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Released: October 1958

Eddie Cochran lived fast and died young in classic teen rebellion style but left a beautiful body of work to show for his two short years in the business. 'C'mon Everybody', with its motorik guitar foundations and raspy vocal from Cochran still stands up and was memorably covered in 1979 by Sid Vicious – another briefly burning rock'n'roller.

 
 
 

Released: March 1957

Chess brothers Leonard and Phil also helmed this Chuck Berry number, a riffing, jangling template that Berry would habitually plunder as he struggled to maintain his later career. It features the immortal line "Hail, hail, rock'n'roll", a phrase recycled as the title for an 80s Berry documentary, and was blessed with a cover from Bart Simpson on 'The Simpsons Sing The Blues'.

 
 
 

Released: October 1954

Another one for Back To The Future – and Superman III and The Karate Kid II as the 80s went crazy disinterring early rock'n'roll era favourites – 'Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)' is an exquisite doo-wop pleasure written by Penguins baritone Curtis Williams that made the US top 10, the group's only real success of note.

 
 
 

Released: April 1958

Habitually warring brothers Phil and Don regularly put aside their differences (or at least put them on ice for a couple of minutes) to record glorious close-harmony pop that influenced generations of bands from The Beatles to The Beach Boys to Simon & Garfunkel and beyond. With tremolo guitar from Chet Atkins, 'All I Have To Do Is Dream' is the bros' sparkling highpoint.

 
 
 

Released: September 1956

'In The Still Of The Night' enjoys the perhaps tainted honour of being an integral part of the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Still, it had the cash rolling in, which would explain The Five Satins' continued existence. They deserve their longevity with this meaty doo-wop stayer led by Fred Parris's clearcut vocals and backed by rootsy, grainy sax.

 
 
 

Released: September 1957

You'd be hard-pushed to pick a definitive Elvis single, but 'Jailhouse Rock' has to be one of the most iconic Pelvis tunes, all stop-start judder and growly holler. It was the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, Elvis's third, and shook its hips to the top of the charts in the US and the UK. It's also been covered by constipated ersatz soul bellower Michael Bolton, so is clearly indestructible.

 
 
 

Released: April 1955

One of the rawest early rock tracks, Bo Diddley's self-regarding jerker has been covered, ripped off and filleted repeatedly since. It was Diddley's first ever recording and from day one established the Bo Diddley Beat, a frenetic pattering rhythm that underscored a career and set Buddy Holly and The Rolling Stones on their own rhythmic adventures.

 
 
 

Released: April 1954

Unusually for the youthful starburst of the age, Big Joe Turner was a veteran when he recorded this swinging blaster from jazz songwriter Jesse Stone (credited under the pseudonym Charles E. Calhoun). Turner was 43, making the transition from blues to rock'n'roll with the vim of a chap half his age, and grazing the Billboard top 20 for the first time.

 
 
 

Released: October 1957

'Not Fade Away' picks up the Bo Diddley Beat, drummer Jerry Allison getting inventive with the use of a cardboard box, while Holly huffs and riffs in the foreground. It was only released as the B-side to 'Oh, Boy!', but shone brightly enough to make the charts as a Rolling Stones cover in 1964 and provide a debut single for Canadian prog-metallers Rush in 1973.

 
 
 

Released: 1955

Smiley Lewis was already in his 40s when he recorded the first version of 'Blue Monday', later a hit for fellow New Orleans musician Fats Domino. 'I Hear You Knocking' was another Dave Bartholomew composition (with Pearl King), adorned by Lewis's rich soulful croon and the kind of barrelling piano that Domino would make his own, sadly stealing all of Lewis's thunder.

 
 
 
 
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