Monday, October 2, 2023

Vaudeville: Top 100 Songs


Top 100 Songs

Vaudeville was a theatrical genre which emerged in France at the end of the 19th century. They were generally comedies interspersed with songs. The format was popular in the United States from the early 1880s through the early 1930s, but became more of a series of separate acts grouped together on a bill. They could be comprised of singers, dancers, comedians, one-act plays, and circus acts.

This effort to put together a list of the top vaudeville songs of all time is based on only a handful of sources (see the bottom of the page). As such, someone with actual expertise on vaudeville may quibble with songs on this list and I welcome their input and hope they can turn me on to more sources. As it is, I took the songs referenced in the sources below and listed them here based on their overall status in Dave’s Music Database.

It should be noted that the versions listed here which ever ranked highest in Dave’s Music Database although many of these songs were introduced on vaudeville by different performers than those who had hit recordings with them.

Click here to see other genre-specific song lists.

1. Arthur Collins with Bryon G. Harlan “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1911)
2. Al Jolson “Swanee” (1920)
3. Billy Murray & the Haydn Quartet “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1908)
4. Billy Murray “You’re a Grand Old Flag (aka “The Grand Old Rag”)” (1906)
5. Al Jolson “April Showers” (1922)
6. Haydn Quartet “Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of My Heart)” (1904)
7. Billy Murray “Give My Regards to Broadway” (1905)
8. American Quartet “Moonlight Bay” (1912)
9. Harry MacDonough with Elise Stevenson (as Miss Walton) “Shine on, Harvest Moon” (1909)
10. Billy Murray with the Haydn Quartet “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” (1910)

11. Arthur Collins “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home” (1902)
12. Billy Murray “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis” (1904)
13. Bryon G. Harlan “School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids)” (1907)
14. Sophie Tucker “Some of These Days” (1911)
15. Marion Harris “After You’ve Gone” (1919)
16. Billy Murray “Yankee Doodle Boy” (1905)
17. Arthur Collins with Bryon G. Harlan “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1918)
18. Al Jolson “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody” (1918)
19. American Quartet with Billy Murray “Casey Jones” (1910)
20. Bryon G. Harlan “My Gal Sal” (1907)

21. Harry MacDonough “Down by the Old Mill Stream” (1911)
22. Henry Burr “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now” (1909)
23. Bryon G. Harlan “Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie” (1906)
24. Haydn Quartet “Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet” (1909)
25. George J. Gaskin “After the Ball” (1893)
26. Van & Schenk “For Me and My Gal” (1917)
27. Gene Austin “My Melancholy Baby” (1928)
28. Gene Austin “Bye Bye Blackbird” (1926)
29. Henry Burr (as Irving Gillette) “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree” (1905)
30. Louis Armstrong “All of Me” (1932)

31. Billy Jones “Yes! We Have No Bananas” (1923)
32. Knickerbocker Quartet “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile” (1917)
33. Heidelberg Quintet “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee” (1912)
34. Prince’s Orchestra “Ballin’ the Jack” (1914)
35. Peerless Quartet “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier” (1915)
36. Eddie Cantor “If You Knew Susie Like I Knew Susie” (1925)
37. Paul Whiteman “My Mammy” (1921)
38. Heidelberg Quintet “By the Beautiful Sea” (1914)
39. Wendell Hall “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo’” (1924)
40. Charles Harrison “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” (1918)

41. Paul Whiteman “The Japanese Sandman” (1920)
42. Victor Military Band “Poor Butterfly” (1917)
43. John Steel “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody” (1919)
44. Bert Williams “Nobody” (1906)
45. J.W. Myers “On a Sunday Afternoon” (1902)
46. Ada Jones with Billy Murray & the American Quartet “Come, Josephine, in My Flying Machine” (1911)
47. Henry Burr “M-O-T-H-E-R (A Word That Means the World to Me)” (1916)
48. Arthur Collins “Hello Ma Baby” (1899)
49. Henry Burr “My Buddy” (1922)
50. Elsie Baker (aka “Edna Brown”) “I Love You Truly” (1912)

51. Fanny Brice with the Rosario Bourdon Orchestra “My Man (Mon Homme)” (1922)
52. Jan Garber with Benny Davis “Baby Face” (1926)
53. Ray Miller “The Sheik of Araby” (1921)
54. Ted Lewis “All by Myself” (1921)
55. Ted Lewis “When My Baby Smiles at Me” (1920)
56. Arthur Collins & Bryon G. Harlan “Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey (I Never Knew Any Girl Like You)” (1911)
57. Paul Whiteman “Wang Wang Blues” (1920)
58. Billy Murray “Pretty Baby” (1916)
59. Ed Gallagher & Al Shean “Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Shean” (1922)
60. Fanny Brice with the Rosario Bourdon Orchestra “Second Hand Rose” (1922)

61. Arthur Collins “Under the Bamboo Tree” (1902)
62. Nora Bayes “How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm After They’ve Seen Paree?” (1919)
63. Arthur Collins & Bryon G. Harlan “Down Where the Wurzburger Flows” (1919)
64. Bob Roberts “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” (1912)
65. Charles Harrison “I’ll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time” (1920)
66. Paul Whiteman with the Rhythm Boys “Side by Side” (1927)
67. Richard Jose “Silver Threads Among the Gold” (1904)
68. Bryon G. Harlan & Frank Stanley “Blue Bell” (1904)
69. Benny Krueger “I Cried for You” (1923)
70. Prince’s Orchestra “The Memphis Blues” (1914)

71. Paul Whiteman “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” (1923)
72. Peerless Quartet “I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl Who Married Dear Old Dad” (1911)
73. George Alexander “Mighty Like a Rose (aka “Mighty Lak a Rose”)” (1903)
74. Peerless Quartet “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” (1922)
75. Ben Pollack & Franklyn Baur “Sweet Sue, Just You” (1928)
76. Bert Williams “Play That Barber-Shop Chord” (1910)
77. Henry Burr & Arthur Campbell “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine” (1913)
78. Paul Whiteman “Linger Awhile” (1924)
79. Harry MacDonough “The Mansion of Aching Hearts” (1902)
80. Billy Murray “Come Take a Trip in My Air Ship” (1905)

81. Len Spencer “Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay” (1892)
82. Ada Jones “Row Row Row!” (1913)
83. Paul Whiteman with Jack Fulton “In a Little Spanish Town (‘Twas on a Night Like This)” (1927)
84. Arthur Collins “Any Rags?” (1903)
85. Harry MacDonough “Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder” (1901)
86. Red Nichols “Ida! Sweet As Apple Cider” (1927)
87. American Quartet “When You Wore a Tulip and I Wore a Big Red Rose” (1914)
88. Cecil Fanning “A Perfect Day” (1911)
89. Sophie Tucker “I Ain’t Got Nobody” (1927)
90. Bert Williams “He’s a Cousin of Mine” (1907)

91. Henry Burr “I’m Sorry I Made You Cry” (1918)
92. American Quartet “Chinatown, My Chinatown” (1915)
93. Frank Stanley & Elise Stevenson “Good Evening, Caroline” (1909)
94. Blossom Seely “Alabamy Bound” (1925)
95. Peerless Quartet “If I Had My Way (I’d Live Among the Gypsies)” (1914)
96. Billy Murray “Under the Anheuser Busch” (1904)
97. McKinney’s Cotton Pickers with George Thomas “If I Could Be with You One Hour Tonight” (1930)
98. Bessie Smith “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home” (1923)
99. John McCormack “Moonlight and Roses” (1925)
100. Arthur Fields “Ja Da (Ja Da, Ja Da, Jing Jing Jing)” (1919)

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 4/3/2021; last updated 10/2/2023.


  1. Hi Dave, great list! For number 30 ("All of Me") which version of the song makes the list?

    1. Oops! Thanks for the catch, Nate. It should be Louis Armstrong's 1932 version. I've corrected it in the list.