This artist-by-artist anthology uncovers all of the songs that only appeared on the local listings (Disc Jockey, Juke Box and Retail Outlets) and did not appear on the national pop singles charts.
Discover author Joel Whitburn’s thoughts in his “Author’s Note” from Cash Box Regional Hits 1956:
“Some things in life remain a mystery – like where is that treasure chest my brother David buried in our backyard on Main Street? The pair of us pirates either needed a better map or perhaps never created one in the haste to hide the booty. The longer it remains hidden within the part of the lawn we did not dig up, the more valuable that simple box of boyhood trinkets becomes.
I embarked on a different kind of treasure hunt last year which yielded thousands of songs, many of which were all but lost to time. It began when I picked a bound volume of Cash Box magazine dated July 5 – September 27, 1958. I had always liked its national “Top 75” pop singles chart, printed on perforated, hard-stock paper – just made for display. But what held my interest that particular day were the “Disk Jockey Regional Record Reports.” Filling a page and a half were 63 different Top 10 charts from both large and small markets. Each market’s chart displayed its town or city, radio station’s call letters, and the name of the disc jockey who submitted the chart. It was as if a treasure map was unfolding before me unveiling 45 r.p.m. records on independent labels popular long ago only in towns like Shawnee, Oklahoma, or Chadron, Nebraska. I catalogued and investigated every regional hit within that bound volume and was hooked.
It was time to do some intensive ‘record research.’ My employee Brent Olynick hit the road in the quest for more bound volumes and landing upon the Cash Box collection at the College of William & Mary in Virginia.
Perusing through the chart photos Brent brought back, it became clear that the starting point of my research would be 1956. Why 1956? This was the year that the floodgates for rock ‘n’ roll opened. This music that had been simmering in years past exploded on to the scene. Doo-wop and rockabilly records that did not appear on any of the national pop singles charts of Cash Box, Billboard or Record World were present on these regional charts.
I researched all the records that did not go on to make the national pop charts and remained purely regional appearing on the year’s 42 weeks of “Disk Jockey Regional Record Reports” (DJ), or the 21 weeks of “Top Selling Records reported by Retail Outlets from Coast to Coast” (Sales) or the 21 weeks of “Juke Box Regional Record Report: The Top Ten Record – City by City” (Juke Box). To my surprise, there were 1,270 of these purely regional hits in 1956.
Finding them was no simple task. I had to sift through 840 titles for each week’s regional charts or about 43,680 titles for the whole year. I proofed titles against actual records within my archive. For each title, I documented its regional chart debut date, station call letters, locality and disc jockey name. I discovered that in the few other resources which referenced some of these rare 1956 titles, record release dates were off by one to three years. Titles showing values of $40 or more are those that appear in Jerry Osborne’s Rockin’ Records price guide. Nearly 100 titles within this book, all on small, independent record labels, could not be found in any price guide or any other source, suggesting extreme rarity and exceptional worth.
How exciting it was to uncover or rediscover these local gems — listening to old “new” songs and beholding the unique label designs. It was only fitting to produce this book in full color.
Some of 1956’s pearls displayed in the pages ahead …
- 10 Elvis Presley titles valued from $75 to $1,200
- “Mary Lee” by The Rainbows at $800
- “Bim Bam Boom” by The El Dorados at $150
- James Dean-themed songs, due to the movie star’s untimely ’55 death
- Rockabilly by Johnny Burnette & The Rock ‘N Roll Trio, Sonny Burgess, Bill Flagg, Rudy “Tutti” Grayzell, Johnny Carroll & His Hot Rocks, Warren Smith, and many more
- Doo-wop by The Channels, The Wheels, The Dukes, The El Vinos, The Harptones, The Clovers, The Moonglows, and several others
- ‘Classic’ uncharted pop hits such as Chuck Berry’s ‘‘Too Much Monkey Business’’ and ‘‘Brown Eyed Handsome Man,’’ and James Brown’s first issue of ‘‘Please, Please, Please”
- And not just 45 r.p.m. records but EPs, albums and album cuts, too!
Of course, my taste for the treasure of 1956 has only whetted my appetite to venture on and continue this research. I intend to produce volumes for each of the years from 1957 through 1960 (when Cash Box ended their Disk Jockey regional charts). In the meantime, may you enjoy discovering the spoils from this treasure hunt – some songs, though once lost, are mysteries no more.”
Towns & Cities
As well as major cities, some towns represented within the Disc Jockey Regional Record Reports are:Greer, SC
Dodge City, KS
Truro, Nova Scotia
Great Falls, MT
North Platte, NE
DJs & Stations
DJ, Station & Locale appear for every entry. Here are a few DJs who submitted their Top 10 lists:
“Mad Man” Michaels
Record Shops and One-Stops sent in their Top Selling Records. Some of the 1000s of outlets include:
The Music Box/Spokane
Wallich’s Music City/LA
Al’s Record Mart/Detroit
Disc & Needle Records/ Minneapolis
Moses Melody Shop/Little Rock
The Record Center/Cleveland
Avalon Record Shop/Houston
From New York City to Los Angeles, the Top 21 cities in the USA each submitted their Top 10 most-played Juke Box Records each week!
Cash Box 1956 Regional Totals:
|Disk Jockey charts:||2,184|
|Juke Box charts:||1,092|
|Retail Outlet charts:||1,092|
|Total Top 10 charts:||4,368|
|Total record titles researched:||43,680|
|Total record titles that appeared only on any of above charts:||1,270|