Popular Songs 1941

1. Frenesi - Artie Shaw
2. Amapola - Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra w/Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly
3. Daddy - Sammy Kaye
4. Piano Concerto in B Flat - Freddy Martin
5. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - The Andrews Sisters
6. Maria Elena - Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra
7. Song of the Volga Boatmen - Glenn Miller
8. Take the A Train - Duke Ellington
9. Green Eyes - Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra w/Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly
10. Stardust - Artie Shaw
11. My Sister and I - Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra
12. Blue Champagne - Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra
13. Elmer's Tune - Glenn Miller
14. God Bless the Child - Billie Holiday
15. You Are My Sunshine - Wayne King
16. The Last Time I Saw Paris - Tony Martin
17. You and I - Glenn Miller
18. You Made Me Love You - Harry James
19. We Three - The Ink Spots
20. Dancing in the Dark - Artie Shaw
21. And the Band Played On - Guy Lombardo
22. By the Sleepy Lagoon - Harry James
23. Oh! Look At Me Now - Tommy Dorsey w/Frank Sinatra
24. I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire - Horace Heidt
25. There I Go - Vaughn Monroe
26. There'll Be Some Changes Made - Benny Goodman
27. Walking the Floor Over You - Ernest Tubb
28. Racing with the Moon - Vaughn Monroe
29. Bounce Me Brother - The Andrews Sisters
30. Dolores - Tommy Dorsey w/Frank Sinatra
31. I Hear a Rhapsody - Charlie Barnet
32. I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time - Andrews Sisters
33. Intermezzo - Earl Hines
34. Tonight We Love - Nelson Eddy
35. Perfidia - Xavier Cugat
36. Music Makers - Harry James
37. Summit Ridge Drive - Artie Shaw
38. Lament To Love - Harry James
39. This Love of Mine - Tommy Dorsey Orchestra w/Frank Sinatra
40. I Know Why - Glenn Miller

1941 was the height of the Big Band Era. The bobby-soxers may have swooned over Frank Sinatra, but it was Tommy Dorsey's name on the record. Ditto Bob Eberle, whose silky smooth vocals with Helen O'Connell sold many a record -- for Jimmy Dorsey. The musicians' union strike was only a year away, but for 1941 the dance halls ruled, ballroom tickets were affordable, the great Depression was quickly becoming a memory, and the war was something the Europeans would have to figure out.

Sinatra was Tommy Dorsey's lead vocalist, backed by the Pied Pipers on at least ten of his chart hits. The Pied Pipers were a quartet of three men and one woman, who happened to be Jo Stafford. Stafford's first hit came in 1941, a song called Yes Indeed that she sang solo. Tommy Dorsey allegedly fired one of the Pied Pipers in 1942, which led to the departure of the whole group in a show of team unity. With the eventual departure of Sinatra in 1942, Tommy turned to Dick Haymes for vocal leadership. A bit of trivia: a certain trumpet player joined Dorsey after his discharge following World War II. The kid was young, and talent was still raw, but Dorsey saw something he liked. That trumpeter was Carl "Doc" Severinson.

Jimmy Dorsey ran something of a smoother ship in the early 1940s. He owned the #1 spot for 19 weeks out of 52 in 1941, a record that wouldn't stand long -- Glenn Miller eclipsed it just a year later. But don't let that minimize Jimmy's achievement in '41; each of the 5 songs listed above spent at least a week on top of the charts. Amapola spent 10 weeks at #1 and is therefore one of the all-time "monster" chart toppers. It would've topped Artie Shaw's Frenesi on this list, but for the fact that Shaw's number already had a few weeks at #1 in December of 1940. [editor's note: PopularSong.org year-by-year policy is to list a song in one year only, unless a song fell off the charts completely between chart runs.].Dorsey's hits featured a unique 3-part format. This "A-B-C" arrangement saw Bob Eberly lead the first third, the band - led by Jimmy's sax - took the second part, and Helen O'Connell would finish it out with a flourish. As the average playing time of a commercial 78 RPM record was 3 minutes, each "section" lasted about a minute. It was an unstoppable formula in 1941.


Dancing in the Dark - Artie Shaw

continues above, in column at right...

featured performance

Jimmy Dorsey's Green Eyes. Although filmed sometime around 1946, this vintage video accurately gives the mood and feel of what the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra was all about at its 1941 peak. It also shows the "A-B-C" arrangement of Eberly-Dorsey-O'Connell. Please note, you have to double-click the little arrow to get these things to work. And if Dancing In The Dark is still playing, you'll have to click the stop button on the little player below left.


Top Pop Hits of 1941, continued from column at left

One of the few vocalists not tied to a Big Band in 1941 was Dinah Shore. Although Jo Stafford had a solo hit, and Billie Holiday was regarded as a solo act, both toured as part of larger orchestras. Considering that the Andrews Sisters were a group, it is generally believed (although not easy to verify) that Dinah Shore was the first female pop star to "call her own shots" if you will. Although later stars like Doris Day and Patti Page would eclipse Dinah on the charts, none would eclipse her ability to perfectly hit each note.

One of the solo artists listed on the chart above is Ernest Tubb, with one of the few times that a country song is found on a PopularSong.org annual chart. Another solo name listed above is Vaughn Monroe, but he was very much a bandleader in 1941 -- still playing the trumpet as more than just an occasional diversion. Racing With the Moon would go on to become known as "Vaughn's Theme" over the ensuing years.

The Dorseys would continue as a major draw for the next dozen or so years, although the size and scope of their various orchestras would swell and shrink. After Tommy succumbed to cancer in 1953, Jimmy combined the show, and held on for a couple more years. Jimmy's last big hit, So Rare, was recorded just prior to his death, although it is generally believed that he did not perform on the recording. But as of 1941, The Fabulous Dorsey Brothers were on top of the world of American pop music.


Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
Woody Herman's version, not as popular as the Andrews Sisters' but a minor hit as well in 1941

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. The nice thing about Amazon is the prices are significantly lower than TV type offers, and much lower than the 1940s CDs at the mall...which they don't have anyway. Please click here if you'd like to look these over.