Wednesday, February 1, 2012

On This Day (1912): American Quartet hit #1 with “Oh You Beautiful Doll”

Oh You Beautiful Doll

Billy Murray & the American Quartet

Writer(s): Nat D. Ayer (music), Seymour Brown (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: December 16, 1911

Peak: 11 US, 13 GA, 112 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.23 video, 0.21 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“The definition of beauty or attractiveness has changed over the years…The men of the early 1900s would considered many of the beautiful women of the 21st century under nourished,” TY2 as suggested by the line “Oh, you beautiful doll / You great big beautiful doll” in the “ragtime love song” WK “Oh, You Beautiful Doll.” “In ’00, the Florodora girls were considered the epitome of feminine allure. The six girls were 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 130 pounds each.” TY2

The American Quartet had a #1 hit with the song. Although Billy Murray received a separate credit, “this was definitely a group effort with the Quartet joining in as a harmony group right from the beginning and not being dominated by Murray.” SM This was the fourth chart-topper for the American Quartet, who first charted in 1910. PM

The song has been recorded hundreds of times WK including an instrumental by Arthur Pryor’s band DJ in 1912. Al Campbell & Arthur Collins, the Crew-Cuts, Mitch Miller, Nancy Sinatra, Mel Tormé, and Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. SH

Judy Garland sang the song in the 1942 movie For Me and My Gal. DJ It has also been featured in The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939), Broadway Rhythm (1944), Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1949), Strangers on a Train (1951), The I-Don’t-Care Girl (1953), The Eddie Cantor Story (1953), The Taming of the Shrew (1969), and Somewhere in Time (1980).


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First posted 2/26/2023; last updated 9/6/2023.

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