EVERY Billboard #1 country hit discussion thread 1955-1959

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by W.B., May 21, 2019.

  1. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Now we move on to the next era in country music, one which saw profound changes that would last for the next few decades until the 1970's rise in the "outlaw" movement and the 1980's "New Traditionalists." Within a few years of the start of this timeline, saw the emergence of the "Nashville Sound" as drawn up by the likes of Owen Bradley at Decca, Chet Atkins at RCA Victor, Don Law at Columbia and Ken Nelson at Capitol, in a bid to keep up their relevance in the wake of the juggernaut that was rock and roll - as exemplified by the likes of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Everly Brothers who all emerged in this period. Jim Reeves, who already had two #1's in the 1950-54 period covered in the previous thread, would undergo a massive change in musical direction due to the new "Nashville Sound," just as one example. A few of the more "traditional" stars, such as Webb Pierce, would have trouble adjusting, and would gradually fade from chart dominance in its wake.

    As well, 1958 would see the emergence of stereo discs, which would lead to re-recordings by key "legacy" artists of their earlier works in ways that were far removed from their original recordings. In addition, 1958-59 was the period the 78 RPM disc, long "king" of the jukebox, was phased out entirely, after which only 45 RPM labels will be shown.

    It wasn't just in the music or in technology where changes were in the air. At the onset of this period, the charts were still divvied up into "Most Played in Juke Boxes" (MPJB), "Best Sellers in Stores" (BSR) and "Most Played by Jockeys" (DJ). A few tweakings of those headings would be put in place over the next few years, but June 17, 1957 saw the end of the line for the jukebox chart. Hence, from June 24, 1957 until October 13, 1958, it would be just BSR and DJ; after October 20, 1958, they would be combined into one chart known initially as "Hot C&W Sides."

    At the start of 1955, the top seller on all three charts was still "More And More" by Webb Pierce. To avoid repetition, go to the link below (followed by the link of the earlier chart trajectory, as well as of country #1's from 1975 onwards):

    EVERY Billboard #1 country hit discussion thread 1950-1954
    EVERY Billboard #1 country hit discussion thread 1944-1949

    EVERY Billboard #1 country hit of 1978 discussion thread (current one)
    EVERY Billboard #1 country hit of 1977 discussion thread
    EVERY Billboard #1 country hit of 1976 discussion thread.
    EVERY Billboard #1 country hit of 1975 discussion thread

    As with all other of these threads, this is a linear process of learning the first time a song goes to #1 on the chart, in chronological order, so "jumping ahead" 'round here is very strongly discouraged.

    After a break, the first "new" song for 1955.
     
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  2. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Let the games (and the examination) begin . . .
    "Loose Talk" by Carl Smith
    (#1 on MPJB for 4 weeks - January 22-February 12, 1955; on BSR for 7 weeks - January 8-February 19, 1955; and on DJ for 6 non-consecutive weeks - January 8-22 and February 12-26, 1955)

    78 RPM release:
    [​IMG]
    45 RPM issue:
    [​IMG]
    Wikipedia entry - Mr. Smith's last chart-topper.
     
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  3. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    This is a good one from Carl, and represents the first success Freddie Hart had in his long career. As always, exemplary lap steel work from Johnny Sibert.

    I really love Carl Smith, but many of the songs of his I love the most apparently never quite made it to #1, so I never got to talk about them.
     
  4. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    You are free to bring up whatever hits of his up to this point that didn't make the top, via a clip with the audio, even film clips of him performing them live. As we go on in this timeline (and a future thread about country #1's of the whole 1960's), no doubt there'll be much more of those in Mr. Smith's oeuvre.
     
  5. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Before we get to our biggie of the year, here's this recording that only topped one of the charts . . .
    "Let Me Go, Lover!" by Hank Snow, The Singing Ranger and His Rainbow Ranch Boys
    (#1 on DJ for 2 weeks - January 29-February 5, 1955)

    78 RPM release:
    [​IMG]
    45 RPM issue:
    [​IMG]
    Wikipedia entry
     
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  6. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    Despite its pop origins, I've always liked this song. I'm quite sure I would prefer hearing Hank Snow's version of it over anyone else's.
     
  7. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Now for this biggie which had the longest run of any #1 for this gent, tying him with the likes of Eddy Arnold (in 1948) and Hank Snow (in 1950) . . .
    "In The Jailhouse Now" by Webb Pierce
    (#1 on MPJB for 21(!) weeks - March 5-July 23, 1955; on BSR for 20 weeks - February 26-July 9, 1955; and on DJ for 15 weeks - March 5-June 11, 1955)

    78 RPM release:
    [​IMG]
    45 RPM issue:
    [​IMG]
    Wikipedia entry
     
  8. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    This is a good version of this oft-recorded song. I'm wondering who's singing backup. Fairly unusual for a song of this era to have three-part harmony.

    There's a live clip from the Gannaway sessions that I believe has Red Sovine and possibly Marty Robbins adding the harmonies, but Marty wouldn't be on this recording, as he was signed to Columbia. And it doesn't sound much like Red here.
     
  9. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    It's possible Mr. Sovine may've been one of the backing vocalists on the record, given that: a) he was signed to Decca at the time, and b) he did work with Mr. Pierce on other projects - including a duet we'll be hearing from in the next year.
     
  10. george nadara

    george nadara Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Never knew this was #1 when I was born in May. I had looked at the pop charts years ago for my "birthday song" but never thought about the country chart. Ahem, 64 years ago this week.
     
  11. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    NS, Canada
    Never heard Hank Snow's version. Just the Joan Weber version. I guess Country didn't cross-over to pop in those days?
     
  12. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    NS, Canada
    Don't try to turn this into a Beatles thread! :realmad:

    Just kidding, many happy returns :)
     
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  13. vanmeterannie

    vanmeterannie Forum Resident

    I grew up hearing the later stereo redo of “In the Jailhouse Now” and it took some adjustment to get used to the hit version when I bought it on a rainbow-label MCA 45 in the 80s, which I think may have been the only way to get it at the time. (Maybe.)
     
  14. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    While, on the MPJB and BSR charts, Mr. Pierce would come to dominate for eight months, on the DJ charts his run was interrupted by two different artists whose first #1's on the country charts these would be. First we look at . . .
    "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young" by Faron Young
    (#1 on DJ for 3 weeks - June 18-July 2, 1955)

    45 RPM issue (no 78 RPM label for this, alas, though it was issued on 78):
    [​IMG]
    Wikipedia entry
     
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  15. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    I don't rate Faron as highly as I do my other favorite classic country artists. I find his songs, singing and the playing on many of them not always to my taste.

    But this is his all-time greatest record ever, perfect in every way. Beyond the excellence of the backing, you truly believe that Faron is singing about himself here, as opposed to acting out a part.
     
  16. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Next we examine this one . . .
    "A Satisfied Mind" by Porter Wagoner
    (#1 on DJ for 4 weeks - July 9-30, 1955)

    78 RPM release:
    [​IMG]
    45 RPM issue:
    [​IMG]
    Wikipedia entry
     
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  17. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    This is one of the truly great country songs. I first heard it through the Byrds cover in 1965, and while it's sincerely done (and perhaps one of the first-ever stabs at country rock?), it can't hold a candle to this original. Porter really had a signature sound for his records from this era of his career with those beautiful three-part harmonies. They really suited this song.

    I've told the story many times on this forum of singing "A Satisfied Mind" with an old-time country guy at a wake for my dad. My sister, who had never heard the song before, cried. It was a perfectly fitting epitaph for him.
     
  18. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Getting back to the, er, "Pierce-ing" juggernaut . . .
    "I Don't Care" by Webb Pierce
    (#1 on MPJB for 12 weeks - July 30-October 15, 1955; on BSR for 12 weeks - July 16-October 1, 1955; and on DJ for 12 weeks - August 6-October 22, 1955)

    78 RPM release:
    [​IMG]
    45 RPM issue:
    [​IMG]
    Wikipedia entry
     
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  19. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    I have to confess that I heard the Ricky Skaggs cover first, but Webb's original is great, of course.

    I wonder how much he actually had to do with writing it. Cindy Walker never needed much help to write great songs.
     
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  20. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Very likely his publishing company owned the copyright, and Mr. Pierce, being the businessman he was in that respect . . .
     
  21. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    NS, Canada
    I'm not sure who I first heard performing A Satisfied Mind. Guessed Ian and Sylvia, but it's not on the one cd I have of their hits. Whoever, it appealed to me instantly, and still often comes to mind when I reflect on the endless stress that seems to be my lot :(
     
  22. dalem5467

    dalem5467 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I'm not 100% positive, but I believe it's The Wilburn Brothers, predominantly Teddy backing Webb up.

     
  23. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    This page would seem to support your contention.

    I found the Gannaway color film, and it's Red Sovine and one of the Wilburn Brothers backing him up on that live performance. But the answering vocalist on the studio recording of "In the Jailhouse Now" doesn't sound like Sovine, so I'm thinking it's one of the Wilburns, with the other joining in on high harmony later on in the chorus.
     
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  24. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Now for the first of two toppers from this mainstay, each one reaching the summit on a different chart . . .
    "The Cattle Call" by Eddy Arnold with Hugo Winterhalter's Chorus and Orchestra
    (#1 on BSR for 2 weeks - October 8-15, 1955)

    78 RPM release:
    [​IMG]
    45 RPM issue:
    [​IMG]
    Wikipedia entry - this, a re-recording of one of his earliest releases (1944), was made in New York City ("New York City?!").
     
  25. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Now for the other one . . .
    "That Do Make It Nice" by Eddy Arnold and His Guitar
    (#1 on MPJB for 2 weeks - October 22-29, 1955)

    78 RPM release:
    [​IMG]
    45 RPM issue:
    [​IMG]
    No Wikipedia entry for this one - but notice how "The Tennessee Plowboy" disappeared from Mr. Arnold's moniker.
     

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