Back In ’49

When I searched the RealPlayer this morning for tracks recorded on April 13, it tossed back three titles, one of which I know well and two that were recorded on the same day four years and a few months before I was born.

The one I know well is the Beatles’ “Paperback Writer.” According to notes I found somewhere – possibly even accompanying the Mono Masters set that came with The Beatles in Mono box set – the group began work on “Paperback Writer” at Abbey Road fifty years ago today. As it happens, “Paperback Writer” is one of my favorite Beatles tracks, maybe because of the lyrics but more likely because of the bass line. But there’s little point in featuring a record so well known, so I turned my eyes and ears back to April 13, 1949.

That’s when two very different singles were recorded for Columbia: “Room Full of Roses,” by a country singer named George Morgan and “Elevation” by a jazz group, Elliot Lawrence & His Orchestra. We’ll stay on the country side today.

Morgan was a Tennessee-born and Ohio-raised singer who joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1948, the year he turned twenty-four. By the time he recorded “Room Full of Roses” sixty-seven years ago today, he’d released two major hits: “Candy Kisses” spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Best Seller chart, and “Please Don’t Let Me Love You” went to No. 4 on the magazine’s Best Seller and Juke Box charts.

“Room Full of Roses” was destined to go to No. 4 on the Best Seller chart, but before it reached the chart in August, Morgan had two more records make their marks: “Rainbow In My Heart” went to No. 8 on the Best Seller chart, and “All I Need Is Some More Lovin’” went to No. 11 there as well.

Morgan would go on to have nineteen more records reach the various country charts Billboard offered, with his last hit, “Red Rose From The Blue Side Of Town,” going to No. 21 in 1974. Morgan, who was the father of country single Lorrie Morgan, died in 1975 at the age of fifty-one. Here’s “Room Full of Roses,” recorded sixty-seven years ago today.

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