Thursday, January 31, 2019

Ben Selvin hit #1 with “Dardanella” for first of 13 weeks (1/31/1920)

First posted 1/24/2013; updated 1/24/2020.


Ben Selvin

Writer(s): Johnny S. Black (m)/ Felix Bernard (m)/ Fred Fisher (l) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: January 24, 1920

Peak: 113 US, 11 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 8.5 (includes 2.0 in sheet music)

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



Ben Selvin (1898-1980) launched himself as a professional musician at age 15 playing fiddle in New York City nightclubs. SB Over his career, his 2000+ recordings rank him above any other bandleader. PM-379 The Guinness Book of World Records estimates his output as high as 20,000 song titles, giving him the distinction of having recorded more musical sides on 78-rpm discs than any other person. WK Part of his prolific output was due to him recording for dozens of different labels at a time when the industry was at high growth. WK

His bands featured such famous sidemen as Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman AMG and vocalists like Ruth Etting, Ethel Waters, and Kate Smith. AMG In addition to working as a musician and bandleader, Selvin was an innovator and record producer. WK

He had his first chart hit, the #1 “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles,” in 1919 when he was still just a teenager. His biggest hit, an instrumental version of “Dardanella,” came the following year. Its continuous bass line helps it stand out. JA-44 As the first song to sell over 5 million copies PM--631 it became the biggest hit of 1920, WHC-35 one of the ten best sellers of the first half of the 20th century, PM-631 and the biggest-selling song in the first quarter-century of recorded music. SB

Prince’s Orchestra, Harry Raderman’s Jazz Orchestra, and the duet of Henry Burr and Albert Campbell all charted with the song in 1920 as well. PM-490 It was revived in 1949’s Oh, You Beautiful Doll, a biopic about the song’s lyricist, Fred Fisher. JA-44

Resources and Related Links:

  • Ben Selvin’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • AMG All Music Guide
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 44.
  • SB
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Pages 379, 490, and 631.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 35.
  • WK

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Dave’s Music Database Hall of Fame: Song Inductees (January 2019)

Originally posted 1/22/2019.

January 22, 2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of the DMDB blog! To honor that, Dave’s Music Database announces its own Hall of Fame! The first dozen inductees are the top songs of each decade from 1900-2010.

Billy Murray “You’re a Grand Old Flag (aka ‘The Grand Old Rag’)” (1906)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

“Perhaps no other American popular song composer did more to popularize the patriotic song than George M. Cohan.” PS “Grand Old Flag” became the first song from a musical (George Washington, Jr.) to sell more than a million copies. SB The Songwriters Hall of Fame gave the song its Towering Song Award and the version by Billy Murray, who has been called “the definitive interpreter of Cohan on record,” SS has been inducted into the National Recording Registry. Read more.

Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1911)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

This has been called the first ragtime song DS and “the song that most changed the direction of American popular music.” RCG It was the first big hit for Irving Berlin, LW who was “one of the great architects of popular music in the 20th century.” LW Eleven versions charted from 1911 to 1947, with the most successful being the duet by the comedy singing team of Collins & Harlan. Their version spent 10 weeks at #1 and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Read more.

Gene Austin “My Blue Heaven” (1927)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

The song was introduced in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1927 by Eddie Cantor. JA It charted multiple times, including a #5 R&B hit from Fats Domino in 1956. However, Austin, whose tenor voice has been credited as the onset of the crooner revolution, DS had the biggest version with a five-million seller that was one of the ten best sellers of the first half of the century PM-631 and the second biggest non-holiday record seller of the pre-1955 era. PM His version was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Read more.

Judy Garland “Over the Rainbow” (1939)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

There are few songs more associated with a movie more than “Over the Rainbow” is with The Wizard of Oz and then-sixteen-year-old Judy Garland’s performance of it. Surprisingly, Garland’s version was neither the first nor most successful to chart, but hers “became the most famous and beloved.” JA The Oscar-winning tune topped the American Film Institute’s list of movie songs and was named the top song of the 20th century by the RIAA. Read more.

Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers “White Christmas” (1942)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

“White Christmas” doesn’t just top the DMDB’s list of Christmas songs, but the list of top songs all time, thanks largely to its 56 million in sales, making it the biggest seller of all time. Irving Berlin wrote the Oscar-winning song for the film Holiday Inn. He was often insecure about his work, but referred to “White Christmas” not just as the best one he’d ever written, but the best anyone had ever written. LW Read more.

Bill Haley & His Comets “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” (1954)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

The blues number “My Daddy Rocks Me with a Steady Roll” was reworked in 1953 as “Rock Around the Clock” by Sonny Dae & His Knights and then Haley covered it in 1954. SJ When Haley’s version was featured in the movie The Blackboard Jungle, its rioting teen audience trumpeted it as their theme for alienation and hostility. SJ As the first rock song to top the Billboard charts and the best-selling rock record of all time, KL “Clock” is generally regarded as the place keeper that separates the pre-rock era from the rock era. Read more.

The Beatles “Hey Jude” (1968)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

As the first single from the Beatles’ new Apple Records label, “Hey Jude” was history’s highest debut (at #10) on the U.S. charts at that time. BR1 It became the best-selling single of the sixties and the Beatles’ biggest U.S. hit. At over seven minutes, “Hey Jude” was the longest single ever released. SF This made producer George Martin wary that radio wouldn’t play it, to which John Lennon cheekily retorted, “They will if it’s us.” RS500 Read more.

John Lennon “Imagine” (1971)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

John Lennon considered “Imagine” to rate as high as anything he wrote with the Beatles. RS500 His “musical gift to the world” RS500 was a statement of what, as his wife Yoko Ono said, “John believed – that we are all one country, one world, one people.” RS500 The song peaked at #3 in the U.S. in 1971, but took four more years to hit in Lennon’s native England, reaching #6. It topped the UK charts after Lennon’s murder in 1980. Read more.

The Police “Every Breath You Take” (1983)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

If there was an award for misunderstood songs, “Every Breath You Take” would strongly contend for the prize. Police drummer Stewart Copeland explains, “People often choose their wedding song. They think it’s a cheerful song. In’s a very dark song.’” KL Sting, the band’s primary singer and songwriter, told Rolling Stone that it is “a fairly nasty song…about surveillance and ownership and jealousy.” BR1 It was memorably sampled in “I’ll Be Missing You,” the chart-topping 1997 tribute to slain rapper the Notorious B.I.G. helmed by Puff Daddy. Read more.

Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” (1992)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

Dolly Parton’s original version was a #1 country song in 1974 and 1982. In 1992, Whitney Houston re-recorded the song for the soundtrack for The Bodyguard and it arguably became the biggest pop song of all time. Its 14 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 made it the biggest song in that chart’s history (although three songs have since passed it). Whitney also hit #1 with the song hit on the UK charts, Cashbox, and Billboard’s pop, R&B, and adult contemporary charts. Read more.

OutKast “Hey Ya!” (2003)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

The song’s rallying call for every demographic to flood the dance floor makes it, as Consequence of Sound said, “the decade’s ‘Teen Spirit,’ man.” CS said, “you could see yourself partying to in college just as easily as you could watch your parents sweat to it in spin class.” PE “‘Hey Ya’ exemplified something very few tunes of the time had; a sense of fun.” PE Its merge of genres suggested “the walls between rock and R&B and hip-hop were about to topple.” PE Read more.

Adele “Rolling in the Deep” (2010)

Inducted January 2019 as a “Song of the Decade.”

Barry Walters of Rolling Stone commends “Rolling in the Deep” for its “British knack for rejiggering the sound of American roots music” WK while All Music Guide’s Matt Collar calls it a “propulsive gospel fever-blues anthem” AMG and “one of the best singles of any decade.” AMG Billboard said it was the biggest crossover tune from the last quarter century, with appearances on a dozen different charts. SF The song hit #1 in eleven countries and won Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Read more.

Journey etc.: Top 50 Songs

First posted 1/22/2013; updated 1/11/2020.


Journey, left to right: Jonathan Cain, Ross Vallory, Neal Schon, Steve Perry, and Steve Smith; image from

Rock group formed in San Francisco, California (1973-86, 1996, 2001-). Members: Neal Schon (g: 73-86, 96-), Gregg Rolie (v/k: 73-81), Ross Valory (b: 73-83, 96, 08-), Aynsley Dunbar (d: 73-79), George Tickner (g: 73-75), Steve Perry (v: 78-86, 96), Steve Smith (d: 79-83, 96), Jonathan Cain (k: 81-86, 96-), Randy Jackson (b: 86), Michael Baird (d: 86), Steve Augeri (v: 98-06), Deen Castronovo (d: 98-15), Jeff Scott Soto (v: 06-07), Arnel Pineda (v: 07-).

Schon and Rolie had been in Santana together. Schon, Cain, and Castronovo later formed Bad English 87-91). Rolie, Valory, and Smith were in The Storm (91-92). Schon and Castronovo worked in Hardline (92) together.


Top 50 Songs

Dave’s Music Database lists are determined by song’s appearances on best-of lists as well as chart success, sales, radio airplay, streaming, and awards. In addition to Journey songs, this list includes Steve Perry solo material, Bad English, and the Storm. Songs which hit #1 on various charts are noted. (Click for codes to singles charts.)

DMDB Top 1%:

1. Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)

DMDB Top 5%:

2. Open Arms (1981)
3. Who’s Crying Now? (1981)
4. Faithfully (1983)
5. When I See You Smile (Bad English, 1989)

DMDB Top 10%:

6. Anyway You Want It (1980)
7. Lights (1978)
8. Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ (1979)
9. Oh Sherrie (Steve Perry, 1984)
10. You Better Wait (Steve Perry, 1994)
11. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) (1983)
12. Wheel in the Sky (1978)

DMDB Top 20%:

13. Still They Ride (1981)
14. Anytime (1978)
15. When You Love a Woman (1996)
16. Only the Young (1985)
17. Feeling That Way (1978)
18. I’ll Be Alright without You (1986)
19. The Party’s Over (Hopelessly in Love) (1981)
20. Be Good to Yourself (1986)

21. She’s Mine (Steve Perry, 1984)
22. Don’t Fight It (Steve Perry with Kenny Loggins, 1982)
23. Strung Out (Steve Perry, 1984)
24. After the Fall (1983)
25. Foolish Heart (Steve Perry, 1984)
26. Send Her My Love (1983)
27. Walks Like a Lady (1980)
28. The Price of Love (Bad English, 1989)
29. Girl Can’t Help It (1986)
30. Just the Same Way (1979)

31. Stay Awhile (1980)
32. Good Morning Girl (1980)
33. Suzanne (1986)
34. I’ve Got a Lot to Learn About Love (The Storm, 1991)
35. Forget Me Not (Bad English, 1989)
36. Too Late (1979)
37. Ask the Lonely (1983)
38. Possession (Bad English, 1989)
39. Why Can’t This Night Go on Forever (1986)

Beyond the DMDB Top 20%:

40. Stone in Love (1981)
41. Straight to Your Heart (Bad English, 1991)
42. Dixie Highway (live, 1981)
43. Heaven Is a 4 Letter Word (Bad English, 1989)
44. Natural Thing (1981)
45. Only Solutions (1982)
46. Message of Love (1996)
47. I Believe (Steve Perry, 1984)
48. Raised on Radio (1986)
49. City of the Angels (1979)
50. Mother, Father (1981)

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Dolly Parton: Top 100 Songs

First posted 6/2/2019; updated 1/11/2020.

Dolly Parton

Image from

Country singer/songwriter born on 1/19/1946 in Sevier County, Tennessee. She has charted more than 100 times on the country chart, making her the top female country artist of all time. One of the few people to receive Oscar, Grammy Tony, and Emmy nominations.

By age 10, she was performing on local radio and television programs. She recorded her first single at age 13. Moved to Nashville the day after her high school graduation in 1964. Started out co-writing songs with her uncle, Bill Owens. Signed with Monument Records in 1965. Replaced Norma Jean on The Porter Wagoner Show in 1967; she and Wagoner regularly worked as a duo from 1967-76 while also working solo. Joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1969. Starred in the movies 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias, Rhinestone, and Straight Talk.

Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” is featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era 1954-1999.


Top 100 Songs

Dave’s Music Database lists are determined by song’s appearances on best-of lists as well as chart success, sales, radio airplay, streaming, and awards. Songs which hit #1 on various charts are noted. (Click for codes to singles charts.)

DMDB Top 1%:

1. 9 to 5 (1980) #1 US,CW,AC

DMDB Top 5%:

2. Islands in the Stream (w/ KR, 1983) #1 US,CW,AC
3. Here You Come Again (1977) #1 CW

DMDB Top 10%:

4. I Will Always Love You (1974) #1 CW
5. Jolene (1973) #1 CW
6. I Will Always Love You (rerecording, 1982) #1 CW

DMDB Top 20%:

7. Coat of Many Colors (1971)
8. But You Know I Love You (1980) #1 CW

Beyond the DMDB Top 20%:

9. Heartbreaker (1978) #1 CW
10. Winter Wonderland/Sleigh Ride (1984)

11. Starting Over Again (1980) #1 CW
12. You’re the Only One (1979) #1 CW
13. Baby, It’s Cold Outside (w/ Rod Stewart, 2004)
14. Baby, I’m Burnin’ (1978)
15. Save the Last Dance for Me (1983)
16. Two Doors Down (1977)
17. The Bargain Store (1975) #1 CW
18. Love Is Like a Butterfly (1974) #1 CW
19. Romeo (w/ Billy Ray Cyrus, Tanya Tucker, Kathy Mattea, & Mary Chapin Carpenter, 1993)
20. When I Get Where I’m Going (w/ Brad Paisley, 2005) #1 CW

21. Joshua (1970) #1 CW
22. Sweet Summer Lovin’ (1979)
23. Real Love (w/ KR, 1985) #1 CW
24. It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right (1977) #1 CW
25. Please Don’t Stop Loving Me (w/ PW, 1974) #1 CW
26. The House of the Rising Sun (1980)
27. Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You (1980) #1 CW
28. Don’t Call It Love (1985)
29. Everything’s Beautiful in Its Own Way (w/ Willie Nelson, 1982)
30. My Tennessee Mountain Home (1973)

31. I Really Got the Feeling (1978) #1 CW
32. Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel No. 8) (1970)
33. Downtown (1984)
34. Tennessee Homesick Blues (1984) #1 CW
35. Just Because I’m a Woman (1968)
36. The Last Thing on My Mind (w/ PW, 1967)
37. We’ll Get Ahead Someday (w/ PW, 1968)
38. To Know Him Is to Love Him (w/ Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris, 1987) #1 CW
39. Touch Your Woman (1972)
40. Dumb Blonde (1967)

41. Holdin’ on to Nothin’ (w/ PW, 1968)
42. Just Someone I Used to Know (w/ PW, 1969)
43. In the Good Old Days When Times Were Bad (1968)
44. Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man (w/ PW, 1970)
45. Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That (1989) #1 CW
46. Light of a Clear Blue Morning (1977)
47. Tomorrow Is Forever (w/ PW, 1970)
48. Better Move It on Home (w/ PW, 1971)
49. Puppy Love (1959)
50. Telling Me Lies (w/ Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris, 1987)

51. Lost Forever in Your Kiss (w/ PW, 1972)
52. The Seeker (1975)
53. Yours Love (w/ PW, 1969)
54. Something Fishy (1967)
55. The Greatest Gift of All (w/ KR, 1984)
56. All I Can Do (1976)
57. Traveling Man (1971)
58. We Used To (1975)
59. If Teardrops Were Pennies (w/ PW, 1973)
60. My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy (1969)

61. Burning the Midnight Oil (w/ PW, 1971)
62. My Blue Tears (1971)
63. Together Always (w/ PW, 1972)
64. Heartbreak Express (1982)
65. Think About Love (1985) #1 CW
66. Always, Always (w/ PW, 1969)
67. Comin’ for to Carry Me Home (1971)
68. Daddy, Come and Get Me (1970)
69. Rockin’ Years (w/ Ricky Van Shelton, 1991) #1 CW
70. Is Forever Longer Than Always (w/ PW, 1976)

71. Jeannie’s Afraid of the Dark (w/ PW, 1968)
72. The Right Combination (w/ PW, 1971)
73. Say Forever You’ll Be Mine (w/ PW, 1975)
74. Single Women (1982)
75. Yellow Roses (1989) #1 CW
76. Making Plans (w/ PW, 1980)
77. Daddy (1969)
78. Washday Blues (1972)
79. I Will Always Love You (w/ Vince Gill, 1995)
80. God Won’t Get You (1984)

81. In the Ghetto (1969)
82. If You Go, I’ll Follow You (w/ PW, 1980)
83. Hard Candy Christmas (1982)
84. Jolene (w/ Mindy Smith, 2004)
85. Potential New Boyfriend (1983)
86. Hey Lucky Lady (1976)
87. We Found It (w/ PW, 1973)
88. The River Unbroken (1987)
89. Those Memories of You (w/ Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris, 1987)
90. Wildflowers (w/ Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris, 1987)

91. Tie Our Love in a Double Knot (1985)
92. Silver and Gold (1991)
93. I Know You by Heart (w/ Smokey Robinson, 1987)
94. Girl Left Alone (1959)
95. We Had It All (1986)
96. Time for Me to Fly (1989)
97. Love Is Strange (w/ KR, 1990)
98. Straight Talk (1992)
99. It’s Sure Gonna Hurt (1962)
100. The Love You Gave (1962)

Resources and Related Links:

Friday, January 18, 2019

50 years ago: Dusty Springfield released Dusty in Memphis

First posted 4/8/2008; updated 12/1/2020.

Dusty in Memphis

Dusty Springfield

Released: January 18, 1969

Charted: March 15, 1969

Peak: 99 US

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: blue-eyed soul


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Just a Little Lovin’ (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) [2:19]
  2. So Much Love (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) [3:33]
  3. Son of a Preacher Man (John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins) [2:28] (11/30/68, 10 US, 9 UK)
  4. I Don’t Want to Hear It Anymore (Randy Newman) [3:12]
  5. Don’t Forget about Me (Goffin, King) [2:54] (3/1/69, 64 US)
  6. Breakfast in Bed (Eddie Hinton, Donnie Fritts) [2:59] (4/12/69, 91 US)
  7. Just One Smile (Newman) [2:44]
  8. The Windmills of Your Mind (Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Michel Legrand) [3:54] (5/3/69, 31 US, 3 AC)
  9. In the Land of Make Believe (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) [2:34] (10/4/69, 27 AC)
  10. No Easy Way Down (Goffin, King) [3:11]
  11. I Can’t Make It Alone (Goffin, King) [4:01]

Total Running Time: 33:31


3.807 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)

Quotable: “The All-time rock-era torch record” – Robert Christgau

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“The idea of taking England’s reigning female soul queen to the home of the music she had mastered was an inspired one.” RW That “home” was specifically the American Sound Studio in Memphis where Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and others had recorded. Although she’d self-produced her earlier albums, she went with outside producers this time around using Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd, and Arif Mardin to create what critic Robert Christgau called “the perfect instance of how a production team should work.” WK

Springfield had “very real anxiety about being compared with the soul greatest who had recorded in the same studios.” WK She had recorded R&B songs before, but this was the first time she committed to an entire album’s worth. WK The “production and engineering team picked mostly perfect songs, and those that weren’t so great were salvaged by Springfield’s marvelous delivery and technique.” RW

She was backed by the house band, the Memphis Cats, who had worked with Elvis Presley, Wilson Pickett, and King Curtis. She covered songs written by the famed writing teams of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David. “This set has definitive numbers in So Much Love, Son of a Preacher Man, Breakfast in Bed, Just One Smile, I Don't Want to Hear About It Anymore, and Just a Little Lovin'.” RW

The album didn’t perform well initially, peaking at #99 in the US and failing to reach the UK top 40. Music journalist Peter Robinson said the album stalled Springfield’s career, but eventually became “a popcultural milestone [and] timeless emotional reference point.” WK Entertainment Weekly’s Tony Scherman called it “one of the greatest pop records ever recorded.” WK Christgau called it “the all-time rock-era torch record.” WK “It’s truly a disc deserving of its classic status.” RW

Notes: A reissue added three bonus tracks including a cover of Willie and Laura Mae Jones’ That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho) and an unreleased version of What Do You Do When Love Dies from the original Memphis sessions.

A 25-song Rhino reissue included those three songs as well as “songs left over from sessions for the unfairly underrated Gamble- and Huff-produced Brand New Me album, and the unissued 1971 Jeff Barry-produced sides for a never-released third Atlantic album.” BE Also featured are “covers of David Gates' Make It with You and Carole King’s You’ve Got a Friend, the gospel-flavored Love Shine Down, and the hard-rocking Natchez Trace.” BE

Resources and Related Links: