America to one of its finest pop voices. It peaked at a modest 59 on the Billboard chart but registered 200,000 sales.

69The Shirelles, 'I Met Him On A Sunday'

You can credit (or, occasionally, blame?) The Shirelles for the invention of the girl group. They would score their signature No.1 in 1960 with 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?', but 'I Met Him On A Sunday' was the first single, a laconic, gorgeous doo-wop call and response that got them signed to Tiara before a Decca licensing deal sent them national.

68Hank Williams, 'Jambalaya (On The Bayou)'

Named after the Creole rice and meat dish, 'Jambalaya' has become one of ill-starred country singer Hank Williams' most lasting tracks. His spry take on the song, released six months before his death from heart failure, remains definitive but well-known versions have been cut by Fats Domino and MOR legends The Carpenters.

67Little Richard, 'Lucille'

Almost krautrock in its relentless, headlong rhythm, Little Richard's 'Lucille' showcases the flamboyant rock'n'roll pianist at his blistering best. One of the unimpeachable dawn-of-rock standards, 'Lucille' was a smash on both sides of the Atlantic and has been butchered by artists ranging from hair-metallers Van Halen to rock'n'roll pasticheurs par excellence Mud.

66The Cadillacs, 'Speedoo'

A meld of baby rock'n'roll and doo-wop, The Cadillacs' 'Speedoo' was so called after their lead singer Earl Carroll's nickname. Parping sax and handclaps drove a kinetic track that earned a reputation as a crucial bridge between black music and white audiences, and it remains the calling card of a band that endures with Speedoo Carroll still upfront.

65Patti Page, 'Tennessee Waltz'

Featuring lyrics by Redd Stewart (that's Redd, not Rod) and music by Pee Wee King, 'Tennessee Waltz' was another popular track for entertainers in the fifties. Patti Page, the biggest-selling female artist of the decade, did the honours. Jack White's so enamoured with her he once covered another of her numbers, 'Conquest'.

64Chuck Berry, 'Rock And Roll Music'

'Rock And Roll Music' is a quickfire tribute to the form, a skidding, popping workout written by Berry and produced by the Chess brothers for their own leading blues label. As a neat summary of rock'n'roll it's understandably been knocked out by big-hitters from The Beatles to The Beach Boys, Humble Pie to Australian cheese captains Mental As Anything.

63Miles Davis, 'Blue In Green'

Miles Davis's 'A Kind Of Blue' has stuck around as an all-time great jazz album and one of the more accessible examples in its field, with 'Blue In Green' one of a couple of ballads revealing Davis's more subtle, feet-up playing. The subject of discord over writing credits, 'Blue In Green' is now credited to Davis and occasional collaborator and legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans.

62Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps, 'Be-Bop-A-Lula'

Signed up by Capitol Records in Los Angeles as a quick fix for their lack of Elvis, Gene Vincent made an iconic splash first time out with the sexy, courageously stilted 'Be-Bop-A-Lula'. Sessions musicians were on standby just in case Vincent's pals the Blue Caps couldn't hack it in the studio but together Vincent and band pulled off the rockabilly riot in style.

61Bill Haley & His Comets, 'Rock Around The Clock'

This is the one that shoved rock'n'roll into the charts, but for an essentially teen movement it was odd to see Bill Haley front and centre. An ancient 29 – and appearing years older – Haley nevertheless led a well-drilled band and he and his Comets toured incessantly to establish themselves as unexpected trailblazers.

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