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.

Pop Hits 1940-1954, #1 on the charts

This song was in my father’s folk repertoire. Sometimes he’d sing it in my classroom, causing idle speculation that I had a crush on a girl in class.

Tennessee WaltzJoel Whitburn has compiled several books about the variety of pop hits from the Billboard charts plus other sources, and even before magazine was published. (He has a Pop Memories book going back to 1890!)

But the results are a tad confusing, because there were actually THREE different charts: Best Sellers (BS from 1940), Juke Box charts (JB from 1944) and Disc Jockey charts (DJ from 1945).

So I thought I’d pick out songs that charted at #1 ten weeks or more, or if there were none for that particular year, the songs that charted most often.

1940/2/10 In the Mood -Glenn Miller and His Orchestra – 13 weeks (including a week in 1939)

1941/3/29 Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy) – Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra; Bob Eberly & Helen O’Connell, vocal – 10 weeks.

1942/10/31 White ChristmasBing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers, orchestra conducted by John Scott Trotter- 11 weeks; it also went to #1 DJ in 1945. A new version, with same backing, hit #1 for two weeks DJ in 1946. One of the biggest singles of all time.

1943/3/6 I’ve Heard That Song Before – Harry James and His Orchestra, Helen Forrest, vocal- 13 weeks.

1943/11/6 Paper Doll – Mills Brothers – 12 weeks. I loved those guys.

1944/1/15 Shoo-Shoo BabyAndrews Sisters – 9 weeks JB,

1944/8/5 Swinging On A Star – Bing Crosby, with The Williams Brothers Quartet, orchestra conducted by John Scott Trotter – 9 weeks BS; 8 weeks JB.

1945/2/10 Rum And Coca-Cola – The Andrews Sisters, orchestra conducted by Vic Schoen- 10 weeks JB; 8 weeks BS.

1945/9/15 Till The End Of Time – Perry Como, orchestra conducted by Russell Case -10 weeks JB; 8 weeks BS. This is based on Chopin’s Polonaise.

1946/3/16 Oh! What It Seemed To Be – Frankie Carle & his Orchestra, vocal by Marjorie Hughes – 11 weeks JB; 6 weeks BS. This track competed with a version by Frank Sinatra, orchestra conducted by Axel Stordahl, which was #1 for ONLY 8 weeks DJ.

1946/5/25 The Gypsy – Ink Spots – 13 weeks JB; 10 weeks BS; 2 weeks JB.

1947/8/30 Near You – Francis Craig & his Orchestra, vocal by Bob Lamm – 17 weeks DJ; 13 weeks JB; 12 weeks BS.

1948/11/6 Buttons And Bows – Dinah Shore and her Happy Valley Boys – 10 weeks BS; 9 weeks JB; 5 weeks DJ.

1949/5/14 Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend) -Vaughn Monroe & his Orchestra, vocal by Vaughn Monroe and the Quartet – 12 weeks DJ; 11 weeks BS; 10 weeks JB.

1950/3/25 If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked A Cake – Eileen Barton with the New Yorkers – 10 weeks DJ; 3 weeks JB; 2 weeks BS. Occasionally, my mother would sing this chorus.

1950/4/29 The Third Man Theme – Anton Karas – 11 weeks BS.

1950/5/6 The Third Man Theme – Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, guitar solo by Don Rodney – 11 weeks JB.

1950/8/13 Goodnight Irene – Gordon Jenkins & his Orchestra and The Weavers – 13 weeks BS; 12 weeks JB; 8 weeks JB. This song was in my father’s folk repertoire. Sometimes he’d sing it in my classroom, causing idle speculation that I had a crush on a girl in class.

1950/12/16 Tennessee Waltz -Patti Page, orchestra conducted by Jack Rael – 13 weeks JB; 9 weeks BS; 8 weeks DJ.

1951/9/8 Because Of You – Tony Bennett, orchestra conducted by Percy Faith – 10 weeks JB; 8 weeks BS; 8 weeks DJ. His voice has changed a LOT over the years.

1951/12/29 Cry – Johnnie Ray, with The Four Lads – 11 weeks BS; 10 weeks DJ; 9 weeks JB. I only really know Johnnie Ray from references in other songs.

1952/3/15 Wheel Of Fortune – Kay Starr, orchestra conducted by Harold Mooney – 10 weeks JB; 9 weeks BS; 9 weeks DJ.

1952/9/13 You Belong To Me – Jo Stafford, orchestra conducted by Paul Weston – 12 weeks DJ; 5 weeks BS; 2 weeks JB. I remember this song surprisingly well.

1952/9/27 I Went To Your Wedding – Patti Page, orchestra conducted by Jack Rael – 10 weeks JB; 5 weeks BS; 2 weeks JB.

1953/5/16 The Song From Moulin Rouge (Where Is Your Heart) – Percy Faith & his Orchestra, featuring Felicia Sanders – 10 weeks BS; 9 weeks DJ; 6 weeks JB.

1953/8/8 Vaya Con Dios (May God Be With You) – Les Paul and Mary Ford – 11 weeks BS; 9 weeks JB; 3 weeks DJ.

1954/6/5 Little Things Mean A Lot – Kitty Kallen, orchestra conducted by Jack Pleis – 9 weeks BS; 8 weeks DJ; 7 weeks JB.

1954/8/7 Sh-Boom – The Crew-Cuts, orchestra conducted by David Carroll – 9 weeks DJ; 8 weeks JB; 7 weeks 7 weeks. The pop hits of rock and roll era are on the horizon.

For ABC Wednesday