Number 1 On the Charts
The long play popularity charts during the “rock era” started off in the Spring of 1956 featuring 12-inch 33 1/3 rpm vinyl format.
The thing is, the LP charts simply were not fertile ground for the early rock and roll artists. First of all, we the record buying youth public did not have $3.75 to spend for a mono lp or $4.75 for a stereo disk and more importantly, we boomers were not particularly interested in anything beyond hit tracks.
Rock artists in the beginning usually had a collection of tracks hastily thrown together to fill out a complete long play – usually featuring one – maybe two hit tracks. I don’t ever recall going to a party as a prepubescent teen and seeing anything other than a pile of 45’s spread out on a table for us to choose from. (We toted these around in those little 45 flip top boxes complete with index cards.)
The first two long plays I remember obtaining (for Christmas – my mother picked them both out) were a Kingston Trio greatest hits LP which I loved, and a Johnny Tillotson album which featured “Talk Back Trembling Lips”. Don’t ask me how mom picked these out – Probably the record department clerk chose them for her.
Now on the other hand my parents owned many a long play: “South Pacific”, Mitch Miller LPs, Bob Newhart comedy LP’s, “Hawaii Calls” after their first trip to the Islands, and on and on it went.
Adults dominated the outcome of the Billboard LP charts no doubt – and continued to do so well into the rock era. One early exception was Elvis who reached the top spot five times up to 1964 when the Fab Four arrived. Heck, the Kingston Trio peaked at number 1 five times during that streak – matching Elvis.
The only other rock LP to top the charts from 1956 up until the summer of 1963 when Little Stevie Wonder’s “The 12 Year Old Genius” reached the pinnacle for a single week.
Then came the Beatles – and things pretty much evened out after that with about a 50/50 split each year between the younger set and the pop/easy listening/etc., set.
Early on guys like Enoch Light was a chart topper, as was The Mormon Tabernacle Choir – and don’t forget all of those monster original cast/soundtrack LP’s which dominated in the 1950’s into the early 1960’s.
Well, I’m building a page/s dedicated to all the number one LP’s – Visit the LP Number One Page Here – Still Growing