Have you been trying to make a music playlist for 1952, but aren’t sure which tracks were popular at the time that you should include? We’re going to tell you the 31 best songs from 1952 that you may want to put on your playlist below!
1. Night Train – Jimmy Forrest
First on the list is Night Train by Jimmy Forrest, which is a blues standard instrumental that was a huge hit in 1952. He was a part of Duke Ellington’s band years prior, and parts of the song were composed during that time, including the opening riff that Ellington had used for a longer composition he created. Forrest took that opening riff and made Night Train, with the difference being that it was a more natural-sounding R&B.
2. Wheel Of Fortune – Kay Starr
Kay Starr makes the list with Wheel Of Fortune, which was a cover of a Johnny Hartman song the year prior. This track went to number one on the American pop charts and stayed at that position for 10 weeks! It became the most well-known version of the song to date, even though Dinah Washington also recorded a version later in the year. What’s interesting is that the game show Wheel Of Fortune began in 1952 and would go on to use this track as its theme song.
3. Goin’ Home – Fats Domino
Up next is Fats Domino with Goin’ Home, which was released on Imperial Records as a single in March 1952. This was a huge hit song, with it topping the Best Selling R&B Records chart and hitting three on the Most Played R&B JukeBox Records chart. It also managed to hit 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was his first number-one hit.
4. Lawdy Miss Clawdy – Lloyd Price
Lloyd Price makes the list with Lawdy Miss Clawdy, which was the first song to really bring the sounds of New Orleans to the public. This track would go on the album that ended up one of the best-selling records of the year and was named the R&B Record of the Year. It is known as one of the songs to shape Rock and Roll music and in 1995, it was put into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because of its significance and influence.
5. Half As Much – Rosemary Clooney
Rosemary Clooney is next with her song Half As Much, which is a cover of the Hank Williams song he’d released earlier in the year. She was both an actress and singer and when she released this track, it went to number one on the Pop Singles chart and helped her singing career take off to new heights. The song is about a woman feeling pain when she realizes she loves her man more than he loves her. While it found more success in America, it managed to hit number three on the UK charts as well.
6. You Belong To Me – Jo Stafford
Next up is Jo Stafford and her hit song You Belong To Me, which was one of the biggest tracks of the year as it was theatrical and opened with talking about ancient pyramids. Three of the biggest artists of the decade helped write the composition including Redd Stewart, Chilton Price, and Pee Wee King. It not only topped the charts in the US but also was a chart-topping hit in the UK!
7. A Guy Is a Guy – Doris Day
You probably have heard the name Doris Day before, as she was a singer, animal rights activist, and actress. She released A Guy Is A Guy in 1952, and this track was a very big hit and went to number four on the Best-Selling Records chart. It also landed at number one on the Most Played JukeBox Songs chart, and went to number one in Australia too.
8. Blue Tango – Leroy Anderson
On our list next is the song Blue Tango by Leroy Anderson, which peaked at number one on the Billboard charts. This track would become one of the biggest and most popular songs of the year and was then covered by other musicians such as Guy Lombardo, Amanda Lear, and Teddi King.
9. Cry – Johnnie Ray
Johnnie Ray And The Four Lads had a hit with Cry, which was easily one of the most popular songs of 1952. It was a cover version of the track first performed by Ruth Casey. While other artists have covered it, Ray’s version is one of the more memorable since it went to number one on the magazine chart run by Billboard and also peaked at one on the R&B Best Sellers chart.
10. I Went To Your Wedding – Patti Page
Next is Patti Page and I Went To Your Wedding, which was written by Jessie Mae Robinson. This song is all about a woman who attends the wedding of her ex, and she realizes how much she still loves him even though he’s marrying someone else. The track went to number one on the Billboard charts and was on the charts for a total of 21 weeks.
11. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Jimmy Boyd
We all know the next song because it’s one of the biggest Christmas songs of all time, which is I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. Jimmy Boyd was the original singer of this track, and he was only 13 when he recorded this song. It hit number one on the Cash Box and Billboard Pop Singles chart, and on the UK Singles chart, it hit number three. Since the original version was released, hundreds of artists have covered this track, and it remains an iconic song to this day.
12. Tell Me Why – The Four Aces
The Four Aces are next with Tell Me Why, which was a group that Al Alberts formed. It peaked on the Billboard chart at number two and stayed on the chart for more than 24 weeks! This remains one of the biggest hits for them, and it was covered by other artists in the years to follow.
13. Kiss Of Fire – Georgia Gibbs
Calling all fans of American Horror Story: Freak Show, the next song on the list is Kiss Of Fire by Georgia Gibbs, which has been featured in this show. This track was a very popular song that was more in the pop and R&B category instead of jazz, which was what most of her tracks were before this one. It remains a classic song that is still finding its way into television shows to this day.
14. Singin’ In The Rain – Gene Kelly
The next song on our list needs no introduction as we’ve all heard it before, and yes, we’re talking about the Gene Kelly track Singin’ In The Rain. The song was a massive hit, and his version is the most well-known of them all and has been featured in multiple television shows and movies including Seinfeld and On The Edge.
15. You Win Again – Hank Williams
Hank Williams makes the list with the track You Win Again, which is a blues song that talks about feeling despair and hopelessness with his partner. This was a track that he recorded right after his divorce had been finalized and was probably inspired by that relationship. It’s been covered several times over the years including by The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan.
16. Ting-A-Ling – The Clovers
The Clovers had a hit song with Ting-A-Ling, which would go on to be their last number-one song on the R&B charts, although they would still see success with other tracks. It was such a popular song that Buddy Holly would cover it later, and it would come out on his posthumous album, but the most well-known and highest-charting version is still by The Clovers.
17. Baby Don’t Do It – The “5” Royales
The “5” Royales released Baby Don’t Do It as their debut, and it went onto the R&B National Best Sellers chart where it peaked at number one but only stayed there for three weeks. There were not that many hits for them, and this would be the first one out of two hits, but it’s their most well-known track and also became one of the biggest songs of 1952.
18. Moody’s Mood For Love – King Pleasure
King Pleasure released a cover of Moody’s Mood For Love, which was a duet tune that featured Blossom Dearie on the female vocal part of the song. This track is all about a guy who says he is in love with a woman, and she then responds back saying she loves him too. The jazz style known as vocalese was popularized by his version.
19. It’s In The Book – Johnny Standley
Next is Johnny Standley with It’s In The Book, and this song hit number one on the Billboard Pop charts and went on to sell more than one million copies. The track is about Little Bo-Peep, and it’s sung in the style of a preacher. If you’ve seen the movie The Last Picture Show from 1971 then you’ve heard this track before, and it was one of Johnny’s most popular songs.
20. Have Mercy Baby – The Dominoes
On our list is Have Mercy Baby by The Dominoes, which is an R&B song that went to number one on the Billboard R&B charts for over 10 weeks. This track is a gospel-like song that is a call-and-response setup even though it uses the traditional 12-bar blue style. It became an iconic gospel and R&B song because, for the first time, black gospel music was the theme.
21. High Noon – Tex Ritter
Tex Ritter makes our list with High Noon, which also went by the title The Ballad Of High Noon. This track is incredibly popular, and it was the theme song to the movie High Noon, which won a ton of Academy Awards in 1952, including Best Original Song.
The track is performed multiple times in the movie, and what’s cool is that this was the first time an electronic synthesizer was used and was one of three instruments in the song. To date, Western Writers Of America dubbed it as one of the best Western tracks of all time, and it was recently featured in the movie soundtrack to Asteroid City.
22. She Moves Me – Muddy Waters
She Moves Me by Muddy Waters is next, and this song peaked on the Billboard R&B charts at number 10. He is one of the most popular blues musicians who was named the pioneer of the Chicago blues sound. He was an influential figure at the time, and throughout his career, he released more than 13 albums with 62 different songs, including multiple hits such as She Moves Me and Baby Please Don’t Go.
23. The Glow Worm – The Mills Brothers
The Mills Brothers had a hit with The Glow Worm, and this song stayed on the Billboard chart for more than 21 weeks and at one point went to number three. The track was originally a German opera song called Lysistrata, and it was then translated into English by Lilla Cayley. The Mills Brothers took that translation and then turned it into a hit track.
24. Delicado – Percy Faith
Percy Faith is next with Delicado, and this song is a cover of the track originally released by Waldir Azevedos. Faith’s version would go on to become the most successful and it topped the Billboard charts and led to the songwriter, Jack Lawrence, being inducted in 1975 into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.
25. Anytime – Eddie Fisher
Eddie Fisher had a hit with Anytime, and this version of the song is the most famous and highest-charting, outdoing both the Osmond Brothers and Patsy Cline who would record the track years later. The version by Fisher is the most popular since it went onto the Billboard charts and peaked at number two, although it did have some popularity before he covered it.
26. Darlin’ You Know I Love You – B.B. King
On our list next is Darlin’ You Know I Love You by B.B. King, and this is from his debut album released in 1957 called Singin’ The Blues. In 1952, this song was released as a single and went to number one on the Billboard R&B chart. Ike Turner played piano in the track, and he was friends with King at the time, who really loved this song and considered it to be his favorite out of the love ballads in the blues genre.
27. Sweet Sixteen – Big Joe Turner
Big Joe Turner had a hit with Sweet Sixteen, which is a song that seems to be talking about a teenage girl in a creepy way. Ahmet Ertegun allegedly wrote this track, and he was the president of Atlantic Records at the time. He is in his 40s and wrote this song about someone who is a teenage girl, so it’s creepy, but Turner had nothing to do with those lyrics.
28. The Wild Side Of Life – Hank Thompson
Country singer Hank Thompson had a hit with The Wild Side Of Life, which peaked on the Billboard Country chart at number one and stayed there for 15 weeks! This was the most popular recording of the song, and it helped start his career as one of the biggest country music stars of that time.
29. Slow Poke – Pee Wee King
Next up is Slow Poke, which is a song by Pee Wee King & His Golden West Cowboys. This was a track written by Chilton Price, who was friends with Pee Wee, and he wrote this song about him because she thought that it matched the personality he had. The lyrics describe how he doesn’t care about him, and he’s often late because of this lack of awareness. It’s thought that she wasn’t happy with and was frustrated with this personality trait, so the track was written about it but in a teasing manner.
30. Here In My Heart – Al Martino
Al Martino makes the list with Here In My Heart, which went to number one on the Billboard Singles chart and stayed on the top for nine weeks. This song also hit number one in the UK and was his most iconic and successful tune. Sadly, it would be his only track to reach the top of the Billboard charts.
31. The Loveliest Night Of The Year – Anne Shelton
Lastly is The Loveliest Night Of The Year by Anne Shelton, which is the best-known version of this song originally meant to be a waltz. If you don’t recognize the name, you might know it from watching a magic show or circus since it’s used often in these settings as a theme song.
From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background. Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B. Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life. More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.