With its 24 tracks drawn from the four major record labels of the day (RCA Victor, Columbia, Decca, and Capitol), Time-Life Music's 1945 edition of its Your Hit Parade series does a typically excellent job of featuring the major hits of the year in their most popular renditions. Bing Crosby, the year's top record seller, is represented by three songs: "Don't Fence Me In" (technically a 1944 release), "You Belong to My Heart," and "I Can't Begin to Tell You." However, the most ubiquitous name in the credits is Johnny Mercer, as songwriter and/or singer, who had his hand in "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," "Candy," "Dream" (recorded by the Pied Pipers), "Laura" (recorded by Woody Herman & His Orchestra), and "On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe." Perry Como also turns up three times, with "If I Loved You," "Till the End of Time," and "Dig You Later (A Hubba-Hubba-Hubba)" (which actually enjoyed its greatest popularity in 1946). Artists turning up twice include the Andrews Sisters, Les Brown & His Orchestra (with Doris Day on vocals), Harry James & His Orchestra (with Kitty Kallen on vocals), and the Pied Pipers Besides Mercer, the most successful songwriters, each represented twice, are the teams of Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II and Jule Styne & Sammy Cahn. Though annotator Rich Kienzle accurately notes that "the big band era was...ending," 11 tracks here have artist names with "and His Orchestra" appended to them, including major figures such as Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, and Woody Herman. But this is the dawn of the vocalists' era. (Commenting on the year's major news event, the end of World War II, Kienzle notes that "dreams" are referenced in three song titles. Actually, "Laura," who "is only a dream" would fit into that theme, and travel, in such songs as "On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe" and "Sentimental Journey," is also a major theme, along with the reconciliation of separated lovers in such songs as "It's Been a Long, Long Time.") Typically, there are a couple of inexplicable omissions: "Chickery Chick" by Sammy Kaye and "Bell Bottom Trousers" by Tony Pastor were each successful enough in 1945 to be included, but neither is here. And one presumes that contractual restrictions prevent the appearance of the year's fourth biggest artist, Frank Sinatra, whose "Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)" should have been here. But with those exceptions, every major song of 1945 is included in its most popular recording.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann