Who Sang These Golden Oldies?


Olivia Cantor

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Jac. de Nijs/Anefo

About This Quiz

We're not as detached from the past as we'd like to think. Our familiarity with golden oldies might prove that, thanks to contemporary efforts.

You've probably heard many of these classic songs as remakes but done differently than their original versions.

Musicians popular in a specific genre may have interpreted some of these tunes that originated from another style. Pop legend Madonna was guilty of this move when she rearranged a slow folk ballad into a danceable club hit. Performers also tap into the past repertoire of their genres and record their renditions of former chart-toppers. A prolific songwriter like Michael Jackson did this; so did Phil Collins and The Carpenters. 

Musicians aren't the only ones connecting with the past. Movie producers also have this practice of tapping an old song and securing its rights to become part of the soundtrack. Either the actors perform their versions in the movie, or the songs serve as background music for certain scenes. "Sister Act" did this; so did "Ghost." 

If you know the songs at which we're hinting, then you're very ready for this quiz! Let's begin!

"Everybody in the whole cell block" knew who sang "Jailhouse Rock" but do you?

Since Elvis fans always supported his projects, the "Jailhouse Rock" film is best remembered for the upbeat song and his sexy dancing. Many people overlooked the violent nature of his film character who was jailed for manslaughter and released only after two years, smashed a guitar and slapped a manager.


Can you "put your glad rags on" and join us in naming this "Rock Around the Clock" band?

Golden oldies, such as Bill Haley & His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock," reflected the vibe and vocabulary of their era. For this 1954 hit, the composers used the dated term "glad rags" which referred to the fancy clothes people wore to parties during those days.


Don't feel so uninspired in knowing who sang "A Natural Woman," OK? Who is this key to our peace of mind?

Aretha Franklin originally released "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" in 1967, a song Carole King co-wrote with Gerry Goffin specifically for the Queen of Soul. King later recorded the song and included her version in her well-acclaimed "Tapestry" album.


Like "Johnny B. Goode," who else could "play a guitar just like a-ringin' a bell"?

In the 1985 film, "Back to the Future," Marty McFly traveled to 1955 and played a soon-to-be-released rock 'n' roll tune: Chuck Berry's 1958 hit "Johnny B. Goode." The film toyed with the idea that Marty gave the song idea to Berry through the singer's cousin, Marvin, whom Marty met at the high school dance.


Which female felt "Crazy" for feeling so lonely?

A 30-year-old Patsy Cline died in a plane crash. But she left behind an influential country music legacy which showed how women could rule the genre and produce great hits. One such hit is her signature song, "Crazy."


Goodness gracious, who performed "Great Balls of Fire"?

Dennis Quaid brought Jerry Lee Lewis to life in a biographical film named after the singer's big hit called "Great Balls of Fire." It showed how Lewis rose to fame as a piano-playing singer with a similar sex appeal to Elvis Presley. Winona Ryder co-starred as Lewis' underage cousin whom he married.


Their mama said "You Can't Hurry Love" but can you tell who they are?

Motown is one of the hippest record labels from the '60. It produced timeless hits from a predominantly African-American roster. One prominent act to come out of the label were The Supremes, who sang many hits while signed with the label. "You Can't Hurry Love" is one of their signature songs.


"Calling out around the world!" Are you ready to name who sang "Dancing in the Street"?

Martha and the Vandellas made "Dancing in the Street" famous in the '60s until a more significant project made it even more famous decades later, 1985's Live Aid musical fundraiser which was simultaneously broadcast in the U.K. and U.S. Mick Jagger and David Bowie sang this song as a duet for the fundraiser.


To dance "La Bamba," which singer recommends a little bit of grace?

Filipino-American actor Lou Diamond Phillips portrayed Chicano rock musician Ritchie Valens on-screen in the 1987 biographical film, "La Bamba." The movie's title is from the singer's greatest hit, which was a rock 'n' roll adaptation of a Mexican folk song.


"All I Have to Do is Dream" and see if you know who sang this. So, who did?

The Everly Brothers had success with "All I Have to Do is Dream" as it topped many Billboard singles charts. This is unlike a more controversial song they recorded earlier called "Wake Up Little Susie," which some radio stations banned for having promiscuity-implied suggestive lyrics.


"On such a winter's day," which vocal group is "California Dreamin'"?

"California Dreamin'" is a song penned by some members of the group who made it popular: The Mamas and the Papas. They originally wrote this for Barry McGuire for his 1965 album, "This Precious Time," and sang backup vocals for him. But it was their recording that made the song famous.


Which group wanted to have "Fun Fun Fun" 'til their "daddy takes the T-Bird away"?

In their effort to celebrate the laid-back '60s California life, The Beach Boys recorded a few songs that featured popular American cars of that era. The most prominent one is "Fun Fun Fun" featuring a Thunderbird or T-Bird. Another Beach Boys anthem to American cars is "Little Deuce Coupe," which is about the '32 Ford.


"When your heart's on fire," who predicted that "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"?

A song with a curious case of "double golden oldies" status is "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." The Platters made this song a 1958 hit in their album titled "Remember When." But it originally came from the 1933 Broadway musical, "Roberta."


You've "got to be a joker" if you can't tell which band is behind "Come Together." Right now, over me, can you say who?

Different generations can tag their own "Come Together" exposure throughout history. Baby boomers made this 1969 Beatles song a hit, while Gen X teens may have preferred Michael Jackson's '90s version. Gen Z and millennial audiences who saw "Justice League" might prefer the soundtrack version.


"If you need me, call me." Who did this "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" duet with Tammi Terrell.

When contemporary movies aren't using golden oldies songs as soundtrack material, they're using them as storytelling devices sung by the characters. This happened with Marvin Gaye's duet with Tammi Terrell, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," when "Sister Act 2" used it for the ending.


"Time can do so much" if you know who sang "Unchained Melody." Do you know the answer?

We usually associate The Righteous Brothers' cover hit, "Unchained Melody," with "Ghost" and that famous Demi Moore-Patrick Swayze pottery-making scene. But the original version of the song came from a 1955 prison movie called "Unchained." Google "'Unchained Melody' by Todd Duncan" to see the clip.


Talkin' 'bout "My Girl." Which vocal group performed this great hit?

When visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio, look at the permanent exhibit called "Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" to see how they immortalized The Temptations. Aside from including "My Girl," the exhibit has two other songs from them: "Just My Imagination" and "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone."


"No, I won't be afraid" if you can say who sang "Stand By Me." Who's this talent?

Film soundtracks include golden oldies from the period they portray. "Stand By Me" is just one example. This 1986 Rob Reiner took it one step further and even used Ben E. King's song title for its movie title. This movie introduced the song to a newer generation and helped it enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart again.


Which singer loves and wants "Peggy Sue"?

In the time-traveling series "Quantum Leap," an episode featured Dr. Sam Beckett meeting a guitar-playing teen in a barn who suddenly played familiar music and sang "Piggy Sue." Sam realized he just met Buddy Holly and suggested changing the words to "Peggy Sue," the singer's biggest hit.


Which smart lady advised us to go "Downtown" when we're "alone and life is making" us lonely?

Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie reintroduced Petula Clark's 1964 hit, "Downtown," to a '90s audience when they sang it in the 1999 drama, "Girl, Interrupted." The scene had them pacifying a fellow mental institution inmate by playing the song outside her detention room door.


They got the other to wear their ring, all right. Which real-life couple sang "I Got You Babe"?

Before Cher became an LGBTQ icon with hits like "Believe," she sang as part of the duo Sonny & Cher with her former husband, Sonny Bono. They're best remembered for their certified gold hit, "I Got You Babe," released in 1965, a decade before their divorce.


"The day the music died ..." Which singer-songwriter penned "American Pie"?

Don McLean's 1971 folk hit, "American Pie," paid tribute to three pivotal golden oldies singers who died in a 1959 plane crash. They were "La Bamba" rocker Ritchie Valens, "Chantilly Lace" singer The Big Bopper, and "Peggy Sue" rock 'n' roller Buddy Holly.


"You're just too good to be true" if you can guess who sang "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." Do you know this group's leader?

If "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" sounds familiar to Netflix fans, that's because "Black Mirror" used it in a 2019 episode called "Smithereens." It was about a man losing his wife in a crash because he glanced at his smartphone while driving. The song title summed up the story.


"The light of love is in your eyes" all right, but can you tell which group was the first to record "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"?

All-girl vocal groups were all the rage during the '60s, and The Shirelles' popularity proved this. Their group even elevated the status of African American girl groups by becoming the first of such groups to have a chart-topper with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow."


She observed that lovers are the luckiest "People" in the world. Who made this conclusion?

Barbra Streisand's certified platinum album "People" album gave Streisand the first Billboard album chart-topper of her illustrious career. The 1964 album contained the song of the same title, first popularized in her 1963 movie musical, "Funny Girl."


Who urged us to take it and have another little "Piece of My Heart"?

Unscrupulous people wanted more than a piece of Janis Joplin's heart, according to her former lover, Peggy Caserta. During an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Caserta said a '70s biographer wanted lurid details of their life for a book, including the couple's drug use. In 2018, Caserta wrote a book to finally clear her name and Joplin's, too.


To stay in my heart forever, forever, "I Say A Little Prayer" for those who can identify this female singer. What's her name?

Burt Bacharach and Hal David composed many songs together which became hits, like "I Say A Little Prayer for You" which was originally sung by Dionne Warwick. The filmmakers of "My Best Friend's Wedding" must have been great fans of this duo because they used this song and their other familiar hits in the film.


We're exchanging glances with which "Strangers in the Night" crooner?

Performers know that certain songs sound better when sung by a man, but some songwriters nonetheless give their compositions to anyone regardless of gender. This happened to "Strangers in the Night," a song popularized by Frank Sinatra but first offered to Melina Mercouri.


There will be a letter for you if you know who sang "Please Mr. Postman." Can you identify them?

When a golden oldie reaches the top spot in Billboard's Hot 100 chart twice, it must have been a great song! This happened with "Please Mr. Postman," Motown's first chart-topper as sung by The Marvelettes in 1961. The Carpenters took it to the top spot again in 1975.


She loves him, she loves him, she loves him, so she declared "I Will Follow Him." Who made this pledge?

Little Peggy March, the American singer of the 1963 hit "I Will Follow Him," didn't have successful follow-up songs in her homeland because the British Invasion took over the music scene. But when her other hits became popular in Germany, she moved there and found success in Europe instead.


She gave us "Fever" all through the night. Who is this night owl?

Specific tunes become an artist's signature song even though someone else recorded it ahead of them. This is the case with the R&B song, "Fever," originally recorded by Little Willie John. But when Peggy Lee recorded a sultry jazz rendition of the song, it became identified with her the most.


"The only one who could ever reach" this singer is the "Son of a Preacher Man." Which lady was this?

Quentin Tarantino said that he specifically wanted Dusty Springfield's hit "Son of a Preacher Man" for a specific scene in "Pulp Fiction." It involved Vincent Vega entering Marsellus Wallace's home to pick up his wife, Mia. The director said he wouldn't have shot it if he hadn't gotten the rights to the song.


Cry if you want to, but can you tell who asserted "It's My Party" before you do?

Even pop songs can have a sequel, and this happened with Lesley Gore's big hit, "It's My Party." Since that song ranted about how the singing persona got dumped by her boyfriend, the sequel took a revenge angle. Its title is "Judy's Turn to Cry" which told of how the persona won her boyfriend back.


"Imagine me and you" knowing who sang "Happy Together." Which band performed this one?

Golden oldies sometimes have great lyrics that get picked as movie titles. This is the case with Lena Headey and Piper Perabo's 2005 rom-com, "Imagine Me & You," in which they play lovers. The title came from The Turtles' hit, "Happy Together," which they used as a narrative device in the film.


Who loves looking at clouds from "Both Sides Now"?

Joni Mitchell's classic, "Both Sides Now," deals with dualities in a melancholic manner. Yet Hollywood seems to love using the song for movies that vary in theme and tone. The song's original intent gets revised in the process. For example, when it was used in movies like "Hereditary" or "Toy Story 4."


About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes