Song: “Memories Are Made Of This” by Dean Martin
Reached #1: January 7, 1956 (his first in the “rock era”, 7 weeks)
Rock’n’roll didn’t just take over the world in 1955, it was a slow and steady climb… and the old guard didn’t go away easily. This song, for example, was #1 on all of the mid-50’s Billboard charts (Top 100, Disk Jockeys, Juke Boxes, and Best Sellers) 5 months after “Rock Around The Clock” from Bill Haley and the Comets. Some of the other hip and happening (ahem) artists hitting the top of the pops around this time were Roger Williams (“Autumn Leaves”), Tennessee Ernie Ford (“Sixteen Tons”), and Kay Starr (attempting to co-opt the changes with “Rock and Roll Waltz”). Fear not, though… what Bill Haley started, a singer out of Mississippi was going to give a big ol’ Memphis shove… but we’re a few months away from that yet.
It was definitely a different era, though… this clip doesn’t really show it, but you won’t have to look hard to find clips of Dean Martin doing his TV show just after a few cocktails, chain-smoking all the way. Nobody expected Dino to be a role model – and let’s face it, the Rat Pack never intended to be – but he was entertaining, and that’s all America wanted.
Have we changed that much? Yes, and no. We don’t have variety shows, of course… but if you want drunkards chain-smoking (or worse), we’ve simply changed the channel. Instead of the major networks, MTV and the like have all the unrepentant not-role-models you need. At least Dino put on an air of sophistication. The Jersey Shore types? Umm… no.
I wonder, though, what Dino would have made of “Jersey Shore”. I suspect he’d have thought what many of us think – he’d have called them “punks”. At least, I’d like to believe that.
Tomorrow… a rare entertainment couple, whose marriage has lasted over 200 Kardashians, or roughly 40 Brand-Perrys… see you then.
No other songs reached #1 on January 7.