My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Week ending 9/17/16: #1 singles this week in country music history

8962160d82ebc1039afceb9e1863f6572014221013919381956 (Sales): Crazy Arms — Ray Price (Columbia)

1956 (Jukebox): Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel — Elvis Presley (RCA)

1956 (Disc Jockeys):Crazy Arms — Ray Price (Columbia)

1966: Almost Persuaded — David Houston (Epic)

1976: I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You — Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius (RCA)

1986: Little Rock — Reba McEntire (MCA)

1996: Guys Do It All the Time — Mindy McCready (BNA)

2006: Leave the Pieces — The Wreckers (Maverick)

2016: H.O.L.Y. — Florida Georgia Line (Republic Nashville)

2016 (Airplay): American Country Love Song — Jake Owen (RCA)

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4 responses to “Week ending 9/17/16: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Ken September 18, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Great example of how diverse country music was in 1956 is the contrast between the two #1 country songs on the different charts. The stylistic difference between Ray Price’s traditional country ballad and Elvis’ edgy rock & roll sound could not clearer. Sixty years ago there was not a uniform and well-defined country music radio format such as have today. The universe of full-time country music radio stations was rather small. However many radio stations that were block-programmed with a variety of different shows often included a country music program or two as part of their daily or weekly schedule. A 1953 survey showed that 65% of all radio stations in the U.S. aired at least one regularly scheduled program containing country music. Those shows were hosted by disc jockeys that enjoyed immense freedom to select their own songs. Many stations featured programs with live performances by local or regional country performers rather than just having DJ’s spin country records. Acts on those live shows might perform the country hits of the day along with older favorites. Records were not exposed as heavily on stations that offered the live country performances. Though Elvis does show up significantly on the country charts his music was not played universally by all country DJ’s because a significant number of them believed that Elvis’ music was not truly “country.” They refused to play any song they felt was outside the genre. Little did they know that within the year rock & roll would become the biggest thing in America and that many country stations would change their format to the new genre sending the country music industry into a tailspin.

    • Razor X September 19, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      With respect to the Jukebox chart from 1956: that reflects the records that the public played the most in jukeboxes (obviously). With crossover records like Elvis made, how did Billboard differentiate between a “country” jukebox play and a “pop” one?

      • luckyoldsun September 19, 2016 at 6:07 pm

        Before the Soundscan/computerized era, the charts were impressionistic, rather than literal. The Billboard writer made some phone calls to his contacts, got an idea of how things were going, and published his chart. It’s not like major league baseball, where even back then there were scorekeepers keeping track of every single plate appearance, out, hit and run (but not every pitch!).
        Billboard’s overall chart and country chart used to contradict each other with regard to album sales. Nobody made a big deal of it.

        • Ken September 19, 2016 at 10:15 pm

          Please disregard the luckyoldsun post [above] regarding charts. It’s nonsense. He knows NOTHING about the charts or their methodology other than perhaps what he reads on Wikipedia or some other dubious internet site. Charts were never “impressionistic.” He has confused the Billboard charts with art. This topic has been discussed before on this site and he peddled this same nonsense. Once again he continues to perpetuate misinformation thinking that no one will catch his inaccuracies.

          Billboard Magazine had a chart department in the 1950’s consisting of staff that contacted radio stations, retail outlets and jukebox operators. They also listened to new recordings – both singles and albums – and published reviews for multiple genres. Each week they assembled a chart that ranked the records based upon the data submitted by those reporters. Obviously there was not the computerized systems available today that can give extremely accurate counts but all of their individual reporters back in the day had a system for tracking airplay & requests, sales or jukebox spins. The chart was never created by someone that just made it all up. It was based upon reports gathered by telephone or mail in surveys.

          Of course there were differences in ranking between the overall album chart and the country album chart [which did not begin until 1964] because the charts were compiled independently by different people. Chart format editors did not monitor the SAME retail outlets! Stores that specialized in country music did not report to the pop editor. Stores that primarily sold pop recordings did not report to the country editor. Nobody made a big deal of it because people in the industry understood what the criteria was.

          There was a shortcoming of the country singles charts during the 1950’s but it had nothing to do with credibility. Prior to 1958 each chart only ranked about 10-20 songs each week. That policy allowed Billboard readers to see the very biggest hits but it did not list the songs that had not quite met the criteria for the printed survey. As a result many secondary songs never made the Billboard chart. That was also caused by the longevity of many songs that often remained on the surveys for 30 weeks or more which did not open up slots for new titles to flow through the chart.

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