Various Artists

Your Hit Parade: 1947

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Time-Life Music's Your Hit Parade series of albums, each of them devoted to a single year in popular music of the 1940s and '50s, is the most thorough examination of the hits of those decades. It is not quite, however, what it says, since substitutions are made based (one presumes) on taste and availability, and Rich Kienzle's liner notes never acknowledge this directly. Discussing bandleader Claude Thornhill's "A Sunday Kind of Love," included on this volume even though it never actually placed in the hit parade, Kienzle calls it "Thornhill's most influential recording"; and in reference to "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," successfully recorded by Johnny Mercer (though not one of the year's biggest hits or even Mercer's biggest hit in 1947), Kienzle calls it Mercer's "most enduring hit of the year." Such are the subtle justifications for the unacknowledged editorial decisions in the series. That said, the 1947 volume contains among its 24 selections 17 of the year's biggest hits, 14 of them in their most popular versions. As Kienzle notes, 1947 was a year in which "the hit parade was dominated by sentimental ballads and novelty tunes," and there are plenty of both here, the former category including the year's biggest hit, bandleader Francis Craig's "Near You," as well as "Ballerina," "Peg O' My Heart," and "Mam'selle," the latter "Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go to Sleep)," "Huggin' and Chalkin'," and "Open the Door, Richard!" And it is among the novelties that the compilers have made the most substitutions: Tex Williams' "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)," Red Ingle & the Natural Seven's "Temptation (Tim-Tayshun)" (featuring Jo Stafford disguised as Cinderella G. Stump) and Arthur Godfrey's "Too Fat Polka (I Don't Want Her) (You Can Have Her) (She's Too Fat for Me)" were all among the year's 20 most popular recordings, but all have been left off this collection in favor of less-successful novelties such as Danny Kaye and the Andrews Sisters' "Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo)" and more sentimental ballads, such as Margaret Whiting's "Guilty" and Dinah Shore's "You Do." It's hard to say which of these have turned out to be the more influential or enduring, but the result is that, like the series' other volumes, Your Hit Parade: 1947 is a compilation containing most of the year's biggest hits, plus some recordings that the compilers liked better than the others.

Track Listing

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