The trauma of pubescent stirrings has probably troubled adolescents since the stone age but it wasn’t until the 1950s that “teenagers” became identified as a distinct tribal entity with mixed-up emotions twixt 12 and 20 - and the new-found opportunity to sing about it, whether writing their own thoughts on the matter or groomed for pop stardom by Tin Pan Alley professionals. This supposed ‘age of innocence’ (or canny exploitation of the teenage market by wily old hucksters) produced some dreadful schlock but also many undeniable classics of the genre.
Our 60-tracker sorts the wheat from the chaff and also includes a strong seasoning of otherwise rock ‘n’ rolling stars who recorded a nod to their own teenage insecurities along the way. It’s a bewitching and generally tunefully catchy reminder of that time of life when ‘love’ is a metaphor for unruly lumps in the trousers of young men and blossoming bumps on the chests of young women. Aw, c’mon, own up, we’ve all been there.
1 Johnny Burnette Dreamin' 2 Ricky Nelson Poor Little Fool 3 Robin Luke Susie Darlin' 4 Dion and the Belmonts A Teenager In Love 5 Charlie Gracie Butterfly 6 Elvis Presley The Girl of my Best Friend 7 Conway Twitty It's Only Make Believe 8 Duane Eddy Because They're Young 9 Ray Peterson Corinne Corinna 10 Roy Orbison Only The Lonely 11 The Crickets When You Ask About Love 12 Bobby Vee Devil Or Angel 13 Jack Scott What In The World's Come Over You 14 Everly Brothers Let It Be Me 15 The Fleetwoods Come Softly To Me 16 Buddy Knox Hula Love 17 Ral Donner You Don't Know What You've Got 18 Paul Evans Hushabye Little Guitar 19 Jerry Keller Here Comes Summer 20 Connie Francis Carolina Moon 21 Sonny James Young Love 22 Bob Luman Dreamy Doll 23 Troy Shondell This Time 24 Del Shannon Runaway 25 Paul Anka I Love You Baby 26 The Poni Tails Born Too Late 27 Jerry Wallace Primrose Lane 28 Pat Boone Love Letters In The Sand 29 Neil Sedaka Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen 30 Santo and Johnny Sleepwalk
1 Johnny Burnette You're Sixteen 2 Bobby Darin Dream Lover 3 Johnny Tillotson Poetry in Motion 4 Bobby Vee More than I can say 5 Brenda Lee Emotions 6 Conway Twitty Heavenly 7 Dion Runaround Sue 8 The Skyliners Since I don't have you 9 Roy Orbison Blue Angel 10 Ray Peterson Tell Laura I love her 11 Jack Scott My True Love 12 Jerry Lee Lewis I'll make it all up to you 13 Buddy Holly Listen to me 14 Johnny Ferguson Angela Jones 15 The Kalin Twins When You Ask About Love 16 Connie Francis Who's sorry now 17 Pat Boone I'll be home 18 The Crests Sixteen candles 19 The Fleetwoods Mr. Blue 20 Elvis Presley How's the World treating you 21 Ral Donner Please don't go 22 Ritchie Valens Donna 23 Everly Brothers All I have to do is dream 24 Charlie Gracie I love you so much it hurts 25 Neil Sedaka Oh Carol 26 Paul Anka Diana 27 The Teddy Bears To know him is to love him 28 Ricky Nelson Lonesome town 29 Julie London Cry me a river 30 Floyd Cramer Last date