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Popular Music of the 1940s and Early 1950s

1954: The Golden Year of Popular Music:
It was All About Love, Folks!
Pop music reached its zenith in 1954, the same year that America's first rock and roll tune, Rock Around the Clock, made its debut.

Secret Love sung by Doris Day. Columbia 40108. This beautiful song reached number 1 on January 9, 1954 and remained on the charts for nearly a half a year.
Little Things Mean a Lot sung by Kitty Kallen. Decca 29037. This great record reached Number 1 on the charts on April 17, 1954 and saw a half year on the Billboard charts. Miss Kallen so believed in this song and in "Chapel in the Moonlight," that she financed the recording sessions herself. Her label, Decca, refused to pay for the sessions because they saw no commercial value in these songs. Little Things Mean a Lot was the biggest selling and most popular record of the Golden year 1954, when popular music reached its peak. 
In the Chapel in the Moonlight sung by Kitty Kallen, this great record reached Number 5 on the charts on July 17, 1954. See the note above. Decca 29130.
From the Vine Came the Grape sung by the Gaylords. Mercury 70296. Reached Number 8 on February 6.
The Isle of Capri sung by the Gaylords. Mercury 70350. Reached Number 15 on May 15.
Hey There sung by Rosemary Clooney. Columbia 40266. Hey There, from the Broadway play Pajama Game, was the second biggest hit of 1954.
Hernando's Hideaway by Archie Bleyer. Cadence 1241. Reached Number 2 in 1954. From the
Broadway play Pajama Game.
Naughty Lady of Shady Lane by Archie Bleyer. Cadence 1254. Skokian  played by the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythm Boys. London 45-1491. This instrumental was a first a hit in its native country of Africa. It was released in England, then after becoming a hit there, came to America to reach Number 17 on the Billboard charts on August 28, 1954.
Cara Mia sung by David Whitfield. London 1486. What a tremendous song that came to us from England written by Mantovani. Reached Number 10 on the 14th of August.
If You Love Me, Really Love Me (Really Love Me) sung by Vera Lynn. London 1412. What a great song from England.
Three Coins in the Fountain sung by the Four Aces. Decca 29123. Reached Number 2 on May 22.
The Happy Wanderer  played by Frank Wier's Orchestra. London 1448. Reached Number 4 on May 1st. It was first a hit in Frank Wier's country of England.
The Man with the Banjo by the Ames Brothers. RCA 20-5644. Reached Number 7 on April 3rd.
I Get so Lonely by the Four Knights. Capitol 2654.
This Ole House sung and written by Stuart Hamblen. Victor 20-5739.

Carefree
by Wayne King. Decca 9-29500. played by Wayne King's Orchestra.
If I Give My Heart to You sung by Doris Day. Columbia 40300. This tremendous love song reached Number 4 in September.

 

Leroy Anderson's Instrumentals
Compositions by Leroy Anderson. Unless otherwise noted, orchestra conducted by the composer.

Blue Tango Decca 9-27875. Blue Tango conducted by Leroy Anderson was the Number 1 chart-topping song of 1952!. In fact, it is the 5th longest-running song (tied with So Rare and Why Me (Lord)) from the 1940 - 1979 period. It enjoyed 38 weeks (Almost 10 months) on the charts! My, how times have changed.....
Blue Tango played by Les Baxter's orchestra. Capitol F-1966.
First Day of Spring Decca 
Plink, Plank, Plunk
Decca 9-28168
Plink, Plank, Plunk
played by Florian Zabach. Decca 28916
Saraband Decca 9-28429
Sleigh Ride
Decca 9-28429
Fiddle Faddle
Decca 9-28300
Jazz Pizzicato/Jazz Legato
Decca
Forgotten Dreams
Decca 9-30403
Belle of the Ball
Decca 9-27875

Instrumentals by David Carroll

Buck Dance played by the David Carroll Orchestra. Mercury 70335
Fancy Pants played by the David Carroll Orchestra. Mercury 70292
Mine played by the David Carroll Orchestra. Mercury 70412
Cornsilk played by the David Carroll Orchestra. Mercury. (Cornsilk played by the Wayne King Orchestra. Victor 26424. 1939) 
Grandpa's Rocker played by the David Carroll Orchestra. Mercury 70412

 

The "String" Instrumentals

Holiday for Strings composed by David Rose. Played by David Rose's Orchestra. Victor 27853. Reached Number 2 on the charts on February 19, 1944. This was the first of the great instrumentals that made use of the sounds of the string section of the orchestra
Picnic for Strings composed by Malcomb Lockyer. Orchestra conducted by the composer.  Mercury 70383
No Strings Attached played by the Boston Pops, Arthur Fielder, conductor. RCA 49-3890. This tune was written by Richard Hayman, who had his own recording on Mercury. Like Leroy Anderson, Hayman was also an arranger for the Boston Pops when he first started out. 
Tic-Tac-Toe played by Hugo Winterhalter's Orchestra. RCA 47-4851
Vanessa played by Hugo Winterhalter's Orchestra. RCA 47-4691. This beautiful record reached Number 12 on the charts on July 12, 1952.
The Magic Touch played by Hugo Winterhalter's Orchestra. RCA 47-5209
Flirtation Waltz played by Frank Chacksfield and his Orchestra. London 45-1406
It's Only a Paper Moon played by the David Rose Orchestra. MGM K30850
Curtain Time
played by Acquaviva's Orchestra. MGM 30668. Acquaviva was singer Joni James' husband.


Other Great Instrumentals of the Early Fifties

Meet Mr. Callaghan played by Mitch Miller's Orchestra. Columbia 4-39851. This was Mitch Miller before he became commercial. What a great arrangement, using harpsichord
Under Paris Skies (Sous Le Ciel Du Paris) played by Mitch Miller's Orchestra. From the French Film Sous Le Ciel Du Paris. Columbia 4-40100. Notice the subtle effects of orchestration such as a female voice and flute on the same melody together.
Lisbon Antigua played by Nelson Riddle's Orchestra. Capitol 3287. This was the Number 1 chart-topping song of 1956 (Heartbreak Hotel was Number 6).
Port-Au-Prince played by Nelson Riddle's Orchestra. Capitol 3374. The follow-up single to Lisbon Antigua
Aviva by Barclay Allen. Imperial 40004. Barclay Allen, from Denver, was a great pianist and tunesmith. This tremendously talented man's career was halted in 1949 when he was injured in a very bad car accident. This is a great record, embodying the positive energy that flowed through music of the period.
Melody of Love The Billy Vaughn Orchestra. Dot 15247. Billy Vaughn's remake of this Wayne King classic reached Number 2 on the charts in December 1954 and spawned a number of 'covers' by a number of artists. (Melody of Love Victor 27713. This is Wayne King's original version from 1941)
Charmaine
played by Mantovani Orchestra. London 1020. This hit recording from England reached Number 10 on the charts in 1951.
The Lazy Gondolier played by Mantovani Orchestra. London 45-1510.
Julie's Jump by Archie Bleyer. Cadence 1320. 
Amber by Archie Bleyer. Cadence 1320. 
Delicado played by the Percy Faith orchestra. Columbia 4-39708. Reached Number 1 on the Billboard charts on April 26, 1952 and remained on the charts 22 weeks.
Dream Rhapsody played by Leonard Pennario and Les Baxter's orchestra. Capitol F3599. This is an adaptation by Les Baxter of one of the melodies from the Second Movement of the Symphony in D Minor by French Composer Cesar Frank
Pretend by Ralph Marterie's Orchestra. Mercury70045. Reached Number 16 on the charts on February 14, 1953.
One Fine Day by Ralph Marterie was an adoption of an Aria (Un Bel Dia) from Pucinni's opera Madame Butterfly. Mercury 70655
Ruby by Richard Hayman. Mercury 70115. Reached Number 3 in April, 1953.

 

Other Songs of the Era

Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu Sung by Domenico Modugno. Decca 30677. I was traveling in Italy during July of 1958 and I heard this great song playing from every juke box, every radio. I adored this song and music being my great passion, I had to have a record for my own. In a little record shop in Riminni, on the eastern shore of Italy, I bought a copy from a beautiful young Italian girl. It was on the Fonit label. I made a vow that when I returned to the United States, I would take my record to the disk jockeys in my home town of Denver, so that it could be discovered there also. The first music that I heard when I arrived at the airport in New York City was this song playing in the Airport. I was shocked to find it had made its own way overseas to my home country. Nel Blue Dipinto Di Blue ("Volare") reached Number One on the charts in the USA on August 4, 1958. (Story from Don Robertson)
Ballerina sung by Vaughn Monroe. RCA Victor 20-2433. Reached Number 1 in November, 1947.
Nature Boy sung by Nat King Cole. Capitol 15054. Reached Number 1 on the charts on April 24, 1948. Great song written by a long-haired "mystic" who showed up back stage after one of Nat's Los Angeles performances.
The Loveliest Night of the Year Mario Lanza. RCA 49-3300. Charted in 1951. A beautiful song.
Be My Love sung by Mario Lanza. RCA 49-1353. Reached the charts in 1950.
Blue Skies sung by Doris Day. 1940s
Sweet Violets sung by Dinah Shore. RCA Victor 20-4174. 1951
Dear Hearts and Gentle People sung by Dinah Shore. Columbia 38605. 1949.
The Donkey Saranade sung by Allan Jones. From the late 1930s, was popular in the 1940s as well.

 

The Banjo Revival

I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover played by Art Mooney's orchestra. MGM 10119. Reached Number One on the Billboard chart of January 24, 1948 and started a revival of "old-time" tunes that featured the banjo.
Baby Face played by Art Mooney's orchestra. This was the 1948 follow-up to I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover. MGM 10156
Alabama Jubilee by played by Art Mooney's orchestra. MGM 12000. 1955.
The Banjo's Back in Town by Sammy Kaye. Columbia 4-40517. 1955.
Hey Mr. Banjo by The Sunnysiders. Kapp K-113. This song reached Number 20 on the charts in May, 1955.
It's a Sin to Tell a Lie by Somethin' Smith and the Redheads. Epic 9093. 1955.
The Man with the Banjo by the Ames Brothers. RCA20-5644. Reached Number 7 on April 3rd, 1955.

Another Viewpoint:

"You guys are nuts. Although there were some good vocals in the late 1940s and even early 1950s, popular music went into decline about 1945. No one who lived through the big-band era - when the Dorseys, Glenn Miller, Harry James, Woody Herman, the Ink Spots, the Mills Brothers, Ella Fitzgerald, etc. were at their peak - would think that better music was produced in the 1950s.

From Bogard


Rising World Entertainment


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