Various Artists

Your Hit Parade: 1959

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To the extent that a consumer may be expected to buy an album called Your Hit Parade: 1959 on the assumption that it is, in essence, "1959's Greatest Hits," this album must be considered an appalling failure. It contains 24 tracks, but of the 24 biggest hits of 1959, as registered in Billboard magazine (the actual Your Hit Parade radio and TV series had gone off the air in 1955), only six are included on the album -- Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife" (the year's biggest hit), Johnny Horton's "The Battle of New Orleans" (the runner up), the Browns' "The Three Bells," the Platters' "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," Guy Mitchell's "Heartaches by the Number," and the Fleetwoods' "Mr. Blue." Apparently, the compilers just couldn't bear to include the rest of the year's biggest hits, which include two songs each by Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, and Lloyd Price, as well as records by the Coasters, Wilbert Harrison, Elvis Presley, and Ritchie Valens. In other words, rock & roll, which became a national craze three years earlier, is effectively excluded from this recap. In place of the biggest hits, the compilers substitute hits by pop singers like Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis, jazz/R&B material by Della Reese, Sarah Vaughan, and Dinah Washington, as well as exotica like Martin Denny's "Quiet Village" and the Kingston Trio's "M.T.A." They also borrow an album track (Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn Theme") and steal a couple of hits that entered the charts late in the year but didn't really take off until early the following year (Marty Robbins' "El Paso" and Jim Reeves' "He'll Have to Go"). The result is a varied and interesting collection of non-rock & roll popular music from the late '50s, even if it does not present many of the real hit parade leaders of 1959.

Track Listing

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blue highlight denotes track pick