List of UK Singles Chart number ones of the 1950s

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This page is about the chart compiled by New Musical Express. For other singles charts compiled in the 1950s, see here
UK Singles Chart number ones
UK Singles Chart
Official Charts Company
Christmas number one

The UK Singles Chart is the official record chart in the United Kingdom. Record charts in the UK began life in 1952 when Percy Dickins from New Musical Express (NME) imitated an idea started in American Billboard magazine and began compiling a hit parade. Prior to this, a song's popularity was measured by the sales of sheet music.[1][2] Initially, Dickins telephoned a sample of around 20 shops asking for a list of the 10 best-selling songs. These results were then aggregated to give a Top 12 chart published in NME on 14 November 1952.[1][2] The number-one single was "Here in My Heart" by Al Martino.

According to The Official Charts Company and Guinness' British Hit Singles & Albums, the NME is considered the official British singles chart before 10 March 1960.[3] However, until 15 February 1969, when the British Market Research Bureau chart was established, there was no universally accepted chart. Other charts existed and different artists may have placed at number one in charts by Record Mirror, Disc or Melody Maker. Alternatively, some considered BBC's Pick of the Pops, which averaged all these charts, to be a better indicator of the number-one single.[2]

In terms of number-one singles, Frankie Laine, Guy Mitchell and Elvis Presley were the most successful artists of the 1950s having four singles reach the top spot.[nb 1] The longest duration of a single at number one was eighteen weeks achieved by Frankie Laine's "I Believe". As of July 2010, "I Believe" still holds the record for the most (non-consecutive) weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart.[5] Although official music recording sales certifications were not introduced until the British Phonographic Industry was formed in 1973, Disc introduced an initiative in 1959 to present a gold disc to records that sold over one million units.[6] Prior to that it is believed that the three best-selling records of the decade—Bill Haley & His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock", Paul Anka's "Diana" and Harry Belafonte's "Mary's Boy Child"—all sold over one million copies.[7][8][9]

Number-one singles[edit]

Elvis Presley in a publicity photo for "Jailhouse Rock" which reached number one in 1958. Presley had three other number ones in the 1950s.
Al Martino's "Here in My Heart" was the first ever number-one single and held the top spot for nine weeks.
Bill Haley & His Comets had the biggest-selling single of the decade with "Rock Around the Clock".
Doris Day had two number-one singles in the 1950s, one of which, "Secret Love", was the best-selling record of 1954.
Cliff Richard achieved his first two number-one singles in the latter half of 1959.
Key
     †     Best-selling single of the year[7][nb 2]
     ‡      – Best-selling single of the decade[7]
   [nb #]   – The song spent a week at number one where it shared the top spot with another song.
Contents
1950s:  1952 · 1953 · 1954 · 1955 · 1956 · 1957 · 1958 · 1959 · 1960s →
Artist[nb 3] Single[nb 3] Reached
number 1[nb 3][nb 4]
Weeks at
number 1[nb 3]
Martino, AlAl Martino "Here in My Heart" 14 November 1952 9
Artist[nb 3] Single[nb 3] Reached
number 1[nb 3][nb 4]
Weeks at
number 1[nb 3]
Stafford, JoJo Stafford "You Belong to Me" 16 January 1953 1
Starr, KayKay Starr "Comes A-Long A-Love" 23 January 1953 1
Fisher, EddieEddie Fisher "Outside of Heaven" 30 January 1953 1
Como, PerryPerry Como "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" 6 February 1953 5
Mitchell, GuyGuy Mitchell "She Wears Red Feathers" 13 March 1953 4
The Stargazers "Broken Wings" 10 April 1953 1
Roza, LitaLita Roza "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" 17 April 1953 1
Laine, FrankieFrankie Laine "I Believe"† 24 April 1953 9
Fisher, EddieEddie Fisher "I'm Walking Behind You" 26 June 1953 1
Laine, FrankieFrankie Laine "I Believe"† 3 July 1953 6
Mantovani "Song from Moulin Rouge" 14 August 1953 1
Laine, FrankieFrankie Laine "I Believe"† 21 August 1953 3
Mitchell, GuyGuy Mitchell "Look At That Girl" 11 September 1953 6
Laine, FrankieFrankie Laine "Hey Joe" 23 October 1953 2
Whitfield, DavidDavid Whitfield "Answer Me" 6 November 1953 1
Laine, FrankieFrankie Laine "Answer Me" 13 November 1953 7.5[nb 5]8[nb 5]
Whitfield, DavidDavid Whitfield "Answer Me" 11 December 1953 0.5[nb 5]1[nb 5]
Artist[nb 3] Single[nb 3] Reached
number 1[nb 3][nb 4]
Weeks at
number 1[nb 3]
Calvert, EddieEddie Calvert "Oh Mein Papa" 8 January 1954 9
The Stargazers "I See the Moon" 12 March 1954 5
Day, DorisDoris Day "Secret Love"† 16 April 1954 1
The Stargazers "I See the Moon" 23 April 1954 1
Ray, JohnnieJohnnie Ray "Such a Night" 30 April 1954 1
Day, DorisDoris Day "Secret Love"† 7 May 1954 8
Whitfield, DavidDavid Whitfield "Cara Mia" 2 July 1954 910
Kallen, KittyKitty Kallen "Little Things Mean a Lot" 10 September 1954 1
Sinatra, FrankFrank Sinatra "Three Coins in the Fountain" 17 September 1954 3
Cornell, DonDon Cornell "Hold My Hand" 8 October 1954 4
Lynn, VeraVera Lynn "My Son, My Son" 5 November 1954 2
Cornell, DonDon Cornell "Hold My Hand" 19 November 1954 1
Clooney, RosemaryRosemary Clooney "This Ole House" 26 November 1954 1
Atwell, WinifredWinifred Atwell "Let's Have Another Party" 3 December 1954 5
Artist[nb 3] Single[nb 3] Reached
number 1[nb 3][nb 4]
Weeks at
number 1[nb 3]
Valentine, DickieDickie Valentine "The Finger Of Suspicion" 7 January 1955 1
Clooney, RosemaryRosemary Clooney "Mambo Italiano" 14 January 1955 1
Valentine, DickieDickie Valentine "The Finger Of Suspicion" 21 January 1955 2
Clooney, RosemaryRosemary Clooney "Mambo Italiano" 4 February 1955 2
Murray, RubyRuby Murray "Softly, Softly" 18 February 1955 3
Ford, Tennessee ErnieTennessee Ernie Ford "Give Me Your Word"† 11 March 1955 7
Prado, Perez "Prez"Perez "Prez" Prado and his Orchestra "Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)" 29 April 1955 2
Bennett, TonyTony Bennett "Stranger in Paradise" 13 May 1955 2
Calvert, EddieEddie Calvert "Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)" 27 May 1955 4
Young, JimmyJimmy Young "Unchained Melody" 24 June 1955 3
Cogan, AlmaAlma Cogan "Dreamboat" 15 July 1955 2
Whitman, SlimSlim Whitman "Rose Marie" 29 July 1955 911
Young, JimmyJimmy Young "The Man from Laramie" 14 October 1955 4
Johnston Brothers "Hernando's Hideaway" 11 November 1955 2
Bill Haley & His Comets "Rock Around the Clock"‡ 25 November 1955 3
Valentine, DickieDickie Valentine "Christmas Alphabet" 16 December 1955 3
Artist[nb 3] Single[nb 3] Reached
number 1[nb 3][nb 4]
Weeks at
number 1[nb 3]
Bill Haley & His Comets "Rock Around the Clock"‡ 6 January 1956 2
Ford, Tennessee ErnieTennessee Ernie Ford "Sixteen Tons" 20 January 1956 4
Martin, DeanDean Martin "Memories Are Made of This" 17 February 1956 4
The Dream Weavers "It's Almost Tomorrow" 16 March 1956 2
Kay Starr with the Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra "Rock And Roll Waltz" 30 March 1956 1
The Dream Weavers "It's Almost Tomorrow" 6 April 1956 1
Atwell, WinifredWinifred Atwell "The Poor People of Paris" 13 April 1956 3
Hilton, RonnieRonnie Hilton "No Other Love" 4 May 1956 6
Boone, PatPat Boone "I'll Be Home"† 15 June 1956 5
Lymon, FrankieFrankie Lymon and The Teenagers "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" 20 July 1956 3
Day, DorisDoris Day "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" 10 August 1956 6
Shelton, AnneAnne Shelton "Lay Down Your Arms" 21 September 1956 4
Laine, FrankieFrankie Laine "A Woman in Love" 19 October 1956 4
Ray, JohnnieJohnnie Ray "Just Walking in the Rain" 16 November 1956 7
Artist[nb 3] Single[nb 3] Reached
number 1[nb 3][nb 4]
Weeks at
number 1[nb 3]
Mitchell, GuyGuy Mitchell "Singing the Blues" 4 January 1957 1
Steele, TommyTommy Steele "Singing the Blues" 11 January 1957 1
Mitchell, GuyGuy Mitchell "Singing the Blues" 18 January 1957 1
Vaughan, FrankieFrankie Vaughan "The Garden of Eden" 25 January 1957 3.5[nb 6]4[nb 6]
Mitchell, GuyGuy Mitchell "Singing the Blues" 1 February 1957 0.5[nb 6]1[nb 6]
Hunter, TabTab Hunter "Young Love" 22 February 1957 7
Donegan, LonnieLonnie Donegan "Cumberland Gap" 12 April 1957 5
Mitchell, GuyGuy Mitchell "Rock-a-Billy" 17 May 1957 1
Williams, AndyAndy Williams "Butterfly" 24 May 1957 2
Ray, JohnnieJohnnie Ray "Yes Tonight Josephine" 7 June 1957 3
Donegan, LonnieLonnie Donegan "Puttin' On the Style" / "Gamblin' Man" 28 June 1957 2
Presley, ElvisElvis Presley "All Shook Up" 12 July 1957 7
Anka, PaulPaul Anka "Diana" 30 August 1957 9
The Crickets "That'll Be the Day" 1 November 1957 3
Belafonte, HarryHarry Belafonte "Mary's Boy Child" 22 November 1957 7
Artist[nb 3] Single[nb 3] Reached
number 1[nb 3][nb 4]
Weeks at
number 1[nb 3]
Lewis, Jerry LeeJerry Lee Lewis "Great Balls of Fire" 10 January 1958 2
Presley, ElvisElvis Presley "Jailhouse Rock" 24 January 1958 3
Holliday, MichaelMichael Holliday "The Story of My Life" 14 February 1958 2
Como, PerryPerry Como "Magic Moments" 28 February 1958 8
Rainwater, MarvinMarvin Rainwater "Whole Lotta Woman" 25 April 1958 3
Francis, ConnieConnie Francis "Who's Sorry Now" 16 May 1958 6
Damone, VicVic Damone "On the Street Where You Live" 27 June 1958 1.5[nb 7]2[nb 7]
The Everly Brothers "All I Have to Do Is Dream" / "Claudette"† 4 July 1958 6.5[nb 7]7[nb 7]
The Kalin Twins "When" 22 August 1958 5
Francis, ConnieConnie Francis "Carolina Moon" / "Stupid Cupid" 26 September 1958 6
Edwards, TommyTommy Edwards "It's All in the Game" 7 November 1958 3
Lord Rockingham's XI "Hoots Mon" 28 November 1958 3
Twitty, ConwayConway Twitty "It's Only Make Believe" 19 December 1958 5
Artist[nb 3] Single[nb 3] Reached
number 1[nb 3][nb 4]
Weeks at
number 1[nb 3]
Jane Morgan "The Day the Rains Came" 23 January 1959 1
Presley, ElvisElvis Presley "I Got Stung" / "One Night" 30 January 1959 3
Shirley Bassey with Wally Stott & His Orchestra "As I Love You" 20 February 1959 4
The Platters "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" 20 March 1959 1
Conway, RussRuss Conway "Side Saddle" 27 March 1959 4
Holly, BuddyBuddy Holly "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" 24 April 1959 3
Presley, ElvisElvis Presley "A Fool Such As I" / "I Need Your Love Tonight" 15 May 1959 5
Conway, RussRuss Conway "Roulette" 19 June 1959 2
Darin, BobbyBobby Darin "Dream Lover" 3 July 1959 4
Richard, CliffCliff Richard and The Shadows "Living Doll"† 31 July 1959 6
Douglas, CraigCraig Douglas "Only Sixteen" 11 September 1959 4
Keller, JerryJerry Keller "Here Comes Summer" 9 October 1959 1
Darin, BobbyBobby Darin "Mack the Knife" 16 October 1959 2
Richard, CliffCliff Richard and The Shadows "Travellin' Light" 30 October 1959 5
Faith, AdamAdam Faith "What Do You Want?" 4 December 1959 2.5[nb 8]3[nb 8]
Ford, EmileEmile Ford and the Checkmates "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?" 18 December 1959 5.5[nb 8]6[nb 8]

By artist[edit]

The following artists achieved three or more number-one hits during the 1950s. Artists Frankie Laine, Guy Mitchell and Elvis Presley were the most successful acts of the decade in terms of number-one singles, each having four singles reach the top of the chart.[nb 1] In total, Laine spent 32 weeks occupying the top of chart in the 1950s; the next highest was Presley who spent a total of 18 weeks at number one.

Artist Number-one hits
United States Laine, FrankieFrankie Laine 4
United States Mitchell, GuyGuy Mitchell 4
United States Presley, ElvisElvis Presley 4
United States Ray, JohnnieJohnnie Ray 3

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Although The Official Charts Company does not credit Paul Weston as an artist on the singles, Weston was also a contributing artist to four number-one singles in the 1950s.[4]
  2. ^ In 1957, the best-selling song of the year was "Love Letters in the Sand" by Pat Boone,[7][10] "Love Letters in the Sand" entered the chart on 5 July and, later, peaked at number two and spent 21 weeks on the chart.[11][12]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af The artist, song name, date of number-one and its consecutive duration are those given by The Official Charts Company.[13]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h There are discrepancies in when a single reached number one prior to 30 August 1969. As of 2010 the Official Chart Company website lists all weeks as ending on the Saturday back until 20 March 1960.[14] However, the old Official Chart Company lists chart weeks prior to 5 February 1960 as ending on a Friday.[13]
  5. ^ a b Both Frankie Laine's and David Whitfield's version of "Answer Me" were classified jointly as number one on 11 December 1953. In the week before and the week after Laine's version took the number-one spot outright.[15]
  6. ^ a b Both Frankie Vaughan's "The Garden of Eden" and Guy Mitchell's "Singing the Blues" were classified jointly as number one on 2 February 1957. Vaughan held the number-one spot outright for the week before and the two weeks afterwards.[16]
  7. ^ a b Both Vic Damone's "On the Street Where You Live" and The Everly Brothers's "All I Have to Do Is Dream" were classified jointly as number one on 4 July 1958. For the following six weeks "All I Have to Do Is Dream" claimed the number-one spot outright.[17]
  8. ^ a b Both Adam Faith's "What Do You Want?" and Emile Ford and the Checkmates' "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?" were classified jointly as number one on 18 December 1959. For the following five weeks "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?" claimed the number-one spot outright.[18]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ a b Williams, Mark (19 February 2002). "Obituary: Percy Dickins". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Smith, Alan. "50s & 60s UK Charts – The Truth!". Dave McAleer's website. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "Key Dates in the History of the Official UK Charts". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Warwick, Kutner & Brown 2004, pp. 1–4.
  5. ^ "Most Weeks at No.1 (Singles)". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Smith, Alan. "UK First Charts & Silver Discs". Dave McAleer's website. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Chart Archive – 1950s Singles". everyHit.com. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 
  8. ^ "Stats and Facts: Million Sellers". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 16 April 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "Million-Selling Singles". everyHit. Retrieved 12 June 2010. 
  10. ^ "November – December 1957". Record Mirror. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Artists: Pat Boone". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  12. ^ "Chart Stats – Pat Boone – Love Letters In The Sand". ChartStats. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "Number 1 Singles – 1950s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "All the Number One Singles". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 July 2010. 
  15. ^ "All the No.1's: David Whitfield – Answer Me". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 
  16. ^ Rees, Lazell & Osborne 1995, pp. 43–44.
  17. ^ "All the No.1's: Vic Damone – On The Street Where You Live". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 
  18. ^ "All the No.1's: Adam Faith – What Do You Want". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 
Sources

External links[edit]