Enduring Love Songs of the 1950s

The 1950s was a decade of many firsts; seat belts were introduced in 1952, Disneyland opened in 1955, and NASA was founded in 1959. In the world of music, the 1950s is known as the birth of rock and roll with hits like "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets dominating the airwaves. Aside from rock and roll, country music and folk music were also popular during this period. Love songs recorded by vocal groups climbed the music charts during the 1950s. Hits like "Earth Angel" by The Penguins, "In the Still of the Night" by the Five Satins and "The Great Pretender" by The Platters, were published in the '50s.

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Bye Bye Love

Don And Phil
The Everly Brothers. Hulton Archive - Stringer/Archive Photos/Getty Images

A song made popular by The Everly Brothers; it was written by husband and wife songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant. The said song was published in 1957 and became a huge hit. A version of "Bye Bye Love" was also recorded by Ray Charles.​​

Lyrics (Excerpt)

Bye bye, love.
Bye bye, happiness.
Hello, loneliness.
I think I'm a-gonna cry.

Related Video

Watch this vintage clip of The Everly Brothers singing "Bye Bye Love" courtesy of YouTube.

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Johnnie Ray
Johnnie Ray, 1953. Keystone / Getty Images

A song written by Churchill Kohlman and recorded by Johnnie Ray & The Four Lads in 1951. Other artists who recorded this song include Lynn Anderson, Ray Charles, and Crystal Gayle.

Lyrics (Excerpt)

Remember sunshine can be found
Behind a cloudy sky,
So let your hair down and go on and cry

Related Video

Listen to Johnnie Ray sing "Cry" on YouTube.

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Earth Angel

The Penguins At Dolphin's Of Hollywood Record Store
Doo Wop group the Penguins make an in-store appearance at 'Dolphin's Of Hollywood' Record Store circa 1955 in Los Angeles, California. Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

If you're a fellow Back to the Future fan, you might remember this song from a pivotal part of the movie; the high-school dance scene. This love song is credited to Curtis Williams, Jesse Belvin, and Gaynel Hodge; it was recorded by The Penguins in 1954 under the Dootone label.

Lyrics (Excerpt)

Earth angel, earth angel
Will you be mine?
My darling dear
Love you all the time
I'm just a fool
A fool in love with you

Related Video

Listen to this song on YouTube.

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Lonely Teardrops

Photo of Jackie Wilson
Jackie Wilson, 1960. Alice Ochs / Getty Images

This song was written Berry Gordy, Gwen Gordy, Tyran Carlo. It was recorded by Jackie Wilson and released in 1958, under the Brunswick label.

Lyrics (Excerpt)

My heart is cryin', cryin'
Lonely teardrops
My pillows never dry of
Lonely teardrops

Related Video

Watch Jackie Wilson perform his hit song courtesy of YouTube.

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In the Still of the Night

Photo of Five Satins
Five Satins. Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Also known by the title "In the Still of the Nite;" this song was written by Five Satins lead vocalist, Fred Parris, and published by the Five Satins in 1956 under the Standord label. Paul Anka recorded a version of this song in 1969.​

Lyrics (Excerpt)

In the still of the night
I held you
Held you tight
'Cause I love
Love you so
Promise I'll never
Let you go
In the still of the night

Related Video

Watch the Five Satins' heartfelt performance of this song on YouTube.

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Mona Lisa

Nat 'King' Cole Portrait
Nat 'King' Cole, 1950. Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

This classic song, which mentions Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting, was written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston. The song was recorded by Nat King Cole and featured in the 1950 film Captain Carey, U.S.A.

Lyrics (Excerpt)

Mona Lisa, Mona ​Lisa, men have named you
You're so like the lady with the mystic smile
Is it only 'cause you're lonely they have blamed you?
For that Mona Lisa strangeness in your smile?

Related Video

Listen to Nat King Cole's beautiful rendition of this song on YouTube.

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The Great Pretender

The Platters Performing
(L-R) Herb Reed, Dave Lynch, Tony Williams, Zola Taylor and Paul Robi of the early rock and roll group 'The Platters' perform onstage in circa 1955. Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

A song written by music producer, songwriter and arranger Samuel "Buck" Ram; it was released in 1955 and became one of The Platters' greatest hits.​​

Lyrics (Excerpt)

Oh yes, I'm the great pretender
Pretending I'm doing well
My need is such
I pretend too much
I'm lonely but no one can tell

Related Video

Watch this rare clip of The Platters singing "The Great Pretender" on YouTube.

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Too Young

American Musician Nat King Cole At A Concert. Vienna. About 1960. Photograph By Franz Hubmann.
Nat King Cole at a concert. Vienna. About 1960. Imagno / Getty Images

Published in 1951, the lyrics of this song was written by Sylvia Dee and the music composed by Sidney Lippman. This song was recorded by Nat King Cole and became a huge hit.

Lyrics (Excerpt)

They try to tell us we're too young
Too young to really be in love
They say that loves a word
A word we've only heard
But can't begin to know the meaning of

Related Video

Listen to Nat King Cole's recording of this timeless tune on YouTube.

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Your Cheatin' Heart

Hank Williams
Hank Williams, 1945. Blank Archives / Getty Images

This "after the break-up" song was written by singer-songwriter Hank Williams Sr. in 1952. Williams' recording of this song was released in 1953; after his death. "Your Cheatin' Heart" was also covered by other performers including his son, Hank Williams' Jr., Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, and Patsy Cline.​

Lyrics (Excerpt)

Your cheatin' heart,
Will make you weep,
You'll cry and cry,
And try to sleep,
But sleep won't come,
The whole night through,
Your cheatin heart, will tell on you

Related Video

Listen to "Your Cheatin' Heart" by Hank Williams on YouTube.

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Why Do Fools Fall in Love

Photo of Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers. Redferns / Getty Images

Released in 1956 under the Gee label; this song is credited to Frankie Lymon and Morris Levy. It became a big hit in 1956 for then 13-year-old Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers.

Lyrics (Excerpt)

Why do fools fall in love?
Why do birds sing so gay?
And lovers await the break of day
Why do they fall in love?

Related Video

Watch this classic clip of Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers' first nationwide performance on YouTube.

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Cold Cold Heart

Photo of Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr.
Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr. Redferns / Getty Images

This country song was written and recorded by singer-songwriter Hank Williams. It was first released in 1951 and has since been recorded by various artists; from Dinah Washington to Norah Jones

Lyrics (Excerpt)

tried so hard my dear to show that you're my every dream
Yet you're afraid each thing I do is just some evil scheme
A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart
Why can't I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

Related Video

Watch Hank Williams perform this beautifully-written song on YouTube.

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Since I Don't Have You

Vocal Quintet 'The Skyliners'
Vocal Quintet 'The Skyliners' pose for a publicity photo at a New York, New York studio circa 1959. The group consists of Jimmy Beaumont, Janet Vogel, Wally Lester, Joe VerScharen and Jackie Taylor. Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

A memorable ballad that was released in 1958 and made famous by the vocal group The Skyliners. This song was written by the groups' lead vocalist, James Beaumont, and Joseph Rock.

Lyrics (Excerpt)

I don't have plans and schemes
And I don't have hopes and dreams
I don't have anything
Since I don't have you

Related Video

Listen to this classic love song courtesy of YouTube.

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That's Amore

Dean Martin
Dean Martin, 1955. Hulton Archive / Getty Images

This song was composed by Harry Warren and recorded by singer/actor Dean Martin in 1953. "That's Amore" became one of Martin's signature songs.

Lyrics (Excerpt)

When the moon hits your eye
Like a big-a pizza pie
That's amore
When the world seems to shine
Like you've had too much wine
That's amore

Related Video

Watch Dean Martin perform this song courtesy of YouTube.

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You Belong to Me

Photo of Jo Stafford
CIRCA 1955: American pop and jazz singer Jo Stafford (1917-2008) sings into a microphone in a recording studio as her husband, arranger Paul Weston, conducts from the adjoining room. Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

One of the marks of a well-written song is the number of times it has been recorded and "You Belong to Me" certainly hits the mark. This song is credited to Chilton Price, Redd Stewart, and Pee Wee King. It was originally recorded by Sue Thompson but the most popular version is by Jo Stafford which was released in 1952. Other artists who covered this song include Paul Anka, Patsy Cline, Connie Francis, Anne Murray and Patti Page.

Lyrics (Excerpt)

See the pyramids along the Nile
Watch the sun rise on a tropic isle
But just remember, darling, all the while
You belong to me

Related Video

Feel nostalgic as you listen to Jo Stafford's hit song via YouTube.

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You're So Fine

The Falcons
The Falcons, with Eddie Floyd on the left, pose for a studio group portrait in 1959. Redferns / Getty Images

A song that was recorded by the vocal group The Falcons and released in 1959 under the Flick label. This song became a hit and features lead vocalist Joe Stubbs.

Lyrics (Excerpt)

You're so fine, you're so fine
You're mine, you're mine
I walk, and I talk, about you

Related Video

Listen to The Falcons' recording of this song from YouTube.