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1950s Albums - My Top 10

Updated on October 2, 2019
GayleO profile image

A life-long enthusiast of music with an eclectic style, Gayle has been collecting LP albums and 45 rpm records for more than fifty years.

King Elvis

Source

Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley

It couldn’t be a 1950s album list without the debut album from the King of Rock and Roll!

While Elvis had released a few singles. With Heartbreak Hotel flying to the top of the charts, RCA decided it was due time that the “King” release a long-playing record.

Selling 500,000 copies, this was the first rock and roll album to reach number one, where it went gold and remained for ten weeks.

Elvis Presley - Blue Suede Shoes

Frank Sinatra - Frank Sinatra Sings For Only the Lonely

Heartbreaking tunes full of angst are certainly nothing new, invented by the latest generation of teen angst.

Frank Sinatra featured an entire album of tears. Sinatra was at his peak and had released a more upbeat selection of albums before recording the down-tempo of lonely songs.

Album sales were 500,000 and “Frank Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely” won a Grammy for Best Album Cover, with Frank made up as a lonely clown.

One For My Baby - And One More For The Road

Bing Crosby - Merry Christmas

I cannot even imagine Christmas in the 1950s without the crooning voice of Bing Crosby. Merry Christmas appeared on the Billboard charts in 1957, where it reached the top spot.

With 500,00 copies sold, the album continued to rate number one each holiday season between 1957 and 1962. White Christmas was written by Irving Berlin, over time more than 50 million copies have been sold making it the most successful Christmas single ever made.


Bing & Frank - White Christmas

Mitch Miller - Party Sing Along with Mitch

Think happy families in the fifties and white picket fences. Friends getting together to sing together!

Recorded to reflect the All American Dream, this album brings back happy memories from my childhood as the family actually sat together, listening, and singing along. My father loved to sing and likely owned every album of the Mitch Miller collection.


Fifty years later and I probably would remember all of the lyrics to this day!

Don't Just Sit There!

Elvis Presley - Elvis’ Christmas Album

Recorded in 1957 this must be the ultimate Christmas album of the decade because it is also the best-selling album of the 1950s.

The album went number one of the Billboard chart where it continued to reign each Christmas season until 1962. It still remains a popular seasonal purchase.

It took only three days to record and featured a selection of hymns, gospel, and the popular modern tunes such as Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, selling more than seven million copies.


Elvis Christmas Album Commercial

Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue

This album has never gone out of style.

It is the one jazz album most found among rock fans. When first released the sales were okay, but over time, and with each passing year the album gained more respect and it continues to sell 5000 or so copies each week in the US.

Kind of Blue was the third best-selling album of the 1950s. And over time more than five million copies have been sold.

The track So What was from another Miles Davis project, Porgy and Bess, which won an Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack.

Miles Davis - So What

Original Broadway Cast - The Music Man

In the 1950s musical lovers may not have been able to attend a New York Broadway Musical, but with the LP record they could bring the sound into their own living rooms.

Each year, growing up, the family would watch the film, The Music Man on television, preceding the feature film the Broadway Cast released this family favorite.

This Broadway cast recording sold a million copies and won a Grammy Award for Original Cast Album on Broadway or TV. Several of the songs, including Seventy-Six Trombones and Til There Was You contributed to making this the 9th best-selling album of the decade.


Seventy Six Trombones

Harry Belafonte - Calypso

This is the album that really certified Harry Belafonte as a star. Up until Calypso. Belafonte had recorded a variety of songs but this was the first with a pure West Indian calypsos. The two tracks The Banana Boat Song and Jamaica Farewell became big hit singles.

Once released the album shot to the top of the hit list and remained there for 31 weeks. The album stayed on the charts for 99 weeks, making it one of the top-selling albums by a solo artists of the decade with 500,000 sales.

Belafonte Sings The Banana Boat Song

Mantovani - Gems Forever

In the 1950s Mantovani was a favorite for the light-orchestra set. Perfect for candlelit dinners and chilling.

As an artist Mantovani was keenly interested in the recording techniques that would best record an orchestra. The end product was proof that the quality of sound set Mantovani’s Gems Forever apart from other recorded music of the day.

The album sold 500,000 copies and climbed to the fifth position on the charts. The 40-piece orchestra, featuring the signature strings earned Gems Forever a gold record.

Mantovani - Summertime (from Porgy and Bess)

Roger Williams - The Fabulous Fifties

It seems fitting to round off my selection with this album of 1950s hits.

Pianist Roger Williams’ style could be called smooth, sophisticated easy listening. This album featured a selection of hit songs from the early 1950s. With 500,000 initial sales, Williams earned his first spot on the Top Ten Album List and a gold record. Not bad for a post-navy boxer who happened to win a television contest, leading to his musical success!

What are some of your faves from the fifties?

Roger Williams - Mister Sandman

What do you think?

Which of my favorite artists would you enjoy most?

See results

Resources Consulted

100 Best-Selling Albums of the 50s

Amber Books, London, UK

2004


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