Saturday, April 30, 2005

50 years ago: Perez “Prez” Prado hit #1 with “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White”

Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White

Perez “Prez” Prado

Writer(s): Jacques Larue, Louis Gugliemi, Mack David (see lyrics here)

First Charted: January 31, 1955

Peak: 110 US, 11 HP, 2 CB, 18 8, 12 UK, 13 AU (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.5 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The song was originally written in 1950 as “Cerisiers Roses et Pommiers Blanc” with lyrics by Jacques LaRue and music by Louis Gugliemi (Louiguy). The first version was released that year by André Claveau avec Jo Boyer et son orchestra. Mack David, brother of famous lyricist Hal David, gave it English lyrics in 1951. SF Georgia Gibbs, backed by an orchestra conducted by Glenn Osser, released her version of the song in August 1951.

However, the most popular recording was an instrumental by the organist, pianist, and arranger Damasco Perez Prado, born in Cuba in 1916. SS “With his goatee and lacquered pompadour, [he] was just about the hippest thing on two legs.” TB Known as “The King of Mambo,” Prado has been credited as the man who “truly invented the mambo as a distinct musical genre.” SS

He first recorded “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” in 1951. When it was chosen for the movie Underwater! with Jane Russell dancing to the song, he rerecorded it. The “smoothly danceable instrumental” SS featured trumpeter Billy Regis. It spent 10 weeks at #1 and Billboard named it the song of the year.

The song has the distinction of being the last #1 before what Billboard magazine deemed the start of the rock era: when Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” hit #1. Alan Dale also charted with the song in 1955, reaching #14 with his vocal version. Prado and British trumpeter Eddie Calvert both went to #1 with the song in the United Kingdom. The song returned to the UK charts in 1982 when Modern Romance took their vocal version to #20. Others who’ve recorded the song include Chet Atkins, Pat Boone, Petula Clark, Bing Crosby, Xavier Cugat, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Harry James, Liberace, Billy Vaughn, and Lawrence Welk. WK


First posted 3/14/2021; last updated 3/24/2023.

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