Saturday, May 14, 1977

50 years ago: Ben Bernie hit #1 with “Ain’t She Sweet”

Ain’t She Sweet

Ben Bernie & His Roosevelt Orchestra with vocals by Scrappy Lambert and Billy Hillpot

Writer(s): Milton Ager (music), Jack Yellen (words) (see lyrics here)


Recorded: January 28, 1927


First Charted: April 30, 1927


Peak: 14 US, 2 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.4 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Ain’t She Sweet” and “Happy Days Are Here Again,” both written by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen, became symbols of the Roaring Twenties, WK a time when “stubbornly determined American resilience and optimism in the face of hard times.” SS Ironically, though, Ben Selvin’s Orchestra introduced the latter song on October 24, 1929 – the day the stock market crashed when “a frenzy of cascading rumor and panic led to nearly 13 million shares of stock trading hands in one day, with thousands of accounts being wiped out, sweeping aside the prosperity of previous years in one devastating 24-hour period.” SS

Lou Gold and His Orchestra recorded the song first on January 17, 1927, SH but the most successful recording was made 11 days later SH by Ben Bernie and His Roosevelt Orchestra. PM The former vaudeville performer previously had #1 hits with “Sweet Georgia Brown” in 1925 and “Sleepy Time Gal” in 1926. PM He wouldn’t reach the pinnacle again, but had 28 more chart hits for a total of 44 in all. PM

According to SecondHandSongs.com, at least 16 versions of “Ain’t She Sweet” were recorded in 1927, including versions by Harry Richman, Nat Shilkret, and Paul Whiteman. WK Gene Austin and Johnny Marvin also had chart versions of it that year, reaching #4 and #14 respectively. PM

The song resurfaced in 1949 when Mr. Goon Bones & Mr. Ford took it to #14. PM It was also recorded by Pearl Bailey, Bunny Berigan, Eddie Cantor, Nat “King” Cole, Tommy Dorsey, Erroll Garner, Harry James, Sammy Kaye, Guy Lombardo, Frank Sinatra, Big Joe Turner, Gene Vincent, and Lawrence Welk. WK The Beatles recorded it in June 1961 during their first professional recording session. WK


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Ben Bernie
  • SH SecondHandSongs.com
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Page 364.
  • PM Record Research’s Pop Memories 1890-1954 (1986). By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 468.
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 4/17/2021.

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