Pop Hits 1940-1954, #1 on the charts

This song was in my father’s folk repertoire. Sometimes he’d sing it in my classroom, causing idle speculation that I had a crush on a girl in class.

Tennessee WaltzJoel Whitburn has compiled several books about the variety of pop hits from the Billboard charts plus other sources, and even before magazine was published. (He has a Pop Memories book going back to 1890!)

But the results are a tad confusing, because there were actually THREE different charts: Best Sellers (BS from 1940), Juke Box charts (JB from 1944) and Disc Jockey charts (DJ from 1945).

So I thought I’d pick out songs that charted at #1 ten weeks or more, or if there were none for that particular year, the songs that charted most often.

1940/2/10 In the Mood -Glenn Miller and His Orchestra – 13 weeks (including a week in 1939)

1941/3/29 Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy) – Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra; Bob Eberly & Helen O’Connell, vocal – 10 weeks.

1942/10/31 White ChristmasBing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers, orchestra conducted by John Scott Trotter- 11 weeks; it also went to #1 DJ in 1945. A new version, with same backing, hit #1 for two weeks DJ in 1946. One of the biggest singles of all time.

1943/3/6 I’ve Heard That Song Before – Harry James and His Orchestra, Helen Forrest, vocal- 13 weeks.

1943/11/6 Paper Doll – Mills Brothers – 12 weeks. I loved those guys.

1944/1/15 Shoo-Shoo BabyAndrews Sisters – 9 weeks JB,

1944/8/5 Swinging On A Star – Bing Crosby, with The Williams Brothers Quartet, orchestra conducted by John Scott Trotter – 9 weeks BS; 8 weeks JB.

1945/2/10 Rum And Coca-Cola – The Andrews Sisters, orchestra conducted by Vic Schoen- 10 weeks JB; 8 weeks BS.

1945/9/15 Till The End Of Time – Perry Como, orchestra conducted by Russell Case -10 weeks JB; 8 weeks BS. This is based on Chopin’s Polonaise.

1946/3/16 Oh! What It Seemed To Be – Frankie Carle & his Orchestra, vocal by Marjorie Hughes – 11 weeks JB; 6 weeks BS. This track competed with a version by Frank Sinatra, orchestra conducted by Axel Stordahl, which was #1 for ONLY 8 weeks DJ.

1946/5/25 The Gypsy – Ink Spots – 13 weeks JB; 10 weeks BS; 2 weeks JB.

1947/8/30 Near You – Francis Craig & his Orchestra, vocal by Bob Lamm – 17 weeks DJ; 13 weeks JB; 12 weeks BS.

1948/11/6 Buttons And Bows – Dinah Shore and her Happy Valley Boys – 10 weeks BS; 9 weeks JB; 5 weeks DJ.

1949/5/14 Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend) -Vaughn Monroe & his Orchestra, vocal by Vaughn Monroe and the Quartet – 12 weeks DJ; 11 weeks BS; 10 weeks JB.

1950/3/25 If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked A Cake – Eileen Barton with the New Yorkers – 10 weeks DJ; 3 weeks JB; 2 weeks BS. Occasionally, my mother would sing this chorus.

1950/4/29 The Third Man Theme – Anton Karas – 11 weeks BS.

1950/5/6 The Third Man Theme – Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, guitar solo by Don Rodney – 11 weeks JB.

1950/8/13 Goodnight Irene – Gordon Jenkins & his Orchestra and The Weavers – 13 weeks BS; 12 weeks JB; 8 weeks JB. This song was in my father’s folk repertoire. Sometimes he’d sing it in my classroom, causing idle speculation that I had a crush on a girl in class.

1950/12/16 Tennessee Waltz -Patti Page, orchestra conducted by Jack Rael – 13 weeks JB; 9 weeks BS; 8 weeks DJ.

1951/9/8 Because Of You – Tony Bennett, orchestra conducted by Percy Faith – 10 weeks JB; 8 weeks BS; 8 weeks DJ. His voice has changed a LOT over the years.

1951/12/29 Cry – Johnnie Ray, with The Four Lads – 11 weeks BS; 10 weeks DJ; 9 weeks JB. I only really know Johnnie Ray from references in other songs.

1952/3/15 Wheel Of Fortune – Kay Starr, orchestra conducted by Harold Mooney – 10 weeks JB; 9 weeks BS; 9 weeks DJ.

1952/9/13 You Belong To Me – Jo Stafford, orchestra conducted by Paul Weston – 12 weeks DJ; 5 weeks BS; 2 weeks JB. I remember this song surprisingly well.

1952/9/27 I Went To Your Wedding – Patti Page, orchestra conducted by Jack Rael – 10 weeks JB; 5 weeks BS; 2 weeks JB.

1953/5/16 The Song From Moulin Rouge (Where Is Your Heart) – Percy Faith & his Orchestra, featuring Felicia Sanders – 10 weeks BS; 9 weeks DJ; 6 weeks JB.

1953/8/8 Vaya Con Dios (May God Be With You) – Les Paul and Mary Ford – 11 weeks BS; 9 weeks JB; 3 weeks DJ.

1954/6/5 Little Things Mean A Lot – Kitty Kallen, orchestra conducted by Jack Pleis – 9 weeks BS; 8 weeks DJ; 7 weeks JB.

1954/8/7 Sh-Boom – The Crew-Cuts, orchestra conducted by David Carroll – 9 weeks DJ; 8 weeks JB; 7 weeks 7 weeks. The pop hits of rock and roll era are on the horizon.

For ABC Wednesday

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

8 thoughts on “Pop Hits 1940-1954, #1 on the charts”

  1. Hm, I don’t know if they all came from the same YouTube Channel, but on a great many (I didn’t check all of them), I got “The YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement.” I usually just get something like “this video isn’t available in your country”. Even so, I know several of those songs, though I’m not quite sure how or why.

  2. I only clicked on the one link…can you guess which one? The G*psy, because I felt like seeing how offended I would be. it wasn’t awful – I mean, it’s the Ink Spots, who were wonderful – but just as I assumed, it was a horrible, stereotypically cliched trope. still, as a whole, it’s an interesting list of fine music, and a great study of the American musical mindset during that period of time.

  3. Yes, it’s an interesting thing about reportage. For instance, I’d rather have plugged The Chords’ original version of Sh-Boom, rather than the more bland version by the Crew Cuts. Know that the racial component of the music industry was a factor. But it was what it was.

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