1951 – Top 20 singles, Billboard


1. Too Young » Nat King Cole
2. Because Of You » Tony Bennett
3. How High The Moon » Les Paul & Mary Ford
4. Come On-a My House » Rosemary Clooney
5. Be My Love » Mario Lanza
6. On Top Of Old Smoky » The Weavers
7. Cold, Cold Heart » Tony Bennett
8. If » Perry Como
9. Loveliest Night Of The Year » Mario Lanza
10. Tennessee Waltz » Patti Page
11. Jezebel » Frankie Laine
12. I Get Ideas » Tony Martin
13. Mockin’ Bird Hill » Les Paul & Mary Ford
14. Mockin’ Bird Hill » Patti Page
15. My Heart Cries For You » Guy Mitchell & Mitch Miller
16. (It’s No) Sin » Eddy Howard
17. Sound Off » Vaughn Monroe
18. Sweet Violets » Dinah Shore
19. The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise » Les Paul & Mary Ford
20. My Truly, Truly Fair » Guy Mitchell & Mitch Miller


1. Too Young (m. Sid Lippman, w. Sylvia Dee) — Nat King Cole


2. Because of You ( Arthur Hammerstein and Dudley Wilkinson) published 1940 — Tony Bennett


3. How High The Moon (m. Morgan Lewis, w. Nancy Hamilton) published in 1940. “It was first featured,” says Wikipedia, “in the Broadway revue Two for the Show, where it was sung by Alfred Drake and Frances Comstock.”

In its Song of the Week feature on How High the Moon, WICN mentions the historic significance of a 1951 recording by Les Paul and Mary Ford. Evidently, it was the first successful release to employ multitrack recording (I think that is the claim, but its not really clear). The song was already a standard, according to the article:

“How High the Moon” was an established standard by the time that Paul and Ford recorded it. Alfred Drake and Frances Compton had introduced it eleven years earlier in the Broadway musical revue, Two for the Show, the second revue in a popular series that included One for the Money and Three to Get Ready. The songwriting team of composer Morgan Lewis and lyricist Nancy Hamilton wrote the songs for the revues. Philip Furia and William Lasser in their book America’s Songs describe Lewis and Hamilton as specializing in “…witty patter songs for sophisticated Broadway revues. When their songs were criticized for lacking “social significance,” Hamilton quipped, “I seen my ditty and I done it.” When the revue Two for the Show needed a romantic ballad, however, Lewis created an unusual and enchanting tune. Hamilton put aside her witty patter and wrote a straightforward, soaring lyric that shifts its long vowels as intricately as Lewis’ music changes chords…”

The 1951 Les Paul and Mary Ford record was the best known version of “How High the Moon,” but the song already had appeared on the pop charts three times in the 1940s. Just weeks after the Broadway revue opened, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra made the first hit recording to enter the pop charts, where it peaked at sixth place. The song reached the charts a second time in 1940 with a recording by Mitchell Ayres and His Fashions in Music featuring Mary Ann Mercer on vocals (#18) and again in 1948 with an instrumental by Stan Kenton and His Orchestra (#20).

Although popular with swing musicians and balladeers, but [sic] it wasn’t until the bebop musicians laid claim to “How High the Moon” that it became one of the most recorded jazz standards. Alec Wilder in his book American Popular Song said, “…it became virtually the “bop” hymn. For years it was the most played tune in jazz, its chord progressions supplying the harmonic basis for a number of “new” bop tunes. Upon examination of the song’s harmonic sequences, one can see why. They were highly unusual, and they changed just often enough to please an improvising player…the sequence is quite logical: G major, G minor, C-dominant seventh, E-flat major, C minor, D-dominant seventh, G minor, C-minor sixth, and, at long last, G major. It’s quite a routine and meat to an improviser.” Most notably, the song’s chord changes served as the basis for Charlie Parker’s “Ornithology,” John Coltrane’s “Satellite,” and Miles Davis’ “Solar.”

Les Paul & Mary Ford

Alistair Cooke’s “Omnibus”, 23 October 1953

Videos to be replaced


4. Come On-a My House (Ross Bagdasarian and William Saroyan) — Published in 1939. Wikipedia notes that “Bagdasarian was better known by the stage name David Seville, which he used on his recordings featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks.” William Saroyan was an acclaimed American dramatist and author. Rosemary Clooney’s 1951 recording was the first hit with the song.

Rosemary Clooney


Bagdasarian & Saroyan – recorded, according to what I’ve read, in 1951 after Clooney’s version became a hit

Video to be replaced


5. Be My Love (m. Nicholas Brodszky, w. Sammy Cahn) from the feature film Toast of New Orleans (1950)

Mario Lanza with the Jeff Alexander Choir and orchestra conducted by Ray Sinatra, recorded 27 June 1950


6. On Top of Old Smoky (traditional) — The Weavers


7. Cold, Cold Heart (Hank Williams) — I guess America wasn’t quite ready to have a country song top the pop charts just yet, unless it was sung by a pop singer.

Tony Bennett had scored a #1 hit in 1950 with Because of You, his first single. In the following year, Cold, Cold Heart became his second #1. Though Bennett had many additional hits and continued to make the charts through the mid-1960s, he had only one more single reach #1, Rags to Riches in 1953. In 1954 he had his biggest crop of hits (top 40) with seven.


8. If (They Made Me a King) – music: Tolchard Evans, words: Robert Hargreaves and Stanley J. Damerell – The song was published in 1934, but the most popular versions were recorded in 1950-1951. Perry Como’s recording topped the charts for several weeks in early 1951, bumping Patti Page’s The Tennessee Waltz out of the top position on two of the three Billboard singles charts.


9. Loveliest Night of the Year

Mario Lanza recorded the song for the MGM musical film The Great Caruso.

Wikipedia says,

The music was first published as a waltz called “Sobre las olas” (“Over the Waves”) in 1888 written by Juventino P. Rosas. In 1950 the music was adapted by Irving Aaronson with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster for the movie The Great Caruso.


10. Tennessee Waltz (m. Pee Wee King, w. Redd Stewart)

The first commercial recording of the song (with the title misspelled as “Tennesee Waltz”) was “probably” the one made by Cowboy Copas in April 1947, according to an article on the song at populartunes.nl. However, this recording, issued on the 78 rpm single King 696, b/w “How Much Do I Owe You,” wasn’t released until March 1948. The co-songwriter credit to Copas present on the label of King 696-A is omitted from later recordings. A 2 December 1947 recording by Pee Wee King and His Golden West Cowboys was released in January 1948 as the B-side of “Rootie Tootie” (Fred Rose), on RCA Victor 20-2680, and became a #3 country hit in April that year.

Patti Page was one of the most successful recording stars of the 1950s, with 22 top 10 hits from 1950 to 1958 and 36 top 40 singles during the decade.

In 1965, “Tennessee Waltz” became the fourth state song of Tennessee.

Patti Page with orchestra conducted by Jack Rael — originally issued (as “The Tennessee Waltz”) 14 October 1950, on Mercury 5534, as the B-side of the 78 rpm single “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” (Leon Rene); reissued in November(?) 1950, with the sides reversed, as Mercury 5534-X45

Billboard peaks and duration, by chart:
#1 — Best Sellers in Stores (9 weeks, from Dec 30, 1950)
#1 — Most Played by Jockeys (8 weeks, from Jan 6, 1951)
#1 — Most Played in Jukeboxes (12 weeks, from Jan 6, 1951)



11. Jezebel (Wayne Shanklin) – first recorded by Frankie Laine with the Norman Luboff Choir and Mitch Miller and his orchestra on 4 April 1951

Frankie Laine – early TV production (date unknown)


12. I Get Ideas (m. Dorcas Cochran, w. Sanders)

Tony Martin


13. Mockin’ Bird Hill (Vaughn Horton)

Les Paul & Mary Ford


14. Mockin’ Bird Hill

Patti Page

The following two recordings are similar, but different. You tell me which was the hit single.


15. My Heart Cries for You — adapted by Carl Sigman and Percy Faith from an 18th century French melody.[1] The music is from an old French song attributed to Marie Antoinette “La jardiniere du Roi.” – Wikipedia

Guy Mitchell with Mitch Miller and his Orchestra



16. (It’s No) Sin (m. George Hoven, w. Chester Shull)

The video contains the following three versions:

1) Eddy Howard – 1951, #1 (8 weeks)
2) The Four Aces – 1951, #4
3) The Duprees – 1964, #74


17. Sound Off (Willie Lee Duckworth)

Vaughn Monroe


18. Sweet Violets (Cy Coben, Charles Green)

Dinah Shore



19. The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise (m. Ernest Seitz, w. Gene Lockhart)

An episode of The Les Paul & Mary Ford Show


20. My Truly, Truly Fair (Bob Merrill)

Guy Mitchell with Mitch Miller and his Orchestra and Chorus


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