Number Ones
The 1950s
(Sheet Music Sales)


Other Decades
1950s 1950s 1960s 1960s 1970s 1970s 1980s 1980s 1990s 1990s 2000s 2000s 2010s


The first British record sales chart ("The Hit Parade") did not appear until 14th November 1952.  Prior to that (and for many years afterwards), popular songs were measured by sales of sheet music, which was purchased both by professional musicians who performed live in pubs, clubs and theatres, and by keen amateurs who would play pianos, accordions etc at home.

Throughout the 1950s, Radio Luxembourg broadcast a sheet music Top 20.  This was the first ever Top Twenty countdown show, and set the pattern of chart shows for the decades that followed.

The listings below show the Number One songs and melodies, together with the artists who made the most memorable recordings of the songs.  It should be noted that in the 1950s, nearly every major song had several versions issued - maybe a couple from the US and often as many as 3 or 4 British covers.  Not all versions are shown in this list.

Web links are included where they have been found.


Week Ending SONG TITLE Notable Recording(s)
+ Artist Links
7 Jan 1950 You're Breaking My Heart Ink Spots 2 They were a top close-harmony singing act of black Americans.
21 Jan 1950 Hop Scotch Polka Billy Whitlock 1 Whitlock wrote the piece with that title, but called it "Scotch Hot" on the recording!
28 Jan 1950 The Harry Lime Theme Anton Karas 4 (Returned for 3 weeks from w/e 18/2/50) Famed theme from the spy film "The Third Man", starring Orson Welles.  The theme was composed by the performer.
4 Feb 1950 Dear Hearts And Gentle People 1: Dinah Shore
2: Billy Cotton Band
2 Song was a radio favourite on the "Billy Cotton Band Show".
11 Mar 1950 Music! Music! Music! Teresa Brewer 6 First major hit for the girl from Ohio.  She later did badly against UK cover versions.
22 Apr 1950 (If I Knew You Were Comin') I'd've Baked A Cake Eve Young & The Homesteaders 1 Another happy-go-lucky radio favourite which Billy Cotton helped to popularise.
29 Apr 1950 My Foolish Heart Billy Eckstine 11 He was a deep-voiced star from the 1930s, still very popular throughout the 50s.
8 Jul 1950 Bewitched (Bothered and Bewildered) 1: Doris Day
2: Mel Torme
8 Written by Rodgers & Hart. Recorded by Doris Day in 1949.
9 Sep 1950 Silver Dollar (Roll, Roll, Roll) Eve Young & The Homesteaders 7 Similar style to Eve's previous hit, got the musicians buying again.
28 Oct 1950 Goodnight Irene 1: Frank Sinatra
2: Jo Stafford
4 A version by the Gordon Jenkins Orch was at no 1 in the US for 13 weeks.
25 Nov 1950 Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer 1: Gene Autry
2: Bing Crosby
6 Christmas song that has remained ever popular since.
6 Jan 1951 I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat Mel Blanc 3 Based on a line from the Tweetie Pie cartoons.  Mel was the cartoon voice.
27 Jan 1951 Beloved, Be Faithful 1: Teddy Johnson
2: Donald Peers
1 Both of these were top British balladeers of their time.
3 Feb 1951 The Petite Waltz 1: Anne Shelton
2: Billy Cotton Band
2 At this time, the most popular dance by far was the waltz.
17 Feb 1951 The Tennessee Waltz 1: Patti Page
2: Anita O'Day
9 The US country music star (Patti Page) battled it out in the UK with a jazz music star (Anita O'Day) a country music waltz.
21 Apr 1951 Mockin' Bird Hill Les Paul & Mary Ford 10 They were pioneers of multi-track recording and amplified electric guitars.
30 Jun 1951 With These Hands Nelson Eddy & Jo Stafford 3 Hits for Shirley Bassey in 1960 and Tom Jones in 1965.
21 Jul 1951 My Resistance Is Low Hoagy Carmichael 4 Written by the singer.  Hit for Robin Sarstedt in 1976.
18 Aug 1951 Too Young 1: Nat 'King' Cole
2: Jimmy Young
12 Cole's version is now best known, but it was Young's first major success.
10 Nov 1951 Longing For You Teresa Brewer 11 Melody based on the classical piece "Waltz Dream" by Oscar Straus.
12 Jan 1952 The Loveliest Night Of The Year 1: Mario Lanza
2: Anne Shelton
4 Was on the chart for a record 32 weeks before making No 1.
23 Feb 1952 There's Always Room At Our House Guy Mitchell 4 First major recording for this US singing star.
22 Mar 1952 Unforgettable Nat 'King' Cole 10 All-time Nat 'King' Cole classic.
24 May 1952 A-round The Corner Jo Stafford 3 She was the most popular American female singer in the UK at this time.
14 Jun 1952 Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart Vera Lynn 10 Immensely popular with people who remembered the war years.
23 Aug 1952 The Homing Waltz 1: Vera Lynn
2: Alma Cogan
9 Successive No 1s for Vera Lynn recordings.
25 Oct 1952 Here In My Heart Al Martino 8 Became the first No 1 on the record-sales chart.
27 Dec 1952 You Belong To Me 1: Jo Stafford
2: Alma Cogan
7 It was Jo Stafford's version that topped the infant records chart.
7 Feb 1953 Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes Perry Como 1 Como's version topped the record charts in UK and US.
14 Feb 1953 Broken Wings 1: Stargazers
2: Dickie Valentine
3: Art & Dottie Todd
6 These three versions were UK hits, but the Stargazers took it to No 1 in the records chart.
28 Mar 1953 (How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window 1: Patti Page
2: Lita Roza
6 Both UK record hits, but Lita Roza made it to the top.
9 May 1953 In A Golden Coach 1: Billy Cotton Band
2: Dickie Valentine
5 Celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.  Both these made the records Top 10.
13 Jun 1953 I Believe Frankie Laine 1 Massive record-chart hit for Frankie Laine, where it spent 18 weeks at No 1.
31 Oct 1953 Poppa Piccolino Diana Decker 1 Italian song.  There were UK versions, but this US singer had the only record-chart hit.
7 Nov 1953 Answer Me 1: David Whitfield
2: Frankie Laine
10 They both made No 1 in the record-chart, but Laine's version was the bigger seller.
26 Dec 1953 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus 1: Beverley Sisters
2: Jimmy Boyd
1 The popular British trio were outsold by the US recording.
16 Jan 1954 Oh Mein Papa Eddie Calvert 8 Eddie had the classic-trumpet instrumental hit, but there were vocal versions too.
13 Mar 1954 I See The Moon Stargazers 5 Novelty song which they took to No 1 in the records chart.  No other versions were hits.
10 Apr 1954 The Happy Wanderer Obernkirchen Children's Choir 5 German song which became the great sing-along of the year.   Best-selling sheet music in 1954.
22 May 1954 Secret Love Doris Day 7 Oscar-winning song from the Doris Day film "Calamity Jane".
10 Jul 1954 Cara Mia David Whitfield & Mantovani Orchestra 2 Million-selling No 1 version that was the only one to make the charts.
24 Jul 1954 Little Things Mean A Lot 1: Kitty Kallen
2: Alma Cogan
12 The American took the single to No 1 in the records charts, but Alma Cogan made No 11.
16 Oct 1954 My Friend Frankie Laine 1 His was the only hit version back in 1954, although Roy Orbison had a minor hit with the same song in 1969.
23 Oct 1954 Hold My Hand Don Cornell 10 The American's only big hit in the UK.
1 Jan 1955 Mister Sandman 1: Chordettes
2: Dickie Valentine
3: Four Aces
4: Max Bygraves
6 They all made the Top 20, but sales were too spread for anyone to reach the top spot.
5 Feb 1955 Mambo Italiano Rosemary Clooney 3 She was a US music and tv star who remained very popular throughout the 1950's.
26 Feb 1955 Softly, Softly Ruby Murray 8 Major British star of the mid 50s, but this was her only No 1 in the records chart.
23 Apr 1955 Stranger In Paradise 1: Tony Bennett
2: Four Aces
3: Tony Martin
7 From the 1953 Broadway musical "Kismet".  Tune based on a theme from Borodin's opera "Prince Igor".
11 Jun 1955 Unchained Melody 1: Jimmy Young
2: Al Hibbler
3: Liberace
12 Song from the film "Unchained". This No 1 song made the top three times more, in 1990, 1995 and 2002.
3 Sep 1955 Ev'rywhere David Whitfield 5 The decade's most popular British tenor took this to No 3 in the records chart.
8 Oct 1955 Blue Star (The Medic Theme) 1: Cyril Stapleton Orch
2: Ron Goodwin Orch
8 Cyril Stapleton saw his version, with vocals by Julie Dawn, reach No 2 in the records chart.
3 Dec 1955 Christmas Alphabet Dickie Valentine 5 A Christmas No 1 that was forgotten until Cliff Richard included it on his 1991 Xmas album.
31 Dec 1955 Twenty Tiny Fingers 1: Stargazers
2: Alma Cogan
1 British novelty song about the birth of twins.  The Stargazers won the record-chart battle.
7 Jan 1956 Love Is A Many-splendoured Thing 1: Four Aces
2: Nat King Cole
1 Ten versions were in the record shops but only the Four Aces charted, reaching No 2.
14 Jan 1956 The Ballad of Davy Crockett 1: Bill Hayes
2: Tennessee Ernie Ford
7 Theme from the highly popular mid-50s tv series.
3 Mar 1956 Memories Are Made Of This 1: Dean Martin
2: Dave King
3 Dean Martin was a major US star - King was a UK comedian who recorded the cover version.
24 Mar 1956 It's Almost Tomorrow Dreamweavers 6 They were a studio-only act from Miami.  Mark Wynter had a hit with it in 1963.
5 May 1956 No Other Love Ronnie Hilton 6 British tenor with a Rodgers & Hammerstein song.
16 Jun 1956 My September Love David Whitfield 2 Another one from the British balladeer - this one made No 3.
30 Jun 1956 Hot Diggity 1: Perry Como
2: Michael Holliday
3 A Perry Como classic which was covered by the UK singer.
21 Jul 1956 Walk Hand In Hand 1: Tony Martin
2: Ronnie Carroll
6 Tony Martin got the big hit - No 2.  Gerry & The Pacemakers charted in 1965 with the song.
1 Sep 1956 What Ever Will Be Will Be Doris Day 5 Oscar-winning song from the Doris Day film "The Man Who Knew Too Much".
6 Oct 1956 Lay Down Your Arms Anne Shelton 4 The song was based on a Swedish melody.  She was a British star of the 40s & 50s.  
3 Nov 1956 More 1: Jimmy Young
2: Perry Como
5 In this battle of the nations, Young won, reaching No 4 against Como's No 10.
8 Dec 1956 Just Walking In The Rain Johnnie Ray 4 One of Johnnie's biggest hits, and one of his best-loved.
5 Jan 1957 Singing The Blues 1: Guy Mitchell
2: Tommy Steele
11 They both took this to No 1, but Guy stayed there longer - 3 weeks as opposed to 1.
23 Mar 1957 Young Love Tab Hunter 4 US movie idol who was asked to record the song.  It had no connection with any film.
20 Apr 1957 Heart 1: Max Bygraves
2: Johnston Brothers
4 This did not fair well in the records charts.  Max did best, but still only got to No 14.
18 May 1957 Butterfly 1: Andy Williams
2: Charlie Gracie
1 Verging on rock 'n' roll, rather than MOR which Williams specialised in later.
25 May 1957 Around The World 1: Bing Crosby
2: Ronnie Hilton
3: Gracie Fields
14 These records all made the Top 10, but Hilton did best at No 4.
31 Aug 1957 Love Letters In The Sand Pat Boone 4 Pat's was the only hit at the time, reaching No 2.  Vince Hill had a minor hit with the song in 1967.
28 Sep 1957 Tammy Debbie Reynolds 9 From the film in which she starred, "Tammy & The Bachelor".  The record made No 2.
30 Nov 1957 Mary's Boy Child Harry Belafonte 5 Big No 1 record hit for Harry.  Boney M made the song a Christmas No 1 in 1978.
4 Jan 1958 Alone 1: Petula Clark
2: Shephard Sisters
1 Rock 'n' Roll love song that the British girl covered and then won the chart battle.
11 Jan 1958 My Special Angel 1: Malcolm Vaughan
2: Bobby Helms
3 The US original was by country music singer Bobby Helms.   Vaughan's version won easily.
1 Feb 1958 The Story Of My Life 1: Michael Holliday
2: Dave King
4 Burt Bacharach and Hal David song.  The Brits fought it out and Holliday's record made No 1.
1 Mar 1958 Magic Moments Perry Como 9 2nd No 1 in a row for writers Burt Bacharach and Hal David.   One of Como's best-known hits.
26 Apr 1958 Swingin' Shepherd Blues Ted Heath Orchestra 1 The most popular British big band of the day, but they never had a No 1 record.
10 May 1958 I May Never Pass This Way Again 1: Perry Como
2: Robert Earl
3 The sales of these two records cancelled each other out and only just made the Top 20.
31 May 1958 Who's Sorry Now Connie Francis 1 First female rock 'n' roll star to get a No 1 record, but this song was a 1920s ballad.
7 Jun 1958 Stairway Of Love 1: Michael Holliday
2: Terry Dene
1 Terry Dene was a minor star, most famous for his nervous breakdown after his army conscription.
14 Jun 1958 On The Street Where You Live Vic Damone 6 Song from the hit musical "My Fair Lady". He made No 1 in the records chart, no one else even made the Top 10.
26 Jul 1958 Tulips From Amsterdam Max Bygraves 6 One of the songs always associated with Max.  The B-side was "You Need Hands".
6 Sep 1958 Trudie Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson 1 A Russ Conway rival who took this self-penned song to No 14 in the records chart.
13 Sep 1958 Volare Dean Martin 6 An Italian song - Dean Martin took the English translation to No 1 in the records chart.
25 Oct 1958 Come Prima (More Than Ever) 1: Marino Marini
2: Malcolm Vaughan
12 Another Italian song, which Marini sang in Italian.  Vaughan had the English version with a new title.
17 Jan 1959 The Day The Rains Came Jane Morgan 2 A French song with English lyrics.  The B-side of the single was in French!
31 Jan 1959 As I Love You Shirley Bassey 6 Her first No 1 which led to a career which extended into the 21st century.
14 Mar 1959 Side Saddle Russ Conway 12 Pianist who wrote these hits under his real name of Trevor Stanford. Was a records-chart No 1 too.
6 Jun 1959 Roulette Russ Conway 13 This was his single follow-up which also made No 1 in the records chart.
5 Sep 1959 Only Sixteen 1: Sam Cooke
2: Craig Douglas
6 This was written by Sam Cooke, but it was Douglas who got the No 1 in the records chart.
10 Oct 1959 China Tea Russ Conway 2 This gave him a total of over six months at No 1 in the sheet music chart of 1959.  This tune made No 5 in the records chart.
31 Oct 1959 Mack The Knife 1: Bobby Darin
2: Louis Armstrong
2 From "The Threepenny Opera", Armstrong first charted with it in 1956.  Darin made No 1 in the records chart.
14 Nov 1959 Little Donkey 1: Beverley Sisters
2: Gracie Fields
7 Christmas song that was the Sisters' penultimate hit, and Gracie's final chart appearance.

The Sheet Music chart was published by the New Musical Express until February 1965,
but was compiled and published by the Music Publishers Association until 1985.
No data for these decades is available to the compiler of these web pages.

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