1001 Songs Challenge,  1950s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #61: Tutti Frutti (1955)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!


Little Richard – Tutti Frutti (1955)

Tutti Frutti (song)

” Tutti Frutti” (Italian: “All fruits”) is a song written by Little Richard and Dorothy LaBostrie that was first recorded in 1955, becoming Little Richard’s first major hit record. With its energetic refrain, often transcribed as “A-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-lop-bam-boom!”

Lyrics (via Genius)
Learn more about this song (via Genius)


The rock and roll genre continues to fascinate with today’s selection that keeps us in the US. The artist here was many things at the height of his popularity but brave is certainly one of them. In 1950s America, before the civil rights movement of Martin Luther King Jr, Little Richard took to the stage with wild hair, make-up, and high energy performances that stunned the reserved audiences looking on, some in fear, others in confusion, while many were inspired by what they were witnessing. Little Richard’s breakthrough hit is our chosen song today – Tutti Frutti.

Tutti Frutti had been performed by Little Richard for a few years before it became a big hit. Due to the rather risque sexual lyrics of its original format, the song was edited and toned down to try and make it more appealing to the masses. Little Richard sings first of a woman called Sue and then of Daisy. One knows what to do and the other drives him crazy. Even in its edited state, Tutti Frutti still sounds pretty saucy if you dig deep into those lyrics, and this is largely thanks to the delivery of Little Richard. 

Pat Boone would sing a more conservative version of Tutti Frutti to overshadow this one but you can’t really beat Little Richard for the sheer drive and energy behind his singing and his stage persona. Other great songs would follow, especially the wonderful Long Tall Sally, but this song remains a rock and roll classic more than 60 years after its release. A worthy addition to this list without question. A whop bop-a-lu a whop bam boo indeed!


Favourite songs so far:

Edith Piaf – La Vie en Rose (1946)

Elmore James – Dust My Broom (1952)

Little Richard – Tutti Frutti (1955)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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