Saturday, October 1, 2011

Forgotten # 1's: US Edition (The 1950's)

And we are back in the USA!!!

This week we are going to pay tribute to the decade that gave us The Rosenbergs, The Cleavers and The Nixons... well, at least the music was cool! I'm going to try to get a playlist for all of the Forgotten series up on Spotify soon, so you'll have these musical treasures in one place, if record company deals allow.

Now, off to the charts!

1.) Sh-Boom - The Crew Cuts (August 7, 1954)

This whiter than Wonder Bread cover can't hold a candle to the definitive version by legendary vocal group The Chords. Still, if it helped introduce Whitey McWhiterson to Doo Wop, then it can't be all bad.

Fun Fact : The Crew Cuts were the first pop band to tie-in their hairstyle with their image, paving the way for The Mop Tops and  Flock Of Seagulls!

2.) Party Doll - Buddy Knox (March 30, 1957)

It sounds just like Ricky Nelson, but it is actually Mr. Knox, whose only other top ten hit was a number 9 smash entitled "Hula Love".

Fun Fact: The people of the 1950's loved their hits so much that they often sent multiple versions of the same song up the charts in the same year. Here's Steve Lawrence tackling rockabilly, which made it to number 5.

3. Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy - Red Foley (February 18, 1950)

Isn't this a fun little ditty with a tap dancing rag solo? Red Foley had other crossover country hits, but none rocked the charts like this one.

Fun Fact: Bing Crosby took a turn at this one, and made it all the way to number 9..

4.) Tom  Dooley - The Kingston Trio ( November 17, 1958)

Although it is hard for me to listen to The Kingston Trio without thinking of A Mighty Wind, this song is one of my father's favorites, and it instilled in me at an early age a love for folk music. So thank you, murder ballad, for your cultural awakening!

Fun fact: This tale is based on a true story about a murder that happened in North Carolina in 1928. You can learn more about it here!

5.) Come On-A My House - Rosemary Clooney (July 28, 1951)

George Clooney's aunt sure loved singing in fabricated accents. So did America, I guess! This chart topper is about an Armenian family inviting people over for dinner.

Fun Fact: This song was co-written by Ross Bagdasarian, who would go on to create Alvin And The  Chipmunks.

6.) My Prayer/ Heaven On Earth - The Platters (August 4, 1956)

Double A-Sides were huge in England, but I had no idea they were as successful in the US. I guess when presented with two classics from the finest vocal group of the decade, you're gonna play both over the airwaves.

Fun Fact: Before his death, Glenn Miller took "My Prayer" all the way to number 2.

7.) Auf Wiedersheh'n. Sweetheart - Vera Lynn ( July 12, 1952)

Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn? She was the queen of World War II ballads, which carried on into the early years of the 50's and this chart topper.

Fun Fact: Vera first heard the song while hanging out in a beer hall in Germany...saucy ol' Vera!

8.) Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing - The Four Aces (October 8, 1955)

The song playing over the opening scene of Grease is this huge hit for the Four Aces, who rode its popularity from being the theme of a popular film all the way to the bank.

Fun Fact: RINGO COVERED IT!!!!!!!!!

9.) Don't/ I Beg Of You - Elvis Presley (February 10, 1958)

The finest ballad Leiber and Stoller ever wrote, the first part of this double A-Side captures one of the King's most subtle and beautiful moments. BEST FORGOTTEN NUMBER ONE OF THE DECADE!!!!!!

Fun Fact:  Elvis now had 11 number one hits at this matter who tops his records over the years, no one amassed such a string in so short a time.

10.) The Ballad Of Davey Crockett - Bill Hayes (March 26, 1955)

Come on, how could this not be on here? Put your coonskin cap on and sing along, cause you know you know the words!!!

Fun Fact: Years before The Monkees, this was the first number one single generated by a television show.

Good times, now let's head to the 60's! Gems abound in just a week (for realsies)!!!

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