Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Most-Recorded Songs, 1890-1954: Top 100

Most-Recorded Songs, 1890-1954:

Top 100 Songs

This list comes from Joel Whitburn’s Pop Memories 1890-1954. As it says in the book, “During the pre-rock era, one of the most important indicators of a song’s enduring musical greatness was the number of artists to record it. This list represents the most comprehensive survey ever made of the pre-1955 songs which have been recorded by the most artists (multiple versions by an artist do not count). It encompasses: Edison and Columbia cylinders; all 78s in the extensive collections of the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, and the Syracuse, Stanford and Yale Uniiversity Libraries; and all new Recordaid listings from the 1950s to the present. Songs written before 1955 but most popular later, such as ‘Misty’ and ‘Autumn Leaves,’ are not included. The year published and the songwriters are shown after the title.”

Note: click here to see other genre-specific song lists.

1. “Silent Night” (1818) by Joseph Muhr and Franz Gruber
2. “St. Louis Blues” (1914) by W.C. Handy
3. “Stardust” (1929) by Hoagy Carmichael and Mitchell Parish
4. “Body and Soul” (1930) by Johnny Green, Ed Heyman, Robert Sauer, and Frank Eyton
5. “Summertime” (1935) by George Gershwin and Dubose Heyward
6. “The Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)” (1851) by Stephen Foster
7. “Tea for Two” (1925) by Vincent Youmans and Irving Caesar
8. “White Christmas” (1942) by Irving Berlin
9. “All the Things You Are” (1939) by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II
10. “Night and Day” (1932) by Cole Porter

11. “Begin the Beguine” (1935) by Cole Porter
12. “Danny Boy” (1913) by Fred Weatherly (adapted from “Londonberry Air”)
13. “Sweet Georgia Brown” (1925) by Maceo Pinkard, Keneth Casey, and Ben Bernie
14. “The Man I Love” (1924) by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin
15. “Over the Rainbow” (1939) by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
16. “Caravan” (1937) by Duke Ellington, Juan Tizol, and Irving Mills
17. “After You’ve Gone” (1918) by Turner Layton and Harry Creamer
18. “Yesterdays” (1933) by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach
19. “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (1929) by Fats Waller, Harry Brooks, and Andy Razaf
20. “Lover, Come Back to Me” (1928) by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II

21. “What Is This Thing Called Love?” (1930) by Cole Porter
22. “I Can’t Get Started” (1936) by Vernon Duke and Ira Gershwin
23. “Jingle Bells” (1857) by J.S. Pierpont
24. “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” (1928) by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields
25. “My Old Kentucky Home” (1853) by Stephen Foster
26. “When the Saints Go Marching In” (1896) by James Black and Katharine Purvis
27. “Tenderly” (1947) by Walter Gross and Jack Lawrence
28. “Blue Skies” (1927) by Irving Berlin
29. “September Song” (1938) by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson
30. “My Blue Heaven” (1927) by Walter Donaldson and George Whiting

31. “Always” (1925) by Irving Berlin
32. “Tiger Rag” (1917) by Harry DeCosta and Original Dixieland Jazz Band
33. “The Rosary” (1898) by Ethelbert Nevins and Robert Cameron Rogers
34. “Home, Sweet Home” (1823) by Henry Bishop and John Howard Payne
35. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (1933) by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach
36. “These Foolish Things Remind Me of You” (1936) by Jack Strachey, Harry Link, and Holt Marvell
37. “Ol’ Man River” (1928) by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II
38. “Limehouse Blues” (1924) by Philip Braham and Douglas Furber
39. “Sheik of Araby” (1923) by Ted Snyder, Harry B. Smith, and Francis Wheeler
40. “Embraceable You” (1930) by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin

41. “My Funny Valentine” (1937) by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
42. “Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin' All the Time)” (1933) by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler
43. “Twelfth Street Rag” (1914) by Euday L. Bowman
44. “Blue Moon” (1935) by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
45. “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” (1863) by Julia Ward Howe and William Steffe
46. “My Melancholy Baby” (1913) by Ernie Burnett and George Norton
47. “I Got Rhythm” (1930) by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin
48. “Honeysuckle Rose” (1929) by Fats Waller and Anzy Razaf
49. “Love’s Old Sweet Song” (1884) by G. Clifton Bingham and James Mulloy
50. “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (1896) by John Philip Sousa

51. “Where or When” (1937) by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
52. “Laura” (1945) by David Raskin and Johnny Mercer
53. “Mood Indigo” (1931) by Duke Ellington, Barney Bigard, and Irving Mills
54. “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” (1946) by Mel Torme and Robert Wells
55. “Love for Sale” (1930) by Cole Porter
56. “Georgia on My Mind” (1930) by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell
57. “San Antonio Rose” (1938) by Bob Wills
58. “How High the Moon” (1940) by Morgan Lewis and Nancy Hamilton
59. “Someone to Watch Over Me” (1926) by George Gershwin and Ira Gerswhin
60. “I Only Have Eyes for You” (1934) by Harry Warren and Al Dublin

61. “Sweet Sue, Just You” (1928) by Victor Young and Will Harris
62. “The Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1917) by Shelton Brooks
63. “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (1930) by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields
64. “Silver Threads Among the Gold” (1877) by Hart P. Danks and Eben Rexford
65. “I’m in the Mood for Love” (1935) by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields
66. “Deep Purple” (1933) by Peter DeRose and Mitchell Parish
67. “Sometimes I’m Happy” (1925) by Vincent Youmans and Irving Caesar
68. “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” (1934) by Cole Porter
69. “The Star-Spangled Banner” (1814) by Francis Scott Key
70. “Easy to Love” (1936) by Cole Porter

71. “Avalon” (1921) by B.G. DeSylva, Vincent Rose, and Al Jolson
72. “Willow Weep for Me” (1932) by Ann Ronell
73. “Dinah” (1925) by Harry Akst, Sam Lewis, and Joe Young
74. “Moonglow” (1934) by Will Hudson, Eddie DeLange, and Irving Mills
75. “Auld Lang Syne” (1711) adapted by Robert Burns
76. “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” (1879) by James A. Bland
77. “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1911) by Irving Berlin
78. “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” (1934) by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie
79. “Basin Street Blues” (1929) by Spencer Williams
80. “Sweet Lorraine” (1935) by Clifford Burwell and Mitchell Parish

81. “I’ll Remember April” (1942) by Don Raye, Gene DePaul, and Patricia Johnston
82. “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1949) by Johnny Marks
83. “Solitude” (1934) by Duke Ellington
84. “Some of These Days” (1910) by Shelton Brooks
85. “Stella by Starlight” (1947) by Victor Young and Ned Washington
86. “Maple Leaf Rag” (1899) by Scott Joplin
87. “Lover” (1933) by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
88. “The Way You Look Tonight” (1936) by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields
89. “Pennies from Heaven” (1936) by Arthur Johnston and John Burke
90. “Dancing in the Dark” (1931) by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz

91. “Indiana” (1917) by James Hanley and Ballad MacDonald
92. “April in Paris” (1932) by Vernon Duke
93. “As Time Goes By” (1931) by Herman Hupfield
94. “Royal Garden Blues” (1923) by Spencer Williams and Clarence Williams
95. “The Very Thought of You” (1934) by Ray Noble
96. “Lover Man” (1942) by Jimmy Davis, Roger Ramirez, and Jimmy Sherman
97. “Round Midnight” (1947) by Thelonious Monk and Cootie Williams
98. “Perdido” (1942) by Juan Tizol, Ervin Drake, and Hans Lengsfelder
99. “All of Me” (1931) by Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks
100. “What’s New?” (1939) by Johnny Burke and Robert Haggart

Resources and Related Links:
  • Dave’s Music Database: “Other Genre/Category Song Lists
  • Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Pages 632-33.

First posted 1/24/2020; last updated 4/13/2021.

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