Monday, August 28, 2023

1890-1899: Top 100 Songs

Top 100 Songs of the Decade:


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These are the songs which essentially kicked off the recorded music era and the debut of charts to track the popularity of songs. Often a song’s popularity in this era had more to do with sheet music than specific recorded performances by individual artists. As such, there are many songs which are repeated here.

Rankings are figured by combining sales figures, chart data, airplay, awards, and appearances on best-of lists.

Check out other “songs of the decade” lists here.

DMDB Top 1%:

1. George J. Gaskin “After the Ball” (1893)
2. Arthur Collins “Hello Ma Baby” (1899)
3. John Philip Sousa “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (1897)
4. John Yorke Atlee “Listen to the Mocking Bird (aka “The Mocking Bird”)” (1891)
5. Len Spencer “Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay” (1892)
6. Dan Quinn “A Hot Time in the Old Town” (1896)
7. Dan Quinn “Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two)” (1893)
8. Scott Joplin “Maple Leaf Rag” (1899)
9. Dan Quinn “The Band Played On” (1895)
10. George J. Gaskin “On the Banks of the Wabash” (1897)

11. Dan Quinn “The Sidewalks of New York” (1895)
12. Vess Ossman “Yankee Doodle” (1894)
13. Billy Golden “Turkey in the Straw” (1891)
14. Edison Male Quartette “My Old Kentucky Home” (1898)
15. Arthur Collins “I’d Leave My Happy Home for You” (1899)
16. Len Spencer “The Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)” (1892)
17. George J. Gaskin “My Wild Irish Rose” (1899)
18. Katherine Lee Bates & Samuel A. Ward (songwriters) “America the Beautiful” (1895)
19. Dan Quinn “At a Georgia Camp Meeting” (1898)

DMDB Top 2%:

20. Len Spencer “Hello Ma Baby” (1899)
21. U.S. Marine Band “The Washington Post March” (1890)
22. George J. Gaskin “Oh Promise Me” (1893)
23. Thomas Bott “Love’s Old Sweet Song” (1892)
24. Patty & Mildred Hill (composers) “Happy Birthday to You” (aka “Good Morning to All”) (1893)
25. George J. Gaskin “Sweet Rosie O’Grady” (1897)
26. George Washington Johnson “The Laughing Song” (1891)
27. U.S. Marine Band “Semper Fidelis” (1890)
28. Silas Leachman “Dem Golden Slippers” (1894)
29. George J. Gaskin “My Old New Hampshire Home” (1898)
30. Sousa’s Band “El Capitan March” (1895)

31. Albert Campbell “My Wild Irish Rose” (1899)
32. Len Spencer “A Hot Time in the Old Town” (1897)
33. John Yorke Atlee “After the Ball” (1893)
34. Jules Levy “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (1893)
35. United States Marine Band “The Liberty Bell” (1894)
36. George J. Gaskin “Drill, Ye Terriers, Drill” (1891)
37. Steve Porter “On the Banks of the Wabash” (1898)
38. J.W. Myers “The Sidewalks of New York” (1895)
39. Dan Quinn “Daddy Wouldn’t Buy Me a Bow Wow” (1892)
40. George J. Gaskin “The Fatal Wedding” (1893)

41. Manhansett Quartette “Sally in Our Alley” (1892)
42. U.S. Marine Band “The Thunderer” (1890)
43. Edward M. Favor “Say Au Revoir, But Not Goodbye” (1894)
44. George J. Gaskin “The Sidewalks of New York” (1895)
45. James M. Black & Katharine E. Purvis (songwriters) “When the Saints Go Marching In” (1896)
46. J.W. Myers “Goodbye Dolly Gray” (1897)
47. Len Spencer “My Gal Is a High-Born Lady” (1897)
48. George J. Gaskin “A Hot Time in the Old Town” (1897)

DMDB Top 5%:

49. Gilmore’s Band “The Star-Spangled Banner” (1892)
50. Sousa’s Band “King Cotton March” (1895)

51. George J. Gaskin “She Was Bred in Old Kentucky” (1898)
52. George J. Gaskin “The Sunshine of Paradise Valley” (1896)
53. Len Spencer “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” (1893)
54. Sousa’s Band “The Washington Post March” (1895)
55. Sergei Rachmaninoff “Prelude in C# Minor” (1893)
56. Manhansett Quartette “The Old Oaken Bucket” (1894)
57. George Washington Johnson “The Whistling Coon” (1891)
58. Len Spencer “You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon But You’ve Done Broke Down” (1896)
59. Len Spencer “Smokey Mokes” (1899)
60. United States Marine Band “Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay” (1892)

61. John Yorke Atlee “Home Sweet Home” (1891)
62. Dan Quinn “And Her Golden Hair Was Hanging Down Her Back” (1894)
63. Manhansett Quartette “The Picture Turned to the Wall” (1892)
64. Russell Hunting “Michael Casey Taking the Census” (1892)
65. George J. Gaskin “Break the News to Mother” (1898)
66. Vess Ossman “At a Georgia Camp Meeting” (1898)
67. Charles Marsh “Throw Him Down, McCloskey” (1892)
68. Tom Turpin “Harlem Rag” (1897)
69. William F. Hooley “Gypsy Love Song” (1899)
70. Dan Quinn “My Mother Was a Lady” (1897)

71. Cal Stewart “Uncle Josh’s Arrival in New York” (1898)
72. Russell Hunting “Michael Casey at the Telephone” (1892)
73. George J. Gaskin “Sweet Marie” (1894)
74. Dan Quinn “Little Lost Child” (1895)
75. Len Spencer “Little Alabama Coon” (1895)
76. Dan Quinn “In the Baggage Coach Ahead” (1896)
77. George J. Gaskin “She May Have Seen Better Days” (1896)
78. Edward M. Favor “My Best Girl’s a New Yorker” (1895)
79. Billy Golden “Bye Bye My Honey” (1898)
80. Len Spencer “The Bully (aka ‘Dat New Bully’)” (1895)

81. Dan Quinn “The Bowery” (1893)
82. Len Spencer “Oh Mr. Johnson, Turn Me Loose” (1897)
83. Vess Ossman “Yankee Doodle” (new version, 1897)
84. George J. Gaskin “Down in Poverty Row” (1896)
85. Dan Quinn “She Was Happy Till She Met You” (1898)
86. Dan Kelly “Pat Kelly As a Police Justice” (1891)
87. Dan Quinn “There’s a Little Star Shining for You” (1897)
88. Len Spencer “Little ‘Liza Loves You” (1891)
89. Russell Hunting “Michael Casey As a Physician” (1891)
90. Louise Dresser “Stay in Your Own Backyard” (1899)

91. J.W. Myers “Two Little Girls in Blue” (1893)
92. Dan Quinn “My Pearl Is a Bowery Girl” (1894)
93. George J. Gaskin “On the Beaches in the Park” (1896)
94. Joe Belmont “Listen to the Mocking Bird (aka “The Mocking Bird”)” (1899)
95. J.W. Myers “Just Tell Them That You Saw Me” (1895)
96. Cal Stewart “Uncle Josh in Society” (1899)
97. Roger Harding “On the Banks of the Wabash” (1898)
98. Len Spencer “I Don’t Like No Cheap Man” (1898)
99. Cal Stewart “I’m Old But I’m Awfully Tough (Laughing Song)” (1898)
100. George J. Gaskin “Slide Kelly Slide” (1892)

Resources/Related Links:

First posted 7/27/2018; last updated 8/28/2023.


  1. Thank you for using the video I uploaded! Great list!

  2. Thank you for using my video! This was an excellent list.

    1. I like old music myself so this list helped me so much while doing a spotify series

  3. Hey Dave.

    I'm self-producing a series of webisodes (for the fun of it) about a railway disaster that occurred in 1899 - and will love to use some of this as incidental music.

    Would you be open to that?

    1. According to "All works published in the United States before 1924 are in the public domain" so you shouldn't have to get permission to use any songs from this era. As far as finding songs from the 1890s, I'd suggest

  4. Years Ago - Jimmie Rodgers 1933
    I Love Sing-a - Al Jolson & Cab Calloway 1936
    All of Me - Louis Armstrong 1932
    Tiger Rag - Louis Armstrong 1933

  5. This is amazing I'm a fan of old music myself I got it from a YouTuber Nathaniel Jordan and loved it since.

  6. you wouldn't happen to have made a spotify playlist for this or any of the other 100 per decade lists - would you ?

    1. I haven't. I'm starting to make Spotify playlists for some of the lists that appear here on the site, though. As I add them, I'll updated the pages with links.