List of Billboard number-one country songs of 1952

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A dark-haired man wearing an elaborately-patterned suit and holding a guitar
A woman with long dark hair wearing a polka dot blouse
Hank Thompson's song "The Wild Side of Life" was followed into the number one position by "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" by Kitty Wells, which had been written as an answer song to it.

In 1952 Billboard magazine published three charts covering the best-performing country music songs in the United States. At the start of the year the charts were published under the titles Most-Played Juke Box (Country & Western) Records, Best-Selling Retail Folk (Country & Western) Records and Country & Western Records Most Played By Folk Disk Jockeys. With effect from the issue of Billboard dated November 15, the titles of the charts were changed to Most Played in Juke Boxes, National Best Sellers, and Most Played By Jockeys respectively, with the genre denoted in an overall page title rather than in the titles of the charts themselves. All three charts are considered part of the lineage of the current Hot Country Songs chart, which was first published in 1958.[1]

In the first issue of Billboard of the year, "Slow Poke" by Pee Wee King was at number one on both the juke box and best sellers charts, and the top position on the jockeys chart was held by "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way" by Carl Smith.[2] Smith had three number-one country songs in 1952, two of which topped all three listings; Webb Pierce was the only other artist to take as many as three different songs to the top spot in 1952, although none of his songs reached number one on all three charts during the year. The longest-running number one on both the juke box and best sellers charts was "The Wild Side of Life" by Hank Thompson, which on both listings spent fifteen consecutive weeks in the top spot before being replaced by "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" by Kitty Wells. Wells' song, which had been written as an answer song to "The Wild Side of Life", was the first million-selling country single by a female artist and the first Billboard country number one by a solo female.[3][4][5] Despite this level of success, it did not top the jockeys chart, as the content of the song was deemed controversial and it was not played by some radio stations.[6]

The longest-running number one on the jockeys chart was "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" by Hank Williams, which spent thirteen non-consecutive weeks atop the chart. The Cajun-inspired song was the final number one of the year on both that chart and the best sellers listing and was thus in the top spot when Williams died early on January 1, 1953.[7] The year's final number one on the juke box chart was "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" by Skeets McDonald, which reached the top spot three weeks after the song's writer,[8] Slim Willet, had taken his own recording of the song to number one on the jockeys chart. The song would prove to be the only country number one for both McDonald and Willet.[9] Hank Thompson and Kitty Wells also achieved their first number ones in 1952,[10] but each would go on to achieve further chart-toppers and be elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.[5][11]

Chart history

Most-Played Juke Box (Country & Western) Records/Most Played in Juke Boxes

A dark-haired man wearing a neckerchief, a shirt with fringes dangling from the sleeves, and pants with a guitar pictured on them, smiling broadly while leaning on a guitar
Lefty Frizzell took the song "Give Me More, More, More (Of Your Kisses)" to number one in February.
Issue date Title Artist(s) Ref.
January 5 "Slow Poke" Pee Wee King [2]
January 12 [12]
January 19 [13]
January 26 [14]
February 2 [15]
February 9 "Give Me More, More, More (Of Your Kisses)" Lefty Frizzell [16]
February 16 "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way" Carl Smith [17]
February 23 "Slow Poke" Pee Wee King [18]
March 1 "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way" Carl Smith [19]
March 8 [20]
March 15 "Give Me More, More, More (Of Your Kisses)" Lefty Frizzell [21]
March 22 [22]
March 29 "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way" Carl Smith [23]
April 5 [24]
April 12 "(When You Feel Like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There" [25]
April 19 "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way" [26]
April 26 [27]
May 3 [28]
May 10 "(When You Feel Like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There" [29]
May 17 [30]
May 24 "The Wild Side of Life" Hank Thompson [31]
May 31 [32]
June 7 [33]
June 14 [34]
June 21 [35]
June 28 [36]
July 5 [37]
July 12 [38]
July 19 [39]
July 26 [40]
August 2 [41]
August 9 [42]
August 16 [43]
August 23 [44]
August 30 [45]
September 6 "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" Kitty Wells [46]
September 13 [47]
September 20 [48]
September 27 [49]
October 4 [50]
October 11 "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" Hank Williams [51]
October 18 [52]
October 25 [53]
November 1 [54]
November 8 [55]
November 15 [56]
November 22 [57]
November 29 [58]
December 6 [59]
December 13 [60]
December 20 [61]
December 27 "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" Skeets McDonald [62]

Best-Selling Retail Folk (Country & Western) Records/National Best Sellers

A man wearing a cowboy hat and a light-colored jacket, holding a guitar
Hank Williams ended the year at number one on the Best Sellers chart. He died on January 1, 1953.
Issue date Title Artist(s) Ref.
January 5 "Slow Poke" Pee Wee King [2]
January 12 [12]
January 19 [13]
January 26 [14]
February 2 [15]
February 9 [16]
February 16 [17]
February 23 [18]
March 1 [19]
March 8 "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way" Carl Smith [20]
March 15 [21]
March 22 [22]
March 29 [23]
April 5 [24]
April 12 [25]
April 19 "(When You Feel Like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There" [26]
April 26 [27]
May 3 "Easy on the Eyes" Eddy Arnold [28]
May 10 "The Wild Side of Life" Hank Thompson [29]
May 17 [30]
May 24 [31]
May 31 [32]
June 7 [33]
June 14 [34]
June 21 [35]
June 28 [36]
July 5 [37]
July 12 [38]
July 19 [39]
July 26 [40]
August 2 [41]
August 9 [42]
August 16 [43]
August 23 "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" Kitty Wells [44]
August 30 [45]
September 6 [46]
September 13 [47]
September 20 [48]
September 27 [49]
October 4 "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" Hank Williams [50]
October 11 [51]
October 18 [52]
October 25 [53]
November 1 [54]
November 8 [55]
November 15 [56]
November 22 [57]
November 29 [58]
December 6 "Back Street Affair" Webb Pierce [59]
December 13 "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" Hank Williams [60]
December 20 [61]
December 27 [62]

Country & Western Records Most Played By Folk Disk Jockeys/Most Played By Jockeys

A fair-haired man in a dark jacket and light-coloured sweater playing a guitar and singing
"A Full Time Job" by Eddy Arnold (pictured in 1969) topped only the jockeys chart.
Issue date Title Artist(s) Ref.
January 5 "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way" Carl Smith [2]
January 12 [12]
January 19 "Slow Poke" Pee Wee King [13]
January 26 [14]
February 2 "Give Me More, More, More (Of Your Kisses)" Lefty Frizzell [15]
February 9 "Slow Poke" Pee Wee King [16]
February 16 "Give Me More, More, More (Of Your Kisses)" Lefty Frizzell [17]
February 23 [18]
March 1 "Wondering" Webb Pierce [19]
March 8 [20]
March 15 [21]
March 22 [22]
March 29 "(When You Feel Like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There" Carl Smith [23]
April 5 [24]
April 12 [25]
April 19 [26]
April 26 [27]
May 3 [28]
May 10 [29]
May 17 "The Wild Side of Life" Hank Thompson [30]
May 24 "(When You Feel Like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There" Carl Smith [31]
May 31 "The Wild Side of Life" Hank Thompson [32]
June 7 [33]
June 14 [34]
June 21 [35]
June 28 [36]
July 5 [37]
July 12 "That Heart Belongs to Me" Webb Pierce [38]
July 19 "Are You Teasing Me" Carl Smith [39]
July 26 "That Heart Belongs to Me" Webb Pierce [40]
August 2 "The Wild Side of Life" Hank Thompson [41]
August 9 "That Heart Belongs to Me" Webb Pierce [42]
August 16 "A Full Time Job" Eddy Arnold [43]
August 23 [44]
August 30 [45]
September 6 "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" Hank Williams [46]
September 13 [47]
September 20 "A Full Time Job" Eddy Arnold [48]
September 27 "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" Hank Williams [49]
October 4 [50]
October 11 [51]
October 18 [52]
October 25 [53]
November 1 [54]
November 8 [55]
November 15 [56]
November 22 [57]
November 29 [58]
December 6 "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" Slim Willet [59]
December 13 "Back Street Affair" Webb Pierce [60]
December 20 [61]
December 27 "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" Hank Williams [62]

See also

References

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2005). Joel Whitburn's Top Country Songs: 1944-2005. Record Research. p. ix. ISBN 9780898201659.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Billboard Music Popularity Charts". Billboard. January 5, 1952. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  3. ^ Meyer, Carson (July 22, 2014). "Flashback: Kitty Wells Sings Controversial Song on the Opry". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  4. ^ Reese, Diana (July 17, 2012). "Honky tonk angel". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Hank Thompson Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  6. ^ Hand, Maud. "Review of Kitty Wells - The Collection". BBC Music. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Hank Williams Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  8. ^ Campbell, Al. "Slim Willet Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits. Watson-Guptill. pp. 205, 356. ISBN 0823076326.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits. Watson-Guptill. pp. 319, 348. ISBN 0823076326.
  11. ^ Mansfield, Brian. "Kitty Wells Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c "The Billboard Music Popularity Charts". Billboard. January 12, 1952. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
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