“Johnny B. Goode” – Chuck Berry Essay Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Song, Hit, Music, The Beatles, Artists, Band, Time, Dog

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/03/16

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10 Songs from the 1950s & 1960s
The 1950’s and 1960’s in music were two decades that changed the scope and shape of music forever. It was a time when the foundation of music as we know it today was laid, sparking a trend of expressionism that exhibited levels of freedom of speech that was unprecedented. With the emergence of artists like the Beatles, Elvis, the Monkees, and Marvin Gaye, music fans were exposed to a myriad of sounds and styles that had never before been heard. The era of rock-n-roll had arrived which ushered in the evolution of controversial dances, and lyrics that paved the way for a brand new way of experiencing music. Here the biggest songs of these two decades are highlighted.

“Johnny B. Goode” was released in 1958, and became Chuck Berry’s most famous hit. Berry’s guitar riffs make this song a rock and roll classic. The song has been covered by every artist under the sun, including music greats, B. B. King, Jimi Hendrix, to the Beatles. It gets its name from Berry’s good friend, Johnnie Johnson and the street upon which Berry grew up. A fun side note to this song, Keith Richards, of the Rolling Stones, went back stage to meet Berry. Not knowing who he was, Berry thought Richards was an obnoxious fan and decked Richard (songfacts.com)

“Hound Dog” – Elvis Presley

Contrary to popular belief, “Hound Dog” was released long before Elvis Presley decided to make it his own. The song was recorded in 1953 as a blues number by Big Mama Thornton and went on to become a number one hit for the artist. It wasn’t until Elvis recorded it that it really gained the attention and appeal by music fans worldwide. Presley being the rocker that he was, decided to record it the way he had heard it performed in Texas by an unknown group called Freddie Bell and the Bell Boys. The song was released in 1958, paired with “Don’t Be Cruel” as the B side. It was the only single that had both song reach #1. “Hound Dog” stayed at #1 for an impressive 11 weeks at the top of the charts (songfacts.com)

“Great Balls of Fire” – Jerry Lee Lewis

If there ever was a song whose catchy phrasing still hooks listeners to this day, it would have to be “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis. The song was released in 1957, and was Lewis’ biggest hit. The song set an unprecedented record by making it into the Top 5 of the Pop, R&B, and Country charts. It went on to become a #1 hit on the Country charts. The song has been covered by numerous artists and was even included on the Top Gun soundtrack and featured in the film of the same name (songfacts.com)

“Your Cheatin’ Heart” – Hank Williams

Hank Williams penned this song on the heels of his divorce from his first wife, Audrey Mae Sheppard. It was released in 1953 and was the inspiration for what Williams claimed in numerous interviews that Sheppard had a “cheatin’ heart”. He recorded the song in the fall of 1952, just a few months before his death. It would be his last recording session and the song would become known as one of his biggest hits (songfacts.com)

“Tutti Fruitti” – Little Richard

“Tutti Fruitti” was released in 1955 by Little Richard. The inspiration for the song came when he was working as a dishwasher in Atlanta, GA. His boss would bring him dishes to wash and the famous phrase in the song, “Awap bop a lup bop a wop bam boom" was a retort back to his boss every time he would bring more dishes to be washed in place of telling him off. The song gained mass appeal and still remains a memorable hit to this day (songfacts.com)

“The Twist” – Chubby Checker

Chubby Checker recorded , “The Twist” in 1960, and it became a dance phenomenon. It was written by Hank Ballard when he got the inspiration for the song from the band, The Midnighters, after seeing them move about on stage. The group was infamous for their unique movements that reminded Ballard of twisting. The song became wildly popular because of its accompanying dance. Even the most dance-challenged could successfully do, “The Twist”. It would go on to reach #1 on the Pop charts. (songfacts.com)

“Hey Jude” – The Beatles

When the Beatles hit American soil in 1964, little did anyone know the band would go on to become one of the greatest rock-n-roll bands of all time. Their hit, “Hey Jude” was released in 1968 by Paul McCartney, the band’s front-man. It was penned in light of the divorce of bandmate, John Lennon from Yoko Ono, as a means to help Lennon’s young five year old son, Julian, cope with the breakup. The original title of the song was, “Hey Jules”, but was later changed to “Hey Jude” after the iconic character Jud in the musical, Oklahoma. The single was an impressive 7:11 minutes long; making it the Beatles longest song. The song went on to sell 5 million copies and hit #1 in twelve countries. In the United States alone, it would eventually sell over 10 million copies. Initially, the Beatles had considered making, “Hey Jude” the B-side to “Revolution” but decided against it. What a great decision that was (songfacts.com).

“I’m a Believer” – The Monkees

The Monkees released “I’m a Believer” in 1966, as a follow-up to their smash hit, “Last Train to Clarksville”. The song was written by another famous artist, Neil Diamond, and was picked up by The Monkees producer, Don Kirschner. Just two days after its release, the single went gold and sold over 1 million copies. It was re-recorded in 2001 by the band, Smash Mouth for the movie, Shrek (songfacts.com).

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” – Marvin Gaye

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” is perhaps one of the most iconic songs of all time. Long before it landed in the hands of Marvin Gaye, the song already had quite a history of its own. It was originally recorded by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles but never really gained the ground it needed to be a hit. However, when Marvin Gaye recorded it, his soulful stylings added to the song was just what it needed to take it all the way to #1, where it stayed on the Hot 100 charts for 7 weeks and would be the longest-running Motown classic ever in the U.S (songfacts.com)

“Honky Tonk Women” – The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones released, “Honky Tonk Women” in 1969, and was perhaps the Stones most controversial song recorded. The song lyrical theme is about prostitution. Mick Jagger, the band’s lead singer, would often preface the song with dedicating it to all the “whores in the audience” during every concert. While the lyrics were suggestive, they were toned down enough to allow it onto mainstream radio. The song made it to #1 on the U. S. and U. K. charts (songfacts.com)

Work Cited

"Song Meanings at Songfacts." Song Meanings at Songfacts. Web. 21 Apr. 2015. <http://www.songfacts.com/>.

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