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Music Before Rock

August 06, 1988

In your July 5 Morning Report you listed what you claimed were the 10 longest-lasting No. 1 pop hits. What you didn't indicate, but should have, was that the list was composed only of records released during and since 1955 (commonly called the Rock Era). Consider:

"Frenesei," Artie Shaw (13 weeks at No. 1 in 1940-41); "I've Heard That Song Before," Harry James (13 in 1943); "Goodnight Irene," Gordon Jenkins & the Weavers (13 in 1950); "I'll Never Smile Again," Tommy Dorsey (12 in 1940); "Paper Doll," Mills Brothers (12 in 1943-44); "Heartaches," Ted Weems (12 in 1947); "Near You," Francis Craig (12 in 1947).

All of the above outdistanced what The Times listed as the longest-lasting No. 1 record, Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel," which was No. 1 for 11 weeks.

There was music before rock 'n' roll.

DALE BOOTH

Tujunga

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