List of UK Singles Chart number ones of the 1950s

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UK Singles Chart number ones

UK Singles Chart

Other charts

UK Singles Chart
Official Charts Company
Christmas number one


The UK Singles Chart is the official record chart in the United Kingdom. Record charts in the UK began life in 1952 when Percy Dickins from New Musical Express (NME) imitated an idea started in American Billboard magazine and began compiling a hit parade. Prior to this, a song's popularity was measured by the sales of sheet music.[1][2] Initially, Dickins telephoned a sample of around 20 shops asking for a list of the 10 best-selling songs. These results were then aggregated to give a Top 12 chart published in NME on 14 November 1952.[1][2] The number-one single was "Here in My Heart" by Al Martino.

According to The Official Charts Company and Guinness' British Hit Singles & Albums, the NME is considered the official British singles chart before 10 March 1960.[3] However, until 15 February 1969, when the British Market Research Bureau chart was established, there was no universally accepted chart. Other charts existed and different artists may have placed at number one in charts by Record Mirror, Disc or Melody Maker. Alternatively, some considered BBC's Pick of the Pops, which averaged all these charts, to be a better indicator of the number-one single.[2]

In terms of number-one singles, Frankie Laine, Guy Mitchell and Elvis Presley were the most successful artists of the 1950s having four singles reach the top spot.[nb 1] The longest duration of a single at number one was eighteen weeks achieved by Frankie Laine's "I Believe". As of July 2010, "I Believe" still holds the record for the most (non-consecutive) weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart.[5] Although official music recording sales certifications were not introduced until the British Phonographic Industry was formed in 1973, Disc introduced an initiative in 1959 to present a gold disc to records that sold over one million units.[6] Prior to that it is believed that the three best-selling records of the decade—Bill Haley & His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock", Paul Anka's "Diana" and Harry Belafonte's "Mary's Boy Child"—all sold over one million copies.[7][8][9]

Number-one singles[edit]

Elvis Presley in a publicity photo for "Jailhouse Rock" which was the best-selling single of 1958. Presley had three other number ones in the 1950s.
Al Martino's "Here in My Heart" was the first ever number-one single and held the top spot for nine weeks.
Bill Haley & His Comets had the biggest-selling single of the decade with "Rock Around the Clock".
Doris Day had two number-one singles in the 1950s, one of which, "Secret Love", was the best-selling record of 1954.
Cliff Richard achieved his first two number-one singles in the latter half of 1959.
Key
Best-selling single of the year[7]
Best-selling single of the decade
[nb #] The song spent a week at number one where it shared the top spot with another song.
Contents
No. Artist[nb 2] Single[nb 2] Record label[nb 3] Week ending date[nb 2][nb 4] Weeks at
number one[nb 2]
1952
1 Al Martino "Here in My Heart" Capitol 14 November 1952 9
1953
2 Jo Stafford "You Belong to Me" Columbia 16 January 1953 1
3 Kay Starr "Comes A-Long A-Love" Capitol 23 January 1953 1
4 Eddie Fisher "Outside of Heaven" HMV 30 January 1953 1
5 Perry Como "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" HMV 6 February 1953 5
6 Guy Mitchell "She Wears Red Feathers" Columbia 13 March 1953 4
7 The Stargazers "Broken Wings" Decca 10 April 1953 1
8 Lita Roza "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" Decca 17 April 1953 1
9 Frankie Laine "I Believe" † Philips 24 April 1953 9
10 Eddie Fisher "I'm Walking Behind You" HMV 26 June 1953 1
re Frankie Laine "I Believe" † Philips 3 July 1953 6
11 Mantovani "The Song from Moulin Rouge" Decca 14 August 1953 1
re Frankie Laine "I Believe" † Philips 21 August 1953 3
12 Guy Mitchell "Look At That Girl" Philips 11 September 1953 6
13 Frankie Laine "Hey Joe" Philips 23 October 1953 2
14 David Whitfield "Answer Me" Decca 6 November 1953 1
15 Frankie Laine "Answer Me" Philips 13 November 1953 7.5[nb 5]8[nb 5]
re David Whitfield "Answer Me" Decca 11 December 1953 0.5[nb 5]1[nb 5]
1954
16 Eddie Calvert "Oh Mein Papa" Columbia 8 January 1954 9
17 The Stargazers "I See the Moon" Decca 12 March 1954 5
18 Doris Day "Secret Love" † Philips 16 April 1954 1
re The Stargazers "I See the Moon" Decca 23 April 1954 1
19 Johnnie Ray "Such a Night" Philips 30 April 1954 1
re Doris Day "Secret Love" † Philips 7 May 1954 8
20 David Whitfield "Cara Mia" Decca 2 July 1954 910
21 Kitty Kallen "Little Things Mean a Lot" Brunswick 10 September 1954 1
22 Frank Sinatra "Three Coins in the Fountain" Capitol 17 September 1954 3
23 Don Cornell "Hold My Hand" Vogue 8 October 1954 4
24 Vera Lynn "My Son, My Son" Decca 5 November 1954 2
re Don Cornell "Hold My Hand" Vogue 19 November 1954 1
25 Rosemary Clooney "This Ole House" Philips 26 November 1954 1
26 Winifred Atwell "Let's Have Another Party" Philips 3 December 1954 5
1955
27 Dickie Valentine "The Finger of Suspicion" Decca 7 January 1955 1
28 Rosemary Clooney "Mambo Italiano" Philips 14 January 1955 1
re Dickie Valentine "The Finger of Suspicion" Decca 21 January 1955 2
re Rosemary Clooney "Mambo Italiano" Philips 4 February 1955 2
29 Ruby Murray "Softly, Softly" Columbia 18 February 1955 3
30 Tennessee Ernie Ford "Give Me Your Word" Capitol 11 March 1955 7
31 Perez "Prez" Prado and his Orchestra "Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)" HMV 29 April 1955 2
32 Tony Bennett "Stranger in Paradise" Philips 13 May 1955 2
33 Eddie Calvert "Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)" Columbia 27 May 1955 4
34 Jimmy Young "Unchained Melody" Decca 24 June 1955 3
35 Alma Cogan "Dreamboat" HMV 15 July 1955 2
36 Slim Whitman "Rose Marie" † London 29 July 1955 11
37 Jimmy Young "The Man from Laramie" Decca 14 October 1955 4
38 Johnston Brothers "Hernando's Hideaway" Decca 11 November 1955 2
39 Bill Haley & His Comets "Rock Around the Clock" ‡ Brunswick 25 November 1955 3
40 Dickie Valentine "Christmas Alphabet" Decca 16 December 1955 3
1956
re Bill Haley & His Comets "Rock Around the Clock" ‡ Brunswick 6 January 1956 2
41 Tennessee Ernie Ford "Sixteen Tons" Capitol 20 January 1956 4
42 Dean Martin "Memories Are Made of This" Capitol 17 February 1956 4
43 The Dream Weavers "It's Almost Tomorrow" Brunswick 16 March 1956 2
44 Kay Starr with the Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra "Rock and Roll Waltz" HMV 30 March 1956 1
re The Dream Weavers "It's Almost Tomorrow" Brunswick 6 April 1956 1
45 Winifred Atwell "The Poor People of Paris" Decca 13 April 1956 3
46 Ronnie Hilton "No Other Love" HMV 4 May 1956 6
47 Pat Boone "I'll Be Home" † London 15 June 1956 5
48 Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" Columbia 20 July 1956 3
49 Doris Day "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" Philips 10 August 1956 6
50 Anne Shelton "Lay Down Your Arms" Philips 21 September 1956 4
51 Frankie Laine "A Woman in Love" Philips 19 October 1956 4
52 Johnnie Ray "Just Walking in the Rain" Philips 16 November 1956 7
1957
53 Guy Mitchell "Singing the Blues" Philips 4 January 1957 1
54 Tommy Steele "Singing the Blues" Decca 11 January 1957 1
re Guy Mitchell "Singing the Blues" Philips 18 January 1957 1
55 Frankie Vaughan "The Garden of Eden" Philips 25 January 1957 3.5[nb 6]4[nb 6]
re Guy Mitchell "Singing the Blues" Philips 1 February 1957 0.5[nb 6]1[nb 6]
56 Tab Hunter "Young Love" London 22 February 1957 7
57 Lonnie Donegan "Cumberland Gap" Pye Nixa 12 April 1957 5
58 Guy Mitchell "Rock-a-Billy" Philips 17 May 1957 1
59 Andy Williams "Butterfly" London 24 May 1957 2
60 Johnnie Ray "Yes Tonight Josephine" Philips 7 June 1957 3
61 Lonnie Donegan "Gamblin' Man" / "Puttin' On the Style" Pye Nixa 28 June 1957 2
62 Elvis Presley "All Shook Up" RCA 12 July 1957 7
63 Paul Anka "Diana" † Columbia 30 August 1957 9
64 The Crickets "That'll Be the Day" Vogue Coral 1 November 1957 3
65 Harry Belafonte "Mary's Boy Child" RCA 22 November 1957 7
1958
66 Jerry Lee Lewis "Great Balls of Fire" London 10 January 1958 2
67 Elvis Presley "Jailhouse Rock" † RCA 24 January 1958 3
68 Michael Holliday "The Story of My Life" Columbia 14 February 1958 2
69 Perry Como "Magic Moments" RCA 28 February 1958 8
70 Marvin Rainwater "Whole Lotta Woman" MGM 25 April 1958 3
71 Connie Francis "Who's Sorry Now" MGM 16 May 1958 6
72 Vic Damone "On the Street Where You Live" Philips 27 June 1958 1.5[nb 7]2[nb 7]
73 The Everly Brothers "All I Have to Do Is Dream" / "Claudette" London 4 July 1958 6.5[nb 7]7[nb 7]
74 The Kalin Twins "When" Brunswick 22 August 1958 5
75 Connie Francis "Stupid Cupid" / "Carolina Moon" MGM 26 September 1958 6
76 Tommy Edwards "It's All in the Game" MGM 7 November 1958 3
77 Lord Rockingham's XI "Hoots Mon" Decca 28 November 1958 3
78 Conway Twitty "It's Only Make Believe" MGM 19 December 1958 5
1959
79 Jane Morgan "The Day the Rains Came" London 23 January 1959 1
80 Elvis Presley "One Night" / "I Got Stung" RCA 30 January 1959 3
81 Shirley Bassey with Wally Stott & His Orchestra "As I Love You" Columbia 20 February 1959 4
82 The Platters "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" Mercury 20 March 1959 1
83 Russ Conway "Side Saddle" Columbia 27 March 1959 4
84 Buddy Holly "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" Coral 24 April 1959 3
85 Elvis Presley "(Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I" / "I Need Your Love Tonight" RCA 15 May 1959 5
86 Russ Conway "Roulette" Columbia 19 June 1959 2
87 Bobby Darin "Dream Lover" London 3 July 1959 4
88 Cliff Richard and The Drifters "Living Doll" † Columbia 31 July 1959 6
89 Craig Douglas "Only Sixteen" Top Rank 11 September 1959 4
90 Jerry Keller "Here Comes Summer" London 9 October 1959 1
91 Bobby Darin "Mack the Knife" London 16 October 1959 2
92 Cliff Richard and The Shadows "Travellin' Light" Columbia 30 October 1959 5
93 Adam Faith "What Do You Want?" Parlophone 4 December 1959 2.5[nb 8]3[nb 8]
94 Emile Ford and the Checkmates "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?" Pye 18 December 1959 5.5[nb 8]6[nb 8]
Contents

By artist[edit]

The following artists achieved three or more number-one hits during the 1950s. Artists Frankie Laine, Guy Mitchell and Elvis Presley were the most successful acts of the decade in terms of number-one singles, each having four singles reach the top of the chart.[nb 1] In total, Laine spent 32 weeks occupying the top of chart in the 1950s; the next highest was Presley who spent a total of 18 weeks at number one.

Artist Number ones Weeks at
number one
Frankie Laine 4 32
Elvis Presley 4 18
Guy Mitchell 4 14
Johnnie Ray 3 11

By record label[edit]

The following record labels had five or more number ones on the UK Singles Chart during the 1950s.

Record label Number ones
Philips 19
Decca 15
Columbia 13
London 10
HMV 7
Capitol 6
RCA 6
MGM 5

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Although The Official Charts Company does not credit Paul Weston as an artist on the singles, Weston was also a contributing artist to four number-one singles in the 1950s.[4]
  2. ^ a b c d The artist, song name, date of number-one and its consecutive duration are those given by The Official Charts Company.[10]
  3. ^ The record labels are those given by the OCC.[11]
  4. ^ There are discrepancies in when a single reached number one prior to 30 August 1969. As of 2010 the Official Chart Company website lists all weeks as ending on the Saturday back until 20 March 1960.[12] However, the old Official Chart Company lists chart weeks prior to 5 February 1960 as ending on a Friday.[10]
  5. ^ a b Both Frankie Laine's and David Whitfield's version of "Answer Me" were classified jointly as number one on 11 December 1953. In the week before and the week after Laine's version took the number-one spot outright.[13]
  6. ^ a b Both Frankie Vaughan's "The Garden of Eden" and Guy Mitchell's "Singing the Blues" were classified jointly as number one on 1 February 1957. Vaughan held the number-one spot outright for the week before and the two weeks afterwards.[14]
  7. ^ a b Both Vic Damone's "On the Street Where You Live" and The Everly Brothers's "All I Have to Do Is Dream" were classified jointly as number one on 4 July 1958. For the following six weeks "All I Have to Do Is Dream" claimed the number-one spot outright.[15]
  8. ^ a b Both Adam Faith's "What Do You Want?" and Emile Ford and the Checkmates' "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?" were classified jointly as number one on 18 December 1959. For the following five weeks "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?" claimed the number-one spot outright.[16]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ a b Williams, Mark (19 February 2002). "Obituary: Percy Dickins". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Smith, Alan. "50s & 60s UK Charts – The Truth!". Dave McAleer's website. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Key Dates in the History of the Official UK Charts". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  4. ^ Warwick, Kutner & Brown 2004, pp. 1–4.
  5. ^ "Most Weeks at No.1 (Singles)". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  6. ^ Smith, Alan. "UK First Charts & Silver Discs". Dave McAleer's website. Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  7. ^ a b "The biggest song of every year revealed". Official Charts Company. 9 January 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Stats and Facts: Million Sellers". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 16 April 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  9. ^ "Million-Selling Singles". everyHit. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Number 1 Singles – 1950s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  11. ^ "Artist Chart History". London: Official Charts Company. 2010. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  12. ^ "All the Number One Singles". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 17 July 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  13. ^ "All the No.1's: David Whitfield – Answer Me". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  14. ^ Rees, Lazell & Osborne 1995, pp. 43–44.
  15. ^ "All the No.1's: Vic Damone – On The Street Where You Live". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  16. ^ "All the No.1's: Adam Faith – What Do You Want". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
Sources

External links[edit]