Tuesday, December 31, 1996

Cashbox – Songs of the Year, 1950-1996

This list was created by taking Cash Box magazine’s top 100 song list (see here) and putting the songs in order by year and then by putting songs which hit #1 on Cash Box in order by number of weeks. In the event of ties, the song with more points in Dave’s Music Database was ranked higher.

  • 1950: The Third Man Theme…Anton Karas
  • 1951: It’s All in the Game…Tommy Edwards
  • 1952: Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart…Vera Lynn with the Ronald Shaw Orchestra
  • 1953: Where Is Your Heart (Song from “Moulin Rouge”)…Percy Faith with Felicia Sanders
  • 1954: Wanted…Perry Como with Hugo Winterhalter’s Orchestra
  • 1955: The Ballad of Davy Crockett…Bill Hayes
  • 1956: Singing the Blues…Guy Mitchell
  • 1957: All Shook Up…Elvis Presley
  • 1958: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes…The Platters
  • 1959: Mack the Knife…Bobby Darin

  • 1960: The Twist…Chubby Checker
  • 1961: Stand by Me…Ben E. King
  • 1962: Monster Mash…Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers
  • 1963: I Want to Hold Your Hand…The Beatles
  • 1964: Hello, Dolly!...Louis Armstrong & the All-Stars
  • 1965: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction…The Rolling Stones
  • 1966: I’m a Believer…The Monkees
  • 1967: Love Is Blue…Paul Mauriat
  • 1968: Hey Jude…The Beatles
  • 1969: Sugar, Sugar…The Archies

  • 1970: I’ll Be There…The Jackson 5
  • 1971: Joy to the World…Three Dog Night
  • 1972: Alone Again (Naturally)…Gilbert O’Sullivan
  • 1973: Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree…Tony Orlando & Dawn
  • 1974: I Honestly Love You…Olivia Newton-John
  • 1975: Bohemian Rhapsody…Queen
  • 1976: Mary MacGregor…Torn Between Two Lovers
  • 1977: You Light Up My Life…Debby Boone
  • 1978: Le Freak…Chic
  • 1979: My Sharona…The Knack

  • 1980: Another One Bites the Dust…Queen
  • 1981: Endless Love…Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
  • 1982: Abracadabra…Steve Miller Band
  • 1983: Flashdance…What a Feeling…Irene Cara
  • 1984: Like a Virgin…Madonna
  • 1985: Say You, Say Me…Lionel Richie
  • 1986: Livin’ on a Prayer…Bon Jovi
  • 1987: Faith…George Michael
  • 1988: Sweet Child O’ Mine…Guns N’ Roses
  • 1989: Another Day in Paradise…Phil Collins

  • 1990: Because I Love You (The Postman Song)…Stevie B
  • 1991: Everything I Do (I Do It for You)…Bryan Adams
  • 1992: End of the Road…Boyz II Men
  • 1993: Whoomp! There It Is…Tag Team
  • 1994: I’ll Make Love to You…Boyz II Men
  • 1995: Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)…Los Del Rio
  • 1996: I Love You Always Forever…Donna Lewis

Ace Collins: Top 100+ Country Songs

Ace Collins:

Top 100+ Country Songs

As Collins explains in the introduction of his book, The Stories Behind Country Music’s All-Time Greatest 100 Songs, “these are not necessarily the best one hundred or the one hundred records with the highest sales…What we have tried to do is look at the history of country music and choose the songs which were the most important.” The songs are not ranked, but listed chronologically. Also, instead of identifying specific recordings, the songs are identified with the writers. I’ve also made some minor corrections where all the writers weren’t credited and the song’s date was listed as later than its original publishing date.

Finally, this list actually includes 104 songs. “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes,” “The Great Speckled Bird,” “The Wild Side of Life,” and “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” were also listed as one entry. Also, “Blue Christmas” is listed as a “holiday bonus” track. I’ve reworked the list so that these titles are where they belong chronologically.

Click here to see other lists from critics and individuals and here to see other lists from publications and/or organizations

1. J.A. Roff, adapted by A.P. Carter “Wabash Cannonball” (1882)
2. Wallace Saunders “Casey Jones” (1910)
3. Guy Massey “The Prisoner’s Song” (1925)
4. A.P. Carter “Wildwood Flower” (1928)
5. Jimmie Rodgers “Blue Yodel #1 (T for Texas)” (1928)
6. Jimmie Rodgers “In the Jailhouse Now” (1928)
7. Irving Mills and Cliff Friend “Lovesick Blues” (1928)
8. Guy Massey, adapted by A.P. Carter “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes” (1929)
9. Bob Nolan “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” (1934)
10. Gene Autry and Jimmy Long “That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine” (1935)

11. A.P. Carter (adapted by), Ada Habersoln, Charles Gabriel “Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By)” (1935)
12. Ervin T. Rouse “Orange Blossom Special” (1936)
13. Adapted by Reverend Guy Smith “The Great Speckled Bird” (1938) 14. Bob Wills “San Antonio Rose” (1938)
15. Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell, based on a song by Paul Rice “You Are My Sunshine” (1940)
16. Ernest Tubb “Walking the Floor Over You” (1941)
17. Ted Daffan “Born to Lose” (1943)
18. Zeke Clements and Earl Nunn “Smoke on the Water” (1944)
19. Spade Cooley “Shame on You” (1946)
20. Merle Travis “Sixteen Tons” (1946)

21. Steve Nelson and Bob Hilliard “Bouquet of Roses” (1948)
22. Hal Blair, Eddie Dean, and Darest Dean “One Has My Name, the Other Has My Heart” (1948)
23. Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart “Tennessee Waltz” (1948)
24. Hank Williams “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (1949)
25. Floyd Tillman “Slipping Around” (1949)
26. George Morgan “Candy Kisses” (1949)
27. Bob Wills and John Wills “Faded Love” (1950)
28. Hank Snow “I’m Movin’ On” (1950)
29. Lefty Frizzell and Jim Beck “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time” (1950)
30. Jay Johnson and Billy Hayes “I’ll Have a Blue Christmas Without You” (1950)

31. Hank Williams “Cold, Cold Heart” (1951)
32. Ned Washington and Dimitri Tiomkin “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’)” (1952)
33. Arlie Carter and William Warren “The Wild Side of Life” (1952)
34. J.D. “Jay” Miller “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” (1952)
35. Hank Williams “Your Cheatin’ Heart” (1953)
36. Audrey Grisham, Mary Jean Schurz, and Russ Hall “There Stands the Glass” (1953)
37. Don Robertson and Jack Rollins “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” (1954)
38. Jimmy Work “Making Believe” (1955)
39. Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes “Satisfied Mind” (1955)
40. Stan Kester “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” (1955)

41. Melvin Endlsey “Singing the Blues” (1956)
42. Don Gibson “Sweet Dreams” (1956)
43. Johnny Cash “Folsom Prison Blues” (1956)
44. Ralph Mooney and Charles Seals “Crazy Arms” (1956)
45. Carole Joyner and Rick Cartey “Young Love” (1956)
46. Boudleaux Bryant and Felice Bryant “Bye Bye Love” (1957)
47. Otis Blackwell “Great Balls of Fire” (1957)
48. Harlan Howard “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down” (1958)
49. Bill Anderson “City Lights” (1958)
50. Harland Howard “Heartaches by the Number” (1959)

51. Jimmy Driftwood “The Battle of New Orleans” (1959)
52. Marty Robbins “El Paso” (1959)
53. Willie Nelson, Walt Breeland, and Paul Buskirk “The Night Life” (1959)
54. Joe Allison and Audrey Allison “He’ll Have to Go” (1960)
55. Don Robertson and Hal Blair “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” (1960)
56. Bill Anderson “Tips of My Fingers” (1960)
57. Don Gibson “I’d Be a Legend in My Time” (1960)
58. Harland Howard and Hank Cochran “I Fall to Pieces” (1961)
59. Kendall Hayes and Gary Walker “Walk on By” (1961)
60. Floyd Cramer, Boudleaux Bryant, and Skeeter Davis “Last Date” (1961)

61. Willie Nelson “Hello Walls” (1961)
62. Mel Tillis “Heart Over Mind” (1961)
63. Merle Kilgore and Claude King “Wolverton Mountain” (1962)
64. Willie Nelson “Crazy” (1962)
65. Hank Cochran “She’s Got You” (1962)
66. Penny Jay “Don’t Let Me Cross Over” (1962)
67. Earl Greene and Carl Montgomery “Six Days on the Road” (1963)
68. Danny Dill and Mel Tillis “Detroit City” (1963)
69. Johnny Russell and Vonei Morrison “Act Naturally” (1963)
70. Buck Owens “Together Again” (1964)

71. Bill Anderson “Once a Day” (1964)
72. Roger Miller “King of the Road” (1965)
73. Dallas Frazier “There Goes My Everything” (1965)
74. Hank Cochran “Don’t Touch Me” (1966)
75. Lewis DeWitt “Flowers on the Wall” (1966)
76. Loretta Lynn “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man” (1966)
77. Merle Haggard “Mama Tried” (1968)
78. Tammy Wynette and Billy Sherrill “Stand by Your Man” (1968)
79. Merle Haggard “Okie from Muskogee” (1969)
80. Jan Crutchfield “Statue of a Fool” (1969)

81. Joe South “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” (1970)
82. Conway Twitty “Hello Darlin’” (1970)
83. Kris Kristofferson “Help Me Make It Through the Night” (1971)
84. Ben Peters “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” (1971)
85. Tom T. Hall “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” (1971)
86. Alex Harvey and Larry Collins “Delta Dawn” (1972)
87. Joe Allen “The Midnight Oil” (1973)
88. Dolly Parton “I Will Always Love You” (1974)
89. Paul Fraser and Terry Stafford “Amarillo by Morning” (1974)
90. Vivian Keith and Ben Peters “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” (1975)

91. Ed Bruce and Patsy Bruce “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (1978)
92. Charlie Daniels, Tom Crain, Taz Digregorio, Fred Edwards, Charlie Hayward, and Jim Marshall “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (1979)
93. Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (1980)
94. Bob Morrison, Wanda Mallette, and Patti Ryan “Looking for Love” (1980)
95. Randy Owen “Tennessee River” (1980)
96. Kenny O’Dell “Mama He’s Crazy” (1984)
97. Bill Monroe “Uncle Pen” (1984)
98. Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz “Forever and Ever, Amen” (1987)
99. Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz “When You Say Nothing at All” (1988)
100. Hank Williams, Jr. “Are You Ready for Some Football?” (1989)

101. Vince Gill and Tim DuBois “When I Call Your Name” (1990)
102. DeWayne Blackwell and Earl “Bud” Lee “Friends in Low Places” (1990)
103. Alan Jackson, Roger Murra, and Keith Stegall “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” (1991)
104. Susan Longrace and Rick Giles “Is There Life Out There” (1992)

Resources/Related Links:

First posted 8/25/2022; last updated 8/26/2022.

Thursday, December 12, 1996

On This Day (1896): Dan Quinn “A Hot Time in the Old Town” hit #1

A Hot Time in the Old Town

Dan Quinn

Writer(s): Theodore August Metz (music), Joe Hayden (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: December 12, 1896

Peak: 17 PM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.03 video, -- streaming

Awards (Quinn):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Spencer):


Awards (Gaskin):


About the Song:

August Metz was a German-born musician with the McIntyre and Heath Minstrels. Legend says the group were arriving by train in Old Town, Louisiana and Metz saw children starting a fire near the tracks. One of the members of the troupe said “there’ll be a hot time in old town tonight” and Metz wrote it down. The next day he wrote a march using the phrase for the title and the Heath Minstrels ended up using in in their street parades. WM

It has been suggested that Metz heard a singer named Mama Lou sing “Hot Time” at the Castle, Babe Connor’s brothel in St. Louis, Missouri in 1893. WK However, it seems more likely that she helped popularize the song since the train story suggests the song was written as far back as 1886. SS

Then again, it was an instrumental piece for several years before Joe Hayden, a singer in the minstrel company, added lyrics at Metz’ request. SS so is it possible Mama Lou had words to it before Hayden? It was published in February 1896 as “In Old Town To-Night” and copyrighted in July as “A Hot Time in Old Town Tonight.” SS It has also been called “There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.” It “became popular with minstrel shows everywhere.” WM

The title “There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight” was referenced on December 31, 1891 in the Kansas newspaper the Salina Herald. The article described a fire in a Chicago Hotel where the last notes played on an organ were “Hot Time.” WK There’s yet another story that in Centralia, Wisconsin on March 8, 1890, a piece was published in The Centralia Enterprise and Tribune of Centralia with quotations around the phrase “there will be a hot time in the old town tonight,” which suggested that it was an already familiar phrase in pop culture. WK

Three versions of the song charted in 1896 and ’97. Dan Quinn and Len Spencer both reached #1 while George J. Gaskin peaked at #2. They were considered the top three vocal recording stars of the 1890s PM with Quinn being #1. His version of the song was the most successful, giving him his 11th of 16 chart-toppers. Over his 20-year career, he recorded around 2500 titles. PM

It became sort of the theme for the Spanish-American War, accompanying future president Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in their charge up San Juan Hill. SS An instrumental version of the song is featured in the 1927 stage and 1936 film versions of the musical Show Boat. When the Looney Tunes cartoon series launched in 1930, “Hot Time” was the original theme song. Mae West performed it in the 1936 film Klondike Annie and it was featured in 1941’s Citizen Kane 1962’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and 2021’s The Power of the Dog. The Joker sings the title in a scene from 1989’s Batman. It shows up again in Batman Returns when Catwoman refers to the title. WK


First posted 9/5/2023.

Saturday, December 7, 1996

No Doubt's "Don't Speak" toppped airplay chart for first of 16 weeks

Don’t Speak

No Doubt

Writer(s):Gwen Stefani/Eric Stefani (see lyrics here)

Released: April 15, 1996

First Charted: October 19, 1996

Peak: 116a US, 19 RR, 6 AC, 114 A40, 12 AA, 2 MR, 13 UK, 12 CN, 18 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 1.01 UK, 2.17 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.9 radio, 988.83 video, 509.27 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Don’t Speak” is one of the biggest #1 pop songs in history, but it never hit the Billboard Hot 100. During the ‘90s, record companies often held radio songs back from release to push album sales instead. While Billboard did track airplay, they didn’t permit songs without a physical single release to chart on the Hot 100. With 16 weeks on the airplay chart, the only song on one of Billboard’s pop charts to spend more weeks at #1 is 1947’s “Near You” by Francis Craig. The song did top the charts in more than a dozen countries including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It was also nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year. WK

No Doubt had previously released two albums which had gone largely unnoticed before 1995’s Tragic Kingdom. Top-ten alternative rock hits “Just a Girl” and “Spiderwebs” finally put the spotlight on the band; “Don’t Speak” propelled the album to the top of the Billboard album chart for nine weeks.

According to Tom Dumont, the band’s guitarist, the original version of “Don’t Speak” was written primarily by Eric Stefani, a former band member, as a love song. WK Gwen Stefani, his sister and lead singer of the band, changed the lyrics almost completely after her breakup with bandmate Tony Kanal. WK As she said, “It used to be more upbeat, more of a seventies rock-type thing. [When] Tony and I broke up…it turned into a sad song.” WK

The video put a different twist on the song by turning it into a commentary on the media attention given to Gwen. During the video, the rest of the band appear upset and shoot dirty looks at her. Kanal said, “We didn’t want it to be about a normal breakup. So we thought, ‘What would be the saddst thing that could happen? The band splitting up?’ So that’s what the video’s about.” SF


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First posted 1/22/2020; last updated 10/31/2022.

Toni Braxton hit #1 for 1st of 11 weeks with “Un-Break My Heart”

Un-Break My Heart

Toni Braxton

Writer(s): Diane Warren (see lyrics here)

Released: October 7, 1996

First Charted: October 18, 1996

Peak: 111 US, 6 CB, 2 GR, 2 RR, 114 AC, 4 A40, 2 RB, 2 UK, 5 CN, 6 AU, 13 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.4 US, 0.99 UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 800.50 video, 229.06 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Braxton was a preacher’s daughter “raised in a household where pop music was strictly forbidden.” KX In 1990, she recorded with her sisters as The Braxtons, but by 1992 she’d launched a solo career. In 1993, she landed the Grammy for Best New Artist and found her way into the top 10 of the pop charts with “Another Sad Love Song” and “Breathe Again”.

Braxton’s second album, Secrets, proved she would not suffer the Best New Artist Grammy curse of disappearing from the music scene. Lead-off single “You’re Makin’ Me High” was a #1 hit which won a Grammy for R&B Female Vocal.

However, even more successful was the album’s second single, “Un-Break My Heart”, a ballad of “blistering heartbreak” SF in which Braxton begs a former lover to return and undo the pain he has caused. SF In her “distinctive, husky alto” BB100 Braxton delivered a performance which was “both poignant and hopeful.” TB The song’s eleven weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 put it amongst the biggest #1 songs of all time. It won her yet another Grammy – this one for Pop Female Vocal.

The song was written by Diane Warren who’d penned such #1 hits as Chicago’s “Look Away” and Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me”, but this was her most successful song in the U.S. in terms of chart performance. SF Warren said she knew immediately that “Heart” would be a hit, but that Braxton didn’t want to sing it. Even after the song succeeded, Braxton told Warren she “didn’t want another one of those”. SF


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First posted 10/26/2011; last updated 1/18/2024.