The 50s were another decade that gave us some timeless classics in the music world, but the love tracks that came out were on another level. In this article, we’ll go over the 31 best love songs and romantic tracks that came out during the 50s.
1. Only You – The Platters
The Platters first recorded Only You in 1954, but the recording wasn’t released until the following year. Initial sales were low, but after a few tweaks were made the single scored them a major hit. It eventually rose to the top of the US R&B chart, holding the spot for seven weeks. It simultaneously rose to number five on Billboard’s composite chart, remaining on the chart for 30 weeks before being beaten out by a rival cover version of the song.
2. Put Your Head On My Shoulder – Paul Anka
Paul Anka’s classic romance single Put Your Head On My Shoulder is a quintessential 50s song. His crooning vocal style gave the track new life. This one was recorded only a few weeks before he recorded his number-one hit, Lonely Boy. It ended up being successful unto itself, reaching number two on the Hot 100 in 1958 and becoming his third top-five hit in Canada.
3. Earth Angel – The Penguins
Earth Angel was an awesome doo-wop song that was released as The Penguins’ debut single in 1954. The original demo version of the track turned into an unexpected hit, far outstripping its A-side counterpart. It ended up being the first independent label release to appear on Billboard’s pop charts, reaching the top 10. It also held the top spot on the R&B chart for seven weeks.
4. Love Letters In The Sand – Pat Boone
Love Letters In The Sand was originally published in 1931 and was written by J. Fred Coots, Nick Kenny, and Charles Kenny. The first major hit recording of the song was released that same year by Ted Black And His Orchestra, but it would be Pat Boone who sang the most memorable version of the track in 1957. His cover spent five weeks on top of the Hot 100 and 34 weeks on the chart in total.
5. Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino
Blueberry Hill was first composed by Vincent Ross in 1940, and throughout that decade, six different versions of it were recorded. Fats Domino recorded the best-known version of it in 1956 as a rock and roll record, producing a standard of the genre during that era, and the track that was his biggest hit. It spent eight weeks on top of the R&B chart and two weeks on the Top 40.
6. I Walk The Line – Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash’s I Walk The Line has gone on to become one of his more popular hits, perfectly capturing his “boom-chicka-boom” sound and becoming the title of the 2005 film starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. He wrote the song originally as a slow ballad to pledge his devotion to his new wife, Vivian Liberto; a sort of irony considering he later went on to leave her for his second wife, June Carter.
Written and recorded in 1956, it became the first of his tracks to reach number one on the Billboard charts and eventually went on to reach number 17 on the US pop charts.
7. Love Me Tender – Elvis Presley
Love Me Tender borrowed its melody from the Civil War ballad Aura Lea. Elvis Presley released a version of it through RCA Victor in 1956 that became a huge hit single. It was the number-one song on both the Billboard and CashBox composite charts in 1956. In the years since, it’s been used in countless films and television shows, from Die Hard 2 to The Princess Diaries films.
8. I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Frank Sinatra
We can’t talk about popular love songs in this era without mentioning Frank Sinatra. I’ve Got You Under My Skin was first composed in 1936 and was nominated for an Academy Award that year. But despite hundreds of recordings being made, it would become one of Sinatra’s signature tracks. It was a song he sang for quite a long time, spanning from the 40s through the 90s.
9. Dream Lover – Bobby Darin
Bobby Darin wrote Dream Lover in 1959 and scored perhaps the track that became the one he was best known for. It had a catchy chorus and deep verses that expressed all the desires you expect from one of the best love songs of the decade. It ended up reaching number two on the US pop chart and number one in the UK.
10. All Shook Up – Elvis Presley
All Shook Up was only the second single from Elvis Presley to top the R&B chart, a position that it gained and held for four consecutive weeks. It also reached number one on the country chart and topped the Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks in 1957. It was one of the songs that made him so famous and is largely considered one of the greatest tracks of all time.
11. In The Still of the Night – The Five Satins
In The Still Of The Night was only a moderate hit when it was first released, leading to what one would be forgiven for thinking was an unimpressive chart run. However, it continued to receive radio play over the years since its release and has become one of the best-known doo-wop songs of all time. Even modern audiences know about this one, as it was a feature in the films Dirty Dancing and The Irishman.
12. I Only Have Eyes for You – The Flamingos
I Only Have Eyes For You was originally composed for the 1934 film Dames, with Dick Powell introducing the song in the movie. The year 1934 was a big one for the track, with several versions charting back then. The Flamingos recorded a doo-wop adaptation of the song in 1958 that made it to number 11 on the Hot 100 and three on the R&B chart in the US, earning several awards along the way.
13. That’s Amore – Dean Martin
That’s Amore by Dean Martin is one of the best-known songs of this entire era. The Italian track is still sung today and has been a viral song on apps like TikTok, but it was released in 1953. It later was used in the 1987 film Moonstruck and the 1999 movie Stuart Little.
14. Chances Are – Johnny Mathis
Chances Are is another one of the most famous songs on this entire list. It was published in 1958 with Robert Allen and Al Stillman being the names behind the track. Of course, several versions were released, but it was Johnny Mathis’ version that earned the accolades. It ended up being one of the most-played songs of the year, and in 1998, it was even inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
15. Why Do Fools Fall In Love? – Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
Frankie Lymons And The Teenagers released Why Do Fools Fall In Love? as a rock and roll record in 1956. It quickly rose on the charts, taking the top spot of the R&B chart and number six on the pop chart en route to taking the top spot of the UK Singles chart. Numerous artists took their turn with the song in later years, including the likes of Diana Ross and The Beach Boys at different times.
16. A Kiss To Build A Dream On – Louis Armstrong
Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby wrote a song called Moonlight On The Meadow for a film in 1935, but the track ended up not being used. Instead, Oscar Hammerstein adopted the lyrics into A Kiss To Build A Dream On. Louis Armstrong ended up recording it in 1951, and it became a hit single that was used in the 1951 film The Strip, becoming a theme of the decade in the process.
17. Let It Be Me – The Everly Brothers
The Everly Brothers were great at adapting songs, and this is another prime example of it. Let It Be Me started off as a French track titled Je T’Appartiens in 1955. The English version by The Everly Brothers became a worldwide hit single. Theirs ended up reaching number seven on the Hot 100 in 1959, and the harmony from that version was used in almost every remake of the song from that point on.
18. Memories are Made of This – Dean Martin
Memories Are Made Of This isn’t just a love song, it’s also an amazing track about nostalgia. For many, it became the perfect love song to describe the little happy moments with your partner. Several versions were made, with Dean Martin’s version of the track coming out in 1955. That one ended up reaching the top of the Hot 100 and holding the spot for five weeks.
19. When I Fall In Love – Nat King Cole
When I Fall In Love was introduced in the film One Minute To Zero as an instrumental. Nat King Cole recorded his version of the song in 1956 for his album Love Is The Thing. Eventually, it rose to number two on the UK Singles Chart and would be re-released several times over the decades to varying degrees of success.
20. Since I Don’t Have You – The Skyliners
Since I Don’t Have You has been a hit song on several occasions, but it was first made famous by the doo-wop group The Skyliners in 1958. Their version reached number 12 on the Hot 100 and seven on the CashBox Top 100. Later versions of the track included one from Ronnie Milsap in 1991 and a Guns N’ Roses single in 1994 that both had some success.
21. Come Go With Me – The Del-Vikings
Clarence Quick, an original member of The Del-Vikings was the writer behind Come Go With Me. They were the first group to record the song in 1956, but they didn’t release it until 1957.
The final version of the track was so popular that the label couldn’t handle the demand for the song, resulting in it peaking at number five on the Billboard Pop chart and number two on the R&B chart. It’s since been named one of the greatest tracks of all time, and you can hear it in films like American Graffiti, Stand By Me, and Set It Up.
22. You Send Me – Sam Cooke
Sam Cooke became one of the biggest names in music, but it was You Send Me that was his debut single. It was a huge commercial success, rising to the top spot of both the R&B and Hot 100 charts in 1957. It was named one of the most important rock and roll songs of all time by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and sent him down the path to musical superstardom.
23. Bye Bye Love – The Everly Brothers
Bye Bye Love was the debut recording to come from The Everly Brothers and helped them enjoy major success in the country music world. It was a number-one song on the country charts but crossed over to find success elsewhere as well by reaching number two on the pop chart. Their version of the track ended up being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998, and The Beatles even covered the song during their sessions for Let It Be.
24. Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite – The Spaniels
The Spaniels were the first to record Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite in 1953. Other artists have released it in the following years, mainly under the title Goodnight, Well It’s Time To Go. The Spaniels’ original version was a major hit in 1954, reaching number five on the R&B chart.
25. Everyday – Buddy Holly
Buddy Holly And The Crickets recorded Everyday in 1957 as the B-side of Peggy Sue, a successful song in its own right. It went to number three on the Hot 100 and consistently ranks among the greatest tracks of all time. It’s an incredibly famous song and often still features in films and ads today.
26. Love Is a Many Splendored Thing – The Four Aces
Love Is A Many Splendored Thing first appeared in a film of the same name in 1955 and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Based on that movie, a soap opera appeared that ran from 1967 to 1973, with this track serving as the theme song for the television series. The version the Four Aces recorded took the top spot on the Hot 100 and number two on the UK Singles Chart.
27. Your Cheatin’ Heart – Hank Williams
Your Cheatin’ Heart is one of the most important country standards of all time. Despite some confusion about whether the junior or senior Hank Williams wrote the song, it was the older one who penned it. In 1953, it was propelled by the legendary artist’s recent death to become one of the most successful tracks of the year.
His original version was recorded during his very last recording session at Castle Studio in Nashville. It spent six weeks on top of the country chart and other artists capitalized on its success with Joni James and Ray Charles producing charting hits of their own.
28. Sea of Love – Phil Phillips
Sea Of Love was sadly the only single from Phil Phillips to be considered a top-40 hit single. His 1959 recording was a massive hit, rising to number two on the Hot 100 and the top spot of the Billboard R&B chart that year.
29. Walkin’ After Midnight – Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline only ended up with this song because pop singer Kay Starr’s label rejected it. She wasn’t fond of the track at first, but eventually released an amazing version that debuted on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts show on CBS. A single was released and it became her first major hit, reaching number two on the country chart and number 12 on the pop chart.
30. Book of Love – The Monotones
The Monotones recorded Book Of Love in 1957 and released it with their record label Mascot. Unfortunately, the label was small and couldn’t handle the demand for the song, so it was reissued by Argo the following year. The larger label issuing the track let it become a number-five song on the pop chart and a number-three hit on the R&B chart.
31. Love Is Here to Stay – Frank Sinatra
And to finish the list, we’ll go back to a classic Frank Sinatra release. Love Is Here To Stay was already a popular jazz standard by George Gershwin that came out in 1937. Sinatra’s version was released in 1956 and was easily one of the best love songs of the decade. It has all the Sinatra pizazz you expect in a track and was utterly lovely.
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