It’s September, 1950

Welcome to September, 1950 – a safe place to shelter from the ongoing madness that is US Politics as election week arrives in the “land of the free (refill)”.

The songs of September, 1950

A new version of “Count Every Star”, courtesy of Dick Haymes & Artie Shaw makes it one of the most covered songs in the charts this month. But there’s also a number of brand new songs on the block, even while “Goodnight Irene” enjoys another full month at number 1. So let’s just jump straight into listening to the hits of September 1950 shall we…

September, 1950 Top 20 Hits

All My Love,Patti Page
All My Love,Percy Faith
Bonaparte’s Retreat,Gene Krupa / Bobby Soots
Bonaparte’s Retreat,Kay Starr
Can Anyone Explain,Ames Brothers
Count Every Star,Dick Haymes / Artie Shaw
Count Every Star,Hugo Winterhalter
Count Every Star,Ray Anthony / Dick Noel
Goodnight Irene,Frank Sinatra
Goodnight Irene,Weavers / Gordon Jenkins
Harbour Lights,Sammy Kaye / Tony Alamo / Kaydets
I Wanna Be Loved,Andrews Sisters / Gordon Jenkins
I’ll Always Love You,Dean Martin
I’ll Never Be Free,Kay Starr / Tennessee Ernie
I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles,Artie Shaw / Gordon Jenkins / Chorus
La Vie En Rose,Bing Crosby
La Vie En Rose,Tony Martin
Mona Lisa,Nat King Cole
Mona Lisa,Victor Young / Don Cherry
Music Maestro Please,Frankie Laine
No Other Love,Jo Stafford
Nola,Les Paul
Our Lady Of Fatima,Kitty Kallen / Richard Hayes
Patricia,Perry Como
Play A Simple Melody,Bing Crosby / Gary Crosby
Sam’s Song,Bing Crosby / Gary Crosby
Thinking Of You,Don Cherry
Third Man Theme,Anton Karas
Third Man Theme,Guy Lombardo
Tzena Tzena Tzena,Mitch Miller
Tzena Tzena Tzena,Vic Damone
Tzena Tzena Tzena,Weavers / Gordon Jenkins

You can listen to the full playlist on Youtube via this link or embedded below:

This month in history

With the US election next week here in 2020 we will soon find out if a mad man will spend another 4 years running that country. Back in 1950 this month, a man who had actually been certified insane but held no such power, John Crabb, a 59-year-old immigrant from Denmark, was freed from the Topeka State Hospital, where he had been held since 1930. The poor chap had threatened a fellow restaurant worker who had “hit on” his girlfriend which had him locked up in jail, and then due to his temper and poor english, wound him up in a mental hospital for two decades. Meanwhile, Trump will no doubt continue to make inappropriate passes on women whatever mansion he’s holed up in come 2021…

The migration of ears and eyes from Radio to TV continued this month as the game show “Truth or Consequences” made its debut on US network TV after having been a successful radio programme for a decade. Given the premise of the show was for contestants to partake in some silly stunt, the format somewhat more suited a visual medium at any rate. But I guess when all you had was radio?

And why wouldn’t TV continue to win fans with innovations like the “laugh track”. Yes, this much maligned but even more utilised, technique was introduced to television viewers with the premiere of The Hank McCune Show, a situation comedy, on the NBC television network this month. The story of the “Laff Box” and the man behind it, Charles Douglass, is well worth a read – apparently he dominated the fake laughs of the next decades, with a “high tech” box he wheeled from recording studio to studio to add the merriment after they had been recorded. You can see it in action below:

This month the first advertisement for a credit card also appeared, with an ad in the New York Times for Diners Club that was headlined “Say ‘Charge It” at any of the fine restaurants listed below!”. The concept of a credit card started a year earlier when the founder forgot his wallet when dining and had to (“oh the shame”) have his wife drive to the restaurant and pay. The first card was simply made of cardboard and only a few New York restaurants accepted it as payment. If like me, you’ve just learnt why “Diner’s Club” was so called…welcome.

A 1956 advert for Diners’ Club shows “real men” at a business dinner, off camera: the wives at home raising the children, no doubt.

I’m old enough to still remember, “the circus coming to town”. The actual circus, elephants ‘n’ all, with nary an objection on account of “animal’s rights”. Whilst I enjoyed them as I child as an adult I’m not sorry to have them consigned to the “what were we thinking” bin of humankind’s mistakes for the most part. But in 1950 they were still a major, front page, feature of the entertainment industry. Like this story, where the fact that Ringling has cut its train down from 80 carriages to 60 is deemed worthy of the front page. Yes, they not only had a whole train of their own but it was probably longer than the town I grew up in. (Shout outs to tiny Maungaturoto, New Zealand).

What’d Sadie think?

It’s not going to last forever, so forgive my repetition while I have the opportunity… another great clarinet solo in a song this month! In this case its Artie Shaw on the aforementioned new version of “Count Every Star” with Dick Haymes. I’m looking forward to a bit more rock ‘n’ roll as the decade moves on, but i’ll miss the woodwind in pop songs when it does.

But no need to this month as “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”, again with Artie Shaw, is in the charts with a great rendition of the 1919 song. One that has featured in numerous movies over the years, as well as being West Ham United football club’s supporter song. Apparenly due to some historical likeness between a player in their ’20s lineup and a boy in a soap commercial – that story is worth a read.

New charting song, “Harbour Lights” by Sammy Kaye is great. Apparently it’s the most popular version of the tune, of the many that came out around now, and will make its way to number 1 sometime soon. Well, when “Goodnight Irene” has finished is mammoth run anyway.

In a cross-over between the history section of June, 1950 and the charts, apparently “Harbour Lights” appeared in an episode of M*A*S*H (“Your Retention, Please”) when Klinger, while nursing a broken heart, plays the song over and over again on a jukebox. Aww!

“I’ll never be free” is a cross-over duet from the country charts by Kay Starr and Tennessee Ernie Ford and a great tune at that. But you know us and duets with attitude – love ’em! You can see the pair reprise the song some three decades later in 1979 in the video below:

“All my love” enters the charts with 2 versions, but by next month this will double by the looks. I originally had the Percy Faith version, but it was so chill I thought it was an instrumental version at first, so I switched it out for a punchier Patti Page version that is actually pretty decent.

Frankie Laine can’t let a week go by without a hit in the charts, and “Music Maestro Please” is another decent one. The spoken intro has that cool lounge bar singer vibe that pairs well with a whiskey. “And a drink, a tall one. Tonight Henry i could do with a chaser, for my blues…”

Reading through issues of Billboard each week I continue to find the adverts in the form of “letters” written by artists truly curious. Now, I understand its a trade publication and this is a chance to ingratiate themselves with DJs and distributors to push their songs up the charts – but they’re hilarious to read in retrospect. Here’s the Andrew Sisters, who have a nice tune “I Wanna Be Loved” in the charts this month, thanking readers for their string of recent hits.

Which is only half as weird as this one…the children of singer Red Foley asking DJs to be kind to their upcoming Xmas songs. Looks like they have a foot in either camp of the Frosty vs Rudolph battle we mentioned last month.

On that note, Sadie says, “I hope you enjoyed Daddy’s blogpost this week” and we’ll see you all again in 7 days time. Until then…enjoy the playlist for September, 1950.