The songs of January, 1952
We’re sweeping into 1952 just as it seems spring has truly sprung back here in 2020. Let’s see what the third year of our adventure holds for us shall we?
January, 1952 Top 20 Hits
A solid set of songs new and (a few months) old on the main pop parade this month.
“A Kiss To Build A Dream On” – Louis Armstrong
“Any Time” – Eddie Fisher
“Because Of You” – Tony Bennett
“Bermuda” – Bell Sisters
“Blue Tango” – Leroy Anderson
“Broken Hearted” – Johnnie Ray
“Charmaine” – Mantovani
“Cold Cold Heart” – Tony Bennett
“Cry” – Johnnie Ray
“Dance Me Loose” – Arthur Godfrey / Chordettes
“Domino” – Tony Martin
“Down Yonder” – Del Wood
“Down Yonder” – Joe Fingers Carr
“Garden In The Rain” – Four Aces
“It’s No Sin” – Eddy Howard
“It’s No Sin” – Four Aces
“Jealousy” – Frankie Laine
“Mother At Your Feet Is Kneeling” – Bobby Wayne
“Please Mr. Sun” – Johnnie Ray
“Shrimp Boats” – Jo Stafford
“Slow Poke” – Arthur Godfrey
“Slow Poke” – Helen O’Connell
“Slow Poke” – Pee Wee King / Redd Stewart
“Tell Me Why” – Eddie Fisher
“Tell Me Why” – Four Aces
“The Little White Cloud That Cried” – Johnnie Ray
“Tiger Rag” – Les Paul And Mary Ford
“Undecided” – Ames Brothers / Les Brown
So we’ll stick to the aggregated top 20 for the month which you can listen to in full on Youtube via this link or embedded below:
This month in history
There’s only one thing of historical note worth mentioning in January 1952, and no its not Churchill’s meeting with Truman in Washington, it is the introduction of the character Sooty to the world on BBC Television in the UK.
The yellow puppet, later to be joined by a dimwitted sidekick “Sweep”, was the brain child of puppeteer Harry Corbett. He invented the character in 1948 when he came across an all yellow bear glove puppet during a holiday in Blackpool. He made use of it to entertain his children during that time, including his newborn son Peter, naming the puppet Teddy.
After winning a talent competition, and a recurring spot on a children’s TV show, Corbett redesigned Teddy’s appearance to make him stand-out on black and white television screens. This involved the use of black dust (‘soot’) upon the ears and nose, which inspired Corbett to change the puppet’s name from Teddy to Sooty.
You can see an early-ish episode here:
Sooty would be joined by Sweep and their slapstick physical comedy would become loved by kids for decades. Sooty was known for his “Xylophone” (actually a glockenspiel) which became show merch. Fittingly one of Sadie’s first gifts, from our dear friend Jo, was a similar toy.
I was a big fan of Sooty & Sweep as a kid. By time I was watching it, Harry’s son Matthew was the host. Quite the dynasty! You can see an 80’s episode at this link, which is what I would have enjoyed.
What’d Sadie think?
Johnnie Ray’s “Cry” was number one for all of January and its a deserving tune in our book. Apparently Tony Bennett called Ray the “father of rock and roll” though Ray’s b-side to this, which also charted, “The Little White Cloud That Cried” is thematically and sonically far from rocking.
It was a great month for Ray though with “Broken Hearted” and “Please Mr. Sun” also charting. The man loved to sing about the weather…Neither stuck out to us.
The impressed Tony Bennett crooned a mere two songs onto the charts in comparison, “Because Of You” and the much covered, “Cold Cold Heart”. They’re both alright.
Has anyone not noticed the playlists are in alphabetical order? The script that compiles the weekly charts in monthly charts sorts them to get rid of duplicates. I’m thinking it might worth ordering them by highest charting position. Let’s see if I find the time.
That’s why Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss To Build A Dream On” is first – and great song it is. It’s from the soundtrack to Film Noir, “The Strip”. Which looks great, you can watch the trailer below:
Last, alphabetically speaking and thus on the playlist was “Undecided” by the Ames Brothers. Originally an Ella Fitzgerald song from 1939 its had an ear-worm effect on me all day.
I often try and imagine what a song will be like from its title, so I was hoping for some pre-rock from “Dance Me Loose” by Arthur Godfrey but…no its an absolute nonsense song. However it did make me look up Arthur Godfrey who was a Radio and TV presenter at the time. Apparently he was a master of commercialism and drew hug sponsorship fees to his shows. Often disrespecting the scripts from these advertising agencies of these brands but still endearing the products to his audience.
He advertised Chesterfield cigarettes for many years, during which he devised the slogan “Buy ’em by the carton” by all accounts. But he terminated his relationship with the company after he quit smoking, five years before he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1959. Going on to be a prominent anti-tobacco campaigner. There’s a turnaround!
The other standout song for the month is Frankie Laine’s “Jealousy” – a tango, originally from the ’20s. Which yes, makes it all but 100 years old this decade! And still worth dancing around the living room with your daughter to we say.
To end this month, let’s listen to the Sooty theme (from the 50’s sometime-ish) because why not: