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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly there were five valleys and six Autumn leaves
This is a piece of musical history, as it contains every track that made up the USA top 100 of November 12th, 1955, which was the first such chart ever published. Because that chart was compiled in an era when it was common practice for rival record labels to release their own versions of the same songs, the chart reflects that, with many songs duplicated, some with...
Published 9 months ago by Peter Durward Harris

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only three stars due to one disc not playing all the way through.
I have purchased many acrobat cds including all of the British hit parades and up to now I have had no trouble with the discs not playing, however, I have only played a couple of the discs so far ,disc three stops half the way through and will not advance when I try to get to the next track. The songs I have played so far have all been great, but I am very disappointed...
Published 6 months ago by John Sheldon


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly there were five valleys and six Autumn leaves, 5 Nov 2013
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
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This is a piece of musical history, as it contains every track that made up the USA top 100 of November 12th, 1955, which was the first such chart ever published. Because that chart was compiled in an era when it was common practice for rival record labels to release their own versions of the same songs, the chart reflects that, with many songs duplicated, some with multiple versions. (This sort of thing also happened in the UK in those days.)

The first American pop charts of any kind date back to 1890, when recordings were on wax cylinders. The charts themselves evolved and by 1955 there were charts for radio airplay, jukebox plays and record sales. The chart featured here was compiled by combining those three charts, although the booklet does not mention the algorithm used.

The booklet provides brief notes on all the songs, some of which I found particularly interesting. I didn't know that the original yellow rose of Texas was a mixed-race woman who lived through the 1836 war between Texas and Mexico.

Of the music itself, a lot of the songs were already to me (including Yellow rose of Texas) whether by the versions here or other versions. This is the first place where I've heard Gale Storm's version of I hear you knocking, a cover of Smiley Lewis's R+B chart hit but more famous these days via Dave Edmunds's seventies cover. I like all three versions.

As my caption implies, there are five versions here of Suddenly there's a valley (Gogi Grant, Jo Stafford, Julius LaRosa, Mills Brothers, Patty Andrews). The versions by Gogi and Jo also charted in the UK, where they had to compete with Petula Clark's version. Petula had a few UK hits in the fifties, but she was to have much greater success in the sixties. As for Suddenly there's a valley, that was revived in 1980 by country singer Reba McEntire, but that's the only post-fifties version that I've heard.

Autumn leaves (originally a French song) is represented by six versions, most of them instrumental including the most successful version by Roger Williams.

The chart positions on a particular date can be misleading as records can be up, down or at their peak. The booklet gives peak positions in all cases, but does not always say whether those records not at their peak were on their way up or down.

Another way of measuring a record's success is the test of time. Among those featured here, those that remain popular include Only you (Platters), Love and marriage (Frank Sinatra), Sixteen tons (Tennessee Ernie Ford), It's almost tomorrow (Dream Weavers), Maybelline (Chuck Berry), Rock around the clock (Bill Haley), Ain't that a shame (Fats Domino), I'll never stop loving you (Doris Day) and Cry me a river (Julie London). Autumn leaves is another song that stands the test of time, but via other versions. While not a complete list, those come round on compilations more frequently than most of the others here. Top of the chart here is Love is a many-splendored thing, one of four versions featured here. Great as it is, I rarely hear it elsewhere.

British singer Joan Regan had a rare (for her) American hit with Croce di oro, which competed against Patti Page's version, also included here and which inevitably charted higher. Like most British singers of her time, Joan was obliged to record covers of American songs as nobody seemed interested in British original songs, thereby limiting their appeal to American fans..

Among the other minor hits, you'll find Kitty Kallen (Sweet Kentucky Rose), Frank Sinatra (Same old Saturday night), Frankie Laine (Hawk eye), Jeri Southern (An occasional man) and two by Perry Como. These songs are not the ones for which the singers will be remembered most, but it's nice to hear them. Also among the minor hits are Paper roses (no, not THAT song, but an older song with an identical title) and You're so nice to be near (Loreleis), which may be the most obscure track here as the label couldn't mind anything to say about it beyond the chart data.

By its very nature, this is a curious collection, with so many multiple versions of some songs. However, the same label has released a series of year-by-year top ten compilations titled America's greatest hits (1950 to 1962), a similar series titled Britain's greatest hits (1953 to 1962), and a comprehensive series titled The British hit parade (1953 to 1962), plus a single CD series titled The first British hit parade, covering November and December 1952.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the Hits!, 5 Nov 2013
By 
Bill Busse "in the attic at bill's" (Fairmont, MN United States) - See all my reviews
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What a great collection. I have all of Joel Whitburn's books so have the 1st Top 100 chart and now all of the recordings.
Great notes in the booklet too.

Only one error in the remastering: Suddenly There's a Valley is on the CD twice as it is supposed to be by Gogi Grant and the second by Jo Stafford.......both are the Gogi Grant recording.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Concept, 9 Nov 2013
By 
D. Hill - See all my reviews
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Some of these tracks never saw the light of day in the UK, although of course in some instances British versions did. I was born in 1944 and there are number here that I do not recall at all, although I do remember my older brother continually playing The Yellow Rose of Texas on his wind up gramaphone.

I have played all the CD's and by and large I enjoyed listening to them, but I wonder how many times I will play CDs 3 and 4 in particular given that these represent the bottom half of the Top 50 and at times the quality reflects this. I tend to collect albums like this, it can be interesting to listen to recordings that did not make our charts. However if all you want to do is relive your younger days then you might want to concentrate on albums like the Dreamboats& Petticoats series, you can be fairly certain that you will remember all of them.

So for "anoraks" like me a good buy, but maybe not for everybody.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting compilation of hits , big and small , from the first Top 100 Chart., 23 Feb 2014
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I find this 4-CD set fascinating , in particular the lowest charting songs on CD4. The inclusion of multiple versions of some songs appeals to me , because it provides the opportunity to compare them. Highly recommended for fans of '50s music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only three stars due to one disc not playing all the way through., 4 Feb 2014
By 
John Sheldon (Leek Staffs UK) - See all my reviews
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I have purchased many acrobat cds including all of the British hit parades and up to now I have had no trouble with the discs not playing, however, I have only played a couple of the discs so far ,disc three stops half the way through and will not advance when I try to get to the next track. The songs I have played so far have all been great, but I am very disappointed about this, hence I only give it 3 stars.I still have two discs to play.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful collection of rare material., 2 Mar 2014
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I had to return my initial order, because of a fault, but after returning successfully I received a good set of disks.
The 4 disks are well produced complete with useful booklet, and because the contents are primarily the american versions the material is quite rare to me.
I have a large collection of similar vintage material, and it is amazing how many versions I had not got, ( less than 10 %.)
Hence this is why I rate it a 5 star product, it fits within my collection and is well produced.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing retropective, 24 Nov 2013
By 
Timothy Kingston "Topkat" (Hobart Tasmania Australia) - See all my reviews
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Being a lover of obscure music and tracks that did not make the top 20, this 4 CD set is an absolute joy. The liner notes are extensive and well researched and put in the order of the chart e.g Track 1 CD 1 is the number 1 track where as track 25 on CD 4 is track 100.

The last 25 tracks were a little obscure but to complete the history they are important to have them.

Maybe the compilers could do one every year on the same date.

A great set well presented
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Acrobat first, 24 Sep 2013
I don't suppose many realise the American Hot 100 began in 1955 but here it is.
Note the inclusion of the first ever solo rock'n'roll star (Haley was actually a band) in Pat Boone.This was a year before Elvis who was only on the country chart at the time
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Superb Compilation, 13 Oct 2013
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I really hope that there will be more collections similar to this. Pure listening magic from beginning to end. May I suggest the Top 100 at the start of every year.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The First US Top 100, 23 Dec 2013
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The first CD I played, did not play I was not happy, but the rest of the cds were ok and some really good music on them.
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