“Blue” is a word of great contradiction. People often cite blue as their favorite color and reference blue eyes, the sky and oceans as being beautiful. Blue is valued because it is the hardest hue to hold in nature. Yet blue also means gloomy and depressed. Having the blues or a blue day means going through a dismal and dreary time. The blues and rhythm and blues music are named for the depression and melancholy they grew out of. And from them came rock and roll music.
“The blues is an expression of anger against shame and humiliation,” B.B. King once said, according to popmatters.com.
Here are some pop, rock and R&B songs with “blue” in the title.
“Blueberry Hill,” “My Blue Heaven” and “Blue Monday” by Fats Domino
“Blueberry Hill” may be the greatest rock and roll song to not reach number one on the pop chart. The highest it got was number two, in an era when segregated “race music” often shortchanged black artists. “Blueberry Hill” and “Blue Monday” both did manage to go to number one on the R&B chart.
“Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat
Also titled “L’amour est Bleu,” it is the only number one single on the American “Billboard Hot 100” chart to originate in France. “Dominique” by the Singing Nun was recorded in French, but the singer was from Belgium and recorded the song there. The instrumental by Mauriat was the definitive version of “Love Is Blue,” but someone did a disservice to the tune by adding lyrics and there were numerous cover versions of the song featuring lyrics. The song had a very simple and pleasing melody.
“Mr. Blue” by the Fleetwoods
Here the word “blue” is definitely a downer because the guy’s gal is fooling around on him. She is “painting the town , A bright red to turn it upside down, I’m paintin’ it too, But I’m paintin’ it blue.” This was the Fleetwoods’ second number one song of 1959, following “Come Softly To Me.”
“Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins
Although Elvis Presley did a nice cover of the song and had a top 20 hit with it, the Carl Perkins’ version is the best one and remains the very definition of “rockabilly.” Trisha Yearwood says she’s “Gonna bronze these blue suede shoes” as a putdown of rock and roll and a longing for country music in her song “Wrong Side Of Memphis.” However, “Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins was in fact also a number one country hit.
“Blue Bayou” and “Blue Angel” by Roy Orbison; “Blue Bayou” also by Linda Ronstadt
It is very debatable who did a better version of “Blue Bayou,” Roy Orbison or Linda Ronstadt. Linda certainly did better on the pop chart, taking the song to number three in 1977.
“Blue Moon” by the Marcels
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (Rodgers and Hart) wrote “Blue Moon” back in 1934. A version by the doo-wop group the Marcels went to number one in 1961. “Blue Moon” was the only song written by the legendary composers to become a major hit without originating in a stage or screen musical.
“Crystal Blue Persuasion” by Tommy James and the Shondells
When we talk about psychedelic music and lyrics from the mid to late 1960s, Tommy James and the Shondells had two major contributions. “Crimson and Clover” went to number one and “Crystal Blue Persuasion” made it to number two in 1969.
“Song Sung Blue” by Neil Diamond
This song became Diamond’s second number one hit and also went to the top of the adult contemporary chart.
“Midnight Blue” by Melissa Manchester
This was Melissa’s first big hit and had a sultry quality to it. It reached the top of the adult contemporary chart in 1975.
“Navy Blue” by Diane Renay
A gal is feeling blue because her guy said “Ship ahoy and joined the Navy.” This song made the top 10 in 1964 despite competing with British Invasion acts.
“Venus In Blue Jeans” by Jimmy Clanton
There may be nothing more American than blue jeans, yet these versatile, comfortable clothes are now almost universally worn. This was Clanton’s last top 10 hit.
“Blue on Blue” and “Blue Velvet” by Bobby Vinton
These were two smash hits for Vinton in 1963, with “Blue Velvet” reaching number one on the “Billboard Hot 100” and adult contemporary charts. Vinton will always be the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the last person to have a number one song before the British Invasion?” That was Vinton, with “There! I’ve Said It Again,” the number one song right before “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles took over.
Related articles: Walking Songs, Hits With “Walk” in the Titles
Night Songs, Hits by Music Stars With the Word “Night” in the Titles
Rain Songs, Best Songs With Rain in the Title
“Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits,” Fred Bronson, Billboard Books, 1995
“The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 9th Edition,” Joel Whitburn, Billboard Books, 2010
“The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, 5th Edition,” Fred Bronson, Billboard Books, 2003