29 Best Songs From 1959

By 1959, the world had enjoyed a treasure trove of various music genres, from rock and roll to blues and many in-between. This year also introduced the Grammy Awards.

If you're interested in listening to the best songs from 1959, check out this list of our favorites.

“Goodbye Jimmy, Goodbye” by Kathy Linden

Song year: 1959

Kathy Linden's soft and serene vocals for “Goodbye Jimmy, Goodbye” might resonate with music lovers looking for songs for their vintage playlists. The lyrics describe a woman bidding farewell to a guy and waiting for him to return.

Its mellow tone is the perfect song to listen to during a lazy night. It ranked 11th on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart and 85th on the Year-End Hot 100 Singles of 1959 list.

“Kansas City” by Wilbert Harrison

Song year: 1959

Originally recorded by Little Willie Littlefield, Wilbert Harrison's take on “Kansas City” incorporates a signature rock and roll sound that many late 1950s music lovers recognize. The song's piano and guitar accompaniment give it an extra groove that resonates with anybody's ear drums.

The lyrics tell a straightforward tale about a man eager to visit Kansas City and find a girl to love. It topped several pop and R&B charts for several weeks following its release.

“Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin

Song year: 1959

One of the best songs from 1959 that many people can't mistake for anything else is Bobby Darin's rendition of “Beyond the Sea,” an English version of Charles Trenet’s French song “La Mer,” which skyrocketed him onto the music scene. The jazzy orchestra gives the song a timeless sound.

This sea-centric song expresses the feeling of the narrator wishing to find or reunite with his love, regardless of the distance. Months after its release, this single ranked sixth on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Peggy Sue Got Married” by Buddy Holly

Song year: 1959

“Peggy Sue Got Married” is the sequel to Buddy Holly's 1957 hit, “Peggy Sue.” While many good songs from 1959 incorporate a recurring theme about wanting to find a girl to love, the narrator states that the girl he wanted is now married to somebody else. Despite its bittersweet lyrics, it has an upbeat sound.

The song was posthumously released months after Holly's death. Many other artists recorded covers of this song, including The Crickets, Rikki Henderson, and The Hollies.

“Kissin’ Time” by Bobby Rydell

Song year: 1959

Another excellent love-themed rock and roll song you should listen to when you're feeling nostalgic is “Kissin' Time.” This song was the first single Bobby Rydell released, jumpstarting his music career as a teen idol when he was 17. Its upbeat bassline and brass instrumentation are catchy and can put anybody in a dancing mood. It ranked 11th on the Hot 100 Chart.

“Poison Ivy” by The Coasters

Song year: 1959

The lyrics of The Coasters' “Poison Ivy” compare a beautiful yet dangerous woman to the itchy titular plant. It has a moderate yet upbeat rock and roll tempo. Although the lyrics reference skin conditions and plants, many interpret the title as a reference to symptoms of sexually transmitted infections.

This song ranked seventh on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart and topped the R&B charts. Several music groups have recorded covers of this popular song, including The Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, and Redbone.

“Pink Shoe Laces” by Dodie Stevens

Song year: 1959

“Pink Shoe Laces” showcased Dodie Stevens' vocal talent when she was 13. The drum and saxophone accompaniment give this pop song extra energy. The lyrics tell the tale of a man wearing outlandish, colorful attire who the narrator loves. His attire is so striking he’d prefer going to battle and getting buried in it.

This catchy single peaked at the third position on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart and sold over a million copies. Other artists who performed notable covers of this song include The Chordettes.

“I Only Have Eyes for You” by The Flamingos

Song year: 1959

Initially written for the 1934 film Dames, The Flamingos's rendition of “I Only Have Eyes for You” is one of the most intimate, slow love songs you could find in this period. The subdued music accompaniment and the blending of each singer's vocals enhance this doo-wop song.

The lyrics’ message is straightforward, expressing how a person only has eyes for the one they love. It ranked 11th on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart and third on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart.

“Sweeter Than You” by Ricky Nelson

Song year: 1959

If you're in a romantic mood late at night, the best song to play to enhance your home's ambiance is Ricky Nelson's “Sweeter Than You,” a ballad describing a man's devotion to the woman he loves, stating how nobody else compares to her.

It's the type of song you'd hear when they call everyone for a slow dance on the dance floor at any wedding anniversary party. It peaked in the ninth position on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart and ranked 83rd on their Songs of the Year list.

“Sweet Nothin’s” by Brenda Lee

Song year: 1959

Rockabilly music was a staple music genre of the 1950s, and this Brenda Lee song is no exception. The song's moderate tempo and sassy lyrics about sweet talking give the song an extra edge that any teenager at the time could enjoy. She recorded this song when she was 14.

“Sweet Nothin's” peaked in the fourth spot on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart and the UK Singles Chart in 1960, months after its initial release.

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