Released: 1957

Another Elvis classic recorded for the movie Loving You, it was also laid down by rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson in ’60 and used on the soundtrack for Dead Poet’s Society. Sonia also did a version in 2010, but the less said about that the better.


Released: February 1957

Recorded by several obscure artists before and numerous big names after (from Little Richard, Eddie Cochran and Gerry & The Pacemakers to Elton John and Ten Years After), this raucous ditty was made most famous by Lewis, who less tinkles the ivories than spanks them remorselessly.


Released: April/May 1959

Originally written for the 1934 film Dames, before being covered by Peggy Lee, the definitive version of this track was by the vocal harmony group The Flamingos. A gentle waltz that relied heaving on a mountainous orchestration, it showcased the vocal talents of doo-wop quintet.


Released: March 1957

A favourite of The Rolling Stones, this ramshackle r ‘n’ b classic was thrust into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2010 and with good reason – it’s a perfect little slab of catchy choruses and infectious guitar.


Released: January 1956

Originally a Glenn Miller jazz standard from the early ‘40s, this classic was revived by Louis Armstrong at the end of the decade and reworked by Elvis Presley and Little Richard. However, Fats did it best, and it remained his biggest track. Vladimir Putin attempted it live last year – every time someone watches that rendition, a cat is tortured somewhere on the globe.


Released: September 1959

Few songs come spring-loaded with the amount of energy this tune packs. A brilliantly constructed couple of minutes it weaves frenetic harmonies, time signature changes and varied dynamics to irresistible effect. Forget Lulu’s rendition – this is the real deal.


Released: November 1953

From its brassy train whistle to the evocative lyrics, few tunes encapsulate a sense of travel and wonder as this early ‘50s classic. Where’s it coming from? Where’s it going? It remains a mystery but we’re very much on board for the ride.


Released: May 1956

If not rock ‘n’ roll’s calling card then a strong contender, this track’s been covered approximately 12,000 times, mostly notably by The Beatles for several years at the start of their career. Chuck Berry’s cut remains the set text, though.


Released: January 1956

Inspired in part by a guy’s precious love for his suede shoes over the girl he was dancing with, Perkins’ big hit went on to sell a million records in the first three months (no mean feat in ’55) and climb the country, rhythm and blues, and pop charts simultaneously. Not bad for a tune about footwear.


Released: January 1956

In the world of rock mythology, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ was inspired by a real life suicide, the story of which propelled songwriting duo Axton and Durden to pen this track. A bluesy rock and roll number with a dour undercurrent, it was Elvis’ first number one.

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