1. Sentimental Journey – Les Brown with Doris Day
2. It’s Been a Long, Long Time – Harry James with Kitty Kallen
3. Rum and Coca-Cola – Andrews Sisters
4. On The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe – Johnny Mercer
5. Till The End Of Time – Perry Como
6. Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive – Johnny Mercer
7. Don’t Fence Me In – Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters
8. Chickery Chick – Sammy Kaye
9. My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time – Les Brown with Doris Day
10. I Can’t Begin To Tell You – Bing Crosby
11. Opus One – Tommy Dorsey
12. There! I’ve Said It Again – Vaughn Monroe
13. Tampico – Stan Kenton with June Christy
14. Laura – Woody Herman
15. Candy – Jo Stafford
16. Cattle Call – Eddy Arnold
17. It Might As Well Be Spring – Dick Haymes
18. I’m Beginning To See The Light – Harry James
19. There Goes That Song Again – Russ Morgan
20. Temptation – Perry Como
21. It’s Been a Long, Long Time – Bing Crosby with the Les Paul Trio
22. You’ll Never Walk Alone – Frank Sinatra
23. Caldonia – Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five
24. I’ll Buy That Dream – Dick Haymes
25. Dream – Pied Pipers
26. You Belong To My Heart – Bing Crosby & the Xavier Cugat Orchestra
27. A Little on the Lonely Side – Frankie Carle
28. Gotta Be This or That – Benny Goodman
29. Dig You Later – Perry Como
30. Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well – Lucky Millinder
31. The Honeydripper – Joe Liggins and his Honeydrippers
32. Bell Bottom Trousers – Tony Pastor’s Orchestra
33. Somebody’s Gotta Go – Cootie Williams
34. Tippin’ In – Erskine Hawkins
35. I Wonder – Roosevelt Sykes
36. Soliloquy – John Raitt
37. Bijou – Woody Herman
38. Oh! What It Seemed To Be – Frank Sinatra
39. Dream – Frank Sinatra
40. Your Father’s Moustache – Woody Herman
You may notice that the list above doesn’t quite agree with “Top 40” or other lists you’ve seen; that’s because it takes more facts into consideration, along with a few intangibles. For example, Kitty Kallen’s It’s Been A Long, Long Time scores higher on this list than Perry Como’s Till The End of Time, even though Como’s song is one of the all-time “monster” number ones, spending 10 weeks at the top of the charts. It was obviously a bigger song at the time, yet It’s Been A Long, Long Time has come to define the year, if not the entire postwar era. As trends change, as old standards are slotted into new movie soundtracks, this list can and will change with those trends. Each of these annual charts are re-evaluated every 6-8 months. For example, Tampico continues to have remarkable staying power and popularity, and continues to make gains on this list. Many of the songs listed below it outsold Stan Kenton’s tune at the time, but have faded from popularity over the years.
In 1945, as in previous years, Bing Crosby ruled the charts. He was so popular that even hits that weren’t his…became his. It’s Been a Long, Long Time is one such song that best exemplifies this; seldom would “competing” covers of chart toppers also become chart toppers, but Der Bingle managed to do it for a week in December by knocking the Harry James/Kitty Kallen version off the top spot. Crosby’s version — with a memorable guitar by Les Paul — is actually thought to be the “original” by many listeners.
Two singers that would define the word “vocalist” for the next few decades had their first number one hits in 1945. Both were monster hits, although they’ve faded a bit with the passage of time. Working as lead female vocalist for Les Brown and his Band of Renown, Doris Day had her first #1 in early April of 1945 with My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time. That song was knocked out of the top spot by Doris’ second number one — and better remembered — Sentimental Journey, also fronting Les Brown.
The other first #1 was Perry Como’s Til the End of Time. Como had been a mildly popular vocalist with Ted Weems’ orchestra in the 1930s, but was headed back to his barbershop by the early 1940s. In 1942 he was approached to host The Chesterfield Theatre radio program, and by 1945 was a household name when he hit the top of the charts. So when listeners were told that it was Como’s first, they thought it was some sort of mistake. The song was a huge hit at the time, but today it’s questionable whether Como’s Temptation might be just as well remembered…and that song peaked at #15. Whatever the case may be, the singing barber would rack up a total of 14 #1 songs over the next 14 years. Doris Day went on to have nearly that number, but unfortunately is better remembered for her movie career.
The Andrews Sisters Rum and Coca Cola created something of a firestorm in 1945.
It started as a calypso song from Trinidad, commenting on how American sailors drank rum and coke, and then used their American bankrolls to attract (or purchase) the local women. It may not have been the first song to mention a brand name, or drinking, or hint at prostitution. But it was certainly the first to do all three at once, and was banned by a majority of network radio stations.
According to Patty Andrews, “We had a recording date…we had some extra time and we just threw it in, and that was the miracle of it. It was actually a faked arrangement.” Sister Maxine once said, “We never thought of the lyric…it was cute, but we didn’t think of what it meant.”
The banned, cute, faked arrangement became the third-best selling record of the decade.
Sounds of the 1940s Here’s some terrific offerings of music from the 1940s available through Amazon.com. In our featured recommendations below we tend to stick with individual artists, but this link goes to “compilation” type CDs, sort of all-stars of the 1940s records. Please click here if you’d like to look these over.