1902 #1s: 1st college football bowl game

J.W. Myers

Williams and WalkerThe first college football bowl game, the Rose Bowl between Michigan and Stanford, is held in Pasadena, California on January 3, 1902. The Wolverines, a team that hadn’t yielded a point all season, shellacked the California team 49-0.

Meanwhile, in music that year, at least two very familiar songs.

Arkansaw Traveler – Len Spencer, 11 weeks at #1. This is a comedy record, with a background fiddle. At least one joke, the one about the roof, I’ve heard in some comedy routine a couple of decades ago.

Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home? –  Arthur Collins, 8 weeks at #1. This is also considered a comedy.  He was “one of the most prolific and beloved of pioneer recording artists, regarded in his day as ‘King of the Ragtime Singers’. Collins was in duos and quartets as well as a solo artist. He specialized in what were then called coon songs, popular African-American dialect numbers associated with vaudeville, and minstrel shows. Collins also utilized an array of vocal effects and caricature voices which gave the impression that there were multiple persons at the horn on his recordings, though it was just Collins.”

In The Good Old Summer Time In The Good Old Summer Time – J. W. Myers, 7 weeks at #1

On A Sunday Afternoon – J.W. Myers, 6 weeks at #1

Way Down In Old Indiana – J. W. Myers, 5 weeks at #1

Williams and Walker

Good Morning Carrie – Bert Williams and George Walker,  5 weeks at #1.
Williams “was a Bahamian-born American entertainer, one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He is credited as being the first Black man to have the leading role in a film: Darktown Jubilee in 1914. He was by far the best-selling Black recording artist before 1920.

“Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first Black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his three-decade-long career. Fellow vaudevillian W. C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as “the funniest man I ever saw—and the saddest man I ever knew.”

Walker was an American vaudevillian, actor, and producer. In 1893, in San Francisco, Walker at the age of 20 met Bert Williams, who was a year younger. The two young men became performing partners. Walker and Williams appeared in The Gold Bug (1895), Clorindy (1898), The Policy Player (1899), Sons of Ham (1900), In Dahomey (1903), Abyssinia (1906), and Bandanna Land (1907). Walker married dancer Ada Overton, who later also was a choreographer.

“The two men set up an agency, The Williams and Walker Company, to support African-American actors and other performers, create networking, and produce new works.”

More hits

The Mansion Of Aching Hearts – Harry Macdonough, 4 weeks at #1

The Mansion Of Aching Hearts  – Byron Harlan, 3 weeks

Under the Bamboo Tree – Arthur Collins., 3 weeks at #1. Listed as a comedy, presumably because of the dialect. Some of the Lyrics by black composer Bob Cole, who you should read about.

Down in the jungles lived a maid
Of royal blood though dusky shade…

If you lak a me, lak I lak a you,
And we lak a both the same,
I lak a say, this very day,
I lak a change your name;
‘Cause I love a you and love a you true

1910 #1 hits : discs rule!

Bert Williams (pictured)

According to A Century of Pop Music: “By 1910, discs had assumed full dominance of the popular record market over wax cylinders…” And that advantage “expanded every year…”

Joel Whitburn explains, “Sheet music sales achieved an all-time high in 1910, with published estimates ranging from 30 million to substantially more. Two six-million sellers were ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart’ and ‘Down By the Old Mill Stream.'” I know both quite well, and I’m not nearly that old. “Not the new, but the old…”

Another popular song from 1910, Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet by Arthur Clough (#3) and the popular Haydn Quartet, among others.

Casey Jones – Billy Murray & the American Quartet (RCA Victor), 11 weeks at #1. Though the RIAA didn’t start certifying records until more than 40 years later, it was designated a gold single. It was “one of the biggest sellers of the entire acoustic recording era.” Billy Murray also had a #3 hit as a solo artist that same summer.

By the Light of the Silvery Moon – Billy Murray and the Haydn Quartet (RCA Victor), 9 weeks at #1. Billy Murray was ubiquitous in this period. The song also went to #2 as performed by both the Columbia Male Quartet and Ada Jones. The Tin Pan Alley standard was first performed on-stage by Lillian Lorraine in the “Ziegfeld Follies of 1909.” Another song that is still a classic over a century later.

More hits

Where the River Shannon Flows – Harry MacDonough, 6 weeks at #1. The Irish Swanee River.

Play That Barber-Shop Chord – Bert Williams, 6 weeks at #1. “Bert Williams (November 12, 1874 – March 4, 1922) was a Bahamian American and was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. In 1918, the New York Dramatic Mirror called Williams “one of the great comedians of the world.”

Every Little Movement – Harry MacDonough & Lucy Isabelle Marsh, 4 weeks at #1.

Call Me Up Some Rainy Afternoon – Ada Jones & American Quartet (Columbia), 4 weeks at #1. Written by Irving Berlin.

Meet Me To-Night In Dreamland – Henry Burr, 4 weeks at #1.

Carrie (Carrie Marry Harry) – Billy Murray, 2 weeks at #1.

In the Valley of Yesterday – Harry MacDonough (RCA Victor), 2 weeks at #1. Recorded in 1905.

Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! – Byron Harlan & Frank Stanley, 1 week at #1. Apparently recorded in 1907.

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