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Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford

This track by Tennessee Ernie Ford spent four weeks at the top of the UK singles chart in 1956.

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Sixteen tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford replaced Rock around the clock by Bill Haley and His Comets at the top of the UK singles chart this week in 1956. It had entered the top 20 two weeks previously at number 18 and broke into the top 10 a week later.

The song spent four weeks at number 1 and then made way for Memories are made of this by Dean Martin. After falling from the top spot, the record stayed in the top 10 for another three weeks, two of them in the top 5, and then spent the last two weeks of its chart life in the lower top 20.

Sixteen tons was released on the Capitol record label and was the second of two UK number 1 hits for Tennessee Ernie Ford. The single was also a US chart-topper.

The original version of the song was written and recorded by Merle Travis in 1946. A recording of the song by Frankie Laine with the Mellomen also entered the UK chart in 1956, peaking at number 10.

More music from Tennessee Ernie Ford


More number ones from 1956


UK singles chart for the week ending 21 January 1956

  1. Sixteen tonsTennessee Ernie Ford

  2. The ballad of Davy CrockettBill Hayes

  3. Love and marriageFrank Sinatra

  4. Rock-a-beatin’ boogieBill Haley and His Comets

  5. Love is a many-splendored thingFour Aces

  6. Rock around the clockBill Haley and His Comets

  7. The ballad of Davy CrockettTennessee Ernie Ford

  8. Meet me on the cornerMax Bygraves

  9. (Love is) the tender trapFrank Sinatra

  10. Rock Island lineLonnie Donegan

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