Friday, January 17, 2003

100 years ago: “Down Where the Wurzburger Flows” hit #1

Down Where the Wurzburger Flows

Arthur Collins & Byron G. Harlan

Writer(s): Harry Von Tilzer (music), Vincent P. Bryan (lyrics) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: December 20, 1902

Peak: 15 US, 11 GA, 12 SM (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:

“Down Where the Wurzburger Flows” was a drinking song written as a toast to one’s native land. It was inspired by a saloon and restaurant owned by a German immigrant named August Lüchow. He served many different brands of beer, including Wurzburger. The song launched a trend for name-brand beer songs. DJ The St. Louis brewing company Anheuser Busch even commissioned Harry Von Tilzer, the composer of “Wurzburger,” to re-work the song for them. With lyricist Andrew B. Sterling, he created the song “Under the Anheuser Bush.” SM

This was the fourth #1 for Von Tilzer, who was one of Tin Pan Alley’s most famous songwriters. He also wrote such popular songs as “A Bird in a Gilded Cage,” “Wait ‘Til the Sun Shines, Nellie,” and “The Green Grass Grew All Around.”

Nora Bayes introduced it in vaudeville at the Orpheum Theater in Brooklyn. TY2 She was overcome with emotion at the first performance. Von Tilzer was in the audience and started singing until Bayes had regained her composure. TY2 The audience responsed so well that management insisted on the two performing together for the rest of the week. TY2 She became so identified with the song that she became known as “The Wurzburger Girl,” although she had success as a recording artist with songs such as “Shine On, Harvest Moon,” a song she cowrote.

Lew Dockstader, the Empire City Quartet, and Madge Ellis also performed the song on stage. GA The popular duo of Arthur Collins and Byron G. Harlan were the first to chart with the song, reaching #1 in early 1903. Both had previously experienced solo success: Collins had topped the chart as a solo act nine times and Harlan had done so three times. This, however, was only their second charting song as a duo and their first of a dozen trips to the pinnacle. Collins also recorded a solo version of the song which hit #4 in 1904.


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Last updated 12/15/2022.

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