ALBUM CHART HISTORY
Researched and written by Sharon Mawer
In the first full year of the charts only 19 LPs were listed throughout the whole year and of those, 7 had previously entered the chart during 1956, three of which, Carousel and Oklahoma soundtracks and Frank Sinatra's Songs For Swingin Lovers, on the very first ever chart of July 28th and Bill Haley & Comets Rock Around The Clock just one week later. After 3 weeks at no.1 in 1956, Oklahoma spent one further week at the top in mid June 1957 but Carousel, having spent 6 weeks at no.1 in 1956 could get no higher than no.3 during 1957 and Songs For Swingin Lovers, the first no.1, made just two appearances at the bottom position no.5.
Sinatra did however have better news in 1957. Of the 12 new LPs to chart during the year, 4 were his recordings, including 2 further no.1s, This Is Sinatra and A Swingin Affair, Close To You at no.2 and Frankie, a no.3. This Is Sinatra spent 4 weeks at no.1 in March and April in four separate runs of one week each. It was the first of the collection of singles and B-side in collaboration with producer Nelson Riddle and featured the movie themes Three Coins In The Fountain, Young At Heart and The Tender Trap and also the singles Love and Marriage and Learnin The Blues.
A Swingin Affair spent seven weeks at no.1 consecutively between September and November, the longest running chart topper of the year apart from the King and I. A Swingin Affair could be described as Songs For Swingin Lovers Volume 2 as it follows the same formula as the previous years' album. No hit singles but plenty of song standards including Night And Day, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Stars Fell On Alabama, I Wont Dance, You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To and The Lady Is A Tramp. Close To You features backing instrumentation by the Hollywood String Quartet and thus is a more mellow, gentle and intimate album, again no hit singles but includes the tracks I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night, It's Easy To Remember and the title track Close To You along with 12 other standards. Frankie includes the tracks Hello Young Lovers, Fallin In Love With Love and I only have eyes for you.
By far the biggest LP of the year, the King And I Soundtrack, having entered the chart in September 1956 and already spending 10 weeks at no.1 that year, racked up a further 33 weeks at no.1 throughout 1957. In fact for 8 further weeks it resided in the runner up spot making a total of 41 weeks at either no.1 or no.2 during 1957. On the strength of the hit single True Love by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly, High Society managed one just one week at the top in mid February even though it had to share that week as a joint no.1 with the King And I.
Of the 12 new LPs to reach the charts during 1957, only 2 were by new artists with very different histories. For just one week in April, The Tommy Steele Stage Show charted at no.5 but by July he was at no.1 with the Soundtrack to the Tommy Steele Story. Tommy Steele was Britain's first home grown rock and roll star, the UK answer to Elvis Presley, beating Cliff Richard by at least 2 years. He was born Thomas Hicks in 1936 in London. In 1952, despite still being underage, he joined the Merchant Navy and taught himself to play the guitar. Steele was spotted playing at the Two Is coffee bar and was signed by the impresario Larry Parnes who renamed him Tommy Steele. Together with his band The Steelmen, they cut their first single Rock With The Caveman and although the second single failed to chart, the third, a cover of Guy Mitchell's Singing The Blues, was a no1 hit, knocking the original off the top of the charts in January. As well as singing, playing the guitar and generally entertaining live audiences, he also moved into acting roles and played himself in the film The Tommy Steele Story which was a fictional account of his rise to fame, although it was based on the truth with the Navy and Two I's periods covered. The Soundtrack to the film featured all his hits to date and introduced several new styles to show Steele's versatility with ballads such as Handful Of Songs and Butterfingers and the calypso styled Water Water, all of which would later be released as singles. The Tommy Steele Stage Show was a 10 inch LP also featuring Rock With The Caveman and Steele's cover versions of Giddy Up A Ding Dong and Razzle Dazzle.
Also charting his first LP in the UK was Nat King Cole with Love Is The Thing spending just one week at no.1 in June. Nat King Cole, who had featured on the first ever singles chart in 1952 and was also no.1 on the first ever LP chart in the USA in March 1945 with A Collection Of Favourites. Nat King Cole was born in Alabama in 1917. He briefly was the leader of a big band, but settled eventually on more intimate solo jazz performances, just a piano and two backing musicians. Cole found himself caught up in the civil rights movement of the 1950s as a black performer but the acceptable face of black artists, he was even offered his own TV series. This was originally a 15 minute slot in November 1956, expanding to 30 minutes by July 1957 because of the show's popularity, but was axed in December because no sponsor could be found as a reaction to his race. In the early 1940s, he regularly found himself in the country, race and pop charts, sometimes with the same song. The first LP The King Cole Trio was a collection of four 10 inch discs with eight tracks, only three of which featured Nat King Cole's vocals and was the best selling LP when Billboard began publishing LP charts in March 1945. His first US number one single I Love You For Sentimental Reasons, hit the top in January 1947 and by 1957 he had achieved a further three US number one singles, although a chart topping single in the UK would forever elude him. The UK number one album Love Is The Thing featured his hit single When I Fall In Love, and also the standards Stardust, Stay As Sweet As You Are, It's All In The Game and Love Letters
A number two from 1956, Lonnie Donegan Showcase, continued its run as the runner up to The King And I into 1957 for just the first week of the year. Also appearing for just one week in February at the lowest position no.5 was the only other chart LP by Bill Haley & Comets Rock The Joint featuring repeats of tracks already used on previous LPs See you Later Alligator, When The Saints Go Marching In, Burn That Candle and Rip It Up.
As Frank Sinatra had four of the 12 new LPs during 1957, so did Elvis Presley. After one week at no.1 with Rock n Roll the previous year, he reached no.3 with its follow up Rock n Roll no.2 featuring both the rockin side of Elvis Rip It Up, Long Tall Sally and Paralysed and his ballads Love me and Old Shep. There was also a compilation LP The Best Of Elvis. He went one place better to end the year at no.2 with Elvis Christmas Album which combined the four tracks from the Peace In The Valley, religious gospel collection including the title track, Take My Hand and I Believe, along with recordings of seasonal standards and popular Christmas classics White Christmas, Silent Night, Santa Claus Is Back In Town, Blue Christmas and O Little Town Of Bethlehem. He also achieved his second no.1 LP with the soundtrack to Loving You which spent 3 weeks at no.1 and 10 weeks at no.2, using songs featured in Elvis' second film on one side with new tracks on the other and included the hits Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear, Party, Got A Lot Of Livin To Do and the title track.
The chart topping artists in the singles chart who did not find favour with enough LP buyers in 1957 included Guy Mitchell, Frankie Vaughan, Tab Hunter, Andy Williams, Johnny Ray, Paul Anka, and Harry Belafonte. Belafonte continued his successful run of LPs in the USA with Calpyso, having already spent 10 weeks at no.1 in 1956, continuing with a further 19 weeks at the top in 1957 and he also charted at no.2 with An Evening With Harry Belafone and no.3 with Belafonte Sings Of The Caribbean. Other US artists not breaking through into the UK charts included Johnny Mathis with Wonderful Wonderful, Ray Anthony with Young Ideas, Ray Conniff with S'Marvellous and the soundtrack to Around The World In 80 Days, none of which could reach the UK LP charts. Neither could two Tennessee Ernie Ford LPs Hymns and Spirituals, two Pat Boone LPs Pat's Great Hits and Four By Pat, Jerry Lewis Just Sings, Elvis Presley's Peace In The Valley, Steady Date With Tommy Sands and Mantovani Christmas Carols
NUMBER OF TOP 5 ALBUMS - 19
NUMBER OF #1 ALBUMS - 8
Top albums of 1957
1 Soundtrack - King And I
2 Soundtrack - Oklahoma
3 Soundtrack - High Society
4 Tommy Steele - Tommy Steele Story Soundtrack
5 Elvis Presley - Loving You Soundtrack
6 Frank Sinatra - Swingin'Affair
7 Frank Sinatra - This Is Sinatra
8 Lonnie Donegan - Lonnie Donegan Showcase
9 Nat King Cole - Love Is The Thing
10 Frank Sinatra - Close To You
(c) 2007 Text: Sharon Mawer / Contact: Sharon Mawer
(c) 2007 All chart information: The Official UK Charts Company