from the film ‘Here Comes the Groom’ 1951 Music by Hoagy Carmichael, lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Performed in the romantic comedy film by Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman
also nominated in 1951:
A Kiss to Build a Dream On, Never, Too Late Now, Wonder Why
High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’) from the film ‘High Noon’ 1952 Music by Dimitri Tiomkin, lyrics by Ned Washington Sung in the film by Tex Ritter over drama-building pre-action sequences
also nominated in 1952:
Am I in Love, Because You’re Mine, Thumbelina, Zing a Little Zong
Secret Love from the film ‘Calamity Jane’ 1953 Music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster Performed in the film by Doris Day. One of her biggest hit songs
also nominated in 1953:
The Moon Is Blue, My Flaming Heart, Sadie Thompson’s Song, That’s Amore
Three Coins in the Fountain from the film ‘Three Coins in the Fountain’ 1954 Music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn Sung by the Four Aces over the opening titles at the beginning of the film
also nominated in 1954:
Count Your Blessings, The High and the Mighty, Hold My Hand, The Man That Got Away
Love is a Many-Splendored Thing from the film ‘Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing’ 1955 Music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster The Four Aces set the scene during the opening credits with this title song
also nominated in 1955:
I’ll Never Stop Loving You, Something’s Gotta Give, The Tender Trap, Unchained Melody
Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) from the film ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ 1956 Music & lyrics by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans Performed by Doris Day early in the film and reprised at the climax
also nominated in 1956:
Friendly Persuasion, Julie, True Love, Written on the Wind
All the Way from the film ‘The Joker Is Wild’ 1957 Music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn Performed in the dramatic film by Frank Sinatra. It became one of his most popular hit recordings
also nominated in 1957:
An Affair to Remember, April Love, Tammy, Wild is the Wind
Gigi from the film ‘Gigi’ 1958 Music by Frederick Loewe, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner Performed in the film by Louis Jourdan during an extended plot twist
also nominated in 1958:
Almost in Your Arms, A Certain Smile, To Love and Be Loved, A Very Precious Love
High Hopes from the film ‘Hole in the Head’ 1959 Music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn Performed by Frank Sinatra, with a group of children, in this light comedy film
also nominated in 1959:
The Best of Everything, The Five Pennies, The Hanging Tree, Strange Are the Ways of Love
'Oscar' for Best Original Song
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences began presenting awards for outstanding achievement in film in 1929. Five years later a ‘best original song’ category was added to the ‘Oscar’ awards. Several of the award winners during the thirties and forties have become classic standards: The Continental in 1934, Lullaby of Broadway in 1935, Thanks for the Memory in 1938, Over the Rainbow in 1939, The Last Time I Saw Paris in 1941, White Christmas in 1942, It Might as Well Be Spring in 1945, and Buttons and Bows in 1948.
During the fifties, every academy-award-winning ‘best original song’ became a huge EASY-POP hit recording—though not necessarily for the vocalist who performed it in the movie. Frankie Laine’s version of High Noon reached #5 on the charts, while the version that was heard in the film, by Tex Ritter, only placed twelfth. Doris Day had big hit records with two academy award winning songs that she introduced on the screen: Secret Love and (Que Sera, Sera) Whatever Will Be, Will Be. Frank Sinatra also had hit recordings with two ‘Oscar’ songs he performed in films: All the Way and High Hopes. Both of the Four Aces’ number one hit recordings, Three Coins in the Fountain and Love is a Many-Splendored Thing, won academy awards. Nat King Cole’s biggest hit recording was ‘Oscar’ winner Mona Lisa and Vic Damone had a hit recording with Gigi. The Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman duet In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening was also a hit recording for Frankie Laine and Jo Stafford.
In addition to the ten ‘Oscar’ winning songs during the fifties, another forty songs received nominations during the decade but did not win the ‘Oscar.’ Three female singers of the fifties had big hit recordings with runner-up songs that they performed in musical films: Debbie Reynold’s recorded her memorable hit, Tammy; Judy Garland’s biggest hit of the fifties was The Man That Got Away; and Doris Day scored with both I’ll Never Stop Loving You and Julie, all written for the silver screen.
Male singers charted big hits with nominated songs that they introduced in films too: Dean Martin’s That’s Amore, Don Cornell’s Hold My Hand, Frank Sinatra’s The Tender Trap, Mario Lanza’s most popular recording, Be My Love, Pat Boone’s Friendly Persuasion and April Love were all ‘Oscar’ losers. Dozens of crooners had big hits on records with nominated songs: Frankie Laine’s Mule Train, Louis Armstrong’s A Kiss to Build a Dream On, Eddie Fisher’s Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep, Vic Damone’s An Affair to Remember, Al Hibbler’s Unchained Melody, and Johnny Mathis’ A Certain Smile all came from movies.
In addition to the soloists, Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly’s duet True Love was a huge hit; the McGuire Sisters’ scored with Something’s Gotta Give, and the Ames Brothers’ had success with A Very Precious Love. Les Baxter and his orchestra had an instrumental hit with the theme from The High and the Mighty.
Music was an important element to set-the-stage for both dramatic and comedy films in the fifties. Often, an EASY-POP composition, commissioned just for the movie, played during the opening credits, setting the mood for the film. Several artists including the Four Aces became popular for their recordings of these ‘opening title’ songs.
The impact of academy-award winning songs on popular music began to fade as the decade progressed. By the seventies, the winners were often raw and more reflective of the changes in music—Shaft, the 1971 award winner suggested the more liberated cinematic times. Many of the winners were quickly forgotten. Who remembers Last Dance from 1978’s ‘Thank God It’s Friday’? By the end of the decade the award was frequently given to a song from an animated children’s movie, rarely heard outside of the film. ‘Oscar’ winners were no longer popular top-ten recordings.