“The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” is a novelty Christmas song written by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. (a.k.a. David Seville) in 1958. Although it was written and sung by Bagdasarian (in the form of a high-pitched chipmunk voice), the singing credits are given to The Chipmunks, a fictitious singing group consisting of three chipmunks by the names of Alvin, Simon and Theodore. The song won three Grammy Awards in 1958: Best Comedy Performance, Best Children’s Recording, and Best Engineered Record (non-classical).
In the song, David asks the Chipmunks if they are ready to sing the song. Both Simon and Theodore answer yes, but Alvin hesitates, causing David to yell, “ALVIN!!!” Alvin replies, “OKAY!” After the first chorus is sung, in which Alvin mentions wanting to have a hula hoop, an instrumental break is heard, and David tells the Chipmunks to get ready to sing the last half of the chorus, and compliments both Simon and Theodore for singing well. However, David tells Alvin that he sang a little flat. The Chipmunks sing the last half of the song (Alvin still wanting a hula hoop). At the end, David compliments the chipmunks for their singing. However, when the chipmunks want to sing the song again, David objects, telling them not to overdo it. An argument ensues between the Chipmunks and David as the song fades out.
“To Know Him Is to Love Him” is a song written by Phil Spector, inspired by words on his father’s tombstone, “To Know Him Was To Love Him.” It was first recorded by the only vocal group of which he was a member, the Teddy Bears. Their recording spent 3 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1958, while reaching No. 2 on UK’s New Musical Express chart. Peter & Gordon and Bobby Vinton later had hits with the song, with its title and lyrics changed to “To Know You Is to Love You”. In 1987, the song was resurrected by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, whose Trio recording topped the U.S. country singles charts. The song is in 12/8 time.
“Tom Dooley” is an old North Carolina folk song based on the 1866 murder of a woman named Laura Foster in Wilkes County, North Carolina, allegedly by Tom Dula. The song is best known today because of a hit version recorded in 1958 by The Kingston Trio. This version was a multi-format hit, which reached #1 in Billboard and the Billboard R&B listing, and appeared in the Cashbox Country Music Top 20. It fits within the wider genre of Appalachian “sweetheart murder ballads”.
The song was selected as one of the American Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the National Endowment for the Arts, and Scholastic Inc. Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.
A local poet named Thomas Land wrote a song about the tragedy, titled “Tom Dooley” (which was how Dula’s name was pronounced), shortly after Dula was hanged. In the documentary Appalachian Journey (1991), folklorist Alan Lomax inaccurately describes Frank Proffitt as the “original source” for the song. Although there are several earlier known recordings, notably the one by Grayson and Whitter made in 1929, approximately 10 years before Proffitt cut his own recording, the Kingston Trio took their version from Frank Warner’s singing. Warner had learned the song from Proffitt, who learned it from his Aunt Nancy Prather, whose parents had known both Laura Foster and Tom Dula.
“It’s Only Make Believe” is a song written by Jack Nance and American country music artist Conway Twitty, and produced by MGM Records’ Jim Vienneau, released by Twitty as a single in July 1958. The single topped both U.S. and the UK Singles Chart, and was Twitty’s only number-one single on the pop charts of either country. On a segment of Pop Goes The Country, Twitty states the single was a hit in 22 different countries and sold over 8 million copies. It is believed that Twitty wrote his part of the song while sitting on a fire escape outside his hotel room, to escape the summer heat, in Hamilton, Ontario. Twitty had come to Canada at the request of another American singer, Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins, due to Hawkins saying to Twitty that Canada was the ‘promised land’ for music.
Twitty recorded many subsequent versions of “It’s Only Make Believe”, including a 1970 duet with Loretta Lynn on their very first collaborative album, We Only Make Believe. Twitty joins in on the last verse in a 1988 uptempo cover by Ronnie McDowell, which was a #8 hit on the country music charts. Additionally, Twitty contributed to an alternative cover by McDowell.
“It’s All in the Game” was a 1958 hit for Tommy Edwards. Carl Sigman composed the lyrics in 1951 to a wordless 1911 composition titled “Melody in A Major,” written by Charles G. Dawes, later Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge. It is the only No. 1 pop single to have been co-written by a U.S. Vice President or winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The song has become a pop standard, with cover versions by dozens of artists, some of which have been minor hit singles.
Edwards’ song ranked at No. 38 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100.
“Bird Dog” is a song written by Boudleaux Bryant and recorded by the Everly Brothers released in 1958 and was a #1 hit on the Billboard Country Chart. The song also hit number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 as well as peaking at number two for three weeks on the R&B charts.
The musical structure is relatively unusual in that it has a 12 bar blues stanza and an 8 bar blues chorus.
“Little Star” is a song recorded by The Elegants. Members Vito Picone and Arthur Venosa co-wrote the lyrics. The music was adapted from “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” When released as a single in 1958, it topped both the R&B Best Sellers list and the Billboard Hot 100; however, it was the only song that ever charted for The Elegants. Reportedly, the Elegants refused to pay payola to a prominent New York disc jockey, which inhibited air play of their follow up recordings.
“Little Star” remains one of the most popular examples of doo wop music. Phil Spector described it as an “awful good record.” Other artists to record this song include Dion, Randy & the Rainbows, The Slades, Vera Lynn, Linda Scott and Bobby Vee.
A small portion of the song was performed by Paul Simon as part of the 1989 Dion song “Written on the Subway Wall.”
“Nel blu dipinto di blu” (Italian pronunciation: [nel ˈblu ddiˈpinto di ˈblu]; literally “In the blue that is painted blue”), popularly known as “Volare” [voˈlaːre] (meaning “To fly”), is a song recorded by Italian singer-songwriter Domenico Modugno. Written by Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno, it was released as a single on 1 February 1958.
Winning the eighth Sanremo Music Festival, the song was chosen as the Italian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1958, where it won third place out of ten songs in total. The combined sales of all the versions of the song exceed 22 million copies worldwide, making it one of the most popular Eurovision songs of all time and the most successful Sanremo Music Festival song ever.
It spent five non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in August and September 1958 and was Billboard’s number-one single for the year. Modugno’s recording subsequently became the first Grammy winner for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1958.
The song was later translated in several languages and it was recorded by a wide range of performers, including Bobby Rydell, Dean Martin, Al Martino, Jerry Vale, David Bowie, Cliff Richard, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Dalida, Gipsy Kings, Chico & the Gypsies, Deana Martin and Barry White.
“Poor Little Fool” is a rock and roll song written by Sharon Sheeley and first recorded by Ricky Nelson in 1958.
Sheeley wrote the song when she was only fifteen years old. She had met Elvis Presley, and he encouraged her to write. The song was based on her disappointment following a short-lived relationship with a member of a popular singing duo. Sheeley sought Ricky Nelson to record the tune. She drove to Nelson’s house, and decided she might be able to meet the star if she claimed her car had broken down. Nelson came to her aid, and Sheeley sprang the song on him. Her version was at a much faster tempo than Nelson’s recording.
The song was recorded by Ricky Nelson on April 17, 1958, and released on Imperial Records 5528. It holds the distinction of being the first number-one song on Billboard magazine’s then newly created Hot 100 chart, replacing the magazine’s Jockeys and Top 100 charts. It spent two weeks at the number-one spot. The record also reached the top ten on the Billboard Country and Rhythm and Blues charts. Following the song’s success, Sheeley decided to work with Eddie Cochran.
“Poor Little Fool” became a radio hit when it was released as part of a four-song Extended Play 45 rpm disc which was excerpted from the artist’s second LP, Ricky Nelson. Responding to the buzz, Lew Chudd of Imperial Records rushed out a single version (on both 45 and 78 rpm). Nelson objected, however, believing that the move would hurt sales of the EP. Under his contract with Imperial, the singer had approval rights for all picture-sleeve art and to express his displeasure with Chudd’s decision, he chose not to select a photograph for the “Poor Little Fool” single. As a result, “Poor Little Fool” was the only Ricky Nelson single released by Imperial to be issued in the United States without a photo in a plain label-cut-out sleeve.
The “Dodgers” and Johnny Angel released a cover version of the song in 1958 on Skyway 45-119-AA. The Fleetwoods recorded it in 1962. Terry Black released a version of the song in 1965 on his debut album, Only 16, and it reached #6 in Canada.
“Patricia” is a popular song with music by Pérez Prado and lyrics by Bob Marcus, published in 1958. The song is best known in an instrumental version by Prado’s orchestra that became the last record to ascend to #1 on the Billboard Jockeys and Top 100 charts, both of which gave way the next week to the then newly introduced Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was also number one on the R&B Best Sellers for two weeks. It became a gold record. Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1958.
Prado re-charted and re-recorded the song in a 1962 “twist” version.
The tune in Perry Como’s “Patricia” in 1950 bears no resemblance to any version of Prado’s.