The #1 hits of 1914

By The Beautiful Sea

Sheet music. It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary. 1982.0736.05.

Here are the #1 hits of 1914. Joel Whitburn’s A Century of Pop Music notes: “Ballroom dancing…became a nationwide phenomenon, with 1913 as its peak year.” 

Also, “six new companies became talking-machine competitors to the Big Three [Edison, Columbia, and Victor] in 1914.” Of course, World War I began that year, though the US didn’t enter the fray until three years later.

I tried to find the best recording. The first one is subpar. In general, the ones from the78prof are quite good.

The Song That Stole My Heart Away – Henry Burr (Columbia), seven weeks at #1

It’s A Long Way To Tipperary – American Quartet (Victor), seven weeks at #1. In 1915, this became a big hit for John McCormack (#1) and the Prince’s Orchestra (#2). This is a very familiar song, and I’m not even 110.

Rebecca of Sunny-brook Farm – American Quartet (Victor),  six weeks at #1

I’m On My Way To Mandalay – Henry Burr, Albert Campbell, and Will Oakland (Victor) , six weeks at #1. Written by Al Bryan and Fred Fisher, the writers of Peg O’ My Heart, which I know well.

By The Beautiful Sea – Heidelberg Quintet (Victor), six weeks at #1. Or Quintette, per the label.  I know this song, at least the chorus. 

Comedy is so subjective

Cohen On The Telephone – Joe Hayman (Columbia), five weeks at #1, a gold record of spoken-word comedy

Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That’s An Irish Lullabye) – Chauncey Olcott (Columbia), four weelks at #1. I knew it was familiar! Bing Crosby covered it and it went to #4 in 1944.

Ballin’ The Jack – Prince’s Orchestra (Columbia), three weeks at #1. An instrumental. 

I Love The Ladies– Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan (Columbia), three weeks at #1. A comedy record.

The Aba Daba Honeymoon – Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan (Victor), two weeks at #1, listed as a comedy record. This was a gold record for Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter as it went to #3  in 1951. This has nothing to do with Fred Flintstone.

By The Beautiful Sea– Ada Jones and Billy Watkins

1973: 27 songs hit #1

Jim Croce and Stevie Wonder

In 1973, 27 songs hit #1. Almost all of them were certified gold; Crocodile Rock was certified platinum.

Five of the exceptions were Motown songs, two by Stevie Wonder. From most reports, Motown didn’t allow the RIAA, the industry association, to look at the books to certify the recordings until the late 1970s.

The late Jim Croce is the other artist on the list with two #1 songs.

This #1s roster includes songs by all ex-Beatles except John Lennon, plus a Beatles colleague. The other non-gold record was by George Harrison.

I have links to all the songs and a dozen posts I wrote when the artist turned a number divisible by five or would have.

Killing Me Softly With His SongRoberta Flack, #1 for five weeks. Before the Fugees.

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree – Dawn Featuring Tony Orlando, #1 for four weeks

My LovePaul McCartney & Wings, #1 for four weeks. Wings went to #2 with Live and Let Die.

You’re So VainCarly Simon, #1 for three weeks. The song was NOT about me.

Crocodile RockElton John, #1 for three weeks. He also had two #2 songs, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Daniel.

#1 for TWO weeks

Let’s Get It OnMarvin Gaye. I wasn’t hearing the ripoff that Ed Sheeran allegedly committed.

Keep On Truckin’ -Eddie Kendricks

Bad, Bad Leroy Brown – Jim Croce

Top Of The World – Carpenters. Yesterday Once More Went To #2.

Midnight Train To GeorgiaGladys Knight and the Pips. By this time, they were at Buddah Records. Neither One Of Us went to #2.

Brother Louie – Stories

Will It Go Round In CirclesBilly Preston


The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia – Vicki Lawrence.  Carol Burnette surprised her with a gold record for the song on the last show of the sixth season of The Carol Burnette Show. 

Time In A Bottle – Jim Croce

The Most Beautiful Girl – Charlie Rich

The Morning After – Maureen McGovern

A single week at #1

Touch Me In The MorningDiana Ross

Delta Dawn – Helen Reddy. Two songs about morning, followed by a dawn song?

Frankenstein – The Edgar Winter Group, an instrumental. Two instrumentals reached #2: Dueling Banjos by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell; and Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001) by Deodato.

You Are The Sunshine Of My LifeStevie Wonder

Angie – The Rolling Stones

Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) – George Harrison

We’re An American Band – Grand Funk

Superstition – Stevie Wonder

Love Train – O’Jays

PhotographRingo Starr

1943 #1s: Helen Forrest

Harry James

I noticed that in 1943, Helen Forrest was the singer of three #1 songs with two big bands. Here’s a bit from Wikipedia: “Helen Forrest (born Helen Fogel, April 12, 1917 – July 11, 1999) was an American singer of traditional pop and swing music. She served as the ‘girl singer’ for three of the most popular big bands of the Swing Era…  earning a reputation as ‘the voice of the name bands.'”

Here’s a 1982 quote from her: I live for today, but it is nice sometimes to look back to yesterday. We did not know that we were living through an era – the Big Band Era – that would last only 10 years or so and be remembered and revered forever…it’s hard to believe, but the best times were packed into a five-year period from the late 1930s through the early 1940s when I sang with the bands of Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Harry James… They seem to symbolize my life…that was when the music of the dance bands was the most popular music in the country, and I was the most popular female band singer in the country, and Harry had the most popular band in the country. It didn’t last long, but it sure was something while it lasted. Everyone should have something like it at least once in their lives. I’m grateful I did.”

The songs

I’ve Heard That Song Before – Harry James with Helen Forrest on vocals, thirteen weeks at #1, gold record. Written by Styne/Cahn for Youth On Parade.

Paper Doll – Mills Brothers, twelve weeks at #1, gold record. The biggest hit by a vocal group in the decade.

Sunday, Monday Or Always – Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers, seven weeks at #1, gold record. From the film Dixie.

There Are Such Things – Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra and The Pied Pipers on vocals, five weeks at #1, gold record

You’ll Never Know– Dick Haymes and The Song Spinners, four weeks at #1, gold record. A Cappella! From the movie Hello, Frisco, Hello.

In The Blue Of Evening – Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra on vocals, three weeks at #1

Comin’ In On A Wing And A Prayer – The Song Spinners, three weeks at #1; A Cappella!

Taking A Chance On Love -Benny Goodman with Helen Forrest on vocals, three weeks at #1. From the film Cabin In The Sky.

I Had The Craziest Dream – Harry James with Helen Forrest on vocals, two weeks at #1, gold record, From the film Springtime In The Rockies.

That Old Black Magic – Glenn Miller with Skip Nelson and the Modernaires on vocals. From the film Star Spangled Rhythm

Pistol Packin’ Mama – Al Dexter and His Troopers, gold record. “It is said that the massive popularity of this ‘hillbilly’ tune… that was also covered successfully by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, was a major factor in Billboard’s decision to begin publishing a weekly record chart devoted to the country music genre.”

1933 #1s: Stormy Weather

Forty-Second Street

stormy weatherThere was stormy weather politically in 1933. From A Century of Pop by Joel Whitburn: “Adolph Hitler’s rise to power as Chancellor of Germany coincided with FDR’s inauguration.”

Meanwhile, the Great Depression raged on. “Mirroring the national  economy, the record industry underwent an almost total collapse.” It sold only “six million discs in 1932 – compared to the peak of 140 million just five years earlier. The opportunity to hear all popular songs on the radio for free… also contributed to the desperate slump.”

The Last Round-Up – George Olsen with Joe Morrison on vocals (Columbia), nine weeks at #1

Stormy Weather – Leo Reisman with Harold Arlen on vocals (Victor), eight weeks at #1, from Cotton Club Parade. Arlen co-wrote it with Ted Kohler.

Love Is The Sweetest Thing– Ray Noble with Al Bowlly, vocals (Victor), five weeks at #1. From the film Say It With Music 

Lazybones – Ted Lewis (Columbia), four weeks at #1. Purportedly written in only 20 minutes by Hoagy Carmichael and young Johnny Mercer.

You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me– Guy Lombardo with Bing Crosby, vocals (Brunswick), four weeks at #1. From the movie musical Forty-Second Street

Forty-Second Street – Don Bestor with Dudley Mecum, vocals (Victor), three weeks at #1.  From the movie musical of the same name.

Stormy Weather (Keeps Rain’ All The Time) – Ethel Waters (Brunswick), three weeks at #1

The Last Round-Up – Guy Lombardo with Carmen Lombardo, vocals (Brunswick), three weeks at #1. From The New Ziegfeld Follies. 

Did You Ever See A Dream Walking? – Eddy Duchin with Lew Sherwood, vocals.  (Victor), three weeks at #1. From the film Sitting Pretty.

Shadow Waltz– Bing Crosby (Brunswick), two weeks at #1. From the movie Gold Diggers of 1933.

Repeating Top 3 hits

The charts showed a lot of repeating songs. Stormy Weather also got to #2 by Guy and Carmen Lombardo and #4 as an instrumental by Duke Ellington. The Last Round-Up reached #2 by Don Bestor/Neal Buckley and separately by Bing Crosby. Did You Ever See A Dream Walking? reached #2 with the Lombardos.

Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf made it to #2 by Don Bestor with Florence Case, Frank Sherry, and Charles Yontz, vocals. It got to #3 by Victor Young. Yes, the song from the 1933 Disney cartoon The Three Little Pigs was reused often.

Finally, Shuffle Off To Buffalo reached #2 with two different recordings: Hal Kemp/Skinny Ennis and Don Bestor/Maurice Cross. It was also from Forty-Second Street

1923: We Have No Bananas

Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers

Yes! We Have No Bananas
By Skidmore Music Co. Inc. –, Public Domain,

There were 13 #1 songs in 1923, 100 years ago. Yes! We Have No Bananas was two of them. Frank Silver and Irving Cohn wrote the song for the 1922 Broadway revue Make It Snappy. Eddie Cantor sang it in the revue.

The Wikipedia page offers context. “Silver explained the origin of the song to Time Magazine: ‘I am an American, of Jewish ancestry, with a wife and a young son. About a year ago, my little orchestra was playing at a Long Island hotel. To and from the hotel, I was wont to stop at a fruit stand owned by a Greek, who began every sentence with ‘Yes.’ The jingle of his idiom haunted me and my friend Cohn. Finally, I wrote this verse, and Cohn fitted it with a tune.'”

In addition to those listed below, recordings by the Great White Way Orchestra with Billy Murray got to #3, Benny Krueger to #8, and Sam Lanin to #15 that same year.

It was later covered by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, Spike Jones & His City Slickers, and at least five dozen other versions.

The tune also inspired a response song, “I’ve Got the Yes! We Have No Bananas Blues”, recorded by Cantor, which got to #2, and Belle Baker to #11, also in 1923.


Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers– Paul Whiteman, #1 for seven weeks, instrumental

Swingin’ Down The Lane –  Isham Jones, #1 for six weeks, instrumental

That Old Gang Of Mine  – Billy Murray and Ed Smalle, #1 for six weeks

Yes, we Have No Bananas – Billy Jones, #1 for five weeks, comedy

Down-Hearted Blues – Bessie Smith,   #1 for four weeks, gold record

Toot, Toot, Tootsie! Goodbye – Al Jolson, #1 for four weeks

Carolina In The Morning – Van and Schenck, #1 for three weeks

Love Sends A Little Gift Of Roses – Carl Fenton, #1 for three weeks, instrumental

Dreamy Melody – Art Landry, #1 for three weeks, gold record, instrumental

Yes! We Have No Bananas – Ben Silvin with Irving Kaufman, #1 for two weeks, novelty

I’ll Build A Stairway To Paradise – Paul Whiteman, instrumental written by George Gershwin

Bambalina – Paul Whiteman, instrumental

Besides Bananas, three of these songs are very familiar to me: Wooden Soldiers, Tootsie, and Carolina.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial