Best #1 single of the year retrospective: 1955-56

So, for a couple years now, I’ve been doing an end-of-the-year poll of all the songs to hit #1 on the Billboard charts that year, to find out which ones the Teeming Millions thought stood above the rest. I’ve been getting itchy waiting for the end of the year to do another one, so in the meantime I thought it’d be fun to start a year-by-year retrospective of every song to hit #1 in the history of the Hot 100, and take a look at what popular songs of yesteryear have stood the test of time and which have been forgotten. I’m using the Hot 100 because it’s the oldest and best recognized of the various music charts published in the US, and if it was good enough for Casey Kasem, it’s good enough for the Dope. The Hot 100 launched in November 1955 (though it was called the Top 100 until 1958), so we’ll start there and lump the end of '55 in with '56, and I’ll start a new poll for each passing year every week or so or until people lose interest.

That being said, the above options are the songs that were the most popular in America in 1955 and 1956. Which one is your favorite?

Previous polls: 2012 2013

I recognize most of the songs, enough to sing a snippet in my head. I went with Green Door over Singing The Blues in a fun/catchy showdown.

Sixteen Tons, without a doubt. Beautiful, informative, nice beat, great words.

I voted for Wayward Wind. No particular reason, I just liked it. I do remember the weeks when Green Door ruled the weekly TV show, Your Hit Parade. Each week they came up with something different behind the green door. Since it was still number 1 on New Years Eve, it was the baby new year behind the door that week.

The greatest song on that list is the one that happened to be #1 on the day I was born–“Heartbreak Hotel.”

I took the Platters, just ahead of “Don’t Be Cruel.”

It’s a tough list from which to choose just one: three highly influential songs from Elvis alone, and my favorite Dino song … hmmm. Definitely a transition year from crooners to rock & roll.

I have to go with “Heartbreak Hotel” – it just paved the way for so much that came after it.

All this was before my time. Still, I picked “Heartbreak Hotel” slightly over “Sixteen Tons”.

Didn’t “Hound Dog” came out in 1956? I would’ve voted for that one if it had been on the list.

It did, but it only made it to #2 on the Hot 100. It did score #1 on the sales chart and the jukebox chart, and it also made #1 on the Cash Box chart, but on the overall chart it was stuck behind “My Prayer” and “Don’t Be Cruel”.

The Platters, hands down. A great R&B group with a gifted lead singer in Tony Williams, whose gorgeous vocals in songs like Only You and Smoke Gets In Your Eyes stand the test of time.

A little off subject, but back in the early 80’s I made one 90 minute cassette tape for each year of the Billboard Top & Hot 100 Songs for the period of 1955 to 1979 (1974 and 1975 wouldn’t fit on a single tape so the extras for both years were put on a second tape). Any additional space on each tape was filled using top ten songs from that same year.

The most surprising years, to me, are the tapes from the 50’s and their mix of pop, rock and novelty songs and 1966, which had the pro-war and protest songs mixed in.

I see that Smapti’s list of songs agrees with what I had for 1955/56. Look forward to your remaining posts.

Not a single vote yet for Guy Mitchell, and his tune spent ten weeks at number one --a record that wouldn’t be broken until Olivia Newton John’s “Physical.”

And “Rock Around the Clock?” Where’s that?

ETA: I see. It was June 1955.

I loved that song when it came out, but most popular doesn’t mean best, IMO. It was good rock-a-billy music and in my register, so I could really belt it.

Tough choice, but I went with Great Pretender. I love The Platters! :cool:

I just checked it out on Youtube and I can’t ever recall hearing it played on the Oldies stations when I was growing up. Either it wasn’t a frequent part of their play lists or the song failed to leave any kind of impression on me. It’s not a bad song but I’d rather listen to most of the other songs listed on the poll.

Honestly, I really can’t just pick one song. I love “16 Tons” because it’s got a good tune and touches on issues that are still relevant today but I couldn’t really pick it over many of the others.

I keep “16 Tons” on my playlist.

I saw the list, expecting to vote for HH. However, decided to listen to the songs I didn’t recognize/know and, WOW, “16 Tons” is a great song! So it got my vote - sorry, Elvis. His reputation and influence doesn’t depend upon my vote in this thread, so I didn’t feel too bad. :wink:

Not to nitpick but Singing the Blues was #1 on the Top 100 charts for 9 weeks (from Dec 8, 1956 to Feb 2, 1957), which was also the same duration as Mack the Knife for Darin in 1959 and Theme from a Summer Place for Percy Faith & Orch in 1960. You Light Up My Life by Debby Boone in 1977 and Physical in 1981/1982 were both #1 for 10 weeks. This was next topped by End of the Road by Boyz to Men at 13 weeks in 1992 and then quickly displaced by I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston at 14 weeks in 1992/1993 and, for the same duration, by Boyz to Men with I’ll Make Love to You in 1994 and then beaten by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men in 1995/1996 with One Sweet Day at 16 weeks which still remains as the record.


Oh, you guys are talking about “Company Store”! Yeah, that’s a good one.

When I was a ten-year-old at summer camp, I wondered what rock group played that closing slow-dance song “Makes Me Wonder.”