Wednesday, July 12, 1995

Oscar Hammerstein II: Top 50 Songs

First posted 12/8/2019.

Musical theater composer born Oscar Greeley Clendenning Ritter von Hammerstein II one hundred years ago today on 7/12/1895 in New York City, NY. He co-wrote 850 songs, composing musicals first with Jerome Kern and later with Richard Rodgers. He won eight Tony Awards and two Academy Awards for Best Original Song. Died 8/23/1960.

South Pacific (cast album: 1949; soundtrack: 1958) and The Sound of Music (cast album: 1959; soundtrack: 1965) are featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Albums of All Time. “All the Things You Are,” “Ol’ Man River,” and “Some Enchanted Evening” are featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era, 1890-1953.

For a complete list of this act’s DMDB honors, check out the DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry.

Top 50 Songs

Dave’s Music Database lists are determined by song’s appearances on best-of lists as well as chart success, sales, radio airplay, streaming, and awards. Many of these songs have been recorded multiple times. Only the highest-ranked version in Dave’s Music Database is included in this list. The recording artist is noted in parentheses. Songs which hit #1 on on the Billboard pop chart (US) Hit Parade (HP), Cashbox (CB), the UK pop charts (UK), and the Australian pop charts (AU) are noted.

DMDB Top 1%:

1. All the Things You Are (Tommy Dorsey with Jack Leonard, 1939) #1 US, HP
2. Ol’ Man River (Paul Robeson with Paul Whiteman, 1927)
3. Some Enchanted Evening (Perry Como with Mitchell Ayres’ Orchestra, 1949) #1 US, HP
4. Who? (George Olsen, 1926) #1 US
5. People Will Say We’re in Love (Bing Crosby with Trudy Erwin, 1943) #1 HP
6. It Might As Well Be Spring (Dick Haymes with Victor Young’s Orchestra, 1945) #1 HP
7. If I Loved You (Perry Como with Russell Case’s Orchestra, 1945)
8. Lover Come Back to Me (Paul Whiteman with Jack Fulton, 1929)

DMDB Top 5%:

9. Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ (Bing Crosby with Trudy Erwin, 1943)
10. When I Grow Too Old to Dream (Glen Gray with Kenny Sargent, 1935) #1 US

11. I Won’t Dance (Eddy Duchin with Lew Sherwood, 1935) #1 US
12. Bambalina (Paul Whiteman, 1923) #1 US
13. Bill (Helen Morgan, 1928)
14. Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man (Ben Bernie with Vaughn Deleath, 1928)
15. You’ll Never Walk Alone (Frank Sinatra, 1945)
16. Why Was I Born? (Libby Holman, 1930)
17. I’ve Told Ev’ry Little Star (Jack Denny with Paul Small, 1932)
18. The Desert Song (Nat Shilkret with Mischa Russell, 1927)
19. Why Do I Love You? (Nat Shilkret, 1928)
20. No Other Love (Perry Como with Henri Rene’s Orchestra, 1953) #1 US, HP, CB

21. The Last Time I Saw Paris (Kate Smith, 1940)
22. The Song Is You (Jack Denny with Paul Small, 1932)
23. Make Believe (Paul Whiteman with Bing Crosby, 1928)
24. My Favorite Things (John Coltrane, 19610
25. Sunny (George Olsen, 1926)
26. That’s for Me (Jo Stafford, 1945)
27. Bali Ha’I (Perry Como with Mitchell Ayres’ Orchestra, 1949)

DMDB Top 10%:

28. The Folks Who Live on the Hill (Guy Lombardo, 1937)
29. Hello Young Lovers (Perry Como with Mitchell Ayres’ Orchestra, 1951)
30. All Through the Day (Perry Como, 1946) #1 HP

31. I’ll Take Romance (Rudy Vallee, 1938)
32. A Kiss to Build a Dream On (Louis Armstrong with Sy Oliver’s Orchestra, 1951) #1 AU
33. The Sound of Music (Julie Andrews, 1965)
34. Climb Ev’ry Mountain (Tony Bennett, 1959)
35. Oklahoma! (Alfred Drake & the Oklahoma Cast, 1943)
36. Don’t Ever Leave Me (1929)

DMDB Top 20%:

37. The Gentleman Is a Dope (Jo Stafford, 1947)
38. The Surrey with the Fringe on Top (Alfred Drake with Jay Blackton’s Orchestra, 1943)
39. Younger Than Springtime (Billy Tabbert, 1949)
40. Shall We Dance? (Marni Nixon with Yul Brynner, 1956)
41. Love Look Away (Tony Bennett, 1958)
42. Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise (Larry Young, 1928)
43. June Is Bustin’ Out All Over (Hildegarde with Guy Lombardo’s Orchestra, 1945)
44. You Are Love (1927)
45. Do-Re-Mi (Julie Andrews & Ensemble, 1965)

Beyond the DMDB Top 20%:

46. Getting to Know You (Gertrude Lawrence, 1951)
47. I Have Dreamed (Doretta Morrow with Larry Douglas, 1951)
48. We Kiss in a Shadow (Frank Sinatra, 1951)
49. Out of My Dreams (Joan Roberts, 1943)
50. Happy Talk (Captain Sensible, 1982) #1 UK


Saturday, July 8, 1995

TLC hit #1 with “Waterfalls”



Writer(s): Patrick Brown, Ray Murray, Rico Wade, Marqueze Ethridge, Lisa Lopes (see lyrics here)

Released: May 29, 1995

First Charted: June 10, 1995

Peak: 17 US, 17 CB, 11 GR, 2 RR, 24 AC, 13 RB, 4 UK, 9 CN, 4 AU, 14 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.2 US, 0.6 UK, 2.22 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 138.94 video, 243.36 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Waterfalls” was the third single from hip-hop group TLC’s second album. It marked their second trip to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 after “Creep,” the lead single from the same album. It also went to #1 in New Zealand and Switzerland and top 10 in many other countries. It was Billboard’s #2 song for the year and received Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. It also won four MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year.

The production trio of Rico Wade, Patrick Brown, and Raymon Murray were putting together a girl group called Organized Noize. The group fell apart but the three of them kept the name. Wade knew Tionne and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes before they formed TLC with Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and wrote the song “Waterfalls” with them in mind. FB

TLC’s songs “tended towards the lighter and funkier side, but ‘Waterfalls’ is a cautionary tale.” TB Marqueze Etheridge, who collaborated with Organized Noize on the track, knew T-Boz in school. She said “we always got kicked out of class together.” FB He based the song on experiences he observed others going through. The song tackled a variety of social issues, including illegal drug trade, promiscuity, and HIV/AIDS. Etheridge keyed in on waterfalls as a symbol for “how people chase intangible dreams with no thought of consequences.” SF He said, “it’s a dangerous force of nature. Just because everything looks good doesn’t mean it’s good for you.” FB’s Bill Lamb said the “slinky, gently insistent backing horns and guitar combine with smooth languide vocals to create an instant R&B classic.” WK Albumism’s Daryl McIntosh called it “a rare example of perfect production, poignant songwriting, and flawless vocal delivery.” WK Complex’s Christine Werthman said “it’s a heavy song, but the warnings in the verses are buoyed be a rich, singable chorus.” WK


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First posted 2/11/2021; last updated 3/31/2023.

Tuesday, July 4, 1995

Today in Music (1895): “America the Beautiful” published

America the Beautiful

Katharine Lee Bates (lyrics), Samuel A. Ward (music)

Writer(s): Katharine Lee Bates (lyrics) and Samuel A. Ward (music) (see lyrics here)

Published: July 4, 1895

First Charted: July 11, 1925

Peak (different versions): 8 PM, 42 AC, 58 CW, 98 RB, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 28.74 video, 4.49 streaming


Click on award for more details.

Awards (Louise Homer):

Awards (Ray Charles):

About the Song:

Music historian Steve Sullivan says, “Next to Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land Is Your Land,’ perhaps no patriotic anthem is more powerful and moving than ‘America the Beautiful.’” SS In the 1920s, there was an effort to make it the national anthem before Congress decided on “The Star-Spangled Banner” instead. SS

Katharine Lee Bates, an English professor at Wellesley College, WK was inspired to write the eventual song while on a train trip in 1893 to Colorado that included a stop in Chicago for the 400th anniversary of Columbus coming to America. The original title of her poem was “Pikes Peak” WK but, nearly two years later, when it was published on July 4, 1895 in a Boston church weekly called The Congregationalist, it was rechristened “America.” WK

It wasn’t until 1904 that Samuel Augustus Ward, a church organist and choir director at Grace Church in Newark, New Jersey, put it to music. He based it on a melody he composed in 1882 to accompany lyrics for the hymn “O Mother Dear, Jerusalem,” later retitled “Materna.” WK It was finally given the title “America the Beautiful” in 1910. WK Bates continued revising it, publishing the final version in 1911. SS Sadly, Ward died in 1903 and never saw the fame the song gained.

The song’s first chart appearance came in 1925 when Louise Homer took it to #8. Since then, the song has charted by Ray Charles (#98, 1972), Charlie Rich (#42 AC, 1976) and and an all-star country collective that included Vince Gill, Brenda Lee, Kenny Rogers, and others (#58, 2001).

Sullivan says “the song received its definitive rendition in the magnificently souful performance of Ray Charles.” SS He “believed in the ideals it represented, and he sang it with passion and gospel-fired organ and piano, backed by a choir, and in so doing transformed, broadened, and elevated its meaning.” SS Critic Dave Marsh says Ray turns it “into a gorgeous, ironic, sweet-tempered sermon on the land he loves.” DM


First posted 6/24/2024.