Monday, November 12, 2018

100 years ago: "Tiger Rag" hit #1

Tiger Rag

Original Dixieland Jazz Band

Writer(s): Harry DeCosta, Original Dixieland Jazz Band (see lyrics here)


First Charted: August 17, 1918


Peak: 12 US, 15 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)


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


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

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Tiger Rag” has been called “the very first jazz standard” LW and “the most famous Dixieland jazz standard” JA with hundreds of versions being played and recorded over the years. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band wrote the song and introduced it in vaudeville and on record, JA although Jelly Roll Morton has claimed he originated the piece. JA

The band’s leader, cornetist Nick LaRocca, claimed the group invented Dixieland jazz. While most historians disagree, the group did stir interest in the new art form of jazz. NRR Also, it is possible LaRocca was the first to pair the words “Dixieland” and “jazz” together to describe jazz played in a southern style. LW

They were the first jazz band to be recorded. The common belief is that it was because they were white. LW They lacked an outstanding player for solos LW and were “not the best ensemble of its day,” NRR but they displayed enthusiasm and a sense of fun. LW

As was common in the first half of the 20th century, the song had multiple chart versions. Eight versions charted from 1918 to 1952. Notable renditions included Ted Lewis (#8, 1923), Ray Noble (#6, 1934), and Les Paul with Mary Ford (#2, 1952). In 1931, the Mills Brothers charted the most successful version with a four week stay at #1. PM Still, the legendary Louis Armstrong regarded the Original Dixieland Jazz Band’s version as the best. LW


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Original Dixieland Jazz Band
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 196.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 43.
  • NRR National Recording Registry
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 596.

First posted 8/17/2014; last updated 4/16/2021.

No comments:

Post a Comment