On 4 August 1958, Ricky Nelson‘s ‘Poor Little Fool’ edged out Perez Prado’s ‘Patricia’ to become the first No. 1 on the newly-introduced Billboard Hot 100. You can read more about that achievement in this dedicated story. But we also thought we’d leaf through some of the other notable entries on that historic debut countdown, remembering some classic singles and some that haven’t quite stood the test of time.
Speaking of which, how about this bizarre novelty at No. 91? It was an “answer” to Sheb Wooley’s ‘Purple People Eater,’which had topped the pre-Hot 100 Billboard chart in June. Step forward, a teenage Joe South, fully a decade before his rise to southern rock-soul fame with ‘Hush’ and ‘Games People Play’:
Fats Domino was represented, at No. 95, by ‘Little Mary,’ not one of his best-remembered singles, but one that was already his 22nd US chart entry in just three years:
The Everly Brothers were at No. 92 with their new hit ‘Bird Dog,’ while their previous chart-topper ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’ was in decline at No. 48. Jackie Wilson brought some real soul to the 100 with ‘To Be Loved,’ at No. 86 and on its way to a No. 22 peak:
Another soon-to-be-classic was at No. 84 for Eddie Cochran, en route to the top ten and a later place in both the Grammy and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame:
Chuck Berry was back-to-back on the chart with ‘Beautiful Delilah’ at No. 81 and ‘Johnny B. Goode’ at No, 80, and Buddy Holly was present three times, by the Crickets’ ‘Fool’s Paradise’ at No. 58 and ‘Think It Over’ at No. 27, as well as his own ‘Early In The Morning’ at No. 41. Patti Page made the cut with this military-style Mercury single at No. 13:
Bobby Darin was reaching the No. 3 peak of his breakthrough hit for the Atco label, which features here in a later live medley:
But, as we said earlier, the single holding sway over all the other 99 titles on that first Hot 100 was the one by the the 18-year-old who was the nation’s ultimate pop heartthrob.