The Depression of #1 hits: 1930

Sir Duke

Rudy Vallee-_Radio Revue
Rudy Vallee-_Radio Revue
There was a recent JEOPARDY question about the first full year of the Great Depression. That would of course be 1930. There were a series of bank failures. By 1932, the nation’s income was cut in half. That could never happen now, right?

And the music business took a real hit. According to A Century of Music, the record industry went through almnost a total collapse. In 1927, there were 140 million discs sold. Five years later, it was down to six million.

Still, there were a couple of songs that you will know.

Stein Song (University of Maine) – Rudy Vallee. Ten weeks at #1. I saw Vallee in the 1968 movie The Night They Raided Minsky’s in a Binghamton cinema.

Dancing with Tears in My Eyes – Nat Shilkret with Frank Munn, vocals. Seven weeks at #1.

Body and Soul – Paul Whiteman; Jack Fulton, vocals. Six weeks at #1. Libby Holman went to #3 with this song in 1930.

Little White Lies – Waring’s Pennsylvanians. Vocal refrain by Clare Hanlon & the Three Girl Friends. Six weeks at #1. When I was in glee club in high school, a lot of the arrangements were by Fred Waring. This song went to #3 in 1930 by Shilkret/Munn.

You’re Driving Me Crazy (What Did I Do?) – Guy Lombardo, with Carmen Lombardo on vocals. Four weeks at #1. Gaetano Alberto “Guy” Lombardo (1902-1077) was a Canadian bandleader who was Mr. New Years Eve from 1956 on TV, and going back to 1929 on the radio.

Three Little Words – Duke Ellington and the Rhythm Boys. Three weeks at #1. Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899 – 1974) was “an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than six decades.”


When It’s Springtime in the Rockies – Ben Selvin. Three weeks at #1.

Chant of the Jungle – Roy Ingraham. Three weeks at #1.

Happy Days Are Here Again – Benny Meroff, with Dusty Rhodes on vocals. Three weeks at #1. In the same year, Leo Reisman/Larry Levin’s version went to #3.

When It’s Springtime in the Rockies – Hilo Hawaiian Orchestra, with Frank Luther and Carson Robison, vocals. Two weeks at #1.

If I Could Be With You One Hour To-night – McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, George Thomas, vocals. Two weeks at #1.

Happy Days Are Here Again -Ben Selvin. Two weeks at #1, yet I can’t find a recording. This song also went to #3 in 1930 by Leo Reisman/Larry Levin.

Puttin’ On the Ritz – Harry Richman. One week at #1. This also went to #4 in 1983 by Taco.

The Man from the South (with a Big Cigar in His Mouth) – Ted Weems with Art Jarrett, vocal.

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