The Tracks Of My Years
My Favorite Tracks of Every Year from 1952 to Now
I'm not that old, honest! I was actually born three days before the end of 1959 but the charts were started in the UK at the end of 1952 so it seemed a little self-centered to ignore the first seven years of charts just because I wasn't born. I was surprised to find that I knew many of the tracks from the fifties and that some of them brought back memories of my parents singing them.
This is very much a personal choice. I like a song with a great tune but sometimes the message is more important. Some of the choices are more to do with the memories they evoke than the quality of the music.
I started this lens on 20th December 2012 and I hope to complete it in January 2013, right now it only has the first couple of years. I'll be adding a few years each day until it's complete.
1952 You Belong To Me - Jo Stafford
In the Uk, the charts began in November 1952 so there was only a top 30 for that year (in subsequent years I have a Top 100 to choose from). Bing Crosby was very popular in 1952 but this track stood out for me. My Dad still sings it and even I have been known to whistle it.
Sample of "You Belong To Me" by Jo Stafford
1953 I Believe- Frankie Laine
This was very much the era of the crooner. I remember this song being played in the sixties and seventies. I shouldn't be surprised by the longevity of these tracks, after all Elvis, The Beatles and The Stones are played all the time today.
1954 Shake Rattle and Roll by Bill Haley and the Comets
The first international rock and roll hit. Some have described it as the birth of music. I wouldn't go that far but it definitely heralded a marked change in the charts. This was the beginning of the end for crooners and smooth ballads.
Sample of "Shake, Rattle & Roll" by Bill Haley and the Comets
1955 Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets
If "Shake, Rattle and Roll" announced the arrival of rock and roll, this track cemented it as the dominant genre. Whereas "Shake, Rattle and Roll" now sounds a little dated, "Rock Around the Clock" has a harder edge that makes it a timeless classic.
Sample of "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets
1956 Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley
The quintessential Elvis track. It was his first number one hit and his first million seller. It's only 2 minutes and 9 seconds and definitely leaves you wanting more. The video is worth a watch, the sound's not brilliant but it does capture how Elvis performed live.
1957 When I Fall in Love by Nat King Cole
I know this is back to a ballad but when I looked at the list of top hits in 1957, this struck me as a class apart. Timeless, effortlessly classy and guaranteed to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention.
I live the video below, it seems to capture the time and essence of this master crooner.
1958 Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis
Released in 1957 in USA, this did not chart in the UK until 1958. What a record! Full of energy and teenage excitement. The quintessential rock and roll record.
1959 Smoke Gets in your Eyes by The Platters
At last the year I was born! The songs in this year seem to be a mix of whimsy and ballads. This stands out as a classic.
Only the Lonely by Roy Orbison
Into the sixties but I have to admit this song feels more like the fifties than the swinging sixties. I felt I should include at least one Big 'O' song and this is one of my favourites.
- Top 100 Singles Every Year from 1952 to date
Easy to use website that I used to research this article