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by Matthew Dixon
1953 was the first year to have a fully running singles chart for the entire year. It saw 15 No. 1 hits but virtually everything on the chart was easy listening music, as we were still waiting for the rock and roll era to dawn.
After a very quiet 1952, suddenly there was a load of different No. 1s, with the quick turnover only briefly stopped by Perry Como, who scored one of his biggest hits this year with "Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes" - although even that only just scraped the list of the ten best charters of the year. Conversely, Eddie Fisher, whose track "Outside of Heaven" spent most of it's time near the top stuck at No. 2 behind Perry Como, actually outcharted it in the long run, landing in at No. 9.
Perry was eventually knocked off by Guy Mitchell who managed ten weeks in the top three and manages to be the eighth biggest charter of the year with "She Wears Red Feathers". Among the other hits around in the first half of the year were the delightfully tweely awful "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window" by Lita Roza - how on earth that spent a week at the top is beyond me. Thankfully there was a reason that this couldn't manage more than a week at the top.
If you asked people to name a classic 1950s song, there'd be more than a few people that would name "I Believe" by Frankie Laine. It holds the record for the most weeks at No. 1, spending a phenomenal 16 weeks at the top of the chart. If people tell you that that honour falls on Bryan Adams, they are wrong. "Everything I Do" had the longest consecutive run at the top of the chart - but not the most weeks in total at the top. He managed to get a massive top five duet with Jimmy Boyd come and go during the time that "I Believe" was at the top of the chart. Many of the other hits in the top ten charters of the year didn't manage to top the chart for more than just one week, due to the fact that they were out at the same time.
Eddie Fisher manages a second hit inside the ten biggest charters of the year duetting with Sally Sweetland - who's pretty much forgotten nowadays - on the track "I'm Walking Behind You". It was one of two tracks to sneak past Frankie Laine midway through his epic chart topping. The other one was for Mantovani's Italian orchestra with their track simply titled "The Song Of The Moulin Rouge" - strangely no Christina, Mya, Pink, Kim or Missy in site! That managed to go top three of the year in charting terms. However, some other massive tunes didn't manage to pass Frankie Laine. Nat 'King' Cole first of what would be three No. 2 hits (he never topped the chart) was one of these - the track "Pretend" and the other two, the second and fourth best charters of the year were somewhat similar.
In the 1950s, the artists who performed tracks were virtually always different people to those who wrote the songs. The songwriters allowed pretty much as many people as wanted to to release versions of the songs, and the theme to one of the year's big films, "Limelight", actually became a massive hit for both Frank Chacksfield and Ron Goodwin's orchestra's. The final song to be released to make the top 10 charters of the year was the second, and biggest, hit for Guy Mitchell, "Look At That Girl". As the year ended, another song was massive in two versions - that song being "Answer Me" as performed by David Whitfield and the year's biggest star, Frankie Laine.
Here are the 20 best charting singles of the year:
Here are the ten most successfully charting artists of 1953: