Saturday, June 1, 2019

100 years ago: “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” hit #1

I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles

Henry Burr & Albert Campbell

Writer(s): Jean Kenbrovin, John William Kellette (see lyrics here)

First Charted: May 17, 1919

Peak: 12 US, 116 GA (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.5 in sheet music

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

I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles

Ben Selvin

First Charted: June 1, 1919

Peak: 14 US, 116 GA, 114 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 (2.5 in sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.05 video, -- streaming

Awards (Cambbell/Burr):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Selvin):

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” was written by James Kendis, James Brockman, and Nat Vincent. All were under contract to other publishers so they dreamed up the collective pseudonyms of John Kellette and Jean Kenbrovin. Their song about dreaming SM was introduced in the revue The Passing Show of 1918 by June Caprice, DJ although other sources say it was Helen Carrington. TY2

Four versions o the song charted in 1919 – Henry Burr & Albert Campbell (#1), Ben Selvin (#1), Charles Hart (#7), and Helen Clark & George Wilton Ballard (#10). PM The song was used in the films Stella Dallas (1934), Men with Wings (1938), and On Moonlight Bay (1951). TY2 Gordon Jenkins & Artie Shaw charted with the song again in 1950, reaching #10. PM

Burr & Campbell were the first to chart with the song, a vocal version. After the versions by Hart and Clark, Selvin’s instrumental version became the most successful version. Selvin was born in New York City in 1898 and, while still in his teens, formed a dance orchestra. He named it Selvin’s Novelty Orchestra because purely instrumental orchestras, especially led by such a young man, were a rarity at the time. SM Their performance of “Bubbles” “especially the chorus, was led by the reeds and the verses were played by the strings and a warbling glockenspiel.” SM

Sports journalist Ring Lardner wrote a new set of lyrics in the wake of the 1919 World Series scandal in which the Chicago White Sox deliberately lost to the Cincinnati Reds. He wrote, “I’m forever blowing ballgames / Pretty ballgames in the air / I come from Chi / I hardly try / Just go to bat and fade and die / Fortune’s coming my way / That’s why I don’t care / I’m forever blowing ballgames / And the gamblers treat us fair.” SM


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First posted 3/26/2023.

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