Tuesday, August 1, 2000

Top 100 Songs According to Gardner’s Popular Songs of the Twentieth Century, 1900-1949

Popular Songs of the Twentieth Century:

Top 100 Songs, 1900-1949

Edward Foote Gardner’s book, Popular Songs of the Twentieth Century tackled the task of crafting charts for the popular songs of the pre-rock era. He developed a top 20 chart for each month of every year from 1900-1949. The charts also listed only song titles and not particular performers as it was common in the pre-rock era for multiple artists to have recordings of the same hit songs.

This chart was created by first sorting songs based on total months at #1. The artist with the top-ranked version of the song is the one listed. Because there were multiple ties, songs were then listed in order of overall DMDB rank. An additional 64 songs which didn’t make this list were at #1 for 2 months.

Check other lists based on charts, sales, and airplay here.

5 months at #1:

1. American Quartet “Over There” (1917)
2. Byron Harlan “School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids)” (1907)

4 months at #1:

3. Arthur Collins with Byron Harlan “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1911)
4. Henry Burr “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree” (1905)
5. Ben Selvin “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” (1919)
6. Ray Noble with Al Bowlly “The Old Spinning Wheel” (1933)
7. Haydn Quartet with Harry MacDonough “Sunbonnet Sue” (1908)
8. Byron G. Harlan “The Blue and the Gray” (1900)

3 months at #1:

9. The Mills Brothers “Paper Doll” (1942)
10. Francis Craig with Bob Lamm “Near You” (1947)
11. The Harmonicats “Peg O’ My Heart” (1947)
12. Billy Murray with the Haydn Quartet “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” (1910)
13. Al Jolson “You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)” (1913)
14. American Quartet “Moonlight Bay” (1912)
15. Dinah Shore & Her Harper Valley Boys “Buttons and Bows” (1948)
16. Harry MacDonough with Elise Stevenson (as Miss Walton) “ Shine on, Harvest Moon” (1909)
17. Sophie Tucker “Some of These Days” (1911)
18. The Ink Spots “The Gypsy” (1946)
19. Henry Burr with Albert Campbell “Till We Meet Again” (1919)
20. Byron Harlan “Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie” (1906)

21. George Olsen with Fran Frey, Bob Rice, & Edward Joyce “Always” (1926)
22. Harry MacDonough “Down by the Old Mill Stream” (1911)
23. Haydn Quartet “Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet” (1909)
24. Heidelberg Quintet “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee” (1912)
25. Paul Whiteman “Three O’Clock in the Morning” (1922)
26. Billy Murray with the American Quartet “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” (1911)
27. J.W. Myers “On a Sunday Afternoon” (1902)
28. Byron G. Harlan “Hello Central, Give Me Heaven” (1901)
29. Gene Austin “Ramona” (1928)
30. Paul Whiteman “What’ll I Do?” (1924)

31. Harry MacDonough “Hiawatha (His Song to Minnehaha)” (1903)
32. The Victor Military Band “Poor Butterfly” (1917)
33. Wayne King with Ernie Birchill “Goodnight Sweetheart” (1931)
34. Haydn Quartet with Harry MacDonough “Bedelia” (1904)
35. Heidelberg Quintet “By the Beautiful Sea” (1914)
36. George MacFarlane “A Little Bit of Heaven (Shure, They Call It Ireland)” (1915)
37. Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers “Now Is the Hour (Maori Farewell Song)” (1948)
38. Leo Reisman with Frances Maddux “Paradise” (1932)
39. Arthur Collins “Under the Bamboo Tree” (1902)
40. Joseph Smith with Harry MacDonough “Smiles” (1918)

41. Al Jolson “I Wonder What’s Become of Sally” (1924)
42. Dinah Shore “I’ll Walk Alone” (1944)
43. Henry Burr “Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland” (1910)
44. Billy Murray “Pretty Baby” (1916)
45. Byron G. Harlan with Frank Stanley “Blue Bell” (1904)
46. Fred Waring with Clare Hanlon “Little White Lies” (1930)
47. Big Four Quartet “Goodbye Dolly Gray” (1901)
48. Elizabeth Spencer with Charles Hart “Let the Rest of the World Go By” (1920)
49. Metropolitan Orchestra “Creole Belles” (1902)

2 months at #1:

50. Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers “White Christmas” (1942)
51. Judy Garland “Over the Rainbow” (1939)
52. Gene Austin “My Blue Heaven” (1927)
53. Paul Whiteman “Whispering” (1920)
54. Billy Murray “You’re a Grand Old Flag (aka “The Grand Old Rag”)” (1906)
55. Vernon Dalhart “The Prisoner’s Song” (1925)
56. Peerless Quartet “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” (1911)
57. Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra “I’ll Never Smile Again” (1940)
58. Les Brown with Doris Day “Sentimental Journey” (1945)
59. Billy Murray with the Haydn Quartet “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1908)
60. Artie Shaw “Frenesi” (1940)

61. Dooley Wilson “As Time Goes By” (1942)
62. Vaughn Monroe “Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend)” (1949)
63. Billy Murray “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis” (1904)
64. Glenn Miller with Tex Beneke & the Four Modernaires “Chattanooga Choo Choo” (1941)
65. Billy Murray “Yankee Doodle Boy” (1905)
66. Al Jolson “Sonny Boy” (1928)
67. Harry James with Helen Forrest “I’ve Heard That Song Before” (1943)
68. Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter’s Orchestra “I’ll Be Seeing You” (1944)
69. Larry Clinton with Bea Wain “Deep Purple” (1939)
70. J.W. Myers “In the Good Old Summertime” (1902)

71. Perry Como “Till the End of Time” (1945)
72. John McCormack “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary” (1915)
73. Van & Schenck “Carolina in the Morning” (1923)
74. Nick Lucas Tip Toe “Through the Tulips” (1929)
75. Henry Burr “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now” (1909)
76. Johnny Mercer with the Pied Pipers “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” (1945)
77. Ben Selvin “Blue Skies” (1927)
78. Arthur Collins with Byron Harlan “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1918)
79. Ted Lewis “In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town” (1932)
80. Victor Orchestra “The Glow-Worm” (1908)

81. Rudy Vallee “Stein Song (University of Maine)” (1930)
82. Billy Jones “Yes! We Have No Bananas” (1923)
83. Eddie Cantor “If You Knew Susie Like I Know Susie” (1925)
84. Wendell Hall “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo’” (1924)
85. Dick Haymes with the Song Spinners “You’ll Never Know” (1943)
86. Paul Whiteman with Franklyn Baur “Valencia (A Song of Spain)” (1926)
87. Jimmy Dorsey with Bob Eberly & Helen O’Connell “Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy)” (1941)
88. George Olsen with Joe Morrison “The Last Round-Up” (1933)
89. Paul Whiteman “My Mammy” (1921)
90. Jimmy Dorsey with Bob Eberly & Kitty Kallen “Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much)” (1944)

91. Eddie Cantor “Margie” (1921)
92. Johnny Mercer & the Pied Pipers “On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe” (1945)
93. Peerless Quartet “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier” (1915)
94. Blue Barron & His Orchestra “Cruising Down the River on a Sunday Afternoon” (1949)
95. Frankie Carle with Marjorie Hughes “Oh, What It Seemed to Be” (1946)
96. Billy Murray “Harrigan” (1907)
97. Henry Burr “Just a Baby’s Prayer at Twilight” (1918)
98. Ethel Waters “Am I Blue?” (1929)
99. Vic Damone “You’re Breaking My Heart” (1949)
100. Steve Porter “A Bird in a Gilded Cage” (1900)

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First posted 7/22/2014; last updated 12/1/2022.

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