One of the venerable names in Chicago radio and TV, WGN (the letters stand for "World’s Greatest Newspaper," the motto of the Chicago Tribune, which owned the radio and TV stations) was pretty much all news, talk and sports (Cubs, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks etc.), but in the ’50’s they did a lot of music, both popular and classical. For years, it was the home of Franklyn MacCormack in the wee hours of the night, reading poetry and playing classical and Big Band music and show tunes. Here’s their Top Ten from May 23, 1953 (which back then was a week from Memorial Day).
I have to take a different approach to the notes on these songs, because there wasn’t a lot of information on chart peformance
10 – Patti Page, "Oo! What You Do To Me": What I managed to learn, between Discogs and AllMusic is that the song was written by Kay Twomey, Ben Weisman, and Fred Wise, all of whom later wrote a number of songs for Elvis Presley, and that the orchestra was conducted by Jack Rael. "Now That I’m In Love," the flip side, was written by Johnny Burke, and it reached #18 in the US.
9 – Pete Hanley, "Big Mamou": This was one of Pete’s early records, a Cajun song written by Link Davis. The orchestra and chorus was conducted by the Leyden brothers. And that’s pretty much all I found on this.
8 – Eddy Howard, "Say You’re Mine Again": Eddy Howard was a vocalist and bandleader; AllMusic tells us he was a "romantic balladeer" who rarely deviated from mild, downtempo songs. That would make this a perfect example. The song was written by Dave Heisler and Charles Nathan, who also wrote songs for Perry Como (who did his own cover of the song).
7 – Silvana Mangano, "Anna": Ms. Mangano was an Italian actress who was married at one time to Dino DeLaurentiis. She starred in the 1951 movie Anna, from which this is taken. The record credits the songwriting team of Giordano and Vatro, but I wasn’t able to find any information on them.
6 – Les Baxter, "April In Portugal": Also known as "The Whisp’ring Serenade," it was written by Raul Ferrão, and while it has Portuguese and English lyrics, the instrumental versions are more popular. The Les Baxter version spent 22 weeks on the chart and peaked at #2.
5 – Jenny Barrett, "He Loves Me": This wins the prize for the least amount of information about a song and/or an artist. We know the song was written by the songwriting team of Sullivan and Bedelli, that it’s the flip side of "Do Me A Favor," which was the A side. Jenny was featured in an ad for Soundcraft Magnetic Tape. And that’s it.
4 – Frankie Laine, "I Believe": This classic song was written by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, and Al Stillman. It was commissioned and introduced by TV personality Jane Froman. who was disturbed by the upreising of the Korean War. She wanted to come out with an uplifting song. Frankie’s cover spent three weeks at #2 in the US and 18 nonconsecutive weeks at #1 in the UK.
3 – Les Brown & His Orchestra, "Ruby": Les was the bandleader on Doris Day’s radio show during the period 1952-53. This was the theme for the 1952 movie Ruby Gentry starrig Jennifer Jones and was written by Mitchell Parrish and Heinz Roemheld. Brown’s cover reached #29 briefly.
2 – Frank Sinatra, "I’m Walking Behind You": A song by Billy Reid, originally recorded un the UK by Dorothy Squires in the UK. Frank’s version, his first recording for Capitol Records, reached #7 in the US.
1 – Percy Faith, "The Song From Moulin Rouge ("Where Is Your Heart")": Also known as "It’s April Again," it was written By Georges Auric. Faith’s cover, with vocal by Felicia Sanders, spent 24 weeks on the chart, peaking at #1 for ten weeks. It was the #1 song for 1953.
Let me know how this format worked for you. Back with H tomorrow!