Song 83 – Rock Island Line

SONG: Rock Island Line ARTIST: Lonnie Donegan YEAR: 1956 Listen to it here:  THE SONG: The earliest known version of this song was written in 1929 by Clarence Wilson, a member of the Rock Island Colored Booster Quartet. The lyrics in this early version are quite different from the lyrics of the more popular versionsContinue reading “Song 83 – Rock Island Line”

Song 81 – I Put a Spell on You

SONG: I Put a Spell On You ARTIST: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins YEAR: 1956 Listen to it here:  THE SONG: I Put a Spell on You was written by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in 1956, and according to Hawkins, the original vision was for the song to be a refined ballad. However, the producer, Arnold Maxin, broughtContinue reading “Song 81 – I Put a Spell on You”

Song 79 – Take My Hand, Precious Lord

SONG: Take My Hand, Precious Lord ARTIST: Mahalia Jackson YEAR: 1956 Listen to it here:  THE SONG: Take My Hand, Precious Lord is a gospel song written by the Reverend Thomas A. Dorsey, who is not the same person as Tommy Dorsey. Reverend Dorsey composed the melody by leaning heavily on the 1844 hymn tune,Continue reading “Song 79 – Take My Hand, Precious Lord”

Album 9 – The Atomic Mr Basie

ALBUM TITLE: The Atomic Mr Basie ARTIST NAME: Count Basie and His Orchestra YEAR OF RELEASE: 1958 Favourite Song: Holly: The Flight of the Foo Birds Kelly: The Flight of the Foo Birds ALBUM HISTORY: This album was originally called Basie, and was also known as E=MC2. It’s one of Basie’s most famous and criticallyContinue reading “Album 9 – The Atomic Mr Basie”

Song 77 – Knoxville Girl

SONG: Knoxville Girl ARTIST: The Louvin Brothers YEAR: 1956 Listen to it here:  THE SONG: Ah, good. It’s been months since we’ve talked about a good ol’ murder ballad. And that is exactly the genre under which Knoxville Girl falls. This song was derived from a 19th Century Irish ballad “The Wexford Girl”, which wasContinue reading “Song 77 – Knoxville Girl”

Song 75 – Honey Hush

SONG: Honey Hush ARTIST: The Johnny Burnette Trio YEAR: 1956 Listen to it here:  THE SONG: Honey Hush is another Big Joe Turner original, which he recorded and released in 1953. His recording was a bit of a slapdash affair as his record company was worried that they were getting low on Big Joe TurnerContinue reading “Song 75 – Honey Hush”

Song 73 – Blueberry Hill

SONG: Blueberry Hill ARTIST: Fats Domino YEAR: 1956 Listen to it here:  THE SONG: Blueberry Hill was actually published way back in 1940, but didn’t become famous until this version we’re listening to today. The music was written by Vincent Rose, and the lyrics by Larry Stock and Al Lewis. It’s super weird, but theContinue reading “Song 73 – Blueberry Hill”

Song 71 – Be-Bop-A-Lula

SONG: Be-Bop-A-Lula ARTIST: Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps YEAR: 1956 Listen to it here:  THE SONG: Be-Bop-A-Lula was written by Gene Vincent and his manager, Bill “Sherill Tex” Davis in 1955. Vincent started writing the song as he recuperated from a motorcycle accident at the US Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia with his hospitalizedContinue reading “Song 71 – Be-Bop-A-Lula”

Song 69 – I’ve Got You Under My Skin

SONG: I’ve Got You Under My Skin ARTIST: Frank Sinatra YEAR: 1956 Listen to it here:  THE SONG: We’re on a Cole Porter kick right now on the blog, with today’s number having been written by this legend in 1936. That same year it was in a musical film called Born to Dance and wasContinue reading “Song 69 – I’ve Got You Under My Skin”

Song 67 – Burundanga

SONG: Burundanga ARTIST: Celia Cruz YEAR: 1956 Listen to it here:  THE SONG: This song is a mystery. There’s nothing about who wrote it, where it came from, or anything I can find online. It was written by a maestro who was one of Celia Cruz’s music teachers. According to lore, Fidel Castro loved toContinue reading “Song 67 – Burundanga”