I Can't Tell a Waltz from a Tango

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"I Can't Tell a Waltz from a Tango" is a popular song, written by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning and published in 1954. The best-known version in the United States was recorded by Patti Page; the best-known version in the United Kingdom by Alma Cogan, both of which were recorded in 1954. The Pee Wee King Orchestra recorded the song, reviewed as a "right smooth job" in the same month as the Patti Page's charting of the song.[1]

The Page recording was released by Mercury Records as catalog number 70458, with the B-side "The Mama Doll Song." It entered the Billboard chart on October 16, 1954 at number 30, the only week it charted there.[2] In Australia, "I Can't Tell a Waltz from a Tango" afforded Page a number 14 hit.

The recording by Alma Cogan was released in 1954 by HMV as a 78rpm recording (catalog number B10786)[3] and a 45rpm recording (catalog number 7M 271). It reached number 6 on the UK Singles Chart.[4] The B-side was "Christmas Cards".[3] The song was often used in the BBC comedy radio programme, The Goon Show, by Ray Ellington and his quartet.


  1. ^ Billboard, October 30, 1954. page 42]
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research. 
  3. ^ a b "Alma Cogan - I Can't Tell A Waltz From A Tango (Shellac) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 113. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.