The ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME PRESENTS
Shaun Mather's

BASED ON PEAK POSITION



40 DION & The BELMONTS - DON'T PITY ME - Laurie 3021
After two succesive hits this absolute masterpiece somehow holed out at 40. Dion has never sounded better and his pleading vocals, full of vunerability as opposed to his famed cool swagger, gel brilliantly with the Belmonts. July '62 saw the end of the Champs Top 40 run with Limbo Rock (Challenge 9131). The charts were given a rare breath of fresh air in 1972 with Louisianna mad man Jerry Lee's rocking interpretation of Me And Bobby McGhee (Mercury 73248). Cut at the same 8 April 1971 session as the stone country Would You Take Another Chance On Me and For The Good Times, the Killer reminded everyone present that he was really a rockin' mutha at heart.


39 SAM COOKE - YOU WERE MADE FOR ME - Keen 4009
Fourth Keen hit for the silk-voiced-one following his transition from the Lord's music to the Devil's. Ral Donner pleaded Please Don't Go on Gone !! (5114) but she left in late '61 after only one week. Late '55 saw Boyd Bennett & His Rockets for the last time with My Boy Flat Top (King 1494).


38 BIG BOPPER - BIG BOPPER'S WEDDING - Mercury 71375
This hilarious self-written Bopper was his second and last chart entry, falling from the skies after only one week. Buster Brown's hypnotic harmonica led Fannie Mae sparked a bit of attention on Fire 1008, but his chart career was never re-ignited. The eccentric New Yorker Mickie Lee Lane spent his only week in the charts in November 1964 with the cult-classic Shaggy Dog (Swan 4183). New Orleans duo Shirley & Lee ended their surprisingly short chart career here in January '57 with I Feel Good (Aladdin 3338).

37 WANDA JACKSON - LET'S HAVE A PARTY - Capitol 4397
Wanda's screamer peaked at 37 in the fall of 1960, probably one of the last true wild rockers to chart. Other classics to stall here were Buddy Holly's Rave On (Coral 61985), Saved by Lavern Baker (Atlantic 2099) and Duane Eddy was going well until suffering Some Kind-A Earthquake (Jamie 1130).

36 JIVE BOMBERS - BAD BOY - Savoy 1508
Clarence Palmer's beautifully sung classic with the great novelty vocals did well to get this far but what a fun record it is. Featured in the Johnny Depp movie, Cry Baby, it's one of the highlights of a first class soundtrack. Competition for #36 spot came from Dion with The Majestic (Laurie (Laurie 3115) which was the b-side of The Wanderer.


35 EDDIE COCHRAN - C'MON EVERYBODY - Liberty 55166
How this song only got to #35 in early '59 is a complete mystery. With it's teen slanted lyrics and with Eddie's great Gretch guitar playing, the song has rightly won it's place as one of rock's defining moments. In the UK it climbed to #6 in the spring of '59 and and got to #14 twenty nine years later. Jack Scott's moody growler The Way I Walk (Carlton 514) reached here in the summer of '59.

34 SLIM HARPO - RAININ' IN MY HEART - Excello 2194
This beauty from left field must have taken a few by surprise when it entered the charts in July '61. This swamp blues ballad of Slim, with his great lazy singing and harmonica must have pleased the likes of Billy Lee Riley when he heard it on his radio. Don't know what the Bobby's would have been thinking though! Bill Haley & the Comets were here in late '56 with their rockin' instrumental Rudy's Rock (Decca 30085) and Lavern Baker spent Jan '63 here with See See Rider (Atlantic 2167).

33 DUANE EDDY - THE BALLAD OF PALADIN - RCA 8047
Duane first hit since moving to RCA from Jamie in 1962 came from Have Gun Will Travel. It's a great western instrumental with enough twang to break your leg on. On a more sedate note, Johnny Maestro got here in '61 with the nicely sung weeper turned happy, love song, What A Surprise (Coed 549) - she did love him after all!

32 CHUCK BERRY - ALMOST GROWN - Chess 1722
"You know I'm almost grown, and I'm doing alright in reform school", so sang Chuckie boy in '59. This spot had been occupied two years earlier by the hypnotic r'n'b of Jimmy Reed and Honest I Do (Vee Jay 253).


31 LITTLE RICHARD - OOH! MY SOUL - Specialty 633
This was the Georgia Peach's last top forty entry from the summer of '58, a good way to go, as they say. The Everly's were Gone Gone Gone in '64 (Warner Bros 5478) as their chart career was winding down and the wannabe crooner Jesse Belvin got here in '59 with Guess Who (RCA 7469) - within ten months he and his chart career would be dead - but what a voice!

30 CHAMPS - EL RANCHO ROCK - Challenge 59007
This sax led Latin rocker is typical Champs faire with a blistering solo and just beats out their own Too Much Tequila (Challenge 59063) and Duane's 1959 outing, "Yep!" (Jamie 1122). Definitely a peak position for the instrumentals.

29 LLOYD PRICE - JUST BECAUSE - ABC PARAMOUNT 9792
Lloyd's first hit for ABC Paramount was the typical New Orleans ballad Just Because. It stopped at 29 but Lloyd didn't to worry, his next one, Stagger Lee went all the way to the top. It was a good place for citizens of the Big Easy as amazingly, Roy Brown also got this far in '57 with his version of Let The Four Winds Blow (Imperial 5439) which Fats Domino took to #15 four years later.


28 JACK SCOTT - WITH YOUR LOVE - Carlton 483
As Jack had already found out with Leroy/My True Love, it was the ballads that performed better in the charts and Carlton 483 was no different. The uptempo Geraldine only just crept in at 96, whereas this moody ballad with smouldering vocals and fine support from the Chantones cracked the top thirty in late '58. There was fearce competition for this spot from the Crests with the gorgeous Six Nights A Week (Coed 509 - April 1959) and Duane Eddy's Boss Guitar (RCA 8131 - 1963). Blue Cap, Tommy Facenda, got this far in November '59 with High School USA. Sales were no doubt boosted by the 28 different versions recorded, each mentioning schools relevant to the area of its release.


27 THE CRICKETS - THINK IT OVER - Brunswick 55072
Ba-bup-ba. Buddy growls and plays a mean guitar in this West Texas beauty cut on Valentine's Day 1958. Quite surprising that it never went further in the summer of '58. Giving the public their first glimpse of a teenage James Burton's guitar, was Dale Hawkins and the classic, Susie-Q (Checker 863)


26 FATS DOMINO -THE BIG BEAT - Imperial 5477
From the Universal motion picture of the same name comes another slab of fun from Antoine. Slightly gimmicky maybe, but with Fats and Herb Hardesty to the fore it was a great way to finish off 1957. Two worthy contenders for the best song to finish in this spot are Bill Haley with 1955's Birth Of The Boogie (Decca 29418) and Ronnie Hawkins' only top 40 entry, the brilliant Mary Lou (Roulette 4177) from 29th April, 1959 featuring sax legend, Sam "The Man" Taylor.

25 NAPPY BROWN - DON'T BE ANGRY - Savoy 1155
With his standard vocal gimmicks and dance floor beat, this is one of my favourite songs of all time. From 1955, it's amazing that Twat Boone didn't have a go at it. The Moonglows also reached 25 with the great See Saw (Chess 1629) in late '56 and Carl Mann became Sam Phillips' youngest chart entrant when he took Mona Lisa here in July '59. After changing the hoodlum from Greaseball to Leroy, Jack Scott made his debut chart entry in June '58 (Carlton 462 - see position 3 for the flip).

24 RUTH BROWN - THIS LITTLE GIRL'S GONE ROCKIN' - Atlantic 1197
This fabulous rocker from 1958 had everthing, a great beat, superb singing and King Curtis blowing the sax. Other notable songs to reach here were Webb Pierce with his honky tonker I Ain't Never (Decca 30923) in '59, The Five Satins with the early classic In The Still Of The Nite (Ember 1005) and the Platters with the beautiful lead of Tony Williams on My Dream (Mercury 71093) from two years earlier.

23 FIVE KEYS - OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND - Capitol 3502
When Rudy West sang this at Hemsby two years ago, there was complete silence in the hall and three thousand worshippers stood there with open mouths and goosebumps. This peaked in October '56 and is a doo-wop classic. R.I.P. Rudy. Fellow vocal group The Coasters got stuck here with Little Egypt (Atco 6192) in '61 and two years earlier the Clovers made it here with Love Potion No.9 (UA 180). Two cult heroes, Gene Vincent and Link Wray were also stopped in their tracks at this point. Gene with Dance To The Bop (Capitol 3839) in '58 and Link with his ode to sore arses, Raw Hide (Epic 9300) in '59.

22 CHARLIE RICH - LONELY WEEKENDS - Phillips 3552
Another from the Memphis Sun/Phillips stable who went on to bigger things after leaving, but not neccessarily via better songs. Through the production of Jack Clements, this beauty had a gospel feel to it and gave The Silver Fox his first hit. Fellow son of Sun, Ray Smith also got here in 1960 with Rockin' Little Angel on Sam Phillips' brother Judds, small Memphis label, Judd 1016. Dion and the Belmonts maintained their grip as New Yorks finest with 1958's I Wonder Why (Laurie 3013) and Latin America's finest, Ritchie Valens spent January 1959 here with La Bamba (Del-Fi 4110).

21 EVERLY BROTHERS - LUCILLE - Warner Brothers 5163
Released by Cadence after the boys had gone to Warner Brothers, this is a meaty cut thanks to Don's inspiration to feature four guitars on the intro. From the summer of 1960, it's a great double side with the balled So Sad rising to the seventh spot. Spookily, Little Richard's version of Lucille (Specialty 598) also stopped here in 1957, three years before Don and Phil. Jerry Lee Lewis would have gone farther than here with his brilliant High School Confidential (Sun 296) but it got caught up in the hoopla surrounding his marraige. Rediculously, unjustly and sadly He wouldn't be back to the top thirty for three years!


20 BO DIDDLEY - SAY MAN - Checker 931
Bo's only top forty entry was actually just a comedy routine that he and Jerome Green were endulging in during a lunch break. The tapes were rolling and the clean bits were put onto a 45 for all to enjoy! The lyrics are superb with both men slagging off the others girl. There's the killer line, "Your girls so ugly she has to sneak up on the glass to get a drink of water". I think I know her --- last seen in Rod's car. Two other's made their only chart appearance here, Rod Bernard with the swamp pop classic This Should Go On Forever (Argo 5327) in March '59 and Jesse Lee Turner and The Little Space Girl (Carlton 496) earlier the same year. The fabulous Moonglows stalled here with one of t he true classics of the doo-wop genre, Sincerely (Chess 1581) in March '55.


19 RAL DONNER - THE GIRL OF MY BEST FRIEND - Gone 5102
With his lip curled, Ral gives us a groovy June '60 take on this Elvis album track (Elvis Is Back), cut at the Fox Studios in Miami. Also lurking just in the top 20 is the King hisself, with the flip of his first RCA single, the great ballad I Was The One (RCA 47-6420). Laughed at at the time, but proving to be very perceptive were Danny & The Juniors with 1958's Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay (ABC Paramount 9888).

18 BILL BLACK COMBO - JOSEPHINE - Hi 2022
Following Smokie-Part II and White Silver Sands into the charts in 1960 Bill and the boys really were smokin'. Southern funk and the success couldn't have happened to a greater guy. Eddie Cochran stalled here with his first big charter, the smooth rocker Sittin' In The Balcony (Liberty 55056). Ricky Nelson failed to go higher than here a couple of times in the early months of '58 with Waitin' In School (Imperial 5483 - b-side of Stood Up) and My Buckets Got A Hole In It (Imperial 5503 - the flip of Believe What You Say). When Sonny Burgess was in South Wales last year he introduced Bucket.. as a song that had sold a million between him and Ricky. He'd sold one and Ricky had sold the rest!


17 RICKY NELSON - I'M WALKIN' - Verve 10047
Teenaged Ricky's first record (1957) and what a record. Great cover of future stable mate Fat Domino, whose version was just leaving the charts having gone to number 4 . This is Phil's favourite Ricky song, well, for a guy who can't drive it has to be!! My wife's favourite Elvis song also got here in 1960, the glorious, poignant, Fame And Fortune, the flip of his first post army number one, Stuck On You (RCA 47-7740). 1955 saw Beale Streeter and gun expert Johnny Ace sitting here with Pledging My Love (Duke 136) and Buddy Holly and the Crickets had their mid tempo rocker Maybe Baby (Brunswick 55053). Frantic screamer, Little Richard, frantically screamed himself this far twice in 1956. His first single, the frantic screamer, Tutti Fruiti (Specialty 561) followed by the frantic screamer Rip It Up (Specialty 579). The same year also had The Cadillacs singing the virtues of Speedo (Josie 785).

16 CLYDE McPHATTER - TREASURE OF LOVE - Atlantic 1092
Summer '56 had the delicious voice of Clyde McPhatter all over the airwaves with this euphonious ballad. In complete contrast, guitar madman Link Wray was growling here two years later with the menacing instrumental Rumble (Cadence 1347).


15 BILL HALEY & THE COMETS - RAZZLE DAZZLE - Decca 29552
The follow up single to Rock Around The Clock, Razzle Dazzle had big boots to fill, well the toes may not have reached the end, but they only neede a thicker pair of socks. Cannonball shot this far for Duane Eddy in late '58 (Jamie 1111) and the Charms with the beautiful lead of Otis Williams scored their first hit with 1954's Hearts Of Stone (Deluxe 6062). The Cadets were Stranded in The Jungle in the summer of '56 (Modern 994).

14 FRANKIE FORD - SEA CRUISE - Ace 554
With Huey Piano Smith and the Clowns providing the beat, this is as good an advert for New Orleans or good time fifties music as you are likely to hear. The vocals echo the fun spirit and today, you don't have to sit through too many films before you hear it. It's great! Surpringly Frankie never returned to the Top Forty. The Teen Angels also reached these dizzy heights for the only time with their 1956 RPM (453) classic, Eddie My Love.

13 GENE VINCENT - LOTTA LOVIN' - Capitol 3763
Cut at the Capitol Towers in Hollywood on June 19th 1957, the tune is driven perfectly by the lead and rhythm guitar of Johnny Meeks and Buck Owens respectively. It's a real beauty and beats off fierce competition for this spot from Roy Hamilton with his classy, smooth rocker Don't Let Go (Epic 9257) and Sam Cooke with the gospel drenched Bring It On Home To Me (RCA 8036).

12 ROY HAMILTON - YOU CAN HAVE HER - Epic 9434
1961 saw this Elvis like opus just fail to breach the top ten, that was bad enough but amazingly, Hamilton was never to reach the charts again. The Skyliners came this far with their only top twenty song, the beautiful ballad Since I Don't Have You (Calico 103).

11 JOHNNY CASH - GUESS THINGS HAPPEN THAT WAY - Sun 295
Quite a commercial sound for the Man In Black and it payed dividends with this becoming only his third top twenty hit in 1958. So did I Only Have Eyes For You by the Flamingos (End 1046) in June '59 and Love Is Strange by Mickey & Sylvia (Groove 0175) in Jan '57. Former Sun recording artist Gene Simmons jumped this far but didn't scare the top ten with Haunted House on the legendary Memphis label, Hi (Hi 2076) in 1964. The same label also gave former Elvis sideman Bill Black's Combo a high spot of 11 in 1960 with Don't Be Cruel (Hi 2026).

10 CRICKETS - OH BOY! - Brunswick 55035
Winter of '57/58 must have been a bit warmer with this gem burning up the jukeboxes. Buddy's singing and JI's drumming are packed with excitement and Buddy's blistering solo over the chirpin' Crickets have rightfully made this one of eras best loved songs. Some other classics to peak at ten were, Fats Domino and Ain't That A Shame (Imperial 5348 - 1955), Ricky Nelson and I've Got A Felling (Imperial 5545 - 1958) and Little Richard singing the praises of Jenny Jenny (Specialty 606 - 1957).

9 HEUY PIANO SMITH & The Clowns - DON'T YOU JUST KNOW IT - Ace 545
More than just another New Orleans piano man, Smith had a knack of putting a simple lyric with a rollicking beat and coming up with a great party record. The public liked it in '58 and they still do forty years later. The same can be said of Johnny Otis who got here around the same time with Willie And The Hand Jive (Capitol 3966) - this is the only dance Phil has ever shown an interest in mastering, he practises it most nights, without even playing the record!! Duane Eddy's Forty Miles Of Bad Road (Jamie 1126) came to a dead end here the following summer.

8 JAN & ARNIE - JENNIE LEE - Arwin 108
If you're only gonna have one hit, you may as well have it with a cracker, Jan & Arnie certainly did! This is a brilliant record and the radio airwaves were all the brighter for this in the summer of '58. The enigmatic Nervous Norvus must have given Pat Boone a hyrnia when he cut the glorious Transfusion on his beloved Dot label (Dot 15470 - 1956) - give me some blood, Bud. Vocal group, the Olympics made a big splash in '58 with the Coasters styled Western Movies (Demon 1508). Phil's favourite song of all time, Summertime Blues became, amazingly, Eddie Cochran's only top tenner (Liberty 55144 - '58).


7 SANFORD CLARK - THE FOOL - Dot 15481
How could anything this cool come out of the desert - in June as well!!!! His only charter couldn't fail to score with the winning combination of Sandford's vocals and guitar whizz Al Casey. Jerry Lee's Breathless (Sun 288)ran out of steam after becoming his third biggie in a row in early '58. Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps paul peaked at number 7 for the only time with the crazed Be-Bop-A-Lula (Capitol 3450). 1960 provided Bob Luman's wonderful popper, Let's Think About Livin' (Warner Bros 5172) and Hank Ballard & the Midnighters' Finger Poppin' Time (King 5341). Two years before that, Jackie Wilson had graced the top ten with Lonely Teardrops (Brunswick 55105).

6 THURSTON HARRIS - LITTLE BITTY PRETTY ONE - Aladdin 3398
Harris' only trip to the pop charts was via this mighty fine Bobby Day stroller. Hank Ballard & the Midnighters' rounded off their most successful year, 1960, with Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go (King 5400) and Clyde McPhatter bounced to the six-spot with A Lover's Question (Atlantic 1199) in late '58. One of rock's first big hits was the great See You Later, Alligator by Bill Haley & His Comets (Decca 29791).

5 LARRY WILLIAMS - SHORT FAT FANNIE - Specialty 608
This is typical New Orleans rock Žn' roll complete with a catchy whistle and a walking bass line. At a time when Specialty were riding high with Little Richard, Williams gave Art Rupe someting else to push. After this rocker, the other places are filled with more romantic moments, The Platters (Only You - Mercury 70633), Dion & The Belmonts (A Teenager In Love - Laurie 3027) and Robin Luke (Susie Darlin' - Dot 15781).

4 PLATTERS - (YOU'VE GOT) THE MAGIC TOUCH - Mercury 70819
Tony Williams posessed one of the greatest, purist voices of all time, and it gets a fair hearing on this Buck Ram composition. Fats Domino needed a breather after climbing here in 1957 with I'm Walkin' (Imperial 5428) and Brenda Lee got this far with her first big hit Sweet Nothin's (Decca 30967) from the pen of rockabilly screamer Ronnie Self.


3 JERRY LEE LEWIS - WHOLE LOT OF SHAKIN' GOIN' ON - Sun 267
There was some classics that stalled at three including Dion (Lovers Who Wonder), Dion & the Belmonts (Where Or When), Fats Domino (I'm In Love Again), The Capris (There's A Moon Out Tonight) and Jack Scott (My True Love and Burning Bridges) but none compare to the Killers rockin' anthem. This is as good as it gets. Wiggle it around just a little bit. Shake it one time for me. A killer, and it's open to anyone else who wants to try it!!!!


2 CARL PERKINS - BLUE SUEDE SHOES - Sun 234
The song which perhaps defines rockabilly may have gone all the way to the top but for the horrendous car crash which crippled the career of the Perkins brothers from Jackson, Tennessee. Egged on by buddie Johnny Cash, Carl wrote it on a brown paper sack and in doing so created one of rock's most famous songs. Another couple of Sun guys made the runner-up spot, Jerry Lee's Great Balls Of Fire (Sun 281) and Bill Justis's Raunchy (Phillips 3519). Elvis shook, shaked and stopped here with Love Me, Wear My Ring Around Your Neck, A Fool Such As I and Return to Sender. Hard to feel sorry for him though coz it was probably other songs of his that kept these from going all the way. Lloyd Price took his Personality (ABC-Paramount 10018) this far in the summer of 1959 and the sublime James "Shep" Sheppard led Shep & The Limelights here in '61 with Daddy's Home (Hull 740), their only top forty entry.


1 ELVIS PRESLEY - DON'T BE CRUEL/HOUND DOG - RCA 47-6604
Summer 1956 gave us arguably the greatest single of all time, the double a-side coupling of the perfect pop rocker Don't Be Cruel and the flat out rock Žn' roll of Hound Dog. Nothing else to say - sheer perfection.

What a week that would have been!

Shaun Mather
October 1999
shaky@lsmather.freeserve.co.uk