Sunday, December 31, 2017

Pop Culture Madness: Songs of the Year, 1898-2017

Originally posted 4/12/2019.

Pop Culture Madness bills itself as having charts which reflect continued popularity of songs, not just what was popular in its time. As such, their choices for best songs each year are often songs which never hit #1 on the charts. They have annual charts dating from 1955 to the present. With lists for 1900-1919 and another for the 1800s, that span can be stretched back to 1898.

  • 2017: Ed Sheeran “Shape of You
  • 2016: The Chainsmokers with Halsey “Closer
  • 2015: Walk the Moon “Shut Up and Dance”
  • 2014: Taylor Swift “Shake It Off
  • 2013: Robin Thicke with T.I. & Pharrell Williams “Blurred Lines
  • 2012: Psy “Gangnam Style
  • 2011: LMFAO with Lauren Bennett & Goon Rock “Party Rock Anthem
  • 2010: Katy Perry “Firework

  • 2009: Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling
  • 2008: Beyoncé “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)
  • 2007: Cupid “Cupid Shuffle”
  • 2006: Justin Timberlake “Sexyback
  • 2005: Gwen Stefani “Hollaback Girl”
  • 2004: Usher with Lil’ Jon & Ludacris “Yeah!
  • 2003: Beyoncé with Jay-Z “Crazy in Love
  • 2002: Kelly Clarkson “A Moment Like This”
  • 2001: Mr. C the Slide Man “Cha-Cha Slide”
  • 2000: The Baha Men “Who Let the Dogs Out”

  • 1999: Smash Mouth “All Star”
  • 1998: Aerosmith “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”
  • 1997: Aqua “Barbie Girl”
  • 1996: Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta “The Grease Megamix”
  • 1995: Rednex “Cotton Eye Joe”
  • 1994: Shery Crow “All I Wanna Do”
  • 1993: Haddaway “What Is Love?”
  • 1992: Sir Mix-a-Lot “Baby Got Back”
  • 1991: Natalie Cole with Nat “King” Cole “Unforgettable”
  • 1990: Marcia Griffiths “Electric Slide (Electric Boogie)”

  • 1989: The B-52’s “Love Shack”
  • 1988: Def Leppard “Pour Some Sugar on Me”
  • 1987: Bon Jovi “Livin’ on a Prayer”
  • 1986: Dionne Warwick with Elton John, Gladys Knight, & Stevie Wonder “That’s What Friends Are For”
  • 1985: Starship “We Built This City”
  • 1984: Michael Jackson “Thriller”
  • 1983: The Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men”
  • 1982: The Sugarhill Gang “Apache (Jump on It)”
  • 1981: Journey “Don’t Stop Believin’”
  • 1980: AC/DC “You Shook Me All Night Long”

  • 1979: Village People “Y.M.C.A.”
  • 1978: Donna Summer “Last Dance”
  • 1977: Abba “Dancing Queen
  • 1976: Wild Cherry “Play That Funky Music”
  • 1975: KC & the Sunshine Band “Get Down Tonight”
  • 1974: Lynyrd Skynyrd “Sweet Home Alabama
  • 1973: Marvin Gaye “Let’s Get It On
  • 1972: Gary Glitter “Rock and Roll Part 2”
  • 1971: James Taylor “You’ve Got a Friend”
  • 1970: The Jackson 5 “I’ll Be There

  • 1969: The Foundations “Build Me Up Buttercup”
  • 1968: Otis Redding “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay
  • 1967: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”
  • 1966: Frank Sinatra “Summer Wind”
  • 1965: The Righteous Brothers “The Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody
  • 1964: The Beatles “Twist and Shout”
  • 1963: Boots Randolph & His Combo “Yakety Sax (Benny Hill Theme)”
  • 1962: Dick Dale “Misirlou”
  • 1961: Etta James “At Last”
  • 1960: Chubby Checker Chubby Checker “The Twist

  • 1959: Bobby Darin “Mack the Knife
  • 1958: The Champs “Tequila”
  • 1957: Elvis Presley “Jailhouse Rock
  • 1956: Elvis Presley “Don’t Be Cruel”/“Hound Dog
  • 1955: Tennessee Ernie Ford “Sixteen Tons”
  • 1954: Bill Haley & His Comets “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock
  • 1953:
  • 1952:
  • 1951: Tommy Edwards “It’s All in the Game”
  • 1950:

  • 1949: Vaughn Monroe “Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend)
  • 1948: Art Mooney “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover
  • 1947: Nat “King” Cole “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
  • 1946: Johnny Mercer “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah”
  • 1945: Les Brown with Doris Day “Sentimental Journey
  • 1944: Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter’s Orchestra “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby)”
  • 1943: Alfred Drake “Oklahoma!”
  • 1942: Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers & the John Scott Trotter Orchestra “White Christmas
  • 1941: Artie Shaw “Stardust
  • 1940: Cliff Edwards “When You Wish Upon a Star

  • 1939: Judy Garland “Over the Rainbow
  • 1938: Seven Dwarfs “Whistle While You Work”
  • 1937: Count Basie “One O’Clock Jump
  • 1936: Bing Crosby “Pennies from Heaven
  • 1935: Shirley Temple “On the Good Ship Lollipop”
  • 1934: Guy Lombardo “Winter Wonderland”
  • 1933: Dick Powell “The Gold Digger’s Song (We’re in the Money)”
  • 1932: Fred Astaire “Night and Day
  • 1931: Ted Lewis “Just a Gigolo”
  • 1930: Ben Selvin “Happy Days Are Here Again

  • 1929: Louis Armstrong “When You’re Smiling”
  • 1928: Bertolt Brecht “Mack the Knife
  • 1927: Nick Lucas “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover
  • 1926: Vincent Lopez “Show Me the Way to Go Home”
  • 1925: Ben Bernie “Sweet Georgia Brown”
  • 1924: Al Jolson “California, Here I Come”
  • 1923: Paul Whiteman “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise”
  • 1922: Al Jolson “April Showers
  • 1921: Marion Harris: “I Ain’t Got Nobody”
  • 1920: Al Jolson “Swanee

  • 1919: Al Bernard “St. Louis Blues
  • 1918: Ernestine Schumann-Heink “Danny Boy”
  • 1917: Douglas Furber & A. Emmett Adams (writers) “The Bells of St. Mary’s”
  • 1916: Harry B. Smith & Victor Herbert “You Belong to Me”
  • 1915: John McCormack “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary
  • 1914: Kenneth J. Alford (aka Frederick Joseph Ricketts) (writer) “Colonel Bogey March”
  • 1913: Chauncey Olcott “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
  • 1912: Arthur Collins with Byron Harlan “I’m Going Back to Dixie (aka ‘I Want to Be in Dixie’)”
  • 1911: Victor Herbert “March of the Toys”
  • 1910: Evan Williams “Because”

  • 1909: Haydn Quartet Haydn Quartet “Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet
  • 1908: Billy Murray with Haydn Quartet “Take Me Out to the Ball Game
  • 1907: Billy Murray “Harrigan”
  • 1906: Billy Murray “You’re a Grand Old Flag (aka “The Grand Old Rag”)
  • 1905: Billy Murray “Yankee Doodle Boy
  • 1904: Billy Murray “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis
  • 1903: Dan Quinn “The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous”
  • 1902: Edward Elgard (writer) “Pomp and Circumstance”
  • 1901: Charles H. Loomis, Allan M. Hirsch, & G.L. Atwater Jr. (writers) “Yale Boola! (March and Two Step)”
  • 1900: Paul Dresser (writer) “Give Us Just Another Lincoln”

  • 1899: Cal Stewart “Uncle Josh in Society”
  • 1898: Billy Golden “Bye Bye My Honey”

2017: Top 25 Albums

First posted 1/8/2021.

Dave’s Music Database:

Top Albums of 2017

Based on a combination of year-end lists and overall status in Dave’s Music Database, these are the top 25 albums of 2017:

  1. Kendrick Lamar Damn.
  2. Ed Sheeran ÷ (Divide)
  3. Lorde Melodrama
  4. The Greatest Showman soundtrack
  5. Taylor Swift Reputation
  6. Jay-Z 4:44
  8. Luke Combs This One’s for You
  9. Beck Colors
  10. LCD Soundsystem American Dream

  11. Drake More Life
  12. The War on Drugs A Deeper Understanding
  13. Chris Stapleton From a Room: Volume 1
  14. The National Sleep Well Beast
  15. Roger Waters Is This the Life We Really Want?
  16. Tyler, the Creator Flower Boy
  17. St. Vincent Mass Education
  18. Khalid American Teen
  19. U2 Songs of Experience
  20. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile Lotta Sea Lice

  21. Harry Styles Harry Styles
  22. Bob Dylan Triplicate
  23. Pink Beautiful Trauma
  24. H.E.R. H.E.R.
  25. Lana Del Rey Lust for Life

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Phil Spector: Top 50 Songs

image from

Phil Spector was born December 26, 1939 in the Bronx, New York. He is best known as a record producer who developed what has been called “the Wall of Sound,” an approach to producing a dense orchestral asthetic within studio recordings. His personal life was troubled by a history with gun violence and in 2003 he was convicted of second degree murder. In honor of his birthday, here are his 50 biggest hits as a writer and/or producer:

The Top 50 Phil Spector Songs

The Ronettes “Be My Baby”

1. John Lennon “Imagine” 1971)
2. The Beatles “Let It Be” (1970)
3. The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (1964)
4. The Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody” (1965)
5. George Harrison “My Sweet Lord” (1970)
6. The Ronettes “Be My Baby” (1963)
7. Ike & Tina Turner “River Deep, Mountain High” (1966)
8. The Crystals “Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)” (1963)
9. John Lennon “Instant Karma (We All Shine On)” (1970)
10. The Dixie Cups “Chapel of Love” (1964)

11. The Crystals “He’s a Rebel” (1962)
12. The Beatles “The Long and Winding Road” (1970)
13. Ben E. King “Spanish Harlem” (1960)
14. The Teddy Bears “To Know Him Is to Love Him” (1958)
15. John Lennon “Jealous Guy” (1971)
16. John Lennon “Stand by Me” (1975)
17. The Crystals “Then He Kissed Me” (1963)
18. John Lennon “Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)” (1971)
19. George Harrison “Give Me Love, Give Me Peace on Earth” (1973)
20. George Harrison “What Is Life” (1971)

21. John Lennon “Mother” (1970)
22. John Lennon “Working Class Hero” (1970)
23. Paris Sisters “I Love How You Love Me” (1961)
24. John Lennon “God” (1970)
25. Ramones “Rock and Roll High School” (1979)
26. The Beatles “Across the Universe” (1970)
27. The Ronettes “Baby I Love You” (1963)
28. John Lennon “Power to the People” (1971)
29. The Ronettes “Walking in the Rain” (1964)
30. Curtis Lee & the Halos “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” (1961)

31. The Crystals “There’s No Other Like My Baby” (1961)
32. The Righteous Brothers “Just Once in My Life” (1965)
33. The Crystals “He’s Sure the Boy I Love” (1962)
34. Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” (1962)
35. Sonny Charles & the Checkmates Ltd. “Black Pearl” (1969)
36. The Ronettes “Do I Love You?” (1964)
37. The Righteous Brothers “Ebb Tide” (1965)
38. Connie Francis “Second Hand Love” (1962)
39. Ray Peterson “Corrine, Corrina” (1960)
40. The Crystals “Uptown” (1962)

41. George Harrison “Bangla-Desh” (1971)
42. The Ronettes “Born to Be Together” (1965)
43. Darlene Love “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry” (1963)
44. Darlene Love “A Fine, Fine Boy” (1963)
45. John Lennon “Woman Is the Nigger of the World” (1972)
46. Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans “Why Do Lovers Break Each Others’ Hearts” (1963)
47. Gene Pitney “Every Breath I Take” (1961)
48. Ramones “Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio” (1980)
49. George Harrison “Isn’t It a Pity” (1970)
50. The Ronettes “The Best Part of Breakin’ Up” (1964)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 23, 1806: Beethoven's Violin Concerto premiered

Last updated August 27, 2018.

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

Ludwig van Beethoven (composer)

Composed: 1806

First Performed: December 23, 1806

Sales: --

Peak: --

Quotable: “one of the most important works of the violin concerto repertoire” – Wikipedia

Genre: classical > violin concerto


  1. Allegro ma non troppo
  2. Larghetto
  3. Rondo, Allegro

Average Duration: 43:30


Beethoven composed his Violin Concerto for colleague Franz Clement who debuted the work at a benefit concert at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on December 23, 1806. Beethoven reportedly finished the solo part so late Clement had to sight-read part of the performance. The premiere was not well received, sending the sending the work into decades of obscurity. In 1844, 12-year-old violinist Joseph Joachim revived the piece alongside the London Philharmonic Society conducted by Felix Mendelssohn. It has since become one of the best-known violin concertos. WK

The concerto was written at the height of Beethoven’s creative, so-called “second” period, representing one of his crowning achievements in his exploration of the concerto. WK “At over 25 minutes in length, the first movement is notable as one of the most extended in any of Beethoven’s works, including the symphonies.” MR “The second movement takes a place among the most serene music Beethoven ever produced.” MR

Possibly as a result of the concerto’s initially poor reception, Beethoven revised it for piano and orchestra. He crafted a “lengthy, somewhat bombastic first movement cadenza which features the orchestra’s timpanist along with the solo pianist. This and the cadenzas for the other movements were later arranged for the violin (and timpani).” WK

Review Source(s):


Related DMDB Link(s):

Ed Sheeran hit #1 with "Perfect"

Last updated 3/16/2021.


Ed Sheeran with Beyoncé

Writer(s): Ed Sheeran (see lyrics here)

Released: September 26, 2017

First Charted: March 25, 2017

Peak: 16 US, 12 RR, 122 AC, 19 A40, 16 UK, 16 CN, 18 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 2.4 UK, 13.5 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 3065.1 video, 1392.0 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Perfect” first hit the charts in March 2017 when his third studio album, Divide (÷) was released. All sixteen of the album’s tracks debuted in the top 20 in the UK and Sheeran occupied nine of the top 10 slots that week, with “Perfect” coming in at #4. WK In the U.S., ten of the album’s songs debuted on the charts with “Perfect” launching at #37. WK Six months later it was officially released as a single and in December an acoustic duet version with Beyoncé was released. The latter pushed the song to #1 on the pop charts in the U.S. The song also topped the charts in the UK and nineteen other countries. WK

The song became Sheeran’s third to spend more than a year on the Billboard Hot 100, following “Shape of You” and “Thinking Out Loud.” He was the first solo artist to do so with three separate singles. SF

“Perfect” was the first Sheeran wrote for his third album, was a romantic ballad about his girlfriend Cherry Seaborn. He initially met her in school and then then reconnected when she was working in New York. He said the lyrical inspiration came from a visit to fellow singer James Blunt’s house in Ibiza, where they listened to the music of rapper Future, WK specifically “March Madness.” SF After he wrote it, he sent it to Cherry in New York, but didn’t get to see her reaction to the song. SF He told Zane Lowe in an interview that he wanted to outdo previous ballad “Thinking Out Loud” because “I know that song was going to define me.” WK

As a final wish of his grandmother, Sheeran collaborated with his brother Matthew, who provided string orchestration on the song. WK The full orchestration was used in a third version of the song, known as “Perfect Symphony,” which featured Andrea Bocelli. Parts of the instrumentation were used in the original version. WK

The video was directed by Jason Koenig, who also helmed Sheeran’s chart-topping “Shape of You.” It was filmed at an Austrian ski resort and depicted Sheeran and actress Zoey Deutch on a ski trip, dancing in the snow, and ending up in a cabin together. MTV UK’s Ross McNeilage called the video a “Christmas dream.” WK It wasn’t actually a Christmas song or video, but the snow gave it a wintery theme.

Resources and Related Links:

Friday, December 22, 2017

December 22, 1808: Beethoven premiered his 6th symphony

Last updated August 28, 2018.

Symphony No. 6 in F major (Pastorale), Op. 68

Ludwig van Beethoven (composer)

Composed: 1806-1808

First Performed: December 22, 1808

Sales: --

Peak: --

Quotable: --

Genre: classical > Romantic symphony


  1. Allegro ma non troppo (Awakening of happy feelings on arriving in the country)
  2. Andante molto moto (Scene by the Brook)
  3. Allegro (Peasant’s merrymaking)
  4. Allegro (The storm)
  5. Allegretto (Shepherds’ song. Joyous thanksgiving after the storm)

Average Duration: 41:33


“For roughly 175 years, the music appreciation racket has told us that Beethoven composed symphonies in contrasting odd-even pairs after 1803, none more startling than the heaven-storming Fifth and bucolic Sixth. Originally, however, he assigned the designation of ‘No. 5’ to the Pastoral for their shared debut on surely the most historic night in Western music, December 22, 1808. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the unheated Theater an der Wien, he premiered both symphonies, the Fourth Piano Concerto, ‘Choral’ Fantasy, ‘Ah! perfido!’ (a concert aria from 1796), and introduced a Viennese audience to excerpts from the C major Mass, an Esterházy commission of 1807 that Prince Nicolaus II disliked when he heard it.” RD

“Beethoven began making specific notes for a ‘Sinfonia pastorale’ in 1806, but didn’t complete the work until 1808, in the village of Heiligenstadt northwest of Vienna. If this had been an unlikely hatchery in 1807 for the fist-brandishing Fifth Symphony, it perfectly suited – as he noted in his sketchbook – ‘recollections of country life...more the expression of feeling than of painting’ in his ensuing woodwind-drenched symphony (although violins get first crack at nine of its 12 significant themes).” RD

Cheerful impressions wakened by arrival in the country’ (Allegro ma non troppo, in F major, 2/4) is the first movement. It is in sonata form, pretty much by the book, with violins introducing all themes. The second-movement Scene by the brook (Andante molto moto, in B flat major and 12/8 time) is a Sonata structure again, but more relaxed, with a limpid main theme for violins and a bassoon sub-theme. In the coda, the flute impersonates a nightingale, the oboe a quail, and the clarinet a cuckoo.” RD

“The third movement, Merry gathering of country folk (Allegro, 3/4 time, F major), is an expanded song-and-trio, with a 2/4 section in ‘tempo d’Allegro’ that creates the effect of an ABCABCA structure, leading without pause to the fourth movement, Thunderstorm; tempest (Allegro; F minor, 4/4). From the first raindrop to last, this is purely depictive music.” RD

“It is followed by a 10-bar chorale that segues the final Shepherd’s song; glad and grateful tidings after the storm (Allegretto; F major, 6/8), a sonata-rondo, whose C-section some have called a development section. The fun includes a sly parody of amateur musicians before the long, progressively tranquil coda that ends with a pianistic gesture: two fortissimo chords.” RD

Review Source(s):


Related DMDB Link(s):

Listen to it here.

December 22, 1808: Beethoven premiered his 5th symphony

Last updated August 27, 2018.

Symphony No. 5 in C minor (“Fate”), Op. 67

Ludwig van Beethoven (composer)

Composed: 1804-1808

First Performed: December 22, 1808

Sales: --

Peak: --

Quotable: --

Genre: classical > Romantic symphony


  1. Allegro con brio
  2. Andante con moto
  3. Allegro
  4. Allegro

Average Duration: 32:50


Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is “one of the most popular and best-known compositions in all of classical music, and one of the most often played symphonies.” AZ The poet and composer E.T.A. Hoffman called it “one of the most important works of the time.” AZ The symphony consists of four movements: “an opening sonata, an andante, and a fast scherzo which leads attacca to the finale.” AZ Beethoven toiled away for more than four years to compose it, finally introducing it on December 22, 1808 in Vienna’s Theater an der Wien.

Also included in the program were Symphony No. 6, Piano Concerto No. 4, and parts of his Mass in C. MJ While it might be considered “one of the most extraordinary concerts in history,” MJ it also should be noted that “the hall was unheated, and the musicians woefully under-prepared. As Schindler noted, ‘The reception accorded to these works was not as desired, and probably no better than the author himself had expected. The public was not endowed with the necessary degree of comprehension for such extraordinary music, and the performance left a great deal to be desired.’” MJ

However, “the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterwards.” AZ Hoffman wrote, “How this magnificent composition carries the listener on and on in a continually ascending climax into the ghostly world of infinity!...the human breast, squeezed by monstrous presentiments and destructive powers, seems to gasp for breath; soon a kindly figure approaches full of radiance, and illuminates the depths of terrifying night.” MJ

In Howard’s End, E.M. Forster writes about the symphony, saying it satisfies “all sort and conditions.” MJ The fact that he focuses heavily on the work “shows the extent to which it had become absorbed into the Romantic consciousness.” MJ

“Hermann Kretzschmar wrote of the ‘stirring dogged and desperate struggle’ of the first movement, one of the most concentrated of all Beethoven’s symphonic sonata movements. It is derived almost exclusively from the rhythmic cell of the opening, which is even felt in the accompaniment of the second subject group. There follows a variation movement in which cellos introduce the theme, increasingly elaborated and with shorter note values at every reappearance. A second, hymn-like motif is heard as its counterfoil.” MJ

“The tripartite scherzo follows; the main idea is based on an ominous arpeggio figure, but we hear also the omnipresent ‘Fate’ rhythm, exactly as it is experienced in the first movement. The central section, which replaces the customary trio, is a pounding fugato beginning in the cellos and basses, and then running through the rest of the orchestra. Of particular structural interest is the inter-linking bridge passage which connects the last two movements. Over the drumbeat referred to by Forster’s Tibby, the music climbs inexorably toward the tremendous assertion of C major triumph at the start of the finale. The epic grandeur of the music, now with martial trombones and piccolo added (the Fifth also calls for contrabassoon), has irresistible drive and sweep, though that eventual victory is still some way off is suggested by the return of the ominous scherzo figure during the extended development.” MJ

Review Source(s):


Related DMDB Link(s):

Listen to it here.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

90 Years Ago Today: "My Blue Heaven" hit #1

My Blue Heaven

Gene Austin

Writer(s): Walter Donaldson / George Whiting (see lyrics here)

First Charted: December 3, 1927

Peak: 113 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 6.0 US (includes 1 million in sheet music sales)

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

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Eddie Cantor introduced this song in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1927. JA Austin and Paul Whiteman both had #1 versions of the song that year; two more top ten versions came the next year. The song was also a notable hit for New Orleans R&B singer and pianist Fats Domino nearly 30 years later when he had a #5 R&B hit and #19 pop hit with it. “The song was revived as a title theme song for a minor musical drama starring Betty Grable and Dan Dailey in 1950, and forty years later for a Steve Martin comedy about a small-time gangster who is relocated as part of a witness protection program.” JA

However, Austin’s version is the biggest, selling over 5 million copies, making it one of the ten best sellers of the first half of the century, PM-631 the biggest song of 1927, WHC and the second biggest non-holiday record seller of the entire pre-1955 era. PM In the wake of the song’s initial success, Gene Austin reportedly bought a yacht which he named ‘My Blue Heaven’. Sales of the song skyrocketed when, on his first trek out, the boat was caught in a hurricane and rumor had it that he’d drowned. DS

His tenor voice has been credited as the onset of the crooner revolution. DS Blogger Jonathan Bogart called Austin “the stuffiest, squarest popular singer around,” DS saying that Austin would serve up “unimaginative…but serviceable” DS “standard-issue Tin Pan Alley…fluff.” DS For “Heaven,” Austin demonstrated “how deeply jazz had soaked into the collective unconscious of popular entertainment” DS with his “wordless warble…in the middle of the song.” DS The producers also tacked some fake birdsong on to the last chorus, a hint of the “the future of artificial sound in pop music.” DS

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Gene Austin
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Walter Donaldson
  • DS Don’t Stay Up Too Late (blog)
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
  • PM Record Research’s Pop Memories 1890-1954 (1986). By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 631.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Record Research, Inc.: Menomonee Falls, WI. Page 42.

First posted 12/17/2013; last updated 4/1/2021.