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On this day in music history: July 8, 1950 - "Mona Lisa" by Nat King Cole hits #1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart for eight weeks, also topping the Rhythm & Blues charts for four weeks on September 2nd. Written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, the song is featured in the film Captain Carey, U.S.A. starring Alan Ladd. Arranged by Nelson Riddle and with instrumental backing by Les Baxter & His Orchestra, Cole's version of the song is featured on the film's soundtrack. "Mona Lisa" will win the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1951, quickly becoming a pop standard and is covered by numerous artists over the years, though Cole' version will be regarded as the definitive version. Nat King Cole's recording of "Mona Lisa" will be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992.
On this day in music history: July 8, 1957 - "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" by Elvis Presley hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart, also topping the Country & Western chart for one week on August 5th and the Rhythm & Blues chart for one week on September 2nd. Written by Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe, it is the rock & roll icon's seventh number one single in just under 15 months. Songwriters Mann and Lowe (co-founders of Philadelphia based Cameo-Parkway Records) will hear of a rumor started (no one is certain where or by whom) that Elvis Presley collected teddy bears, leading his fans to send him thousands of the cuddly toys. That will provide the inspiration for the pair to write the song for Presley's second film, Loving You. The track is recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood on January 24, 1957 with Presley's regular band including Scotty Moore (guitar), Bill Black (bass), D.J. Fontana (drums), and The Jordanaires (background vocals). Entering the Best Sellers chart at #23 on June 24, 1957, it will pole vault to the top of the chart two weeks later. "Teddy Bear" will quickly sell over two million copies in the US, and is the third of four chart topping singles for Elvis during 1957. Presley will become the only artist in history to hold the top spot on the pop singles chart for 25 weeks, which he will do consecutively in both 1956 and 1957.