We’re starting to see Daffodils popping up about the place as we go for our state-sanctioned daily exercise here in London. Meanwhile its nearing Xmas time again back in our 1951 timeline…
The songs of November, 1951
A few new songs hitting the charts this month…
November, 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
“Charmaine” – Mantovani
“Cold Cold Heart” – Tony Bennett
“Cry” – Johnnie Ray
“Domino” – Tony Martin
“Down Yonder” – Del Wood
“Down Yonder” – Joe Fingers Carr
“I Get Ideas” – Louis Armstrong
“I Get Ideas” – Tony Martin
“It’s All In The Game” – Tommy Edwards
“It’s No Sin” – Eddy Howard
“It’s No Sin” – Four Aces
“It’s No Sin” – Savannah Churchill
“Jealousy” – Frankie Laine
“Just One More Chance” – Les Paul & Mary Ford
“Out In The Cold Again” – Richard Hayes
“Shrimp Boats” – Jo Stafford
“Slow Poke” – Pee Wee King / Redd Stewart
“The Little White Cloud That Cried” – Johnnie Ray
“The Loveliest Night Of The Year” – Mario Lanza
“The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise” – Les Paul & Mary Ford
“Turn Back The Hands Of Time” – Eddie Fisher
“Undecided” – Ames Brothers / Les Brown
“Unforgettable” – Nat King Cole
“Whispering” – Les Paul
You can listen to the full playlist on Youtube via this link or embedded below:
A single song of ’51 throughout the decades
Pop songs of the ’50s invariably have a rich history when I dig into them. So few just arrive at the time, many being based on folk songs or pieces from decades prior that have been mixed and mashed with new lyrics or placed into a new genre.
I found the back story to Tommy Edwards’ “It’s All In The Game” particularly fascinating. It didn’t make it to number 1 this month, that was Tony Bennett’s “Cold Cold Heart” which dominated after his song “Because of You” won the top spot the previous month.
The melody to “It’s all in the game” was composed by by Charles G. Dawes, who was later Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge in the late ’20s. But he wrote it back in 1911. A friend of his took it to a publisher without his knowing so he was surprised to see it in a store window being sold alongside a picture of himself.
At the time he was a banker, having also served as “Comptroller of the Currency” for the US Department of Treasury. He quipped of the song, “I know that I will be the target of my punster friends. They will say that if all the notes in my bank are as bad as my musical ones, they are not worth the paper they were written on.”
Apparently he grew to detest the song as it was used to tease him during his political career. It became a favourite of violinist Fritz Kreisler, who used it as his closing number in the 1940s. You can hear that below:
Other performers such as Tommy Dorsey kept the tune topical during that decade:
Dawes actually died in April of 1951. In summer of that year, songwriter Carl Sigman had an idea for a song, and Dawes’s “Melody” struck him as suitable for his sentimental lyrics.
It was recorded by a range of artists who have come up in our charts so far – It was recorded that year by Dinah Shore, Sammy Kaye, Carmen Cavallaro, and Tommy Edwards.
As well as Louis Armstrong:
It wasn’t his 1951 version that was most famous though. In 1958, Edwards had only one session left on his MGM contract. Stereo recording was becoming a thing and it was decided to cut a stereo version of the song with a “rock and roll arrangement”. Though it’s not what we’d call rock today – but a guitar and drum backing rather than the original violins.
The single was a hit, reaching number one for six weeks in 1958 and reviving Edwards career for a few more years.
Its subsequently been recorded by a range of artists like Cliff Richard in the ’60s…
…and Merle Haggard in the 1970s. Quite the journey!
Now go listen to the full playlist of November 1951 hits via this link.