Although I love physical vintage items, I also love other methods of historical preservation- including music!
Lets take a trip back in time (over 60 years!) to February 1958. You just had a great Valentine’s day- at school your sweetie gave you a rose, your pals all dressed in their best winter outfits and you all went out for a hamburger and a soda pop!
You then head home and turn on the radio to relax at night, and the hottest new song plays- you just love it and can not wait to quote the lyrics in your next letter- but what exactly were they again? Google does not exist yet and you do not own the record to re-listen. I guess your out of luck until it plays again on the radio.
Wrong! You just got the newest edition of Hit Parader Magazine, February 1958! All the lyrics to the most popular songs of the month are including! Plus, theres some awesome info on your favorite musicians to share trivia with your friends.
Hit Parader Magazine was created back in 1942 by Charlton Publications in Derby, CT. They were one of the first American music magazines, most popular for publishing the lyrics to the hottest songs (of course until stronger copyright laws in the 70s), facts about musicians, interviews and other related information on the music biz.
The magazine evolved over time- going from general pop songs, to incorporating more rock in the 60s with the rising popularity of The Beatles, even more rock in the 70s, and eventually turning into an exclusively heavy metal rock publication in the 80s. What a wild rollercoaster of a rebrand! Eventually by 2008, the magazine ceased publication. (Source)
The February 1958 issue of course is when the magazine was focused on general pop songs. The cover of the issue features a portrait of teenage heartthrob Tab Hunter, an established actor who had just begun his music career a year prior, in 1957. It also promises an “April Love” story featuring Pat Boone and a spotlight on Tony Perkins, Stan Freberg, Eydie Gorme, Jaye P. Morgan and Don Rondo.
Inside, it is filled with advertisements mainly for teenagers. There is a breakdown of the hottest song by geographical region in the United States.
West: Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley
East: April Love by Pat Boone
Mid-West: Silhouettes by The Rays
South: My Special Angel by Bobby HelmsHit Parader, February 1958.
For this issue, I decided to do my usual flip through video and scans, but I also wanted to add another element- a Spotify playlist! I went through, page by page, and searched for the songs listed in the magazine! I was able to find 36 of them, roughly about 60%! In the beginning, the most popular songs were of course in Spotify’s library, but as it got toward the back the issue, fewer and fewer were avaliable.
If you are unfamiliar with Spotify, it is a free site/app (with ads) where you can stream music and podcasts. You can listen via the imbedded playlist above, or click the link here and save it to your Spotify account for easy access in the future. I hope you enjoy listening!