Popular Songs of 1955

1. Rock Around The Clock – Bill Haley & The Comets
2. Earth Angel – The Penguins
3. Only You (and You Alone) – The Platters
4. Ain’t That A Shame – Fats Domino
5. Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White – Perez Prado
6. Yellow Rose Of Texas – Mitch Miller
7. Learnin’ the Blues – Frank Sinatra
8. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing – Four Aces
9. Autumn Leaves – Roger Williams
10. Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford
11. Sincerely – Maguire Sisters
12. Ballad of Davey Crockett – Fess Parker
13. The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane – Ames Brothers
14. Love and Marriage – Frank Sinatra
15. Ko-Ko-Mo – Perry Como
16. Hearts Of Stone – Fontaine Sisters
17. Ain’t That A Shame – Pat Boone
18. A Blossom Fell – Nat King Cole
19. Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucomp – Nat King Cole
20. Unchained Melody – Les Baxter
21. Tina Marie – Perry Como
22. Let Me Go Lover – Patti Page
23. Maybellene – Chuck Berry
24. The Shifting Whispering Sands – Rusty Draper
25. Whatever Lola Wants – Dinah Shore
26. Melody Of Love – Billy Vaughn
27. Pledging My Love – Johnny Ace
28. Tweedlee Dee – LaVern Baker
29. Dance With Me Henry – Georgia Gibbs
30. Moments To Remember – the Four Lads
31. Good and Lonesome – Kay Starr
32. Suddenly There’s A Valley – Jo Stafford
33. The Popcorn Song – Cliffie Stone
34. Cry Me A River – Julie London
35. Seventeen – the Fontane Sisters
36. That Old Black Magic – Sammy Davis Jr- Caterina Valente
37. Something’s Gotta Give – the McGuire Sisters
38. I Hear You Knocking – Gale Storm
39. The Bible Tells Me So – Don Cornell
40. Daddy-O – Fontane Sisiters

You may notice that the list above doesn’t quite agree with “Top 40” or other lists you’ve seen; that’s because it takes more facts into consideration, along with a few intangibles.

Most importantly, the list is weighted by lasting popularity and a particular recording’s impact on the course and future of popular song. While Perez Prado’s Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White was indeed the number one seller of 1955, it has not had the lasting impact nor popularity of the four that are listed ahead of it.

Commentary…note that two of the top ten on the list are instrumentals, and the fantastic Autumn Leaves. In fact, these two songs were in the Billboard Top 5 for the year, as was Mitch Miller’s Yellow Rose of Texas, which was sort of a precursor to modern day karaoke. Miller did not sing or play an instrument on the recording; he was simply a Columbia Records executive who knew how to tap into the public’s musical tastes — and pocketbook.

But that would be ignoring the elephant in the room:  Rock and roll.  In fact the top five songs on this list are all arguably within that style.  Others, such as Sixteen Tons, reflect the influence of southern blues and country music on the record buying public.

If there were any doubt that this new “bop” music was taking the airwaves by storm, 1955 was the year that cemented it.   The older, more restrained sound of the crooners and bands would linger and enjoy a resurgence in the early 1960s, until a group from Liverpool would relegate it to “easy listening” status, or at best, “adult contemporary.”  But for now, the Perry Comos and Frank Sinatras were still playing a leading role.