The hits in 1903; they’re #1s

Kitty Hawk

Mina Hickman
Mina Hickman

There were lots of hits in 1903. The first modern World Series in Major League Baseball took place. The Boston Americans of the American League (AL) played the National League (NL) champion Pittsburgh in a best-of-nine series. Boston won five games to three, including the last four.

Orville and Wilbur Wright were the “aviation pioneers who achieved the first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane flight. It took place at Kitty Hawk, NC, on December 17.

Note that a few of these came from the Discography of American Historical Recordings, which I wrote about here. The sound is not always great, but what do you want for 120-year-old recordings?

In The Good Old Summer Time – Haydn Quartet. Six weeks at #1 (Victor)

Doom Where the Wurzburger Flows -Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan (Edison). Five weeks at #1. A comedy record.                                                           

Come Down, Ma Evening Star – Mina Hickman (Columbia). Five weeks at #1

Hurray For Baffin’s Bay –  Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan (Columbia). Five weeks at #1 

Any Rags? – Arthur Collins (Victor). Five weeks at #1. A comedy record.

All #1 for four weeks each

In The Good Old Summer Time – Sousa’s Band, featuring Harry MacDonough and S.H. Dudley (Victor)

Come Down, Ma Ev’ning Star – Henry Burr (Columbia) 

In The Sweet Bye and Bye – Harry MacDonough and John Bieling (Victor) 

Hiawatha – Harry MacDonough (Edison) 

Uncle Josh On An Automobile – Cal Stewart. A comedy record. (Columbia) 

Good-Bye, Eliza Jane – Arthur Collins (Edison)


In the day, sheet music sales were the leading source of revenue in the music business. Thus you’ll see many of the same songs covered by various artists.

These all got to #2. In The Good Old Summer Time as performed by Harry MacDonough;  J. Aldrich Libby with In The Sweet Bye and Bye;  Bob Roberts’ Hurray from Baffin’s Bay.

But the sensation of 1903 seemed to be Hiawatha. Dan Quinn and Columbia Orchestra each got to #3. The comedy Parody of Hiawatha by Collins and Harlan and the instrumental Hiawatha Two-Step by Sousa’s Band also landed at #3.

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.

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