We had originally wanted to publish a top ten 1950s Elvis Presley songs article. After working on it for a while and trying to choose just ten, we realized that we faced an impossible task The 1950s was by far Elvis Presley’s most important decade. Even though most of the music he released in the 1950s was in the second half of the decade the material being released was so iconic and groundbreaking that we could not pick just 10. For a deeper look into the start of Elvis Presley’s career in the 1950s, please refer to our cornerstone article The Story of Classic Rock.
# 25 – Paralyzed
Released on Elvis’s second album entitled Elvis in 1956. The closing song on side two. Written by Otis Blackwell and Elvis Presley.
# 24 – Let’s Have A Party
The classic rock song “Let’s Have A Party,” also known as “Party,” was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1957. The song was written by Jessie Mae Robinson. The song has been covered by many artists including The Beatles’ Paul McCartney. Singer Wanda Jackson had a number-one hit with the song in the United Kingdom in 1958. Led Zeppelin covered the song during some of their live shows in the 1970s.
# 23 – Money Honey
“Money Honey,” was the closing song on the first Elvis Presley album released in 1956 entitled Elvis Presley.
# 22 – Milkcow Blues Boogie
This is one of Elvis Presley’s earliest recordings. The song was released as a single in 1954. It later was released on the album A Date With Elvis in 1959.
# 21 – Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)
Elvis Presley’s “Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me),” is the first of two Elvis Presley Christmas recordings on this 1950’s Elvis Presley songs list. This classic Christmas song was composed by Aaron Schroeder and Claude Demetrius. The song was released in 1957 and issued on the Elvis’ Christmas Album.
# 20 –Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
One of our favorite rocking 1950s Elvis Presley songs entitled “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck,” was released as a single in 1958. The song was also released on the 1959 album 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong: Elvis’ Gold Records, Vol. 2. The song was written by Bert Carroll and Russell Moody.
# 19 – Hard Headed Woman
“Hard Headed Woman,” was released as a single in 1958. The song appeared on the King Creole soundtrack album. The song was composed by Claude Demetrius. In a long line of Elvis Presley songs from the 1950s that hit number one, “Hard Headed Woman,” was Elvis Presley’s eleventh number-one single.
# 18 –I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
This classic Elvis Presley song was released in 1956. It was Elvis Presley’s second number-one single. The song was eventually issued on the album Elvis’ Golden Records in 1957. The song was composed by Maurice Mysels and Ira Kosloff.
# 17 – Don’t
Released as a single in 1958. The song was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The song appeared on the 1959 album 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong: Elvis’ Gold Records, Vol. 2.
# 16 – Rip It Up
Released on Elvis’s second album entitled Elvis in 1956. The closing song on side two. Written by Robert Blackwell and John Marascalco.
# 15 – Treat Me Nice
Recorded for the film Jailhouse Rock in 1957. The song was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
# 14 – A Big Hunk o’ Love
Released as a single in 1959. The song was written by Aaron Schroeder and Sidney Wyche. The song was originally released on the 1959 album 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong: Elvis’ Gold Records, Vol. 2.
# 13 – Good Rockin Tonight
Elvis Presley’s second single for Sun Records. Released September 22, 1954. The song was written by Roy Brown in 1947.
# 12 – All Shook Up
The song “All Shook Up,” was released as a single in 1957. It was Elvis Presley’s seventh number one single. It also appeared on the album Elvis’ Golden Records which was originally released in 1957. The song was written by Otis Blackwell.
# 11 – Blue Christmas
Released on Elvis’s third album entitled Elvis’ Christmas Album in 1957. Blue Christmas was the fifth song on side one. Written by Billy Hayes and Jay Johnson. Sixty years later, it’s still one of the most iconic Christmas recordings of all time.
# 10 – That’s All Right
We open up our top 10 section of our essential 25 Elvis Presley songs article with the song that started in all. “That’s All Right,” was the song that turned the head of Sam Phillips in the recording studio at Sun Records. From that moment on, the legend of Elvis Presley had been born.
# 9 – Love Me
We continue with our 25 essential 1950s Elvis Presley songs with the great track “Love Me.” the song was released on Elvis Presley’s second album entitled Elvis in 1956. The song was composed by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
# 8 – Ready Teddy
This one may be the most underrated Elvis Presley song of them all. “Ready Teddy,” was released on the second RCA Elvis Presley album entitled Elvis. This one rocks hard. The song was composed by John Marascalco and Robert Blackwell. Elvis Presley performed “Ready Teddy,” during his first televised Ed Sullivan appearance. The song had already been covered by Little Richard. Buddy Holly would also record a version of “Ready Teddy,”
# 7 – Love Me Tender
Elvis Presley’s single “Love Me Tender,” was his most popular ballad of the 1950’s. The song was released in 1956. It was the first of six straight number one singles. The melody of the song “Love Me Tender,” was adapted from the Civil War song entitled “Aura Lee.” Elvis Presley’s performance of the song “Love Me Tender,” broke the hearts of many females around the world for many years.
# 6 – Don’t Be Cruel
“Don’t Be Cruel,” was another big-time Elvis Presley song composed by Otis Blackwell. The song went straight to number one in 1956. Along with most of these top 10 Elvis Presley songs “Don’t Be Cruel,” is one of the most popular Elvis Presley songs of all time.
# 5 – Blue Suede Shoes
“Blue Suede Shoes,” is an interesting song in the Elvis Presley catalog. The song was composed and recorded originally in 1955 by Carl Perkins. “Blue Suede Shoes,” was a hit for Carl Perkins reaching all the way to the number two position on the Billboard Hot 100. A year later, Elvis Presley recorded it for his first RCA album. While the song was not a big hit at the time for Elvis Presley reaching only the number 24 position on the Billboard Hot 100, it did become one of his most popular performance numbers. Overtime, it remains one of the biggest Elvis Presley songs of the 1950s.
# 4 – Trying To Get To You
The great Elvis Presley song “Trying To Get To You,” is probably the least known Elvis Presley song in this top 10 section. Nonetheless, it was one of his best recordings. The song was released on the first Elvis Presley album in 1955. “Trying To Get To You,” was written by Rose Marie McCoy and Charles Singleton. It was not released as a single from the album. However, Elvis Presley knew how great the song was. He released two live versions of the song later on in his career. This one is the sleeper of the list. Make sure you check this one out if you’ve never heard it before.
# 3 – Heartbreak Hotel
As we approach the end of our 25 Essential 1950s Elvis Presley songs list, the next three listed are pretty much Elvis Presley’s biggest hits from the 1950s. The song “Heartbreak Hotel,” was released at the start of 1956. The song was written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren. It would be the first of four straight number-one singles that Elvis Presley enjoyed in 1956. The song would be eventually released on the album Elvis’ Golden Records In 1957. Many famous rock stars and bands have performed the song live in concert, or recorded studio versions including Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Van Halen and many more.
# 2 – Hound Dog
It’s difficult to separate these last two 1950’s Elvis Presley songs on this list because of the importance that these particular recordings played on the development of rock and roll. “Hound Dog,” was the biggest hit Elvis Presley ever had in his entire career. It has sold more records than any other Elvis Presley single song. “Hound Dog,” hit number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1956 and stayed there for 11 straight weeks. It has been recorded by hundreds of artists over the past 50 years. “Hound Dog,” and “Jailhouse Rock,” are pretty much interchangeable as far as the importance and significance these two songs played on Elvis Presley’s career and everything else that came after.
# 1 – Jailhouse Rock
“Jailhouse Rock,” is both one of rock and roll’s and the world of movies greatest moments. Elvis Presley’s performance of “Jailhouse Rock,” in the film of the same name was a legendary moment in cinematic history. “Jailhouse Rock,” hit number one on just about every type of Billboard Music chart listed in 1957. On the Billboard Mainstream Top 100 it stayed at number one for seven weeks. It stands as one of the most inspirational rock and roll songs ever released. Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” was a pivotal moment Classic Rock History.
Updated June 6, 2023
25 Essential 1950’s Elvis Presley Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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