Friday, December 14, 2018

100 years ago: “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” hit #1

I’m Always Chasing Rainbows

Charles Harrison

Writer(s): Frederick Chopin (music), Harry Carroll (music), Joseph McCarthy (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: November 8, 1918

Peak: 15 US, 3 GA, 12 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.17 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Harry Carroll adapted the music from the melody of Frédéric Chopin’s “Fantaisie Impromptu in C sharp minor.” It was “one of the first instances of a popular song being lifted from a famous classical composition.” TY2 Joseph McCarthy added lyrics “about things always going wrong.” SM The singer has tried to find happiness, but says “my dreams have all been denied.” He then asks, “Why have I always been a failure / What can the reason be? / I wonder if the world’s to blame / I wonder if it could be me?” TY2

The song was introduced in the Broadway show Oh Look, SM sung by vaudeville dancer, actor, and comedian Harry Fox DJ and the identical twins Rose and Jenny – known as the Dolly Sisters. SM

The version that reached #1 on the charts, however, was by Charles Harrison. His was one of four versions to chart in 1918. The others were by Fox (#5), Prince’s Orchestra (#6), and Sam Ash (#9). PM The song was also featured in the movie musicals Ziegfeld Girl (1941), sung by Judy Garland, The Merry Monahans (1944), and The Dolly Sisters (1945).

The latter version was sung by Betty Grable and revived interest in the song, leading to three more chart versions in 1945-46 by Perry Como (#5), Helen Forrest & Dick Haymes (#7), and Harry James’ Orchestra with Erno Rapee on vocals (#9). PM Other versions have been recorded by Julie Andrews, Tony Bennett, Henry Burr, Diahann Carroll, Petula Clark, Alice Cooper, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Benny Goodman, Al Jolson, Liberace, Guy Lombardo, Harry Nilsson, Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, and Barbra Streisand. WK


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First posted 3/20/2023.

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