It’s May, 1952

It’s May, 1952 on our journey through the charts of the past and Sadie is solidly into solids… has this changed her taste in music any? Only those who read on will know…

The songs of May, 1952

It’s one of those months where we have 5 weeks of charts, rather than 4, so there’s plenty to listen to:

May,1952 Top 20 Hits

“A Guy Is A Guy” – Doris Day
“Any Time” – Eddie Fisher
“Be Anything” – Eddy Howard
“Blacksmith Blues” – Ella Mae Morse
“Blue Tango” – Guy Lombardo
“Blue Tango” – Hugo Winterhalter
“Blue Tango” – Leroy Anderson
“Carioca” – Les Paul
“Cry” – Johnnie Ray
“Delicado” – Percy Faith
“Forgive Me” – Eddie Fisher
“Here In My Heart” – Al Martino
“I’ll Walk Alone” – Don Cornell
“I’ll Walk Alone” – Jane Froman
“I’m Confessin'” – Les Paul And Mary Ford
“I’m Yours” – Don Cornell
“I’m Yours” – Eddie Fisher
“Kiss Of Fire” – Billy Eckstine
“Kiss Of Fire” – Georgia Gibbs
“Kiss Of Fire” – Tony Martin
“Perfidia” – Four Aces
“Pittsburgh Pennsylvania” – Guy Mitchell
“Tell Me Why” – Four Aces
“Walkin’ My Baby Back Home” – Johnnie Ray
“What’s The Use” – Johnnie Ray
“Wheel Of Fortune” – Kay Starr
“Whispering Winds” – Patti Page

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

This month in history

In May of 1952 the first jet airliner flew its maiden commercial flight – from London to Johannesburg carrying 35 people. A triumph for British engineering, the BOAC (that would become British Airways) Comet jet could fly higher, faster, and more smoothly as a result making for a more pleasant journey. Though it still took 23 hours and stopped 5 times.

You can see a film inside a BOAC jet of the time below:

For another glimpse into the past, and because the British Royal family is particularly topical right now, here’s a film from a few months earlier in January 1952, of The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, bidding farewell to King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at London airport before departing with Prince Philip for a world tour of Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

On a less happy note the BOAC Comet would be taken off the market a few years later allowing the USA’s Boeing to swoop in after a series of crashes. In March 1953 a Comet crashed on take-off killing all 11 on board. Two months later another went down a few minutes after take-off from Calcutta killing all 43 people. The following January another dived into the Mediterranean killing 35. Metal fatigue from pressure at high altitude was to blame.

What’d Sadie think?

Two number ones this month. Kay Starr’s okayish “Wheel of Fortune”, then Leroy Anderson’s version of “Blue Tango”. Which is 1 of 3 versions of the alright instrumental tune charting in May. Lucky for Leroy as the song was composed by him.

Which makes me think I must see how many times the original composer isn’t the most successful version when there’s multiple covers vying for ear-time.

“Be Anything (But be mine)” by Eddy Howard is a nice tune. And also makes me wonder how frequently songs had parenthetical additions to their names in the ’50s compared with today.

“Delicado” by Percy Faith is a nice instrumental piece. Apparently there’s a Dinah Shore (who we like) cover which will hopefully chart for us to listen to soon. (Yes, I could just seek it out but where’s the fun in that.) (Yes, I am now overusing parentheses.)

“Here In My Heart” by Al Martino is a nice piece of dramatic crooning. And is particularly notable as the very first chart number 1 in the United Kingdom.

As the story goes, in 1952 Percy Dickins of the New Musical Express gathered a pool of 52 stores willing to report sales figures. For the first chart Dickins telephoned approximately 20 shops, asking for a list of the 10 best-selling songs. These results were then aggregated into a Top 12 chart published in NME on 14 November 1952, with Al Martino’s tune awarded the number-one.

We’ll take a look to see if we can find some of these charts to use in future weeks. Well, come November 1952 in a few weeks we will.

Another nice piece of crooning is Don Cornell’s “I’m Yours” which was also covered by Eddie Fisher in the charts this month.

“Kiss of fire” meanwhile was thrice in the charts and has grown on us. As has “Tell me why” which is a real ear worm today we’re finding. In fact, the Four Aces seem to manage to get tunes stuck in one’s head as also charting, “Perfidia” easily does the same.

“Walkin’ My Baby Back Home” by Johnnie Ray is yet another song about…well, walking a date home. At least, unlike Doris Day’s “A Guy Is A Guy” which has a similar plot, there’s no element of consensual kissing. Both are catchy mind.

“What’s the use” is the 3rd Johnnie Ray song in the charts, the man can definitely sing a tune. And he was surely pleased “cry” outlasted the parody version, “Try” that we mentioned last week.

I’d not noticed, till some album artwork came up, that Patti Page tunes are frequently a Waltz tempo. “Whispering Winds” is another one and closes this months charts on a lovely note.

You can listen to the full playlist on Youtube via this link.