Song From Moulin Rouge by Percy Faith Orchestra was the No.1 song in 1953.
It was hard to believe that the first major rock and roll song, Shake, Rattle and Roll by Bill Haley and the Comets, would break into the Top 30 list, the next year 1954 ending in the No.26 spot. Bill Haley would come back in 1955, for his monster hit Rock Around the Clock, which went to No.2 on the chart.
The country had gone from an easy listening orchestra song in 1953, to two of the rocking and rollingest songs ever, in the space of two years.
These are some of the songs that were on the 1953 list, that began the end of the easy listening music era:
No. 2: Vaya Con Dios – Les Paul and Mary Ford
No. 3: How Much Is That Doggie In The Window – Patti Page….It was a novelty song that I can remember from Your Hit Parade Days.
No.8: No Other Love – Perry Como
No.9: Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes – Perry Como….Como had a third song on the list also Say Your Mine at No.21
No.12: Ebb Tide – Frank Chacksfield Orchestra….One of the classic easy listening songs of all time. The orchestra also had the No.27 song Limelight on the 1953 chart.
No.19: Rags To Riches – Tony Bennett….One of the few singers who had a long career despite rock and roll taking over the charts.
No.22: Dragnet – Ray Anthony Orchestra….Theme song from the television show Dragnet.
One of my favorite singers Joni James singing Why Don’t You Believe Me which was No.25 in 1953. She also had No.26 Your Cheating Heart and No.30 Have You Heard.
1953 chart represented a smorgasbord of musical tastes, from orchestra music, to novelty tunes, to the great crooners like Perry Como, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, groups like Hilltoppers, Ames Brothers and Gaylords, up and coming stars like Joni James, who would miss years of singing, while taking care of her very sick husband.
At the end of 1953, nobody probably even thought, that in 1956 Elvis Presley would have five songs in the Top 30, with Carl Perkins and Gene Vincent, also having rock and roll songs, plus Bill Doggett had his instrumental hit Honky Tonk, which clearly was not an easy listening recording.
1956 emphasized even more that the easy listening era, was coming to an end. There were still some crooners and orchestras on the 1956 list. It is safe to say that 1957 was the year that rock n’ rollers took over the charts, 25 rock and roll songs making the top 30.
The easy listening era was over. We can still listen to old records and cassettes from the past, but it looks like rock n’ roll is here to stay, until the next best thing comes along.
The Bobhorst.com website lists the Top songs of each year from 1946-2010. The list expanded from Top 30 to Top 100. The link will take readers to the 1953 charts, but it can be switched to any year easily.