Your Hit Parade: 1950

1950 was a transitional year in popular music. Bing Crosby and Guy Lombardo, whose recording careers dated back to the 1920s, were the number one and the number two recording artists, and many of the top songs were revivals of old ones, notably the Andrews Sisters' versions of 1937's "I Can Dream, Can't I?" and 1932's "I Wanna Be Loved," and Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye's "Harbor Lights," another 1937 copyright. But folk and country music were making inroads into mainstream popular music, as the year's top debut artists included the Weavers with their long-running hit version of Lead Belly's "Goodnight Irene." The 1950 entry in Time-Life Music's Your Hit Parade series typically chooses 24 selections from the year, most of which ranked among the year's top hits along with some lesser numbers and a few inexplicable omissions. 17 of 1950's most popular songs are included here, 16 of them in their most popular versions (the exception is "Nevertheless," most successfully done by Paul Weston with the Norman Luboff Choir, but featured here in a competing version by the Mills Brothers.) Patti Page's "The Tennessee Waltz," the Weavers' "Goodnight Irene," and Nat "King" Cole's "Mona Lisa" are among the chart-toppers included. Most notable among the missing are "'The Third Man' Theme," the popular instrumental from the critically acclaimed suspense film, turned into a number one hit by both Anton Karas and Guy Lombardo, and the frothy novelty "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake" by newcomer Eileen Barton. Instead of these, one hears such questionable substitutions as Doris Day's bowdlerized version of Rodgers and Hart's "Bewitched" (then enjoying renewed popularity due to a Broadway revival of Pal Joey), which was outdistanced by four other versions on the charts; and the buoyantly morbid novelty "Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think)," by Lombardo. Even if some of the year's top hits are missing, however, every track that is included was a Top Ten hit, and the album gives a good account of what the year 1950 sounded like on the radio and the jukeboxes. ~ William Ruhlmann

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