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

Stormy weather (Roger answers)


stormy weather.BuffaloThe first question for Ask Roger Anything , about stormy weather, comes from Kelly Sedinger.

The storm will be past by the time you answer this, but when you hear about storms like this, what’s your level of anxiety? I waffle between “WE got this” and “OMG, we are SO screwed.”

I should note that Kelly is from western New York, near Buffalo. His area experienced Snowvember, so notable – snow taller than Kelly, it appears – that a YouTuber came to town to document the aftermath.

But the storm just before Christmas sounded much worse: high winds, plummeting temperatures, plus considerable snow. Now I took it seriously. I put the garbage cans on the porch, with the heavier recycle bin keeping the trash can in place. My wife went out in the car around 3 pm to deposit a check but after ten minutes, and the temperature drops ten degrees Fahrenheit (more than two degrees Celsius), she gave up.

Still, the Albany experience, aside from the cold temperatures, c. 14F/-10C, was not bad. A little black ice; the hilltowns always fare worse around here.

The Buffalo area, conversely, had what was described as a Category Two hurricane but with snow instead of rain, with blizzard conditions that killed over two dozen people in Erie County, NY,  alone.

And the bad weather wasn’t confined to that area. A member of our church choir and their spouse, trying to fly on Southwest Airlines, were stuck in the Denver airport for days. The water system in Jackson, MS failed AGAIN.

The answer to the question is: 1) yes, I take it seriously, but 2) it was far worse in much of the country than I would have anticipated.


On 60 Minutes in early November 2022, there was a segment on What prepping looks like in 2022: Stocking up and skilling up for extreme catastrophes. While one apparently has to be on Paramount+ to access the video, the text is here.

It begins: “If you hear the term ‘survivalist’ and it conjures images of militants and conspiracy theorists— residing on the fringes and on compounds, armed to the teeth—well, it’s time to reset your doomsday clock.

“A worldwide community of preppers – those who stockpile goods and skill-up for extreme catastrophes – is girding less for the end of days, than for a disaster that calls for taking cover. A climate emergency, civil unrest, the possibility of a dirty bomb, to say nothing of a global pandemic that suddenly shuts down the world. It was COVID that turned abstract apocalyptic scenarios into a reality.”

The story did have us inventory what water and ready-to-eat foods we had on hand. Should we get a backup generator? The Buffalo blizzard reignited the conversation, as did the folks who shot at the power grid in North Carolina this autumn, shutting it down for days.

I’m not freaking out. I won’t become a survivalist tomorrow. BUT SHTF takes place with increasing frequency. So over time, I’m inclined to want to become more prepared for… whatever.

Stormy weather, movie bingeing, last-minute cleaning

I went out to five movies in eight days.

My wife left me. So did my daughter. But they came back. They went, with other church people, to an Intergenerational Work Camp in Kinston, NC. They left on Saturday, July 21.

While the others started their return on the 28th, my family went instead to visit my “baby” sister Marcia and her daughter Alex in Charlotte. Then they visited my wife’s brother’s family in southeast Pennsylvania before returning to Albany Augudst 1.

This meant that I fed the cats, cleaned out the litter box, watered the plants, plus the usual stuff, such as taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn.

And shoveling the dirt off the sidewalk, which only happens after the sidewalk floods, and them the water recedes. Ever since the city “Fixed” the sidewalk a few years ago, this, along with patches of ice, has been a regular occurrence.

When we had severe weather on Friday, July 27, I was at work in the middle of the day. But except for one rumble of thunder, I was largely oblivious to the storm. I did note the massive tree branch, at least five meters long, that fell from our oak tree and somehow wedged onto the fence; I need a neighbor’s help to dislodge it.

In the next couple days I noted a number of other tree branches down in and around Washington Park, at the UU church, at our local police precinct, and elsewhere. Street lights only three blocks from me were out, though not the ones nearer to me.

No wonder people were calling and emailing to see if I ere all right. I was fine, really, though I got soaked riding my bike from the Colonie movie theater to the bus stop.

I was surprised to find that being home alone is not as fun as I remembered it from my single days. I did like going out with my friend Uthaclena one weekday evening, and seeing Janet Jackson at SPAC another night.

Still, I went out to five movies in eight days, four of them on weekends. I SUPPOSE it could mean that I missed my family, at least just a little.

I spent much of the Monday before their return picking up stuff. Who left that water bottle on the floor? Hmm, no one else to blame.

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