Friday, December 2, 2011

100 years ago: Peerless Quartet hit #1 for the first time with “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Peerless Quartet

Writer(s): Leo Friedman, Beth Slater Whitson (see lyrics here)

First Charted: November 4, 1911

Peak: 17 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 6.0 (sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.15 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

As a group and individual members, the Peerless Quartet landed over fifty number one songs. “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” was the first of six trips to the top for the Peerless Quartet, which grew out of the Columbia Male Quartet. Henry Burr hit #1 sixteen times on his own and another eight times with Peerless mate Albert Campbell, who also had a trio of chart toppers on his own. Steve Porter, who had four solo #1 songs, was replaced by Arthur Collins in 1909, who’d already landed twelve solo #1’s. He also reached the summit another dozen times with duet partner Byron G. Harlan. Frank Stanley, who had three chart toppers on his own, died in 1910.

“Sweetheart” was “a tremendous hit in vaudeville” JA which “became a favourite around player pianos and community sings.” RCG It “is a straightforward declaration of love that came to be more of a sing-a-long than a ballad. Lou Friedman wrote the music in a waltzing tone while Beth Slater Whitson wrote the lyrics, [in] which he proclaims his love and asks the other to ‘whisper that you love me too.’” RCG

With over 6 million sales of the sheet music, it is one of the top ten best selling sheet music songs of the first half of the century. PM Among its “thousands of mainstream appearances” WK are versions by Les Baxter, Pat Boone, Arthur Clough (#2, 1911) Bing Crosby, The Four Lads, Mantovani, Gordon MacRae, The Mills Brothers, Patti Page, Nat Shilkret, Tiny Tim, Slim Whitman, Bob Wills, and Neil Young.

Big screen performances include Victor Moore in Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), Oliver Hardy in Swiss Miss (1938), Betty Grable in Coney Island (1943), Bette Midler in The Rose (1979), and George Hearn in Barney’s Great Adventure (1998).


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Last updated 3/17/2023.

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