As usual, the compilers of Time-Life Music's Your Hit Parade have noted the chart positions of the hits of 1952 as recorded in Billboard magazine (the chart rankings listed in the accompanying booklet refer to the trade publication, not to the rankings on the radio show to which the series title refers), including most of the year's biggest hits, usually in their most successful recordings, but they have also substituted a few choices for reasons that can be surmised to come down to personal taste. Eighteen of 1952's most successful songs are featured among the 24 selections, 17 of them in their most popular renditions. A strict adherence to chart figures would have required the inclusion of three tracks by the year's top recording star, Eddie Fisher. Fisher actually turns up four times on the album, but only two of his most successful recordings -- "Wish You Were Here" and "Any Time" -- are among those. (The others were "Lady of Spain" and his duet with Perry Como on "Maybe," both of which were Top Ten hits.) "I'm Yours," Fisher's third-biggest hit of the year, is missing, replaced by Don Cornell's nearly-as-popular version. Though Fisher was the year's overall chart champion, the top six recordings were all by women, and the first five of those are featured: Jo Stafford's "You Belong to Me," Kay Starr's "Wheel of Fortune," Patti Page's "I Went to Your Wedding," Vera Lynn's "Auf Wiedersh'n Sweetheart," and Georgia Gibbs' "Kiss of Fire." The omission of Joni James' "Why Don't You Believe Me," the only one of the year's ten biggest hits left off the album, is one of the mysteries of the series. Maybe Time-Life Music couldn't obtain permission to use the recording, originally released on MGM Records? In 1952, folk and country influences continued to flavor the charts, and two songs associated with Hank Williams crossed over to the pop charts in mainstream renditions (Rosemary Clooney's "Half as Much" and Jo Stafford's "Jambalaya"), while Pee Wee King & His Golden West Cowboys topped the charts with "Slow Poke" and Doris Day scored with the bowdlerized sailor's song "A Guy Is a Guy." At the same time, jazzy exotic instrumentals like Percy Faith's "Delicado" and Leroy Anderson's "Blue Tango" were popular, as well as more traditional pop fair such as veterans the Mills Brothers' "The Glow-Worm" and newcomer Al Martino's "Here in My Heart." All are featured here, along with such notable, if somewhat lesser hits as Peggy Lee's radical arrangement of Rodgers & Hart's "Lover" and the Doris Day-Frankie Laine duet on "Sugarbush." Given that the compilers were making editorial judgments, one might have wished they had looked a little farther down the chart rankings and plucked such recordings as Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" or Louis Armstrong's "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," performances that have proven more memorable than many of the year's bigger hits. But the album presents a good representation of what 1952 sounded like on the pop charts.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann