The prewar #1 hits of 1913

Peg O’ My Heart also charted in 1964!

Some of the #1 hits of 1913 are very familiar to me.

Before getting into those songs, some technology news. This is according to Joel Whitburn’s A Century of Popular Music.

Thomas Edison introduced the Edison Diamond Disc Phonograph and records in 1913. “Their sound was hailed as the finest ever heard to this date, but because the phonograph would only play ‘hill-and-dale’ vertically-grooved records and not the laterally-cut discs made by Victor and Columbia, their popularity would be limited. 

1913 was also the peak year of ballroom dancing nationwide, “symbolized by the team of Vernon and Irene Castle… This was also the year that the era’s biggest dance craze, the fox-trot, was introduced. “

Seven weeks at #1

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling – Chauncey Olcott (Columbia). Lyrics by Chauncey Olcott and Geo. Graff, Jr.; Music by Ernest R. Ball. Here are the lyrics.  Henry MacDonough went to #3 that year with the same song.

When I Lost You – Henry Burr (Victor). “Written by Irving Berlin after his wife of five months passed away. He was unable to write for some time after the tragedy until he found the strength to compose this song. “

Peg O’ My Heart –  Charles Harrison (Victor). The song was featured in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1913. Henry Burr went to #2 that year with the same song. It charted for Walter Van Brunt, #7, in 1914. It went to #1 thrice in 1947 for Jerry Murad’s Harmonicats,  Buddy Clark, and The Three Suns. Also that year, #4 for Art Lund, #8 for Clark Dennis, and #5 for Ted Weems. Additionally, #64 pop and #13 adult contemporary for Robert Maxwell in 1964. Written by Alfred Bryan and Fred Fischer.

You Made Me Love You, I Didn’t Want To Do It – Al Jolson (Columbia), gold record. From the stage musical “The Honeymoon Express” in which Jolson starred. He re-recorded it in the 1940s. Written by James V. Monaco and Joseph McCarthy.

Six weeks at #1

Last Night Was The End Of The World – Henry Burr (Victor). Written by Harry Von Tilzer and Andrew B. Sterling.

When The Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam’ – Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan (Columbia).  This became an Irving Berlin standard.

A comedy track, five weeks at #1

The Spaniard That Blighted My Life  – Al Jolson (Victor). Recorded in the 1940s by Jolson with Bing Crosby. Lyricist: Billy Merson

Three weeks at #1

The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine – Henry Burr and Albert Campbell (Columbia).  Covered by Laurel and Hardy in ‘Way Out West’ in 1937. Written by Harry Carroll.

Till The Sands Of The Desert Grow Cold –  Alan Turner (Victor). Lyrics: George Graff. Music: Ernest R. Ball

Row! Row! Row! – Ada Jones (Victor).  From “Ziegfeld Follies of 1912”. Composed by William Jerome and James Monaco.

Two weeks at #1

Sympathy – Walter Van Brunt and Helen Clark  (Victor). Written by Rudolf Friml, Otto Harbach and Gus Kahn.

The Goldblum Effect and American Pie

Briefly I thought it might be Funky President by James Brown, which has a reference to the stock market going up.

Greg Burgas, one of the first bloggers I knew (but haven’t met) was musing about The Goldblum Effect, which he invented. It is “when you’re convinced something exists and no one else remembers it… but you’re totally right.”

Greg notes, “But these days, if you believe you saw or read something and no one else does, you can probably find it on the internet.” Unless you can’t.

Eddie, another one of my long-time blogger buddies, was having one of those same feelings, but without resolution:

“I have memories of being about fourth or fifth grade and getting an LP for Christmas–one of those educational types–that was all original songs for kids about American history. I can still remember snippets of the songs. The one about the stock market crash in 1929 had a chanted refrain (“Stocks are going up! Going up!”) that kept building and building until the crash happens. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the album or who put it out. Of course, my copy is long, long gone.

“It’s one of those things I would love to find one day at a thrift, if only to prove to myself that I am not hallucinating and that the opening song really, inexplicably, was……American Pie! Surely, I cannot be misremembering something as bizarre at that. Surely.”

First, I looked for compilations with American Pie. There are several, including this one, but the other tunes are pop songs.

Then I tried to ascertain the other recording. Briefly I thought it might be Funky President by James Brown, which has a reference to the stock market going up.

But I think the song is most likely Society Bear, or That Society Bear, by Irving Berlin, although it’s actually from 1912!

As for the compilation, though, I’m afraid I just don’t know. Any thoughts?

I related to this topic because I know a lot of things, but I don’t always know HOW I know them, and occasionally, I am trying to prove that I’m not just making stuff up can prove elusive.

Good luck, Eddie!

J for Jewish History Museum


I saw a segment on CBS Sunday Morning earlier this year about the National Museum of American Jewish History, which opened in November 2010. I was unfamiliar with the facility, but I assumed it was somewhere in New York; I assumed incorrectly.

It is in fact located in Philadelphia, not far from Independence Hall. This was deliberate, a reflection of, initially, a “tiny minority [who] sought, defended, and tested freedom—in political affairs, in relations with Christian neighbors, and in their own understanding of what it meant to be Jewish.” Then “the migration of millions of immigrants who came to the United States beginning in the late 19th century and who profoundly reshaped the American Jewish community and the nation as a whole.”
“On the Museum’s first floor, the Only in America® Gallery/Hall of Fame illustrates the choices, challenges, and opportunities eighteen Jewish Americans encountered on their path to remarkable achievement.”

The first eighteen individuals to be featured in the Only in America® Gallery/Hall of Fame are:
Irving Berlin
Leonard Bernstein
Louis Brandeis
Albert Einstein
Mordecai Kaplan
Sandy Koufax
Esteé Lauder
Emma Lazarus
Isaac Leeser
Golda Meir
Jonas Salk
Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Rose Schneiderman
Isaac Bashevis Singer
Steven Spielberg
Barbra Streisand
Henrietta Szold
Isaac Mayer Wise

How many of the 18 can you identify? I knew 12.

And for no particular reason, here are:
America from West Side Story
There’s No Business Like Show Business, sung by Ethel Merman
A pivotal scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor

ABC Wednesday – Round 9

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