We arrive at the year of masterpieces in American cinema like Vertigo, Touch of Evil, or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The year of European films like My Uncle by Jacques Tati, Rascals, or The Lovers of Montparnasse. We become serious, from the beginning of the decade until it ends in 1959, and although that can also be seen in music, as we will see with our list of best songs of 1958.
The truth is that the songs of 1958 selected in this list tend clearly towards joy and dance, towards rock and soul that are more listenable and closer to today’s popular culture, another example of what the music of the 50s was for a large part of society. This is the year of a new film by Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu. Who knows what people thought 60 years ago, but seen today it seems like the cinemas delivered more than expected.
Hit songs of 1958 and all the 50s
Top songs of 1958 in English
Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode
The wheel of nostalgia never stops turning. If in the 50s Johnny B. Goode was a big hit, the nostalgia of the 80s (or the perfect nod to the audience) brought back one of the great songs of this decade for Back to the Future. And now, also due to nostalgia, Johnny B. Goode is reclaimed by the time that has passed and the love that the movie exudes among all its fans. If you’re not ready for this, your children are… The wheel.
Duane Eddy – Rebel Rouser
Because cinema is also for that. Just ask those who chose the soundtrack for Forrest Gump, for example. This is a clear example of what Forrest should do in life (run). The initial riff is enough to enjoy this great song. A classic of American music.
Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls Of Fire
They say Jerry Lee Lewis rocked the stage really hard. In fact, a movie with the same name as the title of this song attests to that. The image accompanying this song in this music list also seems to confirm the same. Certainly, and not exaggerating, this song has an overflowing energy even when heard or seen today. A great song. Rock, but the kind that humbles many of the guitarists of the moment.
Nina Simone – My Baby Just Cares For Me
Change of pace. Nina Simone has always been different, unique, and therefore very special. Her music is always current, will never go out of style. Her advancements were such that even today her songs are unsurpassed. It’s not just the voice, it’s her own personality that permeates every melody. If you don’t like Nina Simone, the best thing to do is keep trying until you enjoy it. At least a little.
The Champs – Tequila
In times past, instrumental music was cool. It was mainstream, although by this time it was already giving its last gasps in the radio formula system. But well, I lie: it’s not instrumental, they say “Tequila!” from time to time.
The Chordettes – Lollipop
Who hasn’t tried making the sound of this song with their mouth? (using a finger on the inside cheek of the mouth). This song has become so outdated and has been used so persistently in TV commercials or video games that, in the end, it sounds more current each time it comes back.
The Everly Brothers – All I Have To Do Is Dream
A classic. A classic that was heard everywhere when I was a child. I always associated it with Grease, Ghost, or some movie like that. It probably has no connection with them, but there’s the hit. Not to be confused with The Green Leaves of Summer (I know people who make that mistake).
The Everly Brothers – Wake Up Little Susie
If The Everly Brothers sounded mellow and romantic in the previous song, here, on the contrary, they lean a little more towards rock routes. They don’t move at high speed, but it’s clear that it’s a good song, even today, although it deviates from our standards. Their chorus keeps them alive.
Top songs of 1958 in Italian, Spanish and French
Claudio Villa – Arrivederci Roma
It’s time to return to our continent. You’ll see that this year often tends towards the Italian. That’s how it is. Just as the French found a great movement to break through abroad in jazz, the Italians found it in these melodic songs with a rhythm that, in some parts, they often call Neapolitan.
Domenico Modugno – Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)
It’s such a famous song that I won’t bother commenting on it, I swear. Immortal. However, it’s worth mentioning its return to music in the 70s with that Crying Over the Phone which today sounds so much like its historical musical moment that it must be its charm.
Ritchie Valens – La Bamba
Famous for his tragic ending, for being one of the first songs in Spanish that succeeded worldwide, and also for the cinematic version of his life, the truth is that La Bamba has remained a children’s song (paraphrasing The Simpsons with The Beatles). A true myth that is part of our popular culture. There’s no village fair that doesn’t play it (if those things still exist).
Serge Gainsbourg – Le Poinconneur Des Lilas
One of the songs that best sums up the life of the bourgeois and the proletariat, of the wage earner and the human in general. Routine, repetition, fatigue, and the weariness of living in a bubble that neither advances nor retreats. One of Gainsbourg’s first steps, before he was known as the irreverent composer he already was then. Here, however, he varies his style in contrast to what’s globally known (which was little demonstrative of his work).
Teddy Reno – Piccolissima Serenata
Italy dominating the list of European music from the decade once again. Teddy Reno, always a collaborator of Rita Pavone. I don’t know if they were a couple (although I could easily confirm that on the internet, I refuse: long live ignorance… sometimes). Such a simple song, yet so perfect and direct. You could listen to it once a day just to be happy.
Tony Dallara – Come Prima
When searching for this song on YouTube, I swear, the first result was Gru, from Despicable Me. It’s true that there’s a certain resemblance, even if it was an advertisement. You have to be pretty mischievous to see such a similarity, but I’m still laughing.
Trío Los Panchos – Bésame Mucho
In the Spanish television series Cuéntame Cómo Pasó (similar in theme to The Wonder Years), the character called Antonio says to Merche “Merche, our boleros!”
Trío Los Panchos – Sólamente Una Vez
In the Spanish television series Cuéntame Cómo Pasó (similar in theme to The Wonder Years), the character called Merche says to Antonio “you cheating scoundrel!.” That’s probably how they’ll be until the year 2050, most likely.
(Madrid, 1987) Novelist by vocation, SEO specialist by profession. Music lover, cinephile and reading lover, but in “amateur” mode.