Saturday, June 2, 2001

50 years ago: “Too Young” topped Your Hit Parade for the first of 12 weeks

Too Young

Nat “King” Cole with Les Baxter’s Orchestra

Writer(s): Sid Lippman (music), Sylvia Dee (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: April 14, 1951

Peak: 15 US, 112 HP, 17 CB, 112 UK, 19 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 5.5 video, -- streaming

Awards (Nat “King” Cole’s version):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Toni Arden’s version):

Awards (Jimmy Young’s version):

About the Song:

On June 2, 1951, “Too Young” ascended to the top of the Your Hit Parade chart. By the time it finished its reigned, it had logged a dozen weeks at #1, making it the biggest song in the history of Your Hit Parade. The radio program launched in 1935 and evolved into a television program, running until 1958. The charts didn’t list specific artists as this was an era when it was common for multiple artists to record the same song. “Too Young” came about when lyricist Sylvia Dee mentioned to the song’s co-writer Sid Lippman that her brother was getting married but she thought he was too young. According to Sid they looked at each other and said, “Title?” MS

It was first recorded by Louanne Hogan with Victor Young & His Orchestra on November 22, 1950. MS It was Nat “King” Cole’s version, however, which was the first to chart and became the most successful. Nelson Riddle arranged the song – as he had also done for Cole’s version of “Mona Lisa” – but in both cases the credit was given to Les Baxter, who conducted the orchestra. MS Cole recorded his million-selling version on February 6, 1951 and it topped Billboard magazine’s three major pop charts – Best Sellers, Disc Jockey Hits, and Jukebox Hits. It also topped the Cashbox charts and reached #1 in the UK and Australia.

Other versions to chart in 1951 included Toni Arden (#15 US), Patty Andrews (#19 US), Fran Allison (#20 US), Richard Hayes (#24 US), and Jimmy Young (#1 UK). Bill Forbes revived the song in 1960 (#29 UK) and Donny Osmond – then fourteen years old – brought it back in 1972 (#13 US, #5 UK). Michael Jackson recorded it in 1973.

Cole once said this was perhaps his favorite of all the songs he recorded. MS Michael Winter, the host of “The Greatest Hits Explained,” called it “one of the most beautiful love songs ever.” MS Billboard magazine named Cole’s version the top song of 1951. MS

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 9/8/2021.

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