August 17, 2017
Number One Singles of the 50’s
“I Believe” by Frankie Laine
Topping the UK Singles Chart in 1953, I Believe by Frankie Laine encountered a phenomenal success. This song was written the same year by Ervin Drake, Al Stillman, Jimmy Shirl, and Irwin Graham. I Believe become the first ever hit song to be presented on TV. It was introduced and commissioned by none other than Jane Froman during her television show. She was the one to request the song writer to compose it after she was disturbed by the uprising of the Korean War. Froman wanted a song that would bring faith and hope to the population.
Without much surprise, I Believe was the best-selling single during that year!
“Secret Love” by Doris Day
Composed for the 1953 musical film Calamity Jane by Sammy Fain, Secret Love was introduced by the talented Doris Day in the title role. The song immediately hit the #1 position on the Billboard both in the UK and the US. Day was reported to be extremely moved by the song when co-writer Sammy Fain played it for her for the first time at her home. This song was recorded in August 1953 at the Warner Bros Recording Studio. Did you know that the version of Day was meant to be a practice prior to recording? However, she requested for her first performance in the studio to be recorded, and finally it was the one and only take they did.
“Rock Around the Clock Tonight” Bill Haley & His Comets
Written by James E. Myers and Max C. Freedman in 1952, Rock Around the Clock is the biggest-selling single of that decade. The most popular rendition of this song was recorded in 1954 by Bill Haley & His Comets. It reached the number one spot on both the US and UK charts. Interestingly, this song was back again the UK Singles Chart in the 60s and 70s. This song was soon an anthem for all the rebellious teenagers of the 50s. It is also highly regarded as one of the songs that propelled Rock and Roll into the typical culture around the world.
“Just Walkin’ in the Rain” - Johnnie Ray
Robert Riley and Johnny Bragg are the two writers of Just Walkin’ in the Rain in 1952. Did you know that both of these song writers were prisoners at the Tennessee State Prison, located in Nashville, U.S. Bragg and his band, known as the Prisonaires recorded the song in 1953 for Sun Records, and it was an instant hit in the U.S. However, the song version by Johnnie Ray in 1956 is the best known one. This version of Walkin’ in the Rain reached number #1 on the UK Singles Chart and #2 in the Billboard hot 100 in the U.S. Did you know that Ray did not like the song at first? Only after Mitch Miller recommended him, that Ray agreed to sing.
“Diana" Paul Anka
Diana was written and recorded by Paul Alka in May 1957. The recording was made in New York, at the Don Costa studio. Anka once mentioned that he got the inspiration for this song by a girl who used to go to the same church as him and whom he hardly knew. This original version of Paul Anka reach #1 in the Best Sellers in Stores Billboard chart, however on the Top 100 chart of the Billboard, it only reached #2 in the U.S. On the other hand, Diana was a huge success in the UK. More than 1 million copies were sold it the UK and it went straight to the number one position in the UK Singles Chart.
“Living Doll” Cliff Richard
Written by Lionel Bart, Living Doll found success with Cliff Richard and The Drifters in the year 1959. It reached the top of the UK charts twice. The first time was in 1959 itself with the original version, and the second time was the new version made for Comic Relief in 1986.
Living Doll was composed for the movie Serious Charge after songwriter Lionel Bart was approached by Mickey Delamar, the film producer. Did you know that the idea of this song came to Bart after he read a small advert in back pages of a newspaper for a child’s doll? Bart took only 10 minutes to pen down this song!