Friday, July 26, 2002

100 years ago: Arthur Collins hit #1 with “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home”

Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home

Arthur Collins

Writer(s): Hughie Cannon, Johnnie Queen (see lyrics here)

First Charted: July 12, 1902

Peak: 18 US, 11 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

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


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This “early ragtime classic” RCG and “favorite of Dixie jazz bands” JA became a “sing-along standard” RCG thanks to the ease with which it could be adapted to jazz or played on honky-tonk piano or banjo. RCG John Queen, a minstrel and songwriter introduced this instant hit. Arthur Collins, Dan Quinn, and Silas Leachman each took the song to the top 5 in 1902, but Collins’ version was the biggest. PM He was no stranger to the top, having landed there seven times before. This, however, was his biggest hit yet.

Over the years, the song was recorded by a number of other big-name artists. Jimmy Durante and his sidekick Eddie Jackson often used it in their act. JA Bobby Darin took it to number 19 in 1960. Others who recorded the song included Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Della Reese. PS The song also spawned numerous parodies, including Tom Lehrer’s “(Won’t You Come Home) Disraeli?” JA As with many “coon songs”, as such racially deragotory songs from the early 20th century have come to be known, later recordings were often “sanitized.” PS

Several people have claimed to be the original Bill Bailey, JA but according to Tin Pan Alley folklore, RCG the Detroit-born Hughie Cannon was an alcoholic living in a flophouse. One night he supposedly met a real Bill Bailey, an African American vaudeville singer. Bailey’s wife had thrown him out of the house because she’d had it with his late-night partying. PS Cannon gave Bailey money for a room for the night, but was sure the wife would soon beg for him to return.

Cannon then wrote a song about a wife hanging laundry and singing about her hopes that her husband would soon come home. She confesses that she drove him away with “nothing but a fine tooth comb,” but Bailey returns with a fancy car. RCG The song’s popularity led to spin-off tunes “I Wonder Why Bill Bailey Won’t Come Home” and “Since Bill Bailey Came Back Home.” PS


  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Arthur Collins
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 22.
  • PS
  • RCG The Old Songs (1900-1929)
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954 (1986). Record Research, Inc: Menomonee Falls, WI. Page 477.

Last updated 12/27/2021.

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

Red Hot Chili Peppers By the Way released

By the Way

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Released: July 9, 2002

Peak: 2 US, 15 UK, 11 CN, 14 AU

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 1.95 UK, 11.2 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: alternative rock


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. By the Way (6/15/02, 33a US, 2 UK, 1 AR, 1 MR)
  2. Universally Speaking (6/03, 27 UK)
  3. This Is the Place
  4. Dosed (5/31/03, 13 MR)
  5. Don’t Forget Me
  6. The Zephyr Song (8/24/02, 49 US, 11 UK, 14 AR, 6 MR)
  7. Can’t Stop (12/28/02, 57 US, 22 UK, 15 AR, 1 MR)
  8. I Could Die for You
  9. Midnight
  10. Throw Away Your Television
  11. Cabron
  12. Tear
  13. On Mercury
  14. Minor Thing
  15. Warm Tape
  16. Venice Queen


3.832 out of 5.00 (average of 20 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ eighth studio album finds the California foursome exploring the more melodic freeways of harmony and texture, contrasting the gritty, funky side streets of their early days. Luckily, with this more sophisticated sound, the Peppers have not sacrificed any of their trademark energy or passions for life, universal love, and (of course) lust. Although they recorded the spiky Abbey Road EP in 1988, this album actually sounds a lot closer to the Beatles' Abbey Road, with a little of Pet Sounds and elements of Phil Spector's lushest arrangements all distilled through the band's well-traveled funk-pop stylings. Harmony vocals and string arrangements have replaced some of the aggressive slap bass that the group was initially recognized for, but fans of both the gentle and the fierce Chili Peppers styles will embrace the title track and first single, By the Way. In fact, this song on its own could almost be a brief history of everything the Red Hot Chili Peppers have recorded: fiery Hollywood funk, gentle harmonies, a little bit of singing about girls, a little bit of hanging out in the streets in the summertime, some rapid-fire raps from Anthony Kiedis, some aggro basslines from Flea — the song plays like a three-and-a-half-minute audio version of Behind the Music.” AMG

“Overall, the album leans more toward the melodic end of their oeuvre, but they have grown into this kinder, gentler mode organically, progressively working toward this groove little by little, album by album. What once were snapshots of a spastic punk-funk lifestyle have grown into fully realized short stories of introspection and Californication. Though the pace of the album falters at times (particularly in the verses; the choruses are all pretty spectacular), it is refreshing to see that as the four Chili Peppers continue to grow older and more sure of themselves, their composition and performing skills are maturing along with them.” AMG

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 3/28/2008; last updated 8/8/2021.