It’s March, 1953

The sun’s out in London, 2021 as we travel back in time to March, 1953 to hear what it sounded like.

The songs of March, 1953

8 new tracks make it into the top 20s of the month:

March, 1953 Top 20 Hits

“A Fool Such As I” – Jo Stafford
“Anywhere I Wander” – Julius Larosa
“Caravan” – Ralph Marterie
“Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes” – Perry Como
“Downhearted” – Eddie Fisher
“Have You Heard” – Joni James
“Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me” – Karen Chandler
“Hot Toddy” – Ralph Flanagan
“How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” – Patti Page
“How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” – Peggy Lee
“I Believe” – Frankie Laine
“I’m Sitting On Top Of The World” – Les Paul & Mary Ford
“Keep It A Secret” – Jo Stafford
“No Help Wanted” – Rusty Draper
“Oh Happy Day” – Don Howard
“Oh Happy Day” – Four Knights
“Oh Happy Day” – Lawrence Welk
“Pretend” – Eileen Barton
“Pretend” – Nat King Cole
“Seven Lonely Days” – Georgia Gibbs
“Side By Side” – Kay Starr
“Tell Me A Story” – Frankie Laine / Jimmy Boyd
“Tell Me You’re Mine” – Gaylords
“Till I Waltz Again With You” – Teresa Brewer
“Why Don’t You Believe Me” – Joni James
“Wild Horses” – Perry Como

And we’ll add on a top 10 R&B chart from the end of the month:

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

This month in history

In March, 1953 the 25th Academy Awards ceremony is held – the first to be broadcast on television – taking place simultaneously at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, and the NBC International Theatre in New York City.

By all accounts a major upset occurred when the heavily favoured “High Noon” lost Best Picture to Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Greatest Show on Earth”, eventually considered among the worst films to have won the Academy Award. You can see the trailer for the former film, below:

“High Noon” still won four awards, though winner of the biggest clutch, of five, was “The Bad and the Beautiful” which you can see a trailer for below:

What’d Sadie think?

Number 1 for the month was split between “Till I Waltz Again With You” by Teresa Brewer for two weeks and then Patti Page’s, “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” for the remaining two.

The month is off to a great start with “A Fool Such As I”, a new one by Jo Stafford whose tunes we seem to always be fond of. Apparently its a cross-over from the Country charts where Hank Snow had a hit with it.

Another newbie is the instrumental “Caravan” by Ralph Marterie which had Sadie, and the rest of the family, dancing along.

Not exactly original thematically but “Downhearted” by Eddie Fisher is a nice 50’s sadboy tune.

And it doesn’t seem necessary, but Peggy Lee’s version of “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” puts a slight American twist on the lyrics of Patti Page’s original.

Not new, but we’re obviously in a Jo Stafford mood because “Keep It A Secret” stuck out on the playlist list week. Likewise Rusty Draper’s “No Help Wanted” has grown on us and is an excuse to snap our fingers, which seems to entrance Sadie.

With 3 versions on the charts now, and after a few weeks, “Oh Happy Days” is a favourite to sing along to, particularly the Lawrence Welk version on this week’s playlist.

Eileen Barton’s version of “Pretend” is no Nat King Cole version but is decent enough. The same can be said for “Seven Lonely Days” by Georgia Gibbs.

“Tell Me A Story” by Frankie Laine and Jimmy Boyd on the other hand is… just plain annoying. This seems to be by design, Jimmy is the young man who sung “I saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus” and this seems to be some attempt by Laine to cash in on that by having Jimmy act an annoying kid asking for a song which Laine begrudgingly obliges.

Meanwhile the R&B charts open with a good ‘un with “He treats your daughter mean” by Ruth Brown. Before taking it up a notch further with “Let me go home whisky” by Amos Milburn.

Why oh why does whiskey
Make me lose my head
Got me sitting at a bar
When I should be home in bed
Let me go home whiskey, let me walk out that door

“Let me go home whisky” by Amos Milburne

According to Wikipedia it was one of several drinking songs Milburn was known for but, “there is no evidence that he had an alcohol problem”.

The charts don’t stop giving there, as if in response to Milburn’s tale of a man who was dragged down by drink, along come Big Mama Thornton’s classic, “Hound dog” about kicking just such a slacker to the curb. The story behind the song is fascinating but lengthy so I’ll leave it to wikipedia. I feel like it’ll be a year or so before the most famous cover of this song hits us.

The charts end on a lighter, but still excellent note with “My kind of woman” by Emitt Slay Trio. Now you can go listen to the full playlist on Youtube via this link.