What was the number one song in the UK on 22nd November 1957?

By Hayley Beasley Dye

American singer, Harry Belafonte was number one with Mary’s Boy Child for 7 weeks.

Well, this is a little weird, reviewing this Christmas single in the middle of summer, but this is my dedication to Talk About Pop Music. So, I’m obviously more familiar with the Boney M version (which I love), but Harry’s version of this song is a much more gentle rendition. His voice is beautiful and provides a cosy, homely atmosphere throughout the song. It’s quite lovely, but I think I still prefer Boney M’s version.

Wikipedia

The song had its genesis when Hairston was sharing a room with a friend. The friend asked him to write a song for a birthday party. Hairston wrote the song with a calypso rhythm because the people at the party would be mainly West Indians. The song’s original title was “He Pone and Chocolate Tea”, pone being a type of corn bread. It was never recorded in this form.

Some time later Walter Schumann, at the time conducting Schumann’s Hollywood Choir, asked Hairston to write a new Christmas song for his choir. Hairston remembered the calypso rhythm from his old song and wrote new lyrics for it.

Harry Belafonte heard the song being performed by the choir and sought permission to record it. It was recorded in 1956 for his album An Evening with Belafonte. An edited version was subsequently released as a single, reaching No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart in November 1957. It was the first single to sell over one million copies in the UK alone. To date, Belafonte’s version has sold over 1.19 million copies. In 1962. the full-length version was added to a re-issue of Belafonte’s previously released album To Wish You a Merry Christmas.

Lyrics

“Long time ago in Bethlehem, so the Holy Bible say
Mary’s boy child, Jesus Christ was born on Christmas day
Hark, now hear the Angels singing a newborn King today
And man will live forevermore because of Christmas day
Trumpets sound and Angels singing listen what they say
That Man will live forevermore because of Christmas day
While shepherds watch their flock by night then see
A bright new shining star, then hear a choir sing, her music
Seemed to come from afar, now, Joseph and his wife Mary
Come to Bethlehem that night then find no place
To born she child not a single room was in sight
Hark, now hear the Angels singing a newborn King today
And man will live forevermore because of Christmas day
Trumpets sound and Angels singing listen what they say
That Man will live forevermore because of Christmas day
By and by, they find a little nook in a stable all forlorn
And in a manger cold and dark, Mary’s little Boy was born
Long time ago in Bethlehem, so the Holy Bible say
Mary’s boy child, Jesus Christ was born on Christmas day
Hark, now hear the Angels singing a newborn King today
And man will live forevermore because of Christmas day
Trumpets sound and Angels singing listen what they say
That Man will live forevermore because of Christmas day”

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?

If you enjoy what you read on this site – feel free to donate and show your support…click to donate any amount you like, every little helps – and don’t forget to download the App!

Looking for the perfect gift for a music lover like you – check out My First Record for a poptastic present!

Advertisements