Joan Jett with Chuck Berry and Roy Orbison (above)
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A Personal Choice Of 5 Top Rock And Roll Songs
It is not surprising that some of my choice of rock and roll songs are not top hits and some of them may not be standard fare with our Singapore listeners. The artistes themselves are famous but are the songs as popular as the artistes who performed them?
These songs are truly hot, ones that most fans are aware of. Well, I may be wrong. So here they are ladies and gentlemen, five songs that provide the rockabilly that many listeners can connect with, powerhouse voices, imaginative guitar intros, the best rolling bass that you can hear and riffs that are superfluous.
The performance on stage is electrifying especially with Elvis and Chuck Berry if you watch the YouTube videos and the accompaniment is out of this world. Classic rock and roll that will live forever.
This write-up itself cannot survive on its own in the pages of a book. It can only be alive on a blog. With YouTube.
A near unknown Orbison number, I asked at least 10 people and only 3 of them know this song, and these are musicians. Again, it's a personal choice but truly one of the best rock songs I've heard.
Pretty Woman has been so commercialised even before the movie. Heartbreak Radio shows an original Orbison with his guts exposed. You haven't seen what's behind the sunglasses until you hear this one.
The album was released after his death in 1988 and Heartbreak Radio is on side one, track two. King of Hearts came out in 1992 on Long Play too. Another favourite of mine, Crying, is in this compilation.
This song is from 1972 and performed by British rock group The Hollies. Released originally on an album in the UK, it was put out as a single and sold nearly 4 million copies in the US and the world.
Like CCR music, it's supposed to be swamp rock style, leaning more towards 60's rock than 50's rhythm and blues. The introduction with its heavy drum and bass sounds depict the sensuality of this long cool woman with her mysterious black dress, 5'9 and beautiful tall. Like Hollies songs, smooth, suave.
She is the over average hard rocker, still around with 36 million viewers on YouTube with this particular song. An old fan, I forgot about Joan Jett when I went into middle-of-the-road stuff.
Local singer Wendi Koh, during our Rolling Good Times episode together with the Silver Strings at MediaCorp, sang this song. I realised I had missed out on JJ and started listening again.
A track from, Up Your Alley album, I Hate Myself For Loving You, was created in 1988. It's been one of the best rock songs sung by a lady. At Billboard Hot, it was #8. To me, it's #1. Best. Mick Taylor, former Rolling Stones guitarist played the guitar solo.
Fangs bared; she's the best and the only rock and roll lady on my list.
Although it's 1969 original by Tony Joe White, this song never came across to me as a hit until Elvis sang it live in his concerts. And no one could beat Elvis when he used his ten megaton energy to let loose another swamp rock performance that only The King could create.
Las Vegas was the above venue to introduce Annie. The Pelvis was at his best. Slim, powered with civic sensuality and eager to please, this video says it all. Audience members Elvis shook hands with mentioned that he was shivering and wet after the performance.
Suspicious Minds made its debut in Vegas but Polk Salad Annie was the ultimate to any Presley number. It's my choice anyway. I thought only Elvis picked it up from the swampland of Louisiana, the success of this song I mean. He recorded it and the only version I love. There are other covers too including one Tom Jones but Elvis was the one rough and tough enough with Annie.
I've included this song because I thought Chuck Berry deserves a mention on this list. No African American singer and they were the ones who introduced us to this genre of music.
Covered by a long list of pop stars, Rock and Roll Music still belongs to Mr Berry. It is a 1957 recorded hit and the oldest on my list. One of the most popular compositions by Berry, it has been sung by so many from Billy Haley to Beatles, Beach Boys and Bryan Adams.
It has been included in the list of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll but not in the 1001 Songs Before You Die List but it wasn't. Enjoy the songs if you haven't done so.
Again, this is a personal choice. 😊
Do you have your own list? Please tell me.
Elvis Presley and The Hollies (below)
Google Images and YouTube Videos.
Read another article about what rockabilly really means...