Tuesday, March 15, 2011

100 years ago: “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine” hit #1

Come Josephine in My Flying Machine

Ada Jones with Billy Murray & the American Quartet

Writer(s): Fred Fisher (music), Alfred Bryan (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: March 15, 1911

Peak: 13 US, 11 GA, 14 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.36 video, 0.08 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“The song was about the joys of going up in the sky in an aeroplane” SM and captured the “innocent romance and wonder with which early air travel was viewed.” SS In 1911, “flying machines” were still “very much a novelty;” SM it had only been eight years previous that the Wright Brothers launched the first powered flight. Billy Murray celebrated that event with his song “Come Take a Trip in My Airship,” a #1 song in 1905.

The song exemplified “a shifting tide away from the conservative, rural/small-town orientation that reinforced trust family and traditional values, and toward a modern, urbanized approach that questioned the old ways.” SS It was allegedly based on Josephine Sarah Magner, who may have been the first woman parachutist in 1905. WK

The lyricist was Canadian Alfred Bryan, who also wrote the major 1915 hit “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier.” This was the first major hit for composer Fred Fisher, who also went on to have success with “Peg O’ My Heart” (1913), “Dardanella” (1919), and “Chicago” (1922).

The song was introduced by Blanche Ring in vaudeville DJ and first recorded by Harry Tally. SM Her version reached #1 in 1911 while his got to #7 that same year. PM Ada Jones also topped the charts with her collaboration with the American Quartet and Billy Murray that featured a “breezy, light-hearted singing style.” TY2 She and Murray also recorded a slightly different version with extra verses and choruses.

The song was revived in 1939 when Fred Astaire sang it in the movie The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle and again in 1949 for the Fred Fisher biopic Oh, You Beautiful Doll. DJ Leonardo DiCaprio sang a snippet of the song to Kate Winslet in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic.


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First posted 2/26/2023.

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