Friday, March 28, 2003

100 years ago: “In the Good Old Summertime” hit #1 – for the second of three times

In the Good Old Summertime

Haydn Quartet

Writer(s): Ren Shields, George Evans (see lyrics here)


First Charted: February 28, 1903


Peak: 16 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 3.0 (sheet music sales)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.24 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Comedian Ren Shields and black-faced minstrel George “Honey Boy” Evans wrote what has been called “the signature song for summer.” PS The song grew out of a Sunday trip to the beach with singer-actress Blanche Ring. When Evans remarked that he liked “the good old summertime” Shields said it would make a great song title. Shields worked up lyrics and Evans improvised a basic melody. Ring assisted him in writing it down and arranging it for piano since he couldn’t write a note of music. RA

Shields and Evans shopped the song to several music publishers, but none wanted a song doomed to a three-month lifespan. Then Ring offered to perform it in her Broadway show The Defender. RA The show opened in the Herald Square Theater on July 3, 1902 PS and closed in less than two months. However, thanks to its “happy, singable melody with easy to remember lyrics” PS “Summertime” proved to have a much longer life than publishers speculated, becoming “a perennial seasonal favorite.” JA

J.W. Myer included the song in his vaudeville act RCG and took it to #1. His was one of five versions to hit the top three of the U.S. pop charts in 1902 and 1903. Redmond charted first (#3), followed Myers, Harry MacDonough (#2), the Haydn Quartet (#1), and Sousa’s Band (#1). The Haydn Quartet’s version showed the most endurance, ranking as Billboard’s song of the year in 1903. WHC

The song was connected to a 1927 film In the Good Old Summertime and revived for the 1948 Judy Garland movie of the same name. PS In 1952, Les Paul and Mary Ford charted with a #15 version of the song. It has also been tapped numerous times for “Broadway shows and Hollywood films whenever a ‘summer song,’ has been needed.” RCG


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Haydn Quartet
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Harry MacDonough
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for J.W. Myers
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Les Paul
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for John Phillip Sousa
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 101.
  • PS ParlorSongs.com
  • RA Theodore Raph (1964). The Songs We Sang: A Treasury of American Popular Music. A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc.: New York. Page 276.
  • RCG RimChiGuy.com The Old Songs (1900-1929)
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.

First posted 3/28/2014; last updated 4/17/2021.

Friday, March 7, 2003

The White Stripes released “Seven Nation Army”

Last updated 2/15/2020.

Seven Nation Army

The White Stripes

Writer(s): Jack White (see lyrics here)


Released: March 7, 2003


First Charted: March 8, 2003


Peak: 76 US, 12 AR, 13 MR, 7 UK, 17 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 1.2 UK, 1.4 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.3 radio, 222.1 video, 400.0 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Built on what Rolling Stone called “the greatest riff of the decade,” RS’09 “Seven Nation Army” is “the place where Led Zeppelin meets the future” PD as “Jack White weighs in with some Jimmy Page-inspired guitar riffage” PD that announced him as “this generation’s surest thing to a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall-of-Famer.” CS That “Army” sported “one of the catchiest, most-recognized bass-sounding lines” SA is all the more astonishing considering it wasn’t played on a bass at all.

The sound was actually created with an octave pedal and a semi-acoustic AB’00 “low-registered, seven-string guitar.” SA White said he planned to use the riff if ever asked to do a James Bond film theme. Considering that unlikely, he used it for this song. In 2008, he and Alicia Keys performed the theme song (“Another Way to Die”) for the James Bond film Quantum of Solace. SF

The song title came about from what Jack thought the Salvation Army was called when he was a child. The subject of the song regards the White Stripes rise in popularity and the subsequent gossip that arises. SF He said the song “is about this character who is involved in the realm of gossip with his friends and family and is so enraged by it that he wants to leave town.” CR Jack “howls about a rage so intense, he could take on an army all by himself.” RS’09 Of course, he isn’t alone – the song “wouldn’t have half of its menace were it not for the simplicity of [drummer Meg White’s] thumping, insistent floor tom.” PF

“Army” restores “an element of hard rocking blues to what otherwise borders on throbbing dance music.” AMG It also was “the coolest song ever to become a soccer hooligan chant” MX as Italian soccer fans latched on to the song while facing different nations in the 2006 World Cup. SF Since then, it has become an inescapable anthem in sports stadiums and arenas and has been covered by Audioslave, the Flaming Lips, and Rihanna. It also sported an iconic video which has earned a reputation “as one of the most effective motion-sickness-inducing devices since the invention of spinning carnival rides.” SF


Resources and Related Links: