These are thirty records that were released between 1956 and 1963 that did not make the Billboard pop chart top twenty. They are listed in order of their ranking, from the ones that totally missed the charts to some that narrowly missed the top twenty.

IN ORDER OF THEIR RELEASE:


Why Do Fools Fall in Love by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers 2/18/1956 #6
Roll Over Bethoven by Chuck Berry 6/30/1956 #29
I'll Remember (In the Still of the Night) by The Five Satins 9/29/1956 #24
I Put a Spell On You by Screamin' Jay Hawkins 11/8/1956 #
Lucille by Little Richard 4/6/1957 #21
Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu by Huey Piano Smith & the Clowns 7/11/1957 #52
I Wonder Why by Dion & the Belmonts 5/26/1958 #22
Rave On by Buddy Holly 6/9/1958 #37
King Creole by Elvis Presley 7/1/1958 #
Summertime Summertime by The Jamies 9/15/1958 #26
La Bamba by Ritchie Valens 1/19/1959 #22
Only Sixteen by Sam Cooke 7/6/1959 #28
Shout by Isley Brothers 10/12/1959 #47
Misty by Johnny Mathis 10/15/1959 #12
Love Potion No. 9 by The Clovers 11/2/1959 #23
Money (That's What I Want) by Barrett Strong 3/21/1960 #23
Mountain of Love by Harold Dorman 4/18/1960 #21
A Fool in Love by Ike & Tina Turner 10/3/1960 #27
There She Goes by Jerry Wallace 1/9/1961 #26
Some Kind of Wonderful by The Drifters 4/10/1961 #32
Every Breath I Take by Gene Pitney 6/5/1961 #42
Cupid by Sam Cooke 6/26/1961 #17
Right Or Wrong by Wanda Jackson 8/14/1961 #29
It Will Stand by The Showmen 10/1/1961 #61
The Great Imposter by The Fleetwoods 10/2/1961 #30
Born To Lose by Ray Charles 5/19/1962 #41
Lemon Tree by Peter, Paul & Mary 6/9/1962 #35
Surfin' Safari by The Beach Boys 9/15/1962 #14
Hully Gully Baby by The Dovells 9/15/1962 #25
Don't Make Me Over by Dionne Warwick 1/5/1963 #21
Greenback Dollar by The Kingston Trio 2/23/1963 #21
Over the Mountain by Bobby Vinton 3/30/1963 #21
Come and Get These Memories by Martha & the Vandellas 5/18/1963 #29
Blue Bayou by Roy Orbison 10/12/1963 #29
Cry to Me by Betty Harris 10/26/1963 #23
Can I Get a Witness by Marvin Gaye 11/23/1963 #22

Most of Sam Cooke's records could be labeled "under rated." He only had one #1, "You Send Me," his first hit record in 1957. "Only Sixteen" was his fourth in the top forty but it didn't make it any higher than #28. His next two releases, "Wonderful World" (#12) and "Chain Gang" (#2) did much better and I consider "Only Sixteen" to be just as good.
"King Creole" was never released as a single and thus was uncharted, but to me, it is one of Elvis Presley's best even though it rarely appears on any of Elvis's "Greatest Hits."
Jay Hawkins became "Screamin'" Jay Hawkins after the Okey label's version of "I Put A Spell On You" was released in October of 1956. Previously recorded as a ballad, the new version never charted as it was banned by many radio stations. But it did become very popular as part of Hawkins' stage act that was featured by Alan Freed's Rock and Roll Revue." The song has been covered by artists such as Creedence Clearwater Revival and Annie Lennox.
I rate "It Will Stand" as one of the best tributes to rock and roll, but it never got any higher than #61 on Billboard.
"Rockin' Pneumonia" peaked at #52, but is an instantly recognizable product of early rock and roll. Johnny Rivers' verson would reach #6 in 1973.
"Shout" is a rock and roll classic that has remained popular at dance parties. The original version peaked at #47. Many are familiar with the song due to its performance by Otis Day & The Knights in the movie, "Animal House." Many artists have included it on albums and Joey Dee & The Starlighters took it to #6 in 1962. The original is still the best.
Included in the movie "Dirty Dancing," Solomon Burke's "Cry To Me" gained public attention in 1987, but in 1962 it only reached #44 on Billboard. Betty Harris faired a little better with the song in 1963 (#22). After hearing it in the movie (the seductive dance scene) it became a favorite of mine. Amazingly, it wasn't included in the original soundtrack album of the movie.
"Every Breath I Take" peaked at #42, but would have probably done much better had it been released after Gene Pitney had his big hits such as "Only Love Can Break a Heart" and "Liberty Valance." It had all the makings for a top song as it was written by Carole King and Geofrey Goffin and produced by Phil Specter.
Ray Charles had two big hit singles from his album, "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music" -- "I Can't Stop Loving You" (#1) and "You Don't Know Me" (#2) and I consider "Born To Lose" on par with both of those, but it peakedat #41 -- probablybecause it was the flip side to "I Can't Stop Loving You." It should have been its own single.
Buddy Holly became a star in 1957 with three top ten records, but things slowed down a bit in 1958 as "Maybe Baby" (#18) was his only top twenty entry. "Rave On" should have been more popular, but it topped out at #37.
"Lemon Tree" was the first single released by Peter, Paul & Mary in June of 1962. It peaked at #35 while "If I Had A Hammer," released two months later would be a #10 hit. I think "Lemon Tree" is at least as good.
Most every single released by The Drifters from 1960 to 1963 became a top twenty hit. "Sweets For My Sweet" climbed to #16 in 1961. "Some King of Wonderful" peaked at #32. Come on people!
The Fleetwoods had phenomenal success in 1959 with two number ones: "Come Softly To Me" and "Mr. Blue." They released several other great records in the next two years, but only "Tragedy" reached the top ten. Their final top forty entry was "The Great Imposter" in 1961. I think it's as good as "Mr. Blue."
"Roll Over Bethoven" is a Chuck Berry masterpiece and it is a shame its highest ranking was #29. At that same time (July 1956) Perry Como had two top twenty records and two versions of "Moonglow/Theme FromPicnic" were also included. Of course, rock and roll was fairly new.
"Come and Get These Memories" was a Motown product that preceded Martha & The Vandellas big hits. Released in May, it peaked at #29. The group's next release, "Heat Wave"made it to #4. Maybe they should have re-released "Come and Get These Memories."
Wanda Jackson was a country artist who tried her hand at rock and roll in the mid 1950's and was sometimes called the "Queen of Rockabilly." In 1961 she returned to her country roots and released "Right or Wrong. It reached #9 on the country chart, and crossed over to #29 on the pop chart. I think it should have done much better. A Ronnie Dove version did make #14 in 1964.
"Blue Bayou" is a classic Roy Orbison song. Unfortunately, it was released as the B-side to "Mean Woman Blues" which reached #5. "Blue Bayou" peaked at #29. Linda Ronstadt made it a #3 hit in 1976.
Sam Cooke produced a lot of hits that should have ranked higher. While most of his others at least made the top twenty, "Only Sixteen" peaked at #28. In 1975, Dr. Hook's version made it to #6.
"A Fool in Love" was the first collaboration between Ike and Tina Turner. It was a #2 R&B hit, but stalled at #27 on the pop chart.
"Summertime, Summertime" is a classic pop doo-wop record that combines the doo-wop genre with the pop sound of pre Elvis Era vocal groups. Most would think it a big pop hit (ala The Chordette's "Lollipop") but it stalled at #26.
Jerry Wallace's "There She Goes" isn't a highly recognized song, except it was covered by Patsy Cline and was sung by Sissy Spacek in the bio pic of Loretta Lynn "Coalminer's Daughter."
"In the Still of the Night" is a doo-wop classic that many would assume to have reached the top of the chart, but it peaked at #24. And for the younger crowd, of course it was immortalized in Ronnie Milsap's "Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night)" in 1985.
Many would mis-identify The Clovers' "Love Potion No. 9" as a Coaster's record because of its comedic theme and that it was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller who also wrote "Charlie Brown." But it wasn't as successful as The Coasters' "Charlie Brown" It was a #3 for The Searchers in 1964.
"Money (That's What I Want)" was the first hit song to come out of Motown. Written by Barry Gordy and Janie Bradford, it wasn't nearly as successful as future Motown records, but it was a good start. It probably would have done better had it been released at a later date when the Motown sound was more widely recognized.
Dion & The Belmont's first entry on the pop chart, "I Wonder Why" is another doo-wop classic that most would assume was at least a top ten but it stalled at #22. And who can forget Nicholas Cage's version in "Peggy Sue Got Married."
"La Bamba" is another victim of being released as a B-side." Ritchie Valens had a monster hit with his ballad, "Donna." But when disc jockeys flipped it over and played the rocked up traditional Mexican folk song, it got enough attention to make #22 on its own. Los Lobos made it a #1 song when they performed it for the bio-pic "La Bamba" in 1987.
"Can I Get A Witness" was another early Motown release that has stood the test of time. This was classic Marvin Gaye (with The Supremes singing background vocals) and still it got no better than #22.
Little Richard's "Lucille" ranks right up there with the other rock founder's hits, but while "Long Tall Sally" and "Good Golly Miss Molly" were both top ten hits, "Lucille" stalled at #21.
I first heard "Mountain of Love" when it was released by Johnny Rivers in 1964. His version reached #9 -- the original is close to being as good as his.
"Don't Make Me Over" was Dionne Warwick's first record to chart. In 1964 she would reach the top ten with "Walk on By." I actually lkie "Don't Make Me Over" better.
"Greenback Dollar" was the product of the second edition of The Kingston Trio when John Stewart replaced Dave Guard. I consider it one of the group's best -- it seems to have a harder edge than most of their other chart entries, such as "M.T.A" or "Tijuana Jail."
X