Thursday, April 15, 2021

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.

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. Len Spencer “The Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)” (1892)
5. John Yorke Atlee “Listen to the Mocking Bird (aka ‘The Mocking Bird’)” (1891)
6. Len Spencer “Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay” (1892)
7. Dan Quinn “The Band Played On” (1895)
8. Dan Quinn “Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two)” (1893)
9. George J. Gaskin “On the Banks of the Wabash” (1897)
10. Len Spencer “Hello Ma Baby” (1899)

11. Dan Quinn “The Sidewalks of New York” (1895)
12. Edison Male Quartette “My Old Kentucky Home” (1898)
13. Len Spencer “A Hot Time in the Old Town” (1897)
14. Dan Quinn “A Hot Time in the Old Town” (1896)
15. John Yorke Atlee “After the Ball” (1893)
16. Billy Golden “Turkey in the Straw” (1891)
17. Thomas Bott “Love’s Old Sweet Song” (1892)
18. Jules Levy “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (1893)
19. Arthur Collins “I’d Leave My Happy Home for You” (1899)
20. Vess Ossman “Yankee Doodle” (1894)

21. U.S. Marine Band “Semper Fidelis” (1890)
22. George J. Gaskin “Oh Promise Me” (1893)
23. George Washington Johnson “The Laughing Song” (1891)
24. Silas Leachman “Dem Golden Slippers” (1894)
25. Steve Porter “On the Banks of the Wabash” (1898)
26. George J. Gaskin “My Old New Hampshire Home” (1898)
27. Albert Campbell “My Wild Irish Rose” (1899)
28. J.W. Myers “The Sidewalks of New York” (1895)
29. Len Spencer “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” (1893)
30. George J. Gaskin “A Hot Time in the Old Town” (1897)

31. John Yorke Atlee “Home Sweet Home” (1891)
32. Dan Quinn “At a Georgia Camp Meeting” (1898)
33. George J. Gaskin “My Wild Irish Rose” (1899)
34. George J. Gaskin “Sweet Rosie O’Grady” (1897)
35. U.S. Marine Band “The Washington Post March” (1890)
36. Gilmore’s Band “The Star-Spangled Banner” (1892)
37. Patty & Mildred Hill “Happy Birthday to You” (aka “Good Morning to All”) (1893)
38. U.S. Marine Band “Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay” (1892)
39. Dan Quinn “Daddy Wouldn’t Buy Me a Bow Wow” (1892)
40. George J. Gaskin “The Sidewalks of New York” (1895)

41. Scott Joplin “Maple Leaf Rag” (1899)
42. J.W. Myers “Goodbye Dolly Gray” (1897)
43. Vess Ossman “At a Georgia Camp Meeting” (1898)
44. George J. Gaskin “The Fatal Wedding” (1893)
45. Sousa’s Band “El Capitan March” (1895)
46. Traditional “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” (1894)
47. Edward M. Favor “Say Au Revoir, But Not Goodbye” (1894)
48. U.S. Marine Band “Liberty Bell March” (1894)
49. Roger Harding “On the Banks of the Wabash” (1898)
50. Joe Belmont “Listen to the Mocking Bird (aka ‘The Mocking Bird’)” (1899)

51. Emile Berliner “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” (1890)
52. George J. Gaskin “Drill, Ye Terriers, Drill” (1891)
53. George J. Gaskin “She Was Bred in Old Kentucky” (1898)
54. George J. Gaskin “The Sunshine of Paradise Valley” (1896)
55. James M. Black & Katharine E. Purvis (songwriters) “When the Saints Go Marching In” (1896)
56. U.S. Marine Band “The Thunderer” (1890)
57. Sergei Rachmaninoff “Prelude in C# Minor” (1893)
58. Charles Marsh “Throw Him Down, McCloskey” (1892)
59. Katherine Lee Bates & Samuel A. Ward (songwriters) “America the Beautiful” (1895)
60. Len Spencer “You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon But You’ve Done Broke Down” (1896)

61. William F. Hooley “Gypsy Love Song” (1899)
62. George Washington Johnson “The Whistling Coon” (1891)
63. Dan Quinn “And Her Golden Hair Was Hanging Down Her Back” (1894)
64. George J. Gaskin “Break the News to Mother” (1898)
65. Manhansett Quartette “The Picture Turned to the Wall” (1892)
66. Russell Hunting “Michael Casey Taking the Census” (1892)
67. Manhansett Quartette “Sally in Our Alley” (1892)
68. Vess Ossman “Yankee Doodle” (new version, 1897)
69. Sousa’s Band “The Washington Post March” (1895)
70. Len Spencer “The Bully (aka ‘Dat New Bully’)” (1895)

71. Sousa’s Band “King Cotton March” (1895)
72. Louise Dresser “Stay in Your Own Backyard” (1899)
73. Dan Quinn “My Mother Was a Lady” (1897)
74. Russell Hunting “Michael Casey at the Telephone” (1892)
75. Cal Stewart “Uncle Josh’s Arrival in New York” (1898)
76. George J. Gaskin “Sweet Marie” (1894)
77. Dan Quinn “Little Lost Child” (1895)
78. Len Spencer “Little Alabama Coon” (1895)
79. Dan Quinn “In the Baggage Coach Ahead” (1896)
80. George J. Gaskin “She May Have Seen Better Days” (1896)

81. Edward M. Favor “My Best Girl’s a New Yorker” (1895)
82. J.W. Myers “Just Tell Them That You Saw Me” (1895)
83. Billy Golden “Bye Bye My Honey” (1898)
84. Cal Stewart “Uncle Josh in Society” (1899)
85. George J. Gaskin “Down in Poverty Row” (1896)
86. Len Spencer “My Gal Is a High-Born Lady” (1897)
87. Len Spencer “Oh Mr. Johnson, Turn Me Loose” (1897)
88. Dan Kelly “Pat Kelly As a Police Justice” (1891)
89. Len Spencer “Little ‘Liza Loves You” (1891)
90. Russell Hunting “Michael Casey As a Physician” (1891)

91. Dan Quinn “She Was Happy Till She Met You” (1898)
92. Dan Quinn “There’s a Little Star Shining for You” (1897)
93. J.W. Myers “Two Little Girls in Blue” (1893)
94. Dan Quinn “My Pearl Is a Bowery Girl” (1894)
95. George J. Gaskin “On the Beaches in the Park” (1896)
96. Dan Quinn “The Bowery” (1893)
97. Steve Porter “She’s More to Be Pitied Than Censured” (1898)
98. George J. Gaskin “Slide Kelly Slide” (1892)
99. Cal Stewart “I’m Old But I’m Awfully Tough (Laughing Song)” (1898)
100. Len Spencer “I Don’t Like No Cheap Man” (1898)

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 7/27/2018; last updated 4/15/2021.


  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.