On this day in music history: November 22, 195…

On this day in music history: November 22, 1952 – “It’s In The Book Parts 1 & 2” by Johnny Standley hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for 2 weeks. Written by Johnny Standley and Art Thorsen, it is the biggest hit for the actor, comedian and musician from Milwaukee, WI. Born in December of 1912 in Milwaukee, WI and raised in Oklahoma City, OK, Johnny Standley is born into a show business family, having performed from childhood with his parents at tent show revivals as “The Standley Players”. During WWII, Standley serves in the army and performs for troops in the USO along side comedian Red Skelton and bandleader Horace Heidt, further spreading his reputation as a comedian. After the war, he continues working with Heidt as a featured performer on “The Horace Heidt Youth Opportunity Program” on NBC. The show moves from radio to television in 1950, heightening Standley’s public profile even more. It is on Heidt’s show that Johnny Standley records what becomes his debut record and biggest hit “It’s In The Book”. The live recorded monologue is a humorous and dramatic retelling of the classic nursery rhyme “Little Bo-Peep”. The six minute long track is split into two parts for single release by Capitol Records in September of 1952. Part one of the single consists of the spoken monologue by Standley, with part two featuring him leading the audience in a sing a long of the traditional camp fire song “Grandma’s Lye Soap”. It is the only spoken word comedy recording to top the Billboard singles charts, and is the first live recording to hit number one on the pop singles chart before  Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips Pt. 2” in August of 1963. “It’s In The Book” sells over two million copies in the US, becoming one of the biggest selling singles for Capitol Records. Years later, the record is heard in director Peter Bogdanovich’s film “The Last Picture Show” in 1971. “It’s In The Book Parts 1 & 2” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.