Best Original Song: A Categorical History (1951-1955)

Today we hit the 50s, which is the golden age of the studio Technicolor musical and the golden age of the theme song. Let’s count how many times Sinatra and Dean Martin show up over the next decade.

1951: “IN THE COOL, COOL, COOL OF THE EVENING,” FROM HERE COMES THE GROOM

“Never,” from Golden Girl

(Couldn’t find this one.)

“Wonder Why,” from Rich, Young and Pretty

“Too Late Now,” from Royal Wedding

“A Kiss to Build a Dream on,” from The Strip

Analysis: Weak category. They made the right choice. It’s the most fun song.

My Vote: “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening”

Rankings:

5. “Never” (Couldn’t find it. Can’t rank it.)

4. “Wonder Why”

3. “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”

2. “Too Late Now”

1. “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening”

1952: “HIGH NOON (DO NOT FORSAKE ME, OH MY DARLIN’,” FROM HIGH NOON

“Am I in Love,” from Son of Palerace

“Because You’re Mine,” from Because You’re Mine

“Thumbelina,” from Hans Christian Anderson

“Zing a Little Zong,” from Just for You

Analysis: Oh, it’s “High Noon” all the way. Come on, now. Tell me that’s not the one you’re gonna have stuck in your head after all that.

Respect to “Am I In Love” and “Zing a Little Zong.” They were great.

My Vote: “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’)”

Rankings:

5. “Because You’re Mine”

4. “Thumbelina”

3. “Am I In Love”

2. “Zing a Little Zong”

1. “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’)”

1953: “SECRET LOVE,” FROM CALAMITY JANE

“The Moon is Blue,” from The Moon is Blue

“My Flaming Heart,” from Small Town Girl

 

“Sadie Thompson’s Song (Blue Pacific Blues),” from Miss Sadie Thompson

“That’s Amore,” from The Caddy

 

Analysis: I think we all know which one of these held up, don’t we? “Secret Love” is good and all, but — come on, now.

My Vote: “That’s Amore”

Rankings:

5. “Sadie Thompson’s Song (Blue Pacific Blues)”

4. “The Moon is Blue”

3. “My Flaming Heart”

2. “Secret Love”

1. “That’s Amore”

1954: “THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN,” FROM THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN

“Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” from White Christmas

“The High and the Mighty,” from The High and the Mighty

 

“Hold My Hand,” from Susan Slept Here

“The Man That Got Away,” from A Star is Born

Analysis: I feel like Best Picture nominees just win here because people know them. I’m not gonna go back and look, but — is that a thing? Like Best Visual Effects? I feel like it’s not if the song that beats it is standout, but I feel like there have been quite a few Best Picture songs that have won here, and it’s not exactly something that pops up that frequently.

Anyway — this is the category that got away. Jesus. How do you ignore Judy here? (Or even “Hold My Hand”?) I mean, “Three Coins in the Fountain” is nice and all, but it’s not that great. The two good ones here are “Holy My Hand” and “The Man That Got Away.” Judy just destroys that song. This film really got overlooked this year.

My Vote: “The Man That Got Away”

Rankings:

5. “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep”

4. “The High and the Mighty”

3. “Three Coins in the Fountain”

2. “Hold My Hand”

1. “The Man That Got Away”

1955: “LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING,” FROM LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING

“I’ll Never Stop Loving You,” from Love Me or Leave Me

“Something’s Gotta Give,” from Daddy Long Legs

“(Love Is) The Tender Trap,” from The Tender Trap

 

“Unchained Melody,” from Unchained

(I just picked an awesome version from that year. This is the version used in the film.)

Analysis: Let’s be serious now. It’s “Unchained Melody.” Don’t even pretend like that’s not the best song on this list. I understand the vote, and “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” is a classic. But not “Unchained Melody” classic.

Also, a Best Picture song again. Might be something to it.

Oh, and — the category is really strong. All the songs are strong. “I’ll Never Stop You” is the strongest outside the two everybody knows. And “(Love Is) The Tender Trap” is also outstanding. And “Something’s Gotta Give” is classic Astaire.

My Vote: “Unchained Melody”

Rankings:

5. “Something’s Gotta Give”

4. “The Tender Trap”

3. “I’ll Never Stop Loving You”

2. “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”

1. “Unchained Melody”

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow — 1956-1960.

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One response

  1. Michael

    As for this set of years:
    1951: “Silver Bells” from “The Lemon Drop Kid” sung by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell (for the win)
    1952: “Make ‘Em Laugh” from “Singin’ in the Rain” sung by Donald O’Connor
    1953: “That’s Entertainment” from “The Band Wagon” sung by Astaire, Jack Buchanan, Nanette Fabray, and Oscar Levant and “Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo” from “Lili” sung by Leslie Caron and Mel Ferrer
    1954: none
    1955: “He’s a Tramp” from “Lady and the Tramp” sung by Peggy Lee

    July 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm

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