Welcome to our first Xmas around these parts, December 1950. Hopefully close enough to the season back in the real world that you feel like an early listen to some festive tunes.
The songs of December, 1950
Actually only four different Xmas songs made it into the top 20 across the course of December, 1950. But there were no less than 3 versions of Gene Autry’s break-out hit, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” as well. Apparently not everyone bought a copy in 1949!
December, 1950 Top 20 Hits
A Bushel And A Peck,Margaret Whiting / Jimmy Wakely
A Bushel And A Peck,Perry Como / Betty Hutton
All My Love,Bing Crosby
All My Love,Guy Lombardo / Bill Flanagan
All My Love,Patti Page
Be My Love,Mario Lanza
Christmas In Killarney,Dennis Day
Frosty The Snowman,Gene Autry
Goodnight Irene,Weavers & Gordon Jenkins
Harbour Light,Guy Lombardo / Kenny Gardner
Harbour Lights,Bing Crosby
Harbour Lights,Ray Anthony / Ronnie Deauville
Harbour Lights,Sammy Kaye / Tony Alamo / Kaydets
I’ll Always Love You,Dean Martin
I’ll Never Be Free,Kay Starr / Tennessee Ernie
My Heart Cries For You,Guy Mitchell
Nevertheless,Paul Weston / Norman Luboff Choir
Nevertheless,Ralph Flanagan / Harry Prime
Nevertheless,Ray Anthony / Ronnie Deauville
Oh Babe,Kay Starr
Orange Coloured Sky,Nat King Cole / Stan Kenton
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer,Bing Crosby
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer,Gene Autry
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer,Spike Jones
Tennessee Waltz,Guy Lombardo / Kenny Gardner
Tennessee Waltz,Les Paul & Mary Ford
Tennessee Waltz,Patti Page
The Roving Kind,Guy Mitchell
The Thing,Phil Harris
Thinking Of You,Don Cherry
Thinking Of You,Eddie Fisher
White Christmas,Bing Crosby
We’ve supplemented the pop top 40 with the top 10 R&B from one week this month – not a Xmas tune on it, which may be a negative or a positive depending on your level of festive spirit.
You can listen to the full playlist on Youtube via this link or embedded below:
This month in history
We’ll leave it up to a single video to capture the times this month, a 5 minute news reel from the UK that captures imagery of Xmas being celebrated around the world. All together now, “awwwww!”.
What’d Sadie think?
We first mentioned Xmas back in our February, 1950 post when we talked about how the classic “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” tune had only just been released a few months earlier for Xmas 1949. And how he was attempting to replicate the success with an Easter tune, “Peter Cottontail”.
Then in August we noted that, according to Billboard magazine, the battle for Xmas had already begun with a range of new hits being recorded and exclusive deals with department stores being inked to get them to worm into consumer’s consciousness. Well it worked for 4 tunes.
Bing Crosby’s version of Irving Berlin’s “White Xmas” was a hit right throughout the forties and as popular in 1950 it seems. Gene Autry’s cover of Rudolph again charted, but so did versions from Bing and Spike Jones. We’ve included the Spike version as it uses character voices to tell the story so it’s great for kids. But I’d go for the Crosby version with a glass of whisky on a cold winter’s night myself.
Gene wasn’t resting on his Xmas laurels, oh no – he had another go at it with “Frosty The Snowman”. Which had the help of an animated TV version:
This helped it chart as high as number 7 over Xmas, but it never topped Rudolph’s highest place of number 3. It was actually another novelty song, “The Thing” (which we charted last month) that made it to number 1 for most of the month. With the Xmas number one being Patti Page’s decent, but not very festive tale of infidelity, “Tennessee Waltz”. At least it wasn’t an X-Factor act’s song back then! (Sadie I’ll explain in a decade’s time…)
The other Xmas tune was Dennis Day’s “Christmas in Killarney” – a twee Irish-American number that I couldn’t recommend. Aside from the Xmas tunes I’d definitely listen out for “A Bushel And A Peck”, another great duet by by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely (from “Guys and Dolls”, which had its first hit run on Broadway that year). And “Rocking with Red” by Piano Red, from the R&B charts, which apparently popularised the term “rock and roll” in some parts of the states and definitely has a kick.
Sadie was particularly attentive this week, she’s 3 months old now – happy quarterversary sweetie! She particularly enjoyed mum and dad singing along to Frosty and Rudolph – we think… And also seemed to love Perry Como’s “Patricia”, which does indeed have a sweet melody.
And of course, Xmas also means we’ve reached the end of our very first year. Thanks for those who have been following along for the last 3 months of real time, and new followers – welcome! Here’s to a 1951 of great times, from me and Jimmy Durante…
p.s. If you really love Xmas, don’t worry – we’ll be back to the season by early February in 2020 time! In the meanwhile listen to this month’s full playlist on Youtube via this link.