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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Top 20 Best Hit Songs Of 1956! NUMBER ONE!



Elvis Presley and "Heartbreak Hotel!!!!!" 


Otherwise known as the moment when rock’n’roll lost its virginity.


I like to think that Bill Haley never had sex.  That he was a virgin all his life.  Simply so that I don’t have to think about him doing it, and I’m pretty sure his wife would agree.


Elvis on the other hand.  He was a guy who had sex.  He was a guy who had a lot of sex.  He was a guy so sure about his sex-supply that even whilst he’s singing a song of heartbreak, he’s letting the girls know where he’s going to be staying tonight.  


Lock up your daughters… Elvis aint going to be lonely for long.







Also, I'd just like to say, that the dude on double bass, might just be my favorite standing-around-in-the-background dude of all time!


 No. 20 - 16

No. 15-13


 No.9!

No.8!

No.7!

No.6!

No.5!

No.4!

No.3!

No.2!

The Top 20 Best Hit Songs Of 1956! No.2!


The Platters and “The Great Pretender!”

Despite the presence of the short dude, who had the sad fortune to find himself wearing a suit several sizes too big for him, so that they could get a bulk discount (probably) there were few things in the world more sophisticated and stylish than The Platters.  


And even the oversized and baggy tuxedo is made up for by the glamorous dressed that Zola got to wear.  No other doo-wop group at the time got to wear glamorous dresses, although that might be because they were usually all men.  Clearly The Platters were different.


They had poise.  The kind of poise that white folks go to finishing school for.  They had expensive sounding orchestras behind them.  They had an incredible sense of loud-soft dynamics.  The bit where Tony is going “what my Heart Can’t CONCEEEEAAAAAL!!!!!!”- and there’s great passion and “who-e-ohs” – and then suddenly it all falls to the ground, and Tony finds himself in the awkward position of admitting – “yes” – the unfortunate situation that he finds himself in, and that life truly sucks.  These kinds of sudden and sometimes subtle shifts in mood happen frequently throughout “The Great Pretender” making it a true emotional rollercoaster ride of a tune.





 No. 20 - 16

No. 15-13

 No.9!
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No.8!

No.7!

No.6!

No.5!

No.4!

No.3!



NUMBER ONE!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Top 20 Best Hit Songs Of 1956! No.3!


Les Baxter and “The Poor People Of Paris!”

I think it’s time to get a bit cultural, don’t you?

As mentioned for our No.18 song, “The 1950s were a dreamy instrumental kind of decade.  Dreamy instrumentals that pretended to be travel brochures from exotic lands across the sea… Europe.  Asia.  Africa.”

And Les Baxter was the undisputed king of this stuff.  His albums – given such exciting B-grade movie titles as “Ritual Of The Savage”, “Tamboo!” and the rather sexual “Ports Of Pleasure” - traversed those corners of the Earth where you wouldn’t be surprised to find that you are drinking out of Dr Livingstone’s skull.
On two of his albums, he even travelled through space!

But nothing he did ever was ever quite as delightful, or managed to cram in so many ideas into far less than 3.20 seconds, than this tribute to the city of love.  Whether whistling Casanovas, or mademoiselles skipping along the Seine with a baguette under their arm, there’s always something happening in “The People Of Paris”.   Even a choir of ghosts turn up at one stage to sing “la la la”.

All of which makes “The Poor People Of Paris” the most delightfully quirky Number One of 1956.

Meanwhile in Britain, bless their cotton socks, they decided that they preferred this version, and sent this to Number One instead.  Which just goes to show just how addictive that little tune is!




 No. 20 - 16

No. 15-13

 No.9!

No.8!

No.7!

No.6!

No.5!

No.4!

No.2!

NUMBER ONE!

The Top 20 Best Hit Songs Of 1956! No.4!


“Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino!

Here is a song full of pure joy!


It’s the joy of a horny fat man who doesn’t get much action, remembering a time when he got some action, and putting it in his spank bank!  And as you might therefore expect, the song feels one part romantic, to two parts a bit like Fats is being a little too over eager to fumble with the bra hooks and try to figure out how exactly people do apparently actually manage to have sex in a car.  


Meanwhile the boppiest little boogie-woogie bass line boogie-woogies away, in an excitably nervous manner, and jittery hi-hat hisses, making the record sound far more energetic than a record so slow should probably sound.


It might not be the sound of rock’n’roll losing its virginity (that’s still to come), but it’s certainly the sound of it getting to second base (possibly even third!).




 No. 20 - 16

No. 15-13

 No.9!

No.8!

No.7!

No.6!

No.5!



No.3!

No.2!

NUMBER ONE!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Top 20 Best Hit Songs Of 1956! No.5!

The Number Five … not song exactly, but Number Five record … in The OzHitztory Blog’s Top 20 Best Hit Songs Of 1956 is…

Don’t Be Cruel” by Elvis Presley, with “Hound Dog” on the B-side!

That’s two of Elvis’ biggest classics on the one piece of wax!  What a bargain!
First, here’s “Don’t Be Cruel”
Elvis had had girls screaming at him for a couple of years by now, and obviously he knows what they like and how to make them scream.  Elvis goes “mmmmm” and they scream.  Elvis stands frozen still for a second, and they scream.  There’s a bit there where Elvis is doing nothing identifiably special, but still they scream then too.
Behind the scenes it appears that they’d figured out exactly how to create the perfect Elvis record to make girls scream as well.  Not only is it full of the kind of “thankyouverymuch” styled low notes that made the women go wide, but it features the best looking man alive down on his feet and groveling.  How could a girl resist?

“Hound Dog” on the other hand, is a completely different matter.  It is the biggest full-frontal sexual assault of his career, so much so that even sans pelvic gyrations, it’s difficult to believe that it is actually just about a useless dog.  Surely there must be some smutty innuendo.  Perhaps, in Big Mama Thornton’s version she was singing about a good-for-nothing boyfriend, but dudes don’t sing songs like that.  Elvis is truly just singing about a useless dog.
Quite why he felt the need to dry hump a microphone whilst singing about such a dog,  I’m not entirely sure, but who am I to question the King?

 No.9!

No.8!


No.7!

No.6!


No.4!

No.3!

No.2!

NUMBER ONE!

The Top 20 Best Hit Songs Of 1956! No.6!


“Just Walking In The Rain” by Johnnie Ray!

About half a decade after Johnnie initially exploded as the biggest and most confusing enigma in pop – a gay man who cried whilst he sung, in a 1950s America where ever second man on television was a tough guy cowboy – and at a time when the whole crying shtick was getting a little old, Johnnie came back with a piece of pop, perfectly balanced between heartache and happiness.

It was a happy sounding tune – the whistling is almost jaunty! - from the depths of despair.  It was a song written by two murderers and a serial rapist, which, after being recorded with all the wholesome cheesy good vibes that Columbia Records could throw at it, had been rendered into perfect whistling material for the busy little housewife at home.  Pain, suffering and alienation - he’s walking in the cold and unpleasant rain, whilst people/society, in their warm dry comfy houses, looking out at him disapprovingly, judging him, condemning him, whilst he continues to walk alone in the never ending rain - all disguised as a radio jingle.

If this is not the perfect metaphor for angsty gay boy “nobody understands me” syndrome, I don’t know what is.
Frankie Laine really went on with his intros didn’t he?  And why did he have to be so serious?  Gosh!


 No. 20 - 16

No. 15-13


No.10!

 No.9!

No.8!

No.7!



No.5!

No.4!

No.3!

No.2!

NUMBER ONE!

The Top 20 Best Hit Songs Of 1956! No.7!


“Tonight You Belong To Me” by Patience And Prudence!

Between this, and our No.8 hit (Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers), we can deduce that 1956 was an excellent year to be a kid, with plenty of role models singing songs they clearly didn’t understand.  At least hopefully they didn’t understand it, since “Tonight You Belong To Me” is clearly about seducing an ex-boyfriend, who is going out with another.  So either it’s all as sweet and innocent as it sounds, or else it’s the most delightfully subliminal attempt at making cheating sound cute ever recorded (which could, come to think of it, go along way to explaining the high rates of divorce amongst the Baby Boomer generation).

If it was just two little girls singing a song about having sex with an ex- that would be disturbing enough, but what gets Patience & Prudence so high on this list, is that it not only bet the previous candidate for Cutest Song Of All Time – which would have been Gayla Preevy’s 1953 hit “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” – but leaves it in its cloudy little puffs of dust!
To put it another way, it made Teresa Brewer and Doris Day sound butch.

It is also possible that the entire cannon of twee indie pop would not exist without this song.  Although, to be honest, it probably would.


This is kind of thing that can happen to you if you are the spoilt brat kids of Frank Sinatra’s pianist.




 No. 20 - 16

No. 15-13


No.10!

 No.9!

No.8!



No.6!

No.5!

No.4!

No.3!

No.2!

NUMBER ONE!