Friday, November 6, 1998

50 years ago: Dinah Shore hit #1 with “Buttons and Bows”

Buttons and Bows

Dinah Shore & Her Harper Valley Boys

Writer(s): Jay Livingston (music), Ray Evans (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 18, 1948

Peak: 110 US, 13 GA, 110 HP, 112 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.4 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The biggest hit of 1948 WHC was also an Academy Award winner for Best Song. Bob Hope and Jane Russell introduced the song in the movie The Paleface. The song had a distinct western flavor and referenced Hope’s character in the film – a dentist from the east. TY It was initially written with an Indian theme, but the director determined that wouldn’t work. WK

The song charted six times in 1948 – the Dinning Sisters million-selling version with the Art Van Damme orchestra TY (#5), Betty Garrett (#8), Betty Jane Rhodes (#9), Evelyn Knight (#14), and Gene Autry (#17). PM-481 However, Dinah Shore’s version was the most successful. It went to #1, was a million-seller, and was “long associated with Shore, who continued to perform it for decades.” JA

Born Frances Rose Shore, Dinah was one of the most popular singers in the 1940s. She had a brief stay wit the Xavier Cugat band before striking out as a solo star. She charted 83 hits from 1940-1957, hitting #1 with “I’ll Walk Alone” (1944), “They Gypsy” (1946), “Anniversary Song” (1947), and “Buttons and Bows” (1948). The latter, however, was her last and longest time at the top. PM From 1951-62, she hosted a popular TV variety series and was a talk show host in the 1970s. PM

The song was used as a theme for one of the characters on F Troop, a 1960s TV sitcom. WK It surfaced again on The Jack Benny Program in 1962 when Gisele MacKenzie performed it as a saloon singer (“Ghost Town: Western Sketch”). WK It was used again in 1996 in an episode of Frasier (“Look Before You Leap”) in which the lead character attempts a performance of the song but forgets most of the lyrics. WK

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Dinah Shore
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 29.
  • TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Page 135.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 388.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Pages 318-20, 571.
  • WK Wikipedia

Last updated 9/8/2021.

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