Picks and Pans Review: I've Heard Those Songs Before
by Elston Brooks
Brooks, a show business columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has compiled weekly lists of the Top 10 popular songs from 1930 through 1980. It's fun just browsing through the No. 1 tunes—The Music Goes 'Round and Around (Jan. 11, 1936), Tonight We Love (Dec. 6, 1941), Buttons and Bows (Nov. 6, 1948), Let Me Go, Lover (Jan. 8, 1955), Johnny Angel (April 14, 1962), Harper Valley P.T.A. (Sept. 28, 1968), Mandy (Jan. 4, 1975), Little Jeannie (June 14, 1980), for example. The book is a lot less useful than it might have been, though. For one thing, Brooks doesn't list the recording artists who made the songs famous and accounted for their rankings. His rock era lists are invalid because he used the non-rock "Easy Listening" charts in Billboard magazine for his source. Also, he admits, he "arbitrarily added" songs to the list—he cites The Impossible Dream and Moon River—because he knew somehow they belonged among the Top 10 even if they didn't make the charts. (The Your Hit Parade radio-TV shows and Variety were other sources.) That sort of thing might be fun for an author, but it's no way to run a reference book. (Morrow Quill, $12.95)
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