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Haydn Quartet “Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet”
Writer(s): Stanley Murphy/ Percy Weinrich (see lyrics here)
First charted: 12/11/1909
Peak: 111 US, 13 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music sales)
Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --
Review: The song which was originally rejected for having “no popular appeal” PS became the biggest song of 1909 WHC-16 and “a favorite of barbershop quartets and community sings.” JA-161 It was also the longest-running #1 for the Haydn Quartet, which included big names like Billy Murray and Harry MacDonough. They charted more than 60 hits from 1898 to 1914, including twelve trips to the top of the charts. However, their version of “Bonnet” was the biggest of their #1 hits.
Arthur Clough and Byron Harlan each took the song to the top ten in 1910. Over a quarter century later, Jimmie Lunceford took the song back to the charts, peaking at #11 in 1937. The song was also covered by Pearl Bailey, Tommy Dorsey, Coleman Hawkins, Ethel Merman, the Mills Brothers, and Hank Snow.
The memorable lyrics were scribed by Stanley Murphy, who would have success penning words for a variety of composers. Amongst his hits were “Be My Little Baby Bumble Bee” (1912), “Oh How She Could Yacki, Hacki, Wicki, Wacki, Woo” (1916), and “Sugar Moon” (1910).
Ragtime/tin pan alley composer Percy Weinrich worked with Murphy on “Sugar Moon” as well as “Bonnet.” PS He also composed “Wabash Avenue After Dark” (1909), “When You Wore a Tulip and I Wore a Big Red Rose” (1914), and “Minnetonka” (1921). Revenue from the hit allowed Weinrich to focus on composition and supporting the vaudevillian career of his wife, Dolly Connolly. PS
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