The year 1957 was another one owned by Elvis Presley and music compositions from films. While the Billboard Hot 100 was a year away from its inception, the charts had developed to include a Top 100, and the genres we know today were beginning to take shape. In this article, we’ll use Billboard’s year-end sales rankings to determine the 35 best songs from 1957.
1. All Shook Up – Elvis Presley
In 1957, Elvis Presley was still the biggest thing since sliced bread—which had only become a thing 29 years earlier in 1928. All Shook Up was the number-one single of the entire year. It would spend eight weeks on top of the Billboard Top 100 and four weeks on top of the R&B chart and make it to the top of the country chart as well. It’s also one of the few songs of the era to receive a platinum certification from the RIAA, earning double platinum status with them.
2. Love Letters in the Sand – Pat Boone
Love Letters In The Sand started out as a pop song in 1931 with music by J. Fred Coots and lyrics by Nick and Charles Kenny. Pat Boone’s recording of the song in 1957 would become a massive hit. It spent a total of 34 weeks on the Billboard Top 100, including two weeks in the number-one spot. It would go on to be used in his film Bernadine that year as well and was also a number-one single in Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands.
3. Little Darlin’ – The Diamonds
Little Darlin’ was originally released by the Gladiolas, but only a month later, The Diamonds would release a more successful version of the song. It would spend eight weeks at the number-two spot on Billboard’s Top 100 chart and would earn its spot as the number-three track of the year in 1957.
4. Young Love – Tab Hunter
Tab Hunter picked up Young Love in 1957, and it instantly brought the actor success. The song quickly rose to number one on the Best Seller, Disc Jockey, Jukebox, and Composite charts, spending a total of six weeks in that position and earning a gold record for its trouble.
5. So Rare – Jimmy Dorsey
So Rare was published by Jerry Herst and Jack Sharpe in 1937, but it became a huge hit for Jimmy Dorsey in 1957. Unfortunately, only two months after releasing it, he would die from lung cancer. Numerous other artists recorded and released the song, including names like Fred Astaire and Chet Atkins.
6. Don’t Forbid Me – Pat Boone
By the time Pat Boone recorded Don’t Forbid Me, it was already a popular song. Charles Singleton wrote the track, and Elvis Presley was given a demo of the song before 1957. Boone’s version exists only because Presley never opened the demo for the track that came in the mail. This version would reach number 10 on the Most Played R&B Songs on the Jukebox charts and a number-one single on the composite charts.
7. Singing the Blues – Guy Mitchell
Singing The Blues was written by Melvin Endsley in 1956, and Marty Robbins was the first artist to record the song. As a note, it’s completely unrelated to the 1920s jazz track Singin’ The Blues. Guy Mitchell’s version of the song remains the best-selling one of them all. It hit number one on the US Billboard chart at the end of 1956 and spent 10 weeks in that position. It would also reach the top of the UK Singles chart on three different occasions.
8. Young Love – Sonny James
Sonny James was another one of the artists to record a version of Young Love in 1957. His version would reach the top spot of the Disc Jockey, Country and Western, and Jukebox charts en route to number four on the composite Top 100. Its nine weeks on top of the country chart set a record for him and helped push it to its spot as the number-eight song of 1957.
9. Too Much – Elvis Presley
Too Much was first released by Bernard Hardison in 1955, but Elvis Presley’s version in 1957 would demolish it commercially. His version would first be performed on the Ed Sullivan Show before being released as a single and topping both the Cash Box and Billboard sales charts. It made it onto the Top 100 as well, rising as high as number two on that composite chart.
10. Round and Round – Perry Como
Round And Round was first recorded by Joe Shapiro and Lou Stallman in 1956. Perry Como came along in 1957 to record it for RCA Victor. It spent two weeks at number two on Billboard’s Honor Roll of Hits, but it would become the final number-one single in his career.
11. Bye Bye Love – The Everly Brothers
Bye Bye Love is best known for being part of The Everly Brothers’ recording debut. Their version of it set up their careers for success, as it found major success in the US as a country song. It would reach number one on the Cash Box chart and number two on the Billboard Pop chart on top of being the number-one country song in the country in 1957.
12. Tammy – Debbie Reynolds
Tammy debuted in the film Tammy And The Bachelor in 1957, picking up an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. Debbie Reynolds recorded the part of the track that’s heard at the midway point of the movie, releasing it as a single and producing one of the best songs of the year. It was a number-one hit on all of the US charts and a number-two single on the UK Singles chart.
13. Party Doll – Buddy Knox
Party Doll was another early rock and roll song from Buddy Knox and Jimmy Bowen that was performed by Knox as early as 1956. As soon as he released his recording of it, other artists covered it, meaning there were multiple competing versions of the track at the same time. His was still the biggest version, reaching the top of the Top 100 in 1957 and securing a spot on Billboard’s year-end rankings.
14. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear – Elvis Presley
The track (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear was first recorded by Elvis Presley for the soundtrack of his second film, Loving You. He performed the song on-screen during the movie and recorded a version as a single release which was very successful. It spent seven weeks at the top of the charts during the summer of 1957, giving him his third number-one single of the year. It also took the top spot on the R&B Best Sellers and the country charts.
15. Day O (Banana Boat Song) – Harry Belafonte
Day O (Banana Boat Song) is a traditional Jamaican folk song, drawing on both mento and calypso music for its main influences. The track would be brought to the mainstream music world by Harry Belafonte in 1956. In it, he would find a signature song and one of the biggest hits of his career. Just about every version of the track released in 1957—and adjacent years—wound up being a top-40 hit.
16. Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
Today, Jailhouse Rock is one of Elvis Presley’s most famous songs. It was originally recorded as the title track of one of his films, serving as the first single to be released from the song’s soundtrack. It would later be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the American Film Institute. It spent seven weeks as the nation’s number-one track in 1957 but also took the top spot in the UK in 1958.
17. A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation – Marty Robbins
A White Sport Coat And A Pink Carnation was a hugely popular country and Western song in 1957. It took the top spot on the country charts, giving Marty Robbins his third number-one single there. It then went on to reach number two on the pop chart in the US and number one on the Australian music charts, eventually settling in as the 17th best-selling track of the year.
18. Come Go with Me – The Del-Vikings
Come Go With Me was written by C.E. Quick, a member of The Del-Vikings. That group would go on to record the song in 1956 but waited to release it until 1957. The track pushed them onto a new record label to keep up with demand for it, reaching the number-five spot on the Top 100 pop charts and number two on the R&B chart. For years, it would be used in different films, from American Graffiti in 1973 to Set It Up in 2018.
19. Wake Up Little Susie – The Everly Brothers
Wake Up Little Susie was originally written by Felice and Boudleax Bryant, but The Everly Brothers’ recording of the song in 1957 is the best-known version of the track to be recorded. Despite being banned from radio in Boston for suggestive lyrics, the song took the top spot on the Billboard Pop chart and the Cash Box Best Selling Records chart.
20. You Send Me – Sam Cooke
You Send Me is regarded as one of the most important rock and roll recordings by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sam Cooke wrote and released it as a single in 1957, and it quickly became a hit by taking the top spot of both the R&B and Top 100 pop charts. It also remains to this day one of the most covered songs in history and was integral to the development of rock and roll as a genre.
21. Searchin’ – The Coasters
Searchin’ was the perfect example of what’s possible when a song is written with a specific group in mind. The Coasters’ track would spend 12 weeks on top of the R&B chart in 1957 and peaked at number three on the overall charts. It brought about a bit of revival for the group, giving them rock and roll fame in addition to continuing the group’s run of success on the R&B charts.
22. School Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell) – Chuck Berry
School Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell) was one of Chuck Berry’s songs that helped him pioneer the rock and roll genre. After its release in 1957, it became not only an anthem of the genre but one of the best-known tracks of his career. It wound up peaking at number five on the Top 100 and number one on the R&B Best Sellers chart.
23. Gone – Ferlin Husky
Gone was Ferlin Husky’s second number-one single on the country charts, a spot it held for 10 weeks, and stayed on the charts for a total of 27 weeks. It would eventually crossover onto the Top 100, ranking as a top-four pop hit as well in 1957.
24. Diana – Paul Anka
Some of the best songs are inspired by simple emotions, like crushes, just as this one was. Diana by Paul Anka would eventually reach number one on the R&B Best Sellers, holding the spot for two weeks, and peaked at number two on the composite chart.
25. A Teenager’s Romance – Ricky Nelson
A Teenager’s Romance was originally written by Theodore Gillum, but it was recorded and performed by Ricky Nelson. It would wind up reaching the number-two position on the Billboard Top 100 and earned a spot on the year-end rankings as the magazine’s list of the top 50 songs of 1957, coming in at number 25.
26. The Banana Boat Song – The Tarriers
The Banana Boat Song was incredibly popular in 1957, but as we stated earlier, multiple artists released versions of it that year. The second-most successful recording of the song came from The Tarriers. Their version incorporated the chorus of another Jamaican track, placing sixth on the Top 100 in 1957 and spawning more cover versions than Harry Belafonte’s ever did.
27. Honeycomb – Jimmie Rodgers
Bob Merrill wrote Honeycomb in 1954, but Jimmy Rodger’s version in 1957 would be the best-selling version of the song. It rose to number one on the Top 100 and R&B Best Sellers chart, and even ranked at number seven on the Country and Western Best Sellers list for a time.
28. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On – Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis produced the most successful version of Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On in 1957. His rock and roll/rockabilly take on the song was built on Dave Williams’ earlier version and was even more successful. His version peaked at number three on the Top 100 and number one on the R&B charts.
29. Dark Moon – Gale Storm
The original version of Dark Moon was written by Ned Miller, but that original version would be popularized across several genres and music formats. Perhaps the best-known version of the song came from Gale Storm in 1957. That one would peak at number four on the US Billboard Top 100, but it would be his final record to chart on any Billboard rankings.
30. That’ll Be the Day – Buddy Holly & The Crickets
That’ll Be The Day was written by Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison and was originally recorded in 1956 by Holly And The Three Tunes. He would re-record the song alongside his new band The Crickets in 1957 and that recording found immense success. Today, it’s considered a classic of the rock and roll genre, but in 1957, it topped both the Billboard Top 100 and UK Singles charts.
31. Butterfly – Charlie Gracie
The first recording of Butterfly came from Charlie Gracie in 1957. It quickly rose up the charts, reaching the top spot on the Billboard Jukebox chart and number 10 on their R&B chart. Later recordings would reach the top of the UK Singles chart and would break into Canada’s rankings as well.
32. Moonlight Gambler – Frankie Laine
Bob Hilliard and Phil Springer were the original writers for Moonlight Gambler. Frankie Laine teamed up with Ray Coniff and his orchestra to perform the song, a recording that reached number three on the US Pop charts and number 13 on the UK Singles chart.
33. Teenage Crush – Tommy Sands
Teenage Crush was originally written by Audrey and Joe Allison, and then it was performed by Tommy Sands. It was a big hit, reaching number two on the US Pop chart and number 10 on the US R&B chart in 1957.
34. It’s Not for Me to Say – Johnny Mathis
It’s Not For Me To Say had a bit of bad luck upon release. It was written for the 1957 film Lizzie and was sung by Johnny Mathis in the movie. In the US, it reached number five on the Top 100 singles chart, but in Canada, the song was stuck in the number two spot for seven weeks. Elvis Presley’s (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear held it out of number one for six of those weeks.
35. Silhouettes – The Rays
Silhouettes came from the doo-wop group The Rays in 1957 and had its fair share of chart success. It ranked as the number three song on the Top 100 that year, competing with a version recorded by The Diamonds in the same year.
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