Joel 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 Christmas – Bing 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.
1944/8/5 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