EVERY UK NUMBER ONE SONG: 'You Belong To Me' - Jo Stafford

EVERY UK NUMBER ONE SONG: ‘You Belong To Me’ – Jo Stafford

What was the number one song in the UK on 17th January 1953?

By Steve McSteveface

“You Belong to Me” by Jo Stafford was Number One on 17th January 1953 and stayed there for two weeks.

Jo looks like a real wholesome lady and would no doubt be disgusted with the way current female popstars behave. Or maybe not, perhaps it was only rationing back in those days that stopped her parading around in a dress made of meat.


“You Belong to Me” is a romantic pop music ballad from the 1950s. The singer reminds his or her beloved love interest, soulmate, or sweetheart that whatever exotic locales and sights he/she experiences, “you belong to me” no matter what happens.

The first 1952 recording of the song was by Joni James. She had seen the sheet music in the Woods Building in Chicago and the lyrics attracted her. She recorded the song in February, 1952, in Chicago and it was released in March on the local Sharp Records labe as her second single on August 5, 1952, after Jo Stafford, Patti Page and Dean Martin had covered it. James’ version also was issued on M-G-M Records for national distribution. The best-known early 1952 version of the song was recorded after James’ recording by Sue Thompson on Mercury’s country label as catalog number 6407. It was soon covered by Patti Page, whose version was issued by Mercury as catalog number 5899, with “I Went to Your Wedding” (a bigger Patti Page hit, reaching No 1) on the flip side. It entered the Billboard chart on August 22, 1952, and lasted 12 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 4.

A cover version by Jo Stafford became the most popular version. Issued by Columbia Records as catalog number 39811, it was Stafford’s biggest hit, topping the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom (the first song by a female singer to top the UK Singles Chart). It first entered the US chart on August 1, 1952 and remained there for 24 weeks. In the UK, it appeared in the first ever UK chart of 14 November 1952 (then a top 12) and reached number 1 on 16 January 1953, being only the second record to top such chart, remaining in the chart for a total of 19 weeks. Another cover version, by Dean Martin, released by Capitol Records as catalog number 2165, was also in play at that time. This version first entered the chart on August 29, 1952, and remained on the chart for 10 weeks, reaching No. 12. All the versions were combined in the rankings on the Cash Box charts, and the song reached No. 1 on those charts as well, lasting on the chart for more than half a year.

In 1958, the song crossed over into rock for the first time on the Capitol album Gene Vincent Rocks and the Blue Caps Roll. A later version of the song, by the Duprees, also made the Billboard Top 10, reaching No. 7 in 1962. It was recorded by many other pop vocalists, including Patsy Cline and Bing Crosby. A solo acoustic version was recorded by Bob Dylan for the 1992 album Good as I Been to You but was eventually left off as an out-take, the recording only surfacing two years later in the soundtrack for the 1994 film Natural Born Killers.

A loop of Jo Stafford’s introduction was used by Caviar in “The Good Times Are Over” repeatedly throughout the song.

The song has also appeared on many soundtracks. Vonda Shepard’s cover was used frequently on the TV series Ally McBeal alongside romantic scenes of Ally McBeal and Billy Thomas. A version by Jason Wade was part of the soundtrack to the 2001 animated film Shrek. Singer Tori Amos also recorded the classic for the Julia Roberts film Mona Lisa Smile in 2003. Actress Rose McGowan sang it on the soundtrack for the Planet Terror segment of the 2007 film Grindhouse. While onscreen, Bette Midler sings a fragment of the song (to Nick Nolte) in the 1986 comedy Down and Out in Beverly Hills.

On February 1, 2007, a short rendition of the song was sung by 64-year-old Sherman Pore as an audition piece for the television show American Idol, as a tribute to his wife who had died from cancer two days before.

Mary Higgins Clark referenced the song throughout her novel of the same name, which was published by Pocket on April 1, 1999.

In the British film The Deep Blue Sea (released 2011), directed by Terence Davies, the drinkers in a London pub perform the song which later modulates into Jo Stafford’s version.

The song was also featured in the 2013 video game BioShock Infinite as part of its Burial at Sea story add-on. In the game the song is performed by the lead character Elizabeth and sung by her voice actress, Courtnee Draper; footage of Draper performing the song in the recording studio is shown during the game’s end credits.

Annie Lennox recorded a slow, piano-driven version of the song for her 2014 release, “Nostalgia.”


See the pyramids along the Nile
Watch the sun rise on a tropic isle
But just remember, darling, all the while
You belong to me

See the marketplace in old Algiers
Send me photographs and souvenirs
Just remember when a dream appears
You belong to me

I’ll be so alone without you
Maybe you’ll be lonesome too and blue

Fly the ocean in a silver plane
See the jungle when it’s wet with rain
Just remember till you’re home again
You belong to me

I’ll be so alone and without you
Maybe you’ll be lonesome too and blue

Fly the ocean in a silver plane
See the jungle when it’s wet with rain
But remember, darling, till you’re home again
That you belong to me

The Playlist

Relive, enjoy and share every song and keep following Talk About Pop Music for more Number One posts!

Every UK Number One Song

Do you remember these songs?

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