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Number One Songs - 1950s


by Amy Gold

The number one songs of the 1950s, which total 154, are listed in the table below in descending order by the total number of weeks they stayed on the Billboard Pop/Rock charts. "Blue Tango" by Leroy Anderson and His "Pops" Concert Orchestra tops the list at 38 weeks. At the bottom of the list is "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" by Jimmy Boyd which was on the charts for only 5 weeks. This list includes three songs that topped the charts twice with different artists: "Butterfly" (Andy Williams, Charlie Gracie), "The Third Man Theme" (Anton Karas, Guy Lombardo), and "Young Love" (Sonny James, Tab Hunter).

Throughout most of the 1950s, the artist with the most top hits was, by far, Elvis Presley, but in the latter part of the decade, Pat Boone's popularity rivaled that of Presley and his numerous hits also ruled the airwaves. The 1950s was the decade in which the groundbreaking "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets topped the charts and took the nation by storm. The smooth and soulful sounds of doo wop were a large part of the pop musical landscape of the 1950s, with such groups as the Platters, the Coasters, the Crew-Cuts, the Elegants, the Fleetwoods, the Silhouettes, and the Chordettes scoring many top hits. The more rollicking and spirited sounds of rockabilly which were also a large part of 1950s pop music could be heard in the top pop hits of Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Buddy Knox, and Jimmie Rodgers. Other rhythm and blues styles were also emerging which could be heard in such top charting and versatile singers as Georgia Gibb and Teresa Brewer.

As new pop music styles were emerging that catered mainly to younger crowds, various types of jazz- and country-infused traditional pop continued to dominate the pop charts. Major top charting traditional pop singers of the 1950s included "Tennessee" Ernie Ford, Nat "King" Cole, Patti Page, Frankie Laine, Doris Day, Jo Stafford, Tony Bennett, Eddie Fisher, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, and Frank Sinatra. Sibling acts and other family groups were also popular in the 1950s; those that topped the charts were the McGuire Sisters, the Browns, the Ames Brothers, the Every Brothers, the Fontane Sisters, and the Mills Brothers. The Andrews Sisters, a top act from the 1940s, had one last #1 hit in 1950, "I Wanna Be Loved."

Many of the top hits of the 1950s could also be heard at the movies. In 1950, "The Third Man Theme," the title song for the 1949 movie, became a number one pop hit for both Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians and Anton Karas (who wrote the score for the movie). The Four Aces had two #1 pop hits with the movie title themes, “Three Coins In The Fountain” (1954) and "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing" (1955). Elvis Presley had several top pop hits that were also part of the music in some of the movies in which he both performed and starred; these songs included "Jailhouse Rock" (1957), "Love Me Tender" (1956), “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” (1957), and “Hard Headed Woman” (1958). Other notable 1950s top pop hits from the movies included the movie title songs "Tammy" (Debbie Reynolds), “April Love" (Pat Boone), “Song From 'Moulin Rouge' (Where Is Your Heart)” (Percy Faith and His Orchestra), and "Moonglow And Theme From "'Picnic'"(Morris Stoloff conducting the Columbia Pictures Orchestra). In 1955, “Unchained Melody”, a song later made famous by the Righteous Brothers, became a #1 pop hit for Les Baxter, His Chorus and Orchestra. This song was part of the music for the movie, "Unchained.”

The number one songs of the 1950s also included teen idol hits, zany novelty tunes, folk music, country pop, instrumental songs, and various other styles. This decade was a turning point in American pop music, and the radical changes that took place during this era can be heard in the assorted mix of top hits of the day.

Back to: Top Songs By Decade


Note: C#1 = COUNTRY #1
SONGARTISTCHART
DEBUT
DATE
R&B#1C#1
Blue TangoLeroy Anderson And His "Pops" Concert Orchestra12/29/1951
Be My LoveMario Lanza12/16/1950
Love Letters In The SandPat Boone5/6/1957
Because Of YouTony Bennett6/23/1951
Running BearJohnny Preston10/12/1959
Vaya Con Dios (May God Be With You)Les Paul And Mary Ford6/20/1953
You You YouThe Ames Brothers6/27/1953
(We're Gonna) Rock Around The ClockBill Haley And His Comets5/14/1955
TammyDebbie Reynolds7/22/1957
All Shook UpElvis Presley4/6/1957
*
*
Too YoungNat "King" Cole4/14/1951
Lisbon AntiguaNelson Riddle And His Orchestra12/10/1955
Round And RoundPerry Como2/23/1957
DianaPaul Anka7/15/1957
*
The Wayward WindGogi Grant4/28/1956
Hound DogElvis Presley8/4/1956
*
*
HoneycombJimmie Rodgers8/12/1957
*
Chances AreJohnny Mathis9/16/1957
Sentimental MeThe Ames Brothers1/28/1950
The Third Man ThemeAnton Karas2/18/1950
The 3rd Man ThemeGuy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians3/11/1950
Mona LisaNat "King" Cole6/10/1950
*
Harbor LightsSammy Kaye And His Orchestra9/9/1950
Cold, Cold HeartTony Bennett7/28/1951
CryJohnnie Ray11/24/1951
*
Half As MuchRosemary Clooney5/24/1952
Hey ThereRosemary Clooney7/17/1954
This Ole HouseRosemary Clooney8/7/1954
Autumn LeavesRoger Williams8/20/1955
Love Is A Many-Splendored ThingFour Aces8/27/1955
Heartbreak HotelElvis Presley3/3/1956
*
Moonglow And Theme From "Picnic"Morris Stoloff Conducting The Columbia Pictures Orchestra4/14/1956
Don't Be CruelElvis Presley8/11/1956
*
*
Jailhouse RockElvis Presley10/14/1957
*
*
April LovePat Boone10/28/1957
The Tennessee WaltzPatti Page11/18/1950
Little Things Mean A LotKitty Kallen4/17/1954
Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom WhitePerez Prado3/5/1955
Ain't That A ShamePat Boone7/9/1955
The Green DoorJim Lowe9/22/1956
Singing The BluesGuy Mitchell10/27/1956
Wake Up Little SusieThe Everly Brothers9/30/1957
*
*
You Send MeSam Cooke10/21/1957
*
Mack The KnifeBobby Darin8/24/1959
Goodnight, IreneWeavers7/8/1950
How High The MoonLes Paul And Mary Ford3/31/1951
Wheel Of FortuneKay Starr2/16/1952
You Belong To MeJo Stafford8/9/1952
I'm Walking Behind YouEddie Fisher5/9/1953
Rags To RichesTony Bennett9/19/1953
Rock And Roll WaltzKay Starr12/31/1955
(Let Me Be Your) Teddy BearElvis Presley6/24/1957
*
*
IfPerry Como1/13/1951
Sin (It's No Sin)Eddy Howard And His Orchestra9/22/1951
Slow PokePee Wee King And His Golden West Cowboys11/3/1951
*
Till I Waltz Again With YouTeresa Brewer12/13/1952
Song From "Moulin Rouge" (Where Is Your Heart)Percy Faith And His Orchestra4/4/1953
Make Love To Me!Jo Stafford1/23/1954
I Need You NowEddie Fisher9/4/1954
Memories Are Made Of ThisDean Martin12/3/1955
The Great PretenderThe Platters12/17/1955
*
The Poor People Of ParisLes Baxter, His Chorus And Orchestra2/11/1956
I Want You, I Need You, I Love YouElvis Presley5/26/1956
*
Catch A Falling StarPerry Como1/13/1958
All My LovePatti Page8/26/1950
Why Don't You Believe MeJoni James10/18/1952
Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom)Perry Como3/10/1956
I Almost Lost My MindPat Boone6/2/1956
My PrayerThe Platters7/7/1956
*
Love Me TenderElvis Presley10/20/1956
Party DollBuddy Knox2/23/1957
SugartimeThe McGuire Sisters12/30/1957
To Know Him Is To Love HimThe Teddy Bears9/22/1958
DelicadoPercy Faith And His Orchestra4/26/1952
I Went To Your WeddingPatti Page8/30/1952
No Other LovePerry Como6/20/1953
Secret LoveDoris Day1/9/1954
WantedPerry Como3/6/1954
Sixteen Tons"Tennessee" Ernie Ford11/12/1955
*
Don't Forbid MePat Boone12/22/1956
That'll Be The DayBuddy Holly/The Crickets8/12/1957
It's All In The GameTommy Edwards8/18/1958
*
El PasoMarty Robbins11/9/1959
*
I Wanna Be LovedAndrews Sisters5/13/1950
Auf Wiederseh'n SweetheartVera Lynn6/21/1952
Wish You Were HereEddie Fisher7/19/1952
The Glow-WormThe Mills Brothers9/27/1952
Don't Let The Stars Get In Your EyesPerry Como12/6/1952
The Doggie In The WindowPatti Page1/31/1953
Unchained MelodyLes Baxter, His Chorus And Orchestra4/9/1955
Young LoveSonny James12/29/1956
*
Young LoveTab Hunter1/12/1957
At The HopDanny And The Juniors12/9/1957
*
PatriciaPerez Prado6/16/1958
*
It's Only Make BelieveConway Twitty9/15/1958
Tom DooleyThe Kingston Trio9/29/1958
Stagger LeeLloyd Price12/8/1958
*
The Battle Of New OrleansJohnny Horton4/27/1959
*
Come On-a My HouseRosemary Clooney7/7/1951
Kiss Of FireGeorgia Gibbs4/19/1952
Sh-BoomThe Crew-Cuts7/10/1954
Mr. SandmanThe Chordettes10/30/1954
Hearts Of StoneThe Fontane Sisters12/11/1954
Ballad Of Davy CrockettBill Hayes2/26/1955
Learnin' The BluesFrank Sinatra5/14/1955
ButterflyAndy Williams2/23/1957
Don'tElvis Presley1/27/1958
Heartaches By The NumberGuy Mitchell10/5/1959
A Guy Is A GuyDoris Day3/15/1952
Here In My HeartAl Martino5/17/1952
It's In The BookJohnny Standley10/4/1952
Oh! My Pa-PaEddie Fisher12/12/1953
SincerelyThe McGuire Sisters1/8/1955
TequilaThe Champs2/24/1958
*
He's Got The Whole World (In His Hands)Laurie London3/24/1958
Little StarThe Elegants7/21/1958
*
Smoke Gets In Your EyesThe Platters11/17/1958
Mr. BlueThe Fleetwoods9/14/1959
Three Coins In The FountainFour Aces5/22/1954
Dance With Me Henry (Wallflower)Georgia Gibbs3/26/1955
The Yellow Rose Of TexasMitch Miller And His Orch. And Chorus8/6/1955
Bird DogThe Everly Brothers8/4/1958
*
Sleep WalkSanto And Johnny7/27/1959
Teen AngelMark Dinning12/21/1959
Music! Music! Music!Teresa Brewer2/4/1950
Hoop-Dee-DooPerry Como4/29/1950
Too MuchElvis Presley1/26/1957
ButterflyCharlie Gracie2/16/1957
Twilight TimeThe Platters4/7/1958
*
All I Have To Do Is DreamThe Everly Brothers4/21/1958
*
*
VenusFrankie Avalon2/9/1959
The Happy OrganDave "Baby" Cortez3/16/1959
The Three BellsThe Browns7/27/1959
*
Chattanoogie Shoe Shine BoyRed Foley1/21/1950
*
If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked A CakeEileen Barton3/11/1950
Let Me Go LoverJoan Weber12/4/1954
Witch DoctorDavid Seville/The Chipmunks4/14/1958
*
Yakety YakThe Coasters6/2/1958
*
Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)Domenico Modugno8/4/1958
Come Softly To MeThe Fleetwoods3/9/1959
Kansas CityWilbert Harrison4/13/1959
*
WhyFrankie Avalon11/23/1959
The ThingPhil Harris11/25/1950
Get A JobThe Silhouettes1/20/1958
*
Poor Little FoolRicky Nelson7/7/1958
Lonely BoyPaul Anka6/1/1959
Rag MopThe Ames Brothers1/14/1950
A Big Hunk O' LoveElvis Presley7/6/1959
The Purple People EaterSheb Wooley6/2/1958
Hard Headed WomanElvis Presley6/30/1958
Chipmunk SongDavid Seville/The Chipmunks12/1/1958
The Cry Of The Wild GooseFrankie Laine2/11/1950
St. George And The DragonetStan Freberg10/3/1953
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa ClausJimmy Boyd12/6/1952