It’s October, 1951

As we head towards the end of a full year in some form of lockdown, we are making it to the end of our second year of 4x life. It’s October, 1951 so let’s see what there is for us to listen to…

The songs of October, 1951

Not a lot of change on the pop charts this month…

October, 1951 Top 20 Hits

“And So To Sleep Again” – Patti Page
“Because Of You” – Les Baxter
“Because Of You” – Tony Bennett
“Blue Velvet” – Tony Bennett
“Cold Cold Heart” – Tony Bennett
“Come On-A My House” – Rosemary Clooney
“Detour” – Patti Page
“Domino” – Tony Martin
“Down Yonder” – Champ Butler
“Down Yonder” – Del Wood
“Down Yonder” – Joe Fingers Carr
“Hey Good Lookin’” – Jo Stafford / Frankie Laine
“I Get Ideas” – Louis Armstrong
“I Get Ideas” – Tony Martin
“It’s No Sin” – Eddy Howard
“It’s No Sin” – Four Aces
“It’s No Sin” – Savannah Churchill
“Just One More Chance” – Les Paul & Mary Ford
“Shanghai” – Doris Day
“Sweet Violets” – Dinah Shore
“The Loveliest Night Of The Year” – Mario Lanza
“The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise” – Les Paul & Mary Ford
“Too Young” – Nat King Cole
“Turn Back The Hands Of Time” – Eddie Fisher
“Undecided” – Ames Brothers / Les Brown
“Whispering” – Les Paul

…so we’ll supplement with the best selling country songs of October. The two charts have a couple of songs in common, if not artists, which we’ll get to in a bit.

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

This month in history

If there’s a TV show which says 1950’s more than “I Love Lucy” then…someone let me know. It premiered in October of 1951 and ran through to 1957 across six seasons.

You can watch the beginning of the first episode below. It’s delightfully meta (and expectedly sexist) as it talks about Desi Arnaz’s impending TV stardom, “On television you have to have a pretty girl in your show to demonstrate your sponsors product.”

On a musical tip you can see a spot from a later episode where Arnaz sings the previously unknown words to the theme song:

The fact that the duo of Ball and Arnaz were a real couple (at least during the ’50s) only makes it more meta and delightful.

What’d Sadie think?

Tony Bennett’s “Because of You” continues its run at the top of the charts for all of October. It’s good but not deserving of that much time at the top to my ears.

It might be the rainy-saturday-morning-in-bed effect but this time around Les Paul and Mary Ford’s chillaxed “Just One More Chance” really struck a chord.

As did “Turn Back The Hands Of Time” by Eddie Fisher which Sadie particularly liked. It’s thematically very similar, singing about forbidden young love, as the still brilliant and still charting “Too Young” by Nat King Cole.

The pop and country charts are linked by two songs – “Hey Good Lookin’” by Jo Stafford & Frankie Laine and “Cold Cold Heart” by Tony Bennett on one side and Hank Williams who sings, and actually wrote, both on the other.

The original of a song isn’t always the best, especially in the ’50s where so many covers of hit songs are released, but in this case Hank’s versions are easily superior and both personal faves.

“I Wanna Play House With You” by Eddy Arnold is the other stand-out on the chart apart from… the quartet of hits by Lefty Frizzell. The man had a good month and listening to all four songs you can hear how his sound became so influential. As Merle Haggard said, “The impact Lefty had on country music is not even measurable. … No one could handle a song like Lefty. He would hold on to each word until he finally decided to drop it and pick up the next one. Most of us learned to sing listening to him.”

“Always Late” is my favourite of the four, with “Travellin’ blues” close behind. (Oh to have travellin’ blues as a problem we think from within lock down back in 2020.)

To end on then, here’s a video of Lefty singing one of his four hits of the month, “I want to be with you always” on TV some time later:

Now enjoy the hits of October, 1951 and see you all next week.