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Chapter 35: All Shook Up

50s rock & roll

Once you've discovered the groundbreaking R&B that led to the explosion of rock n’ roll, a figure like Elvis Presley seems less like an innovator than a charismatic, reverent interpreter. (If you are less charitable, you could call him a ripoff artist.) He’s a hell of a singer, though, and practically every song he touched became the definitive version. In fact, each of these songs, from the guileless “Rock Around The Clock” to the one-good-joke “Tequila,” can still shake up a dance floor, possessed by the electricity of a whole musical universe cracking open.
1. Bill Haley & His Comets

Rock Around the Clock

2. Elvis Presley

All Shook Up

3. Johnny Burnette & The Rock N' Roll Trio

The Train Kept a Rollin'

4. Elvis Presley

Mystery Train

5. Gene Vincent


6. Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley

7. Carl Perkins

Blue Suede Shoes

8. Elvis Presley

Blue Moon of Kentucky

9. The Champs


10. Ray Charles

What'd I Say, Pts. 1 & 2