Can You Name These 1950s Rock & Roll Songs From Their Opening Lyrics?

By: Allison Lips
Estimated Completion Time
5 min
Can You Name These 1950s Rock & Roll Songs From Their Opening Lyrics?
Image: PictureNet/Corbis/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Put your glad rags on and join the fun. We're going to take a trip back to the 1950s, when rock & roll was still believed to be dangerous. It was a time when the kids rocked around the clock, listened to Elvis, and danced on American Bandstand.

Jerry Lee Lewis, the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash were just a few of the big names who made their mark on the decade. Unfortunately,  Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper perished on the "day the music died" and did not live to see the end of the decade. However, their records made a huge contribution to the future of rock & roll.

Songs from the 1950s have been covered by everyone from the Beatles to the Stray Cats. Many songs were covered multiple times by contemporary artists of the decade and topped the charts with different renditions. It wasn't uncommon for an Elvis song to have originated with another artist.  How much do you know about 1950s rock and roll? 

"Well, it's one for the money. Two for the show. Three to get ready. Now go, cat, go!" Test your knowledge of these classic 1950s rock & roll songs!



Which song begins, "Para bailar La Bamba"?
Back in the U.S.A.
Splish Splash
Rock Around the Clock
La Bamba
Ricky Valens' "La Bamba" was adapted from the Mexican folk song of the same name. In 2004, "Rolling Stone" magazine named it 354 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

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"If you knew Peggy Sue, then you'd know why I feel blue without Peggy," begins which Buddy Holly song?
Rave On
That'll Be the Day
Raining in My Heart
Peggy Sue
"Peggy Sue" started life as "Cindy Lou." Cindy Lou was the name of Buddy Holly's niece. The name was changed at the suggestion of Jerry Allison, who changed it to his then-girlfriend's name.

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Which song features the line "Day-o, day-o, daylight come and me wan' go home"?
Poison Ivy
Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)
Harry Belafonte released his version of "Day-O" in 1956. The song is a traditional Jamaican folk song.
Why Do Fools Fall in Love
Jailhouse Rock

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Which Elvis song begins with "Well, it's one for the money. Two for the show. Three to get ready. Now go, cat, go"?
Blue Suede Shoes
Carl Perkins wrote "Blue Suede Shoes." His version topped the country chart, the rhythm & blues chart and the pop chart. However, Elvis's version would go on to sell more copies.
Hound Dog
Mystery Train
Jailhouse Rock

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"Splish, splash, I was takin' a bath" begins which song?
Splish Splash
Bobby Darin's "Splish Splash" was released in 1958. It mentions "Lollipop," "Peggy Sue" and "Good Golly Miss Molly" from other period songs.
Rock Around the Clock
Blue Suede Shoes
Folsom Prison Blues

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"You ain't nothin' but a hound dog" is the introduction to which song?
Hound Dog
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote "Hound Dog." Big Mama Thornton recorded the song in 1953. In 1956, Elvis would release his version.
Jailhouse Rock
Why Do Fools Fall in Love
Mystery Train

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Which lady is the subject of "Oh Susie Q, Oh Susie Q, I love you, my Susie Q"?
Chantilly Lace
Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)
Peggy Sue
Susie Q
Dale Hawkins released "Susie Q" in 1957. In the 1960s, Both Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Rolling Stones recorded cover versions.

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Which song starts with "Your cheatin' heart will make you weep"?
Hound Dog
Your Cheatin' Heart
Hank Williams recorded "Your Cheatin' Heart" in 1952. The song would see chart success in 1953, shortly after his death.
Folsom Prison Blues
Poison Ivy

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What are you going to do when you hear "One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock, rock"?
Jingle Bell Rock
Rock Around the Clock
While in the studio, Bill Haley & His Comets only had two takes to capture the song. The first tape was unusable because Haley's vocals could not be heard, so the second take had minimal backing. An engineer was able to salvage the tapes through splicing together segments from the two takes.
Splish Splash
Shake, Rattle, and Roll

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Where was Fats Domino singing about with "I found my thrill"?
Blueberry Hill
"Blueberry Hill" was originally released in the 1940s, when Gene Autry recorded a version. Fats Domino's rock and roll version became popular in the 1950s.
Jailhouse Rock
Folsom Prison Blues
Back in the U.S.A

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"I hear the train a comin'. It's rollin' 'round the bend," is the first line in which song?
Mystery Train
Chantilly Lace
Bye Bye Love
Folsom Prison Blues
On July 13, 1968, Johnny Cash recorded a live album inside Folsom Prison. "Folsom Prison Blues," the song that started it all, was inspired by the film "Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison."

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"Come along my baby, whole lotta shakin' goin' on" is the first line of which song?
Shout
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
In 1955, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" was first recorded by Big Maybelle. Jerry Lee Lewis would record his well-known version in 1957.
Shake, Rattle and Roll
Bye Bye Love

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Which song began "Earth angel, earth angel"?
Why Do Fools Fall In Love
Peggy Sue
Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)
When "Earth Angel" was released by the Penguins, it became more popular than its A-side, "Hey Señorita." The two songs were released in October 1954.
Your Cheatin' Heart

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Which song about a woman starts "Maybellene, why can't you be true"?
Maybellene
"Maybellene" is Chuck Berry's interpretation of a traditional country tune called "Ida Red." He originally named his song "Ida Mae," but Leonard Chess, the owner of Chess Records, didn't like the name. After spotting a mascara box with "Maybelline" written on it, he suggested the song could be called "Maybellene."
Susie Q.
Peggy Sue
Lucille

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Little Richard starts which song with "Bop bop-a-lu a whop bam boo" (or something similar)?
Long Tall Sally
Tutti Frutti
Little Richard wrote "Tutti Frutti" with Dorothy LaBostrie. The original lyrics were racier, but a cleaned-up version was released in 1955. Elvis Presley would record a version that was released the following year.
Good Golly Miss Molly
Lucille

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What are you going to do when you hear the song that starts, "Well, you know you make me wanna"?
Shake, Rattle and Roll
Maybellene
Splish Splash
Shout
The Isley Brothers recorded "Shout" as a response to Jackie Wilson's "Lonely Teardrops." The song peaked at number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Which holiday song starts "Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock"?
White Christmas
Jingle Bell Rock
Bobby Helms released "Jingle Bell Rock" in 1957. The song's B-side was "Captain Santa Claus (and His Reindeer Space Patrol)."
The Christmas Song
Baby's First Christmas

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What song begins "Love me tender, love me sweet"?
Hound Dog
Mystery Train
Love Me Tender
"Love Me Tender" shares its melody with the Civil War song "Aura Lee." Elvis released "Love Me Tender" in 1956.
Jailhouse Rock

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Which classic rock & roll song's first line is "Well be-bop-a-Lula she's my baby"?
Peggy Sue
Great Balls of Fire
Jailhouse Rock
Be-Bop-a-Lula
In 1956, Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps recorded "Be-Bop-A-Lula." It has since been covered by David Cassidy, Queen, the Stray Cats and many other artists.

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The first line of which song is "Well, I got a woman, way over town"?
Poison Ivy
Chantilly Lace
Peggy Sue
I Got a Woman
"I Got a Woman" became Ray Charles' first number one in 1955. The Beatles recorded a version of the song in 1963 for BBC Radio.

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Which song starts with "Gypsy woman told my momma, before I was born"?
Shake, Rattle and Roll
Rock Around the Clock
Susie Q
Hoochie Coochie Man
Willie Dixon wrote "Hoochie Coochie Man." Muddy Waters recorded the song in 1954.

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"I took my troubles down to Madame Ruth" is from which song?
Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)
Why Do Fools Fall In Love
Love Potion No. 9
"Love Potion No. 9" is another song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. This song was originally recorded by the Clovers. The song's initial release was in July 1959.
Hoochie Coochie Man

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"Gonna tell Aunt Mary 'bout Uncle John" is from which song?
Chantilly Lace
Peggy Sue
Susie Q
Long Tall Sally
"Long Tall Sally" was written by Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, Enotris Johnson and Richard Penniman. Little Richard recorded it in 1956.

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What song begins "Hello baby, Yeah, this is the Big Bopper speakin'"?
"White Lightnin'"
Running Bear
Treasure of Love
Chantilly Lace
The Big Bopper released his version in 1958. The B-side was "The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor."

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Who is the subject of the song that begins, "Deep down in Louisiana close to New Orleans"?
Johnny B. Goode
"Rolling Stone" considers "Johnny B. Goode" to be the first rock & roll hit about rock & roll stardom. The song came about in April 1958 and was based on Chuck Berry's experiences.
Peggy Sue
Maybellene
Hoochie Coochie Man

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"I keep a close watch on this heart of mine" is the start of which song?
Great Balls of Fire
Johnny B. Goode
I Walk the Line
In 1956, Johnny Cash scored his first big hit with "I Walk the Line." The song stayed on the charts for well over six months.
Love Potion No. 9

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What song begins with "You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain"?
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
Rock Around the Clock
Great Balls of Fire
Jerry Lee Lewis recorded "Great Balls of Fire" at Sun Studio. It was released on November 11, 1957.
Why Do Fools Fall in Love

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Which song opens with "I'm gonna raise a fuss, I'm gonna raise a holler"?
I've Got a Woman
Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)
Rock Around the Clock
Summertime Blues
Eddie Cochran co-wrote "Summertime Blues" with his manager Jerry Capehart. It was originally released as a B-side. In September 1958, the song peaked at 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Which song announced that "The warden threw a party in the county jail"?
I Walk the Line
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
Jailhouse Rock
"Jailhouse Rock" shares its name with the 1957 movie it appears in. It was Elvis's third movie.
Shout

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"She comes on like a rose but everybody knows" describes which woman?
Susie Q
Chantilly Lace
Peggy Sue
Poison Ivy
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote "Poison Ivy." The Coasters recorded a version in 1959 that went to the top of the R&B chart.

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"Oh wah, oh wah, oh wah, oh wah, oh wah, oh wah" starts which song?
Why Do Fools Fall in Love
Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers saw chart success with "Why Do Fools Fall in Love." Lymon died of an overdose at the age of 26.
Shake, Rattle and Roll
Be-Bop-a-Lula
Sweet Little Sixteen

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What 1950s song starts with "You know I can be found, sitting home all alone"?
Bye Bye Love
Summertime Blues
Don't Be Cruel
In 1956, "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel" were released on two sides of the same 45 RPM record. They are still two of Elvis's biggest hits.
Your Cheating Heart

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Which song starts, "Get outta that bed, wash your face and hands"?
Shake, Rattle and Roll
"Shake, Rattle and Roll" was written in 1954 by Jesse Stone. Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley & His Comets, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, and Jerry Lee Lewis all recorded versions of the song.
Rock Around the Clock
Hound Dog
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

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"Oh well, oh well, I feel so good today" is the first line of which song?
Sweet Little Sixteen
Johnny B. Goode
You Can Never Tell
Back in the U.S.A.
Chuck Berry released his version of "Back in the U.S.A" in 1959. Almost 20 years later, Linda Ronstadt would release her version as a single.

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Which song starts with "Hey mama, don't you treat me wrong"?
I Got a Woman
This Little Girl of Mine
Mess Around
What'd I Say
Ray Charles wrote and recorded the original version of "What'd I Say." Elvis recorded a version and used it in the 1964 film "Viva Las Vegas."

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