It was only a couple of years earlier, in August 1958, when the first Hot 100 was published and in just two years it became the ultimate guide to the US singles market. At the time of this chart Billboard determined a song's popularity based on sales of 45 RPM singles and radio airplay.
Today, a song's ranking in the United States is based on the total sales of both physical and digital formats, radio airplay, and online streaming. So, it's possible that if the current methods were used in 1960 the chart may have had a very different look. We'll never know.
Hot 100s always included many genres and they usually contain some classic tracks along with a lot of simple-minded dreck. The January '60 chart is loaded with one hit wonders and novelty songs but it was also home to a lot of famous artists and songs that would eventually become standards.
As the new decade dawned the initial wave of rock 'n roll had died out and we were still four years away from The Beatles saving popular music. The top hits of the day were not the sounds people think of when you hear the term "60s music." That moniker is normally used to describe the period that began in February 1964 when the Liverpool quartet clobbered America on the head and took over music stores and radio. This era had more in common with Leave It To Beaver than Woodstock.
The teen idols were well represented by Fabian (twice), Bobby Rydell, Paul Anka, Annette, and Frankie Avalon.
Respected artists who transcended time had records out too. Among them are Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, and Johnny Cash.
Other major stars of the era who fell off the radar completely when the British Invasion and Motown arrived on the scene are on the list too. Little Anthony and The Imperials, The Drifters, Dion and the Belmonts, Connie Francis, Bill Haley & The Comets, Ricky Nelson, and Tommy Edwards all make appearances.
Number 1 this particular week was by country artist Marty Robbins who had recently released one of the genre's early concept albums, Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs. The LP is about the old West and features the the big hit "El Paso." The single went to #1 on the country chart for seven weeks and crossed over to the pop side where it captured the top spot on the Hot 100 too.
In at #12 was Bobby Darin whose only #1 hit ever was sliding down the charts. "Mack the Knife" has become a timeless classic.
You'll find two ridiculous novelties imitating The Chipmunks, both an "A" and a "B," side by a group called The Nutty Squirrels. "Uh! Oh! (Part 2)" ranked #14 and and "Uh! Oh! (Part 1)" checked in at #58.
At #18 was "Smokie, Part 2" by Bill Black's Combo. Black was Elvis Presley's bass player at Sun Records and was one of the early adopters of a Fender Precision bass.
Johnny Mathis owned the #40 spot with "Misty." Originally a jazz piano piece written by Erroll Garner, lyricist Johnny Burke added words and it became one of Mathis's signature songs along with "Chances Are." It got as high as #12.
Another notable entry was "Clouds" by The Spacemen at #52. The single was written and produced by a man named Julius Dixson. At one time the track had lyrics and vocals but for reasons unknown these were removed and the record was issued as an instrumental. It was released on Dixson's own label, Alton Records. It was an R&B #1 but it only got as high as #41 on the Hot 100. This long forgotten track is significant for being the first single released by an African-American owned label to claim the top position on ANY American chart, a whole year before Berry Gordy's Motown label accomplished the same feat. How's that for a bit of trivia?
Jimmy Jones laid claim to the original version of "Handy Man," a song most of us first heard when it was covered by James Taylor in the 70s. This week Jones' hit slid down to #67 but earlier it reached #2 on the pop chart and #3 on the R&B side.
There were several songs left over from the Christmas season. Two that are now considered classics are The Chipmunks' novelty tune (#61 this week) and The Harry Simeone Chorale's "Little Drummer Boy," the original recording that made the chart every year from 1958 through 1962. It peaked at #15 for the just ended holiday season and in January 1960 it was still riding high at #22.
A 34 page booklet accompanies the package and it's loaded with details about every song and artist who appears on the list along with pictures of many of the hitmakers.
Overall, while the package includes some good music many of the songs on it are more interesting as historical artifacts than as stuff we would like to sit down and listen to. Of course, your opinion may differ.
You can buy the entire set here.
If you found this post interesting you may want to see the top 10 Billboard hits for the week JFK was assassinated in 1963.
Several videos follow the track listings below to either satiate your curiosity or add to your life's enjoyment.
Track Listing - Disc 1
1. #1 El Paso - Marty Robbins
2. #2 Why - Frankie Avalon
3. #3 The Big Hurt - Toni Fisher
4. #4 Running Bear - Johnny Preston
5. #5 Way Down Yonder In New Orleans - Freddy Cannon
6. #6 Heartaches by the Number - Guy Mitchell
7. #7 It's Time to Cry - Paul Anka
8. #8 Among My Souvenirs - Connie Francis
9. #9 Pretty Blue Eyes - Steve Lawrence
10. #10 Go Jimmy Go - Jimmy Clanton
11. #11 We Got Love - Bobby Rydell
12. #12 Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin
13. #13 The Village of St. Bernadette - Andy Williams
14. #14 Uh! Oh!, Pt. 2 - Nutty Squirrels
15. #15 Sandy - Larry Hall
16. #16 Hound Dog Man - Fabian
17. #17 Scarlet Ribbons - The Browns
18. #18 Smokie, Pt. 2 - Bill Black's Combo
19. #19 Not One Minute More - Della Reese
20. #20 Friendly World - Fabian
21. #21 In the Mood - Ernie Fields
22. #22 The Little Drummer Boy - Harry Simeone Chorale
23. #23 You Got What It Takes - Marv Johnson
24. #24 First Name Initial - Annette
25. #25 So Many Ways - Brook Benton
Track Listing - Disc 2
1. #26 Oh Carol - Neil Sedaka
2. #27 Be My Guest - Fats Domino
3. #28 Teardrop - Santo & Johnny
4. #29 Teen Angel - Mark Dinning
5. #30 Come Into My Heart - Lloyd Price
6. #31 Mr. Blue - The Fleetwoods
7. #32 I Wanna Be Loved - Rick Nelson
8. #33 Danny Boy - Conway Twitty
9. #34 Don't You Know - Della Reese
10. #35 Talk That Talk - Jackie Wilson
11. #36 Marina - Rocco Granata & the International Quintet
12. #37 Just Come Home - Hugo & Luigi
13. #38 How About That - Dee Clark
14. #39 Swingin' on a Rainbow - Frankie Avalon
15. #40 Misty - Johnny Mathis
16. #41 He'll Have to Go - Jim Reeves
17. #42 Believe Me - The Royal Teens
18. #43 Dance With Me - The Drifters
19. #44 Just as Much as Ever - Bob Beckham
20. #45 The Happy Reindeer - The Singing Reindeer
21. #46 Bonnie Came Back - Duane Eddy
22. #47 (New In) The Ways of Love - Tommy Edwards
23. #48 If I Had a Girl - Rod Lauren
24. #49 Mighty Good - Rick Nelson
25. #50 What About Us - The Coasters
Track Listing - Disc 3
1. #51 Where or When - Dion & the Belmonts
2. #52 Clouds - The Spacemen
3. #53 Mary, Don't You Weep - Stonewall Jackson
4. #54 Marina - Willy Alberti
5. #55 (If You Cry) True Love, True Love - The Drifters
6. #56 No Love Have I - Webb Pierce
7. #57 Reveille Rock - Johnny & the Hurricanes
8. #58 Uh! Oh!, Pt. 1 - The Nutty Squirrels
9. #59 Always - Sammy Turner
10. #60 Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop - Little Anthony & the Imperials
11. #61 Chipmunk Song - David Seville & The Chipmunks
12. #62 Down by the Station - The Four Preps
13. #63 A Year Ago Tonight - The Crests
14. #64 Honey Hush - Big Joe Turner
15. #65 Lonely Blue Boy - Conway Twitty
16. #66 Won'tcha Come Home - Lloyd Price
17. #67 Handy Man - Jimmy Jones
18. #68 Crazy Arms - Bob Beckham
19. #69 High School USA - Tommy Facenda
20. #70 Lucky Devil - Carl Dobkins, Jr.
21. #71 Let's Try Again - Clyde McPhatter
22. #72 Baciare, Baciare (Kissing, Kissing) - Dorothy Collins
23. #73 Seven Little Girls (Sittin' in the Back Seat) - Paul Evans & The Curls
24. #74 Primrose Lane - Jerry Wallace With The Jewels
25. #75 This Time of The Year - Brook Benton
Track Listing - Disc 4
1. #76 Love Potion No. 9 - The Clovers
2. #77 Climb Ev'ry Mountain - Tony Bennett
3. #78 Skokiaan - Bill Haley & The Comets
4. #79 Sweet Nothin's - Brenda Lee
5. #80 Run, Red, Run - The Coasters
6. #81 Promise Me A Rose (A Slight Detail) - Anita Bryant
7. #82 Rockin' Little Angel - Ray Smith
8. #83 I'm Movin' On - Ray Charles & His Orchestra
9. #84 Tracy's Theme - Spencer Ross
10. #85 The Little Drummer Boy - Johnny Cash
11. #86 Little Things Mean a Lot - Joni James
12. #87 Riverboat - Faron Young
13. #88 Harlem Nocturne - The Viscounts
14. #89 God Bless America - Connie Francis
15. #90 The Sound of Music - Patti Page
16. #91 I Don't Know What It Is - The Bluenotes
17. #92 Darling Lorraine - The Knockouts
18. #93 (I Remember) In the Still of Nite - The Five Satins
19. #94 Do-Re-Mi - Mitch Miller & The Kids
20. #95 Little Coco Palm - Jerry Wallace
21. #96 Deck of Cards - Wink Martindale
22. #97 One Mint Julep - Chet Atkins
23. #98 Happy Anniversary - Jane Morgan
24. #99 Smokie, Pt. 2 - Bill Doggett
25. #100 One More Chance - Rod Bernard