Country Best Sellers of 1954

Wake Up, Irene

The odd nature of the Billboard charts is that, for most of the 1950s, there were three different charts each for pop, country, and rhythm and blues categories.

So there was a Country Best Sellers of 1954 roster; the category (BS) began in May  1948. But there were also ones for JukeBox (JB), starting in January 1944, and Jockeys (JY- radio play) starting in December 1949.

As it turns out, the three biggest hits for the year spent multiple weeks in each category. These are all familiar names, probably from the nights listening to WWVA in Wheeling, WV.

I Don’t Hurt Anymore – Hank Snow, the Singing Ranger, and the Rainbow Ranch Boys, b20 weeks at #1 (BS 20, JB 20, JY  18)

Slowly – Webb Pierce, 17 weeks at #1 (BS 17, JB 17, JY 15) , co-written by Pierce

More And More  – Webb Pierce, 10 weeks at #1 (BS 10, BS 9, JY 8)

The rest of the #1s topped the chart in only one metric.

Bimbo – Jim Reeves, 3 weeks at #1 (JY). In this usage, the title doesn’t mean what you might think it does.

Wake Up, Irene  – Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys, 2 weeks at #1 (JB)

(Oh Baby Mine) I Get So Lonely – Johnny & Jack, 2 weeks at #1 (JY). The duo was composed of Johnnie Wright (1914–2011) and Jack Anglin (1916–1963). “Johnny was married to Kitty Wells and the duo’s 25-year career together ended in 1963 when Jack was killed in a car wreck while going to Patsy Cline’s funeral.”

Even Tho – Webb Pierce, 2 weeks at #1 (JY). Webb was the lyricist.

A single week at #1

I Really Don’t Want To Know – Eddy Arnold, the Tennessee Plowboy and his guitar (JB)

One by One – Kitty Wells and Red Foley    (JB)

Interestingly, there is no overlaps in terms of the #1s on the pop, country and RB charts in 1954. This would prove to be untrue when we get to 1956. You can blame Elvis Presley and the wave of musicians who charted with him.

But the seeds were planted in ’54, as Elvis made his first Sun Records recording, and Johnny Cash made his move from Sun.

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