ALBUM CHART HISTORY
Researched and written by Sharon Mawer
South Pacific had been number one all throughout 1959 and the album wasn't far short of a clean sweep in 1960 too. The soundtrack album spent the first 10 weeks at the top, completing 70 consecutive weeks since November 1958, vacated the number one for just one week in mid March, only to return the following week to spend a further 19 weeks through to July at the top. It spent one week again at no.2 and back again for yet another five weeks at no.1. Finally a new number one spent more than one week, keeping the top spot warm for South Pacific as The 101 Strings had five weeks at no.1 until finally in mid October, the star soundtrack album of the past couple of years was back on top and saw out the final 12 weeks of the year for a total of 46 out of the possible 53 during 1960, with the other seven weeks as runner up to just three other albums.
On the 12th of March, a new magazine was launched, aimed specifically at the trade rather than the consumer, Record Retailer carried news relating more to the business of selling records than would be of interest to the public attempting to find out about their favourite artists. They also produced charts from a larger sample and it is from this point on that the official chart switches to this publication.
The first of the three number one albums apart from South Pacific during 1960 and charting for the one and only time on the LP charts was Freddy Cannon with The Explosive Freddy Cannon. He was born Frederico Anthony Picariello in 1940 in Boston and originally played with his father in the band Freddy Karmon and despite playing the rhythm and blues of Big Joe Turner and Buddy Johnson, claimed to be more influenced by Chuck Berry and Little Richard and always attempted to style his playing with their trademark stomping beat, even when covering 1920s original songs. Freddy Cannon was one of the original Rock n Roll stars, although his hit singles Tallahassee Lassie, Way Down Yonder In New Orleans and California Here I Come, all included on this album were more sing-a-long bouncy numbers than outright rockers, the latter originally a hit in the 1920s for Al Jolson. The LP also included old favourites Sweet Georgia Brown, St Louis Blues, Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy, Deep In The Heart Of Texas and Carolina In The Morning.
The 101 Strings hit no.1 for 5 weeks in September and October with the double album Down Drury Lane To Memory Lane featuring among others, tracks from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, People Will Say We're In Love, Getting To Know You, Some Enchanted Evening and I Could Have Danced All Night and songs from further back still, You Are My Heart's Desire and I Wont Dance. This was the first double LP to top the charts and was issued to commemorate the first anniversary of the Pye Golden Guinea label which normally sold LPs cheaper than most of their competitors at 21/- but this two LP set was offered at the special price of 30/-.
The only other no.1 in 1960 was not surprisingly, the return of Elvis Presley from the US army with new material Elvis Is Back. Elvis had matured whilst away and released an album with a mixture of blues, It Feels So Right and Like A Baby, ballads The Thrill Of Your Love, Soldier Boy and Peggy Lee's Fever, Rock n Roll Dirty Dirty Feeling, a Gospel track I Will Be Home Again and a couple of tracks that would not be released as singles until years later Such A Night and The Girl Of My Best Friend.
With South Pacific dominating the no.1 position, three other film soundtracks reached no.2 in 1960, The Five Pennies, Can Can and Gigi returned, having previously also peaked at no.2 in 1959. There were also re-appearances by former number ones, Oklahoma and The King And I, both hitting a high of no.4 in 1960.The Five Pennies starring Danny Kaye, Louis Armstrong and Barbara Bel Geddes and tells the story of Loring Red Nichols as a cornet playing country boy who longs to play in a Dixieland Jazz band. The plot revolves around his formation of the band The Five Pennies with his wife Bobbie and how he is forced to quit the music business when his daughter Dorothy contracts polio. Kaye and Armstrong share most of the tracks on the soundtrack and the LP including hits ranging from the turn of the century Bill Bailey Wont You Please Come Home, the 1910s After You've Gone and Battle Hymn Of The Republic to the 1930s The Music Goes Round and Around. Can Can was another film soundtrack vehicle for star performers Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jordan. Set in Paris in the 1890s and written by Cole Porter, Can Can is the story of the people living in Montmartre and the nightclub where the legendary dance The Can Can is performed. As well as the Cole Porter numbers, I Love Paris In The Spring, If You Truly Loved Me and It's All Right With Me, the soundtrack includes the music most associated with the Can Can, Offenbach's Orpheus In The Underworld.
Two comedy artists new to the album charts this year were Tony Hancock with This Is Hancock and Bob Newhart with The Button Down Mind Of Bob Newhart, both albums hitting no.2.
Anthony John Hancock, otherwise simply known as Tony Hancock or "the lad himself" was born in Birmingham in 1924 and is most famous for his radio sit com Hancock's Half Hour with regular guest stars Sid James, Bill Kerr and Kenneth Williams together with Hattie Jacques and Moira Lister and written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. Featuring every day life at 23 Railway Cuttings in East Cheam, the show eventually transferred to television where the regular cast just included Hancock and Sid James and was the first comedy show to be recorded as opposed to being broadcast live. These pre-recorded shows and some of the early radio recordings that had been transferred to LPs are all that are left of the Tony Hancock shows as most of the early live recordings are still missing. In a similar way, delivering comedy monologues in a deadpan voice and developing situations rather than simply telling jokes, Bob Newhart could have been considered the American equivalent, as his shows too began on radio, moved to television and produced best selling LPs of the material. The success of his debut LP, The Button Down Mind Of Bob Newhart was unprecedented, becoming the first comedy record ever to top the Billboard album charts and the humour wasn't just confined to the USA either as The Driving Instructor and Merchandising The Wright Brothers became classics, especially among the university and college teenagers record buyers. Most of his monologues took the form of a telephone conversation, which of course the listener only got to hear Newhart's half of. Even Americacentric tracks like Abe Lincoln Vs Madison Avenue and The Kruschchev Landing Rehearsal became favourites.
Lower down the chart were Gerard Hoffnung At The Oxford Union, telling the story of his days at the university and Tom Lehrer with his second album, An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer. Already known for his parody song commentaries on the nastier side of life, Lehrer came up with more tracks for his second LP including Poisoning Pigeons In The Park and The Masochism Tango and even stated on the LP liner notes, "If after hearing my songs, just one human being is inspired to say something nasty to a friend, or perhaps strike a loved one, it will all have been worth the while."
After Sophia Loren appeared with Peter Sellers in the film The Millionairess, he was inspired to include her on some of the tracks of his latest LP and give her full co-credit, Peter and Sophia, combining with Loren on a couple of hit singles together Goodness Gracious Me and Bangers And Mash, Sellers still went it alone on the spoken comedy sketches.
The Everly Brothers hit no.2 with It's Everly Time on Warner Brothers, featuring their new hits and no.4 with The Fabulous Style Of The Everly Brothers on the London label with their older tracks.
The Everly Brothers, Don, born in Kentucky in 1937 and Phil born in Chicago 1939, began singing Nashville country songs in the mid 1950s until they hit on their trademark close harmony Rock n Roll on hit singles Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie and the ballad All I Have To Do Is Dream. In The US they were signed to Archie Bleyer's Cadence record label which was licensed through London records in the UK. Although the singles chart had been conquered, their LP releases failed to make any impact, the albums Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, The Everly Brothers and The Real Everly Brothers all failing to chart. In 1960, they made the bold move of signing to the new and untried label Warner Brothers and released their biggest commercial success Cathy's Clown. They also finally cracked the LP market with It's Everly Time which featured the tracks Just In Case, Sleepless Nights, Oh True Love and Some Sweet Day, all written by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant and the Don Everly composed hit single, So Sad To Watch Good Love Go Bad. Not to be outdone, London re-issued the best tracks from their previous Cadence LPs and repackaged them as The Fabulous Style Of The Everly Brothers, unlike the new LP filled with hit singles albeit last year's recordings, Claudette, Take A Message To Mary, When Will I Be Loved, Bird Dog, Til I Kissed You, Problems, Poor Jenny and All I Have To Do Is Dream.
Duane Eddy also hit no.2 with his third LP, The Twangs The Thang, featuring a mixture of oldies My Blue Heaven, St Louis Blues, Blueberry Hill and You Are My Sunshine and Duane Eddy originals, Tiger Love and Turnip Greens, The Last Minute of Innocence, Route number 1, The Battle and Bonnie Came Back.
The artist spending the most weeks in the runner up position in 1960 was Cliff Richard. His 1959 LP Cliff Sings spent the first 8 weeks of the year just behind South Pacific and in October, he was back with Me And My Shadows, both albums spending a total of 15 weeks at no.2, all not quite dethroning South Pacific. Me And My Shadows was a mixture of rockers, I'm Gonna Get You, I Cannot Find A True Love, Lamp Of Love, Choppin And Changin, Working After School and ballads, Evergreen True, She's Gone, Left Out Again, You're Just The One To Do it, We Have It Made, Tell Me, I love You So, I'm Willing To Learn, I Don't Know and the single Gee Whiz Its You.
The two major solo artists of the LP charts since their inception, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, continued to chart new LPs relentlessly, Frank Sinatra with Swing Easy and Come Back To Sorrento and Elvis Presley with the previously mentioned Elvis Is Back, the second volume of Elvis Golden Records and GI Blues which spent the final three weeks of 1960 at no.2 but would go on to much greater things the following year.
Frank Sinatra's Swing Easy concentrated on uptempo swinging tracks and well known standards, Jeepers Creepers, Taking a Chance On Love, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter, All Of Me and Get Happy. Come Back To Sorrento included My Melancholy Baby, Embraceable You, I Hear A Rhapsody, Someone To Watch Over Me, September Song, Among My Souvenirs and Always. Elvis Golden Records Volume 2 otherwise known as 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong, released just weeks before he left the US army in March 1960 and was not surprisingly the first Rock and Roll artist to release a second greatest hits package. This LP included some of Elvis's hardest Rock n Roll tracks recorded I Need Your Love Tonight, I Got Stung and A Big Hunk O Love as well as ballads Don't, One Night and Now And Then There's A Fool Such As I.
Johnny Mathis also charted with two new LPs in 1960, Ride On A Rainbow and Rhythms And Ballads Of Broadway, as did Russ Conway with My Concerto For You and Party Time. Rhythms And Ballads Of Broadway was a double LP with Rhythms on disc one and Ballads on disc two. Tracks included Cockeyed Optimist from Oklahoma, I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady, I Have Dreamed from The King And I, Guys And Dolls and Everything's Coming Up Roses from Gypsy. Russ Conway's My Concerto For You featured the tracks Dream Of Olwen, Cornish Rhapsody and Jeannie, while Party Time included the Al Jolson tracks Toot Too Tootsie, When The Red Red Robin, I'm Sitting On Top Of The World, Carolina In The Morning and Swanee.
New to the LP charts of 1960 were Acker Bilk with The Seven Ages Of Acker, Eddie Cochran's Memorial Album, Bobby Darin with This Is Darin, Peggy Lee with Latin A La Lee, Nina & Frederik's self titled LP and Jack Scott I Remember Hank Williams.
Acker Bilk, billed as Mr.Acker Bilk, was born Bernard Stanley Bilk in Somerset in 1929 and was one of the world's leading jazz clarinetists with a distinctive dress style of bowler hat and striped waistcoat, as much part of his act as the music. He had been a member of Ken Colyer's traditional jazz band in the mid 1950s before stepping out on his own to spearhead the trad jazz revival in Britain in the early 1960s. The nickname Acker was Somerset slang for friend and the name stuck throughout his professional career, his first hit single, the instrumental Summer Set, a pun of the name of his home county. The debut LP, The Seven Ages Of Acker featured Summer Set plus versions of Tiger Rag, White Cliffs Of Dover and There's A Rainbow Round My Shoulder.
Eddie Cochran had a very short life, born in 1938 in Oklahoma, he died in 1960, aged just 21 in a car crash while on tour in the UK with his fiancée Sharon Sheeley and fellow Rock n Rock star, Gene Vincent, both of whom survived the crash. He had already hit the single charts with a series of classic songs Summertime Blues, C'Mon Everybody, Somethin Else and Hallelujah I Love Her So and had just released the highly prophetic Three Steps To Heaven, just before his death, a single that would go on to become the second posthumous number one, following the previous year's track by Buddy Holly. Eddie Cochran never lived to see one of his LPs in the album charts, his first release Singing To My Baby reaching no.19 for just one week in the summer and by October, his record company London had put together The Eddie Cochran Memorial album which peaked at no.9 and included all the hit singles including Three Steps To Heaven.
Bobby Darin was born Walden Robert Cassotto in 1936 in New York and was one of the most popular rock and roll teen stars of the late 1950s, on the one hand compared to Frankie Avalon and Ricky Nelson and simultaneously appealing to fans of Frank Sinatra. When he first charted, he began with Splish Splash, a novelty song and most of his singles hits were teen idol ballads such as his first number one, Dream Lover. Late in 1959 he released a jazz interpretation of the song Mack The Knife from the Threepenny Opera musical which was followed in the same style with a version of La Mer Beyond The Sea. The success of his new direction prompted Bobby Darin to concentrate on the more adult album market. His first self titled album did not chart at all and the second LP That's All featured the jazz swing hits and charted after the release of his third LP, This Is Darin which was deliberately aimed at the adult market and included songs written by Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Ira Gershwin, Sammy Cahn and Frank Loesser. The only hit single was the first track Clementine.
Nina Magdalene Moller and Frederik van Pallandt from Denmark reached no.9 with their eponymous LP but are best remembered for their 1960 Christmas hit single version of Little Donkey. Jack Scott hit no.7 with his tribute LP, I Remember Hank Williams. A tough singer from Canada, Jack Scott had hit the singles chart with My True Love and What In The World's Come Over You. His first LP success was in 1960 with an album of Hank Williams cover versions, mostly country ballads but also more upbeat tracks, I'm Satisfied With You, My King, Baby Baby, Cruel World, and Good Deal Lucille.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra only reached no.15 with a version of Ravel's Bolero but the London Philharmonic Choir scraped into the top 10 with Messiah. Both were founded by Thomas Beecham and based in The Royal Festival Hall. More light orchestral sounds were on the Hi Fi Companion Album by Ray Conniff. Ray Conniff was born in Massachusetts in 1916 and began leading a band while still at school. Before the war, he accepted jobs with Bob Crosby and Bunny Berigan where he showed a greater talent for arranging and producing and finally was hired by Mitch Miller to arrange a series of instrumental albums in the mid to late 1950s as an alternative to Miller's vocal singalong LPs. Ray Conniff, however was not totally satisfied with instrumentals and began to include vocal harmonies as background sounds, merging into the overall sounds and not dominating the songs, so as not to clash with his mentor. These easy listening, light orchestral albums were ideal for the new LP market and even more ideal for the new invention of stereo and after selling millions of LPs in the USA, his breakthrough in the UK came in 1960 with the Hi Fi Companion Album, more a series of songs that showed what could be achieved with two speakers instead of one including You Do Something To Me, Hello Young Lovers, On The Street Where You Live, The Way You Look Tonight, Cheek To Cheek and Young At Heart.
Bing Crosby finally charted in the LP charts with Join Bing And Sing Along. Mario Lanza joined forces with Enrico Caruso as his record company released Mario Lanza Sings Caruso Favourites on one side of a disc and Caruso originals Best Of Caruso on the other side and took it to number three. His recording of the Student Prince which had hit no.5 during the first few weeks of the chart in 1956 re-appeared at no.5 this year.
Bing Crosby was born Harry Lillis Crosby in Washington in 1903 and was without doubt, the most popular and influential singer and actor of the first half of the 20th century. He came to prominence just as the electric age of recording was getting underway in the early 1930s and his lazy, bedside manner of singing, later to be called crooning was perfect for the beginnings of the radio age, where his voice was piped into people's homes for the first time. He starred in countless films, both musical and straight acting and sold more records than anyone else pre the Rock n Roll era. In his very early days, he sang with a partner, Al Rinker as the Rhythm Boys and was hired by the most successful band leader of the 1920s, Paul Whiteman. His name first came to the public's attention when he sang lead vocal on Whiteman's biggest hit of 1928 Ol Man River from Showboat. By 1931, he had left the comfort of fronting a band and began an unprecedented solo career with 25 unofficial US number one singles between 1931 and 1940 as defined by the Joel Whitburn books. Once the US singles charts got underway in 1940, his career continued with a further 15 official number one singles during the 1940s, both solo and together with the Andrews Sisters. In 1942 he recorded what was to become the biggest selling single of all time, at least until that record was finally exceeded in 1997. White Christmas featured in the film Holiday Inn and was no.1 for 14 weeks in total spread over three Christmases. In the UK, he appeared on the very first singles chart in 1952 with The Isle Of Innisfree and eight years later, his first and most successful LP chart entry, Join Bing And Sing Along reached no.7 and included tracks from before the first world war, Meet Me In St Louis Louis, Alice Blue Gown, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Cuddle Up A Little Closer, KKKKaty, Give My Regards To Broadway and You're A Grand Old Flag.
Another artist who had been enjoying hits for well over a decade was Peggy Lee who first hit the US chart in 1945. Born Norma Egstrom in North Dakota in 1920, she also used the medium of radio to full effect. Getting her first big break as featured vocalist with the Benny Goodman orchestra credited on the 1942 number one hit Somebody Else Is Taking My Place. Her biggest hit from this era was the Latin flavoured Manana Is Soon Enough For Me. She hit the UK top 5 singles charts in the late 1950s with the ballad, Mr Wonderful and the jazz track, Fever. During the 1950s she concentrated on the LP market singing in a variety of styles on 15 LPs, including blues and torch song ballads, even recording tracks for the Walt Disney film Lady And The Tramp for which she was involved with, and won a lawsuit against Disney, regarding royalties relating to the release of the film on video. Twelve years after the original version of Manana, she revisited the Latin theme on her first LP to chart, Latin A La Lee, concluding the set with the Manana track and featuring show hits On The Street Where You Live and I Could Have Danced All night from My Fair Lady, The Surrey With The Fringe On Top from Oklahoma, Hey There from The Pajama Game and I Enjoy Being A Girl from The Flower Drum Song.
Buddy Holly hit no.7 with the second volume of The Buddy Holly Story. Unlike the first volume, filled with hits, this included more minor tracks Peggy Sue Got Married and True Love Ways and tracks that were not hits at all, but songs he had performed in his live shows.
The George Mitchell Minstrels hit the chart at the end of November with The Black And White Minstrel Show, but there will be more discussion of this album in future years. One of the dominant genres since the charts had begun was Original Cast Recordings of stage shows and in 1960, there were nine shows in the LP charts. Two versions of The Flower Drum Song, the Broadway Cast reaching no.2 and the London Cast no.10. Rodgers and Hammerstein returned to a theme that had served them well in both The King and I and South Pacific, misunderstanding and reconciliation between individuals of differing cultural backgrounds. The Flower Drum Song was set around the lives of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco's Chinatown and included a novelty minor hit single by Pat Suzuki, I Enjoy Being A Girl.
There were also Broadway cast recordings of Most Happy Fella, The King And I and My Fair Lady, a no.1 from 1958. London Cast Recordings of At The Drop Of A Hat, Fings Aint Wot They Used T'Be, Follow That Girl and Oliver. Most happy fella, written by Frank Loesser is the story of a San Francisco waitress, Rosabella who has a secret admirer, Tony, an elderly Italian-American vineyard owner. After months of exchanging letters, she finally asks him to send her his picture. Fearing that she will not love him due to his old age and poor appearance, he sends her the picture of his young, handsome ranch hand, Joe. Tony is involved in a car crash and nearly dies and as he recovers, Rosabella ends up falling in love with the kind, old man.
At The Drop Of A Hat showcased the comic talents of Michael Flanders and Donald Swann as the perfect soundtrack for an intimate British cocktail party and the LP was a live performance at the Fortune theatre of their best known songs, The Gnu Song, Madeira M'Dear and ending with The Hippopotamus Song, more famous for it's chorus of Mud mud glorious mud.
Fings Aint Wot They Used TBe written by Frank Norman and Lionel Bart was a musical about the London underworld which slightly predated Oliver. Notable members of the cast included George Sewell, Roy Kinnear, and Barbara Windsor and the title track became a hit single for Max Bygraves. Follow That Girl was adapted by Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds from their original Bristol Old Vic production Christmas in King Street. The story was about a girl named Victoria Rooms, played by Susan Hampshire, whose parents wanted her to marry one of two businessmen. She objected and ran away. Her capture after a long chase by a policeman, Tom, played by Peter Gilmour, leads to Romance and finally marriage to him. Songs included Waiting For Our Daughter, Where Shall I Find My Love, Lovely Meeting You At Last and the title track.
Lionel Bart's Oliver, the first musical based on a Charles Dickens novel, first appeared in the West End in 1960, and enjoyed a long run that launched the careers of several child actors mainly after playing the part of the Artful Dodger. Among the original cast were Ron Moody as Fagin and Georgia Brown as Nancy. The book was greatly simplified, large parts of the second half being omitted entirely but still faithfully telling the story of orphaned Oliver Twist and his exploits first in a 19th century workhouse, then sold as an undertaker's apprentice and ending up as one of a gang of boys, controlled and initiated into crime by Fagin in the seedy backstreets of London. The story as told in the book is faithfully recreated by song from the deprivations of the workhouse Food Glorious Food to the longing for his own family Where Is Love to the induction into the gang, Consider Yourself and the introduction to crime You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two. All the major characters get their own songs with Nancy singing the show-stopping ballad As Long As He Needs Me and the bar-room romps Oom Pah Pah and It's A Fine Life, Bill Sykes-My Name and even the Sowerburys, the undertakers with That's Your Funeral, two songs cut from the film version when that was released years later.
The best selling LP in America was the Broadway Cast Recording of The Sound Of Music which would go on to reach no.4 in the UK the following year, as would Frank Sinatra's Nice n Easy. The Kingston Trio had another two US no.1 LPs Sold Out and String Along and other US chart toppers that didn't find any room on the UK charts, despite the increase to a top 20 in late March, were the Mormon Tabernacle Choir-Lord's Prayer, Enoch Light & The Light Brigade-Persuasive Percussion and Billy Vaughn's Theme From A Summer Place.
Quite a lot of top 3 US albums also failed to chart in the UK including two further LPs by Enoch Light, Provocative Percussion and Persuasive Percussion Volume 2, two LPs by Los Admirados Bongos Bongos Bongos and Bongos Flutes And Guitars, Johnny Mathis-Faithfully, Harry Belafonte-Belafonte At Carnegie Hall, Fabian-Fabulous Fabian, Henry Mancini's Mr Lucky, a classical recording of Grofe Grand Canyon Suite And Beethoven Wellington's Victory by Morton Gould and a compilation Sixty Years Of Music America Loves Best.
As for the UK singles chart toppers in 1960, Anthony Newley reached no.19 in the expanded chart with Love Is A Now And Then Thing, but there was no album entries at all for Michael Holliday, Johnny Preston, Lonnie Donegan, Jimmy Jones, Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, Ricky Valence or Roy Orbison.
NUMBER OF TOP 10 ALBUMS - 65
NUMBER OF #1 ALBUMS - 4
Top albums of 1960
1 Soundtrack - South Pacific
2 Elvis Presley - Elvis Is Back
3 One Hundred & One Strings - Down Drury Lane To Memory Lane
4 Buddy Holly - Buddy Holly Story
5 Soundtrack - Can Can
6 Duane Eddy - The Twangs The Thang
7 Cliff Richard - Cliff Sings
8 Original London Cast - Oliver
9 Everly Brothers - It's Everly Time
10 Cliff Richard - Me And My Shadows
(c) 2007 Text: Sharon Mawer / Contact: Sharon Mawer
(c) 2007 All chart information: The Official UK Charts Company