Number 1 – 11


Here’s songs 1-11 on the 2017 Great 88:


“Be My Baby” by The Ronettes (1963)

Phil Spector got a songwriting credit on this along with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. In an interview on National Public Radio (NPR), Ronnie Spector said she felt the song was inspired by her budding romance with Phil.

2016:  #70, Highest Ranking:  #2 (2014)



“Runaway” by Del Shannon (1961)

Shannon and his keyboard player, Max Crook, came up with this while they were playing a club in their hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan. Crook played a keyboard called a “Musitron” on the song.

2016:  #1, Highest Ranking:  #1 (2012 and 2016)



“Earth Angel” by The Penguins (1954)

One of the most popular Doo Wop songs of all time, “Earth Angel” was just the second Doo Wop song to hit the Top 10 on the Pop charts, following the Chords’ “Sh-Boom.”

2016:  #19 Highest Ranking:  #12 (2015)



“Stay” by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs (1960)

This was written by Maurice Williams. It is his only major hit as an artist, though he also wrote the successful single “Little Darlin’,” which was a hit for The Diamonds in 1957.

2016:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First year on survey



“Silhouettes by The Rays (1957)

In May 1957, songwriter Bob Crewe saw a couple embracing through a window shade as he passed on a train. He quickly set about turning the image into a song. Frank Slay, who owned the small Philadelphia record label XYZ with Crewe, added lyrics, and they soon had a complete song ready to record. The story has frequently been reported that Slay heard The Rays audition for Cameo-Parkway Records, for which he worked, and immediately decided that they were the perfect group for “Silhouettes”. However, Slay and Crewe were actually already familiar with the group, as “Silhouettes” was their third single with them.

2016:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First year on survey



“Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis (1957)

Like Lewis’ previous hit, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” this contained a lot of sexual innuendo, which was shocking for a southern musician in 1957. Lewis grew up in a religious household and was conflicted over whether or not he should record this. He and Sun Records owner Sam Phillips argued as Phillips tried to convince him to sing it.

2016:  #81, Highest Ranking:  #52 (2014)



“Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles (1961)

When first presented with the song, lead singer Shirley Owens (later known as Shirley Alston-Reeves) did not want to record it, because she thought it was “too country.” She relented after a string arrangement was added.

2016:  #11, Highest Ranking:  #11 (2016)


“Come Go With Me” by The Dell-Vikings (1957)

The song was originally recorded by The Del-Vikings in 1956 and was released on Fee Bee Records. Norman Wright was the lead vocalist on this song. When the group signed with Dot Records in 1957, the song became a hit, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming the group’s highest-charting song. The song was later featured in the films American Graffiti (1973), Diner (1982), Stand by Me (1986) and Joe Versus the Volcano (1990).

2016:  #4, Highest Ranking:  #4 (2016)



“Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino (1956)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin performed this song on December 10, 2010 at a charity event in front of an audience of international film and television celebrities. Videos of his performance quickly went viral worldwide. Putin’s spokesman said the former KGB chief learned the lyrics to the song as part of his English language studies.

2016:  #325 Highest Ranking:  #25 (2016)


“The Twist” by Chubby Checker (1960 and 1962)

Hank Ballard & The Midnighters tried to get a Twist craze going with their original version of the song, doing the dance at their shows as they toured America (their dance was a little different, with band members lifting a leg to twist). It caught on in Philadelphia and in Baltimore, but was far from a national craze until Chubby Checker covered the song.

2016: #6, Highest Ranking:  #6 (2016)



“In the Still of the Night” by The Five Satins (1956)

This is the only song to have charted on the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times, by the same artist with the same version each time. After initially reaching #24 in 1956, it was released again in 1960 and reached #81. Then more than a year later in 1961 it reached #99.

2016:  #5, Highest Ranking:  #1 (2015)


Check out all the songs that made the Great 88 here. You can also see the first round results here.

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