Songs from the Year 1920

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This page lists the top songs of 1920 in the source charts. The way that the various charts are combined to reach this final list is described on the in the site generation page.

Between 1920 and 1940 there are few available charts (at least that we can find). These results should be treated with some caution since, with few exceptions, they are based on fairly subjective charts and biased towards the USA.

The top ten song artists of 1920 were:

1:Al Jolson2:Paul Whiteman3:Art Hickman4:Ben Selvin5:Mamie Smith
6:Nora Bayes7:Marion Harris8:Joseph Smith & his Orchestra9:Ted Lewis & his Orchestra10:Eddie Cantor
# Artist Song Title Year Chart Entries
1 Al Jolson Swanee 1920 US Billboard 1 - May 1920 (18 weeks), US invalid BB 1 of 1920, Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 (1920), POP 1 of 1920, nuTsie 1 of 1920s, Library of Congress artifact added 2004 (1920), Brazil 5 of 1921, Music Imprint 8 of 1910s, Europe 22 of the 1930s (1920), RIAA 124, Acclaimed 912 (1919), aceterrier.com 100 of the 1920s (1920), RYM 5 of 1920
2 Paul Whiteman Whispering 1920 US Billboard 1 - Oct 1920 (20 weeks), Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 (1920), Music Imprint 1 of 1920s, ASCAP song of 1920, US invalid BB 3 of 1920, POP 3 of 1920, Brazil 12 of 1921, nuTsie 17 of 1920s, US CashBox 32 - Aug 1954 (4 weeks), RIAA 330, Acclaimed 1594 (1920), RYM 7 of 1920
3 Mamie Smith Crazy Blues 1920 Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994 (1920), Library of Congress artifact added 2005 (1920), US Billboard 3 - Dec 1920 (11 weeks), nuTsie 11 of 1920s, Daily Deuce 29, Acclaimed 1496 (1920), aceterrier.com 6 of the 1920s (1920), RYM 1 of 1920, Guardian Folk/ World 1
4 Ted Lewis & his Orchestra When My Baby Smiles At Me 1920 US Billboard 1 - May 1920 (18 weeks), US invalid BB 2 of 1920, POP 2 of 1920, Brazil 13 of 1920, nuTsie 39 of 1920s
5 Ben Selvin Dardanella 1920 US Billboard 1 - Jan 1920 (24 weeks), Brazil 5 of 1920, US invalid BB 5 of 1920, POP 8 of 1920, nuTsie 14 of 1920s, RYM 8 of 1920
6 Marion Harris St Louis Blues 1920 US Billboard 1 - Aug 1920 (9 weeks), US invalid BB 4 of 1920, POP 6 of 1920, Brazil 16 of 1921, RYM 15 of 1920
7 Edith Day Alice Blue Gown 1920 US Billboard 1 - Apr 1920 (9 weeks), US invalid BB 8 of 1920, POP 14 of 1920, Brazil 21 of 1924, aceterrier.com 95 of the 1920s (1920)
8 John Steel The Love Nest 1920 US Billboard 1 - Aug 1920 (10 weeks), US invalid BB 6 of 1920, POP 10 of 1920, Brazil 35 of 1921, RYM 29 of 1920
9 Al Jolson I've Got My Captain Working For Me Now 1920 US Billboard 1 - Dec 1919 (7 weeks), US invalid BB 9 of 1920, Brazil 17 of 1920, POP 18 of 1920, RYM 13 of 1920
10 Paul Whiteman The Japanese Sandman 1920 US Billboard 1 - Nov 1920 (12 weeks), US invalid BB 11 of 1920, POP 20 of 1920, Brazil 21 of 1921, RYM 7 of 1920
11 Art Hickman Hold Me 1920 US Billboard 1 - Jun 1920 (14 weeks), US invalid BB 7 of 1920, Brazil 8 of 1920, POP 12 of 1920
12 Art Hickman The Love Nest 1920 US Billboard 1 - Oct 1920 (6 weeks), POP 10 of 1920, Brazil 17 of 1921
13 Paul Whiteman Wang Wang Blues 1920 US Billboard 1 - Dec 1920 (17 weeks), US invalid BB 10 of 1920, POP 16 of 1920, RYM 3 of 1920
14 Charles Harrison I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time 1920 US Billboard 2 - Nov 1920 (10 weeks), POP 4 of 1920
15 Bert Williams The Moon Shines on the Moonshine 1920 US Billboard 2 - Mar 1920 (5 weeks), Brazil 19 of 1921
16 Art Hickman Tell Me, Little Gypsy 1920 US Billboard 2 - Oct 1920 (8 weeks), POP 5 of 1920
17 Carl Fenton Cuban Moon 1920 US Billboard 3 - Sep 1920 (5 weeks), Brazil 18 of 1921
18 Al Jolson Tell Me 1920 US Billboard 3 - Jan 1920 (5 weeks), Brazil 19 of 1920
19 Johnny Hamp & The Kentucky Serenaders Rose of Washington Square 1920 US Billboard 3 - Jun 1920 (9 weeks), Brazil 20 of 1921
20 Eddie Cantor You'd Be Surprised 1920 US Billboard 3 - Feb 1920 (7 weeks), Brazil 28 of 1921
21 Francisco Alves Fala Meu Louro 1920 Brazil 1 of 1920
22 Waller Williams I Know Where The Flies Go in Summertime 1920 Peel list 1 of 1920
23 Edith Day Irene 1920 US Billboard 3 - May 1920 (4 weeks), Brazil 36 of 1924
24 Al Jolson You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet 1920 US Billboard 3 - Mar 1920 (5 weeks), Brazil 36 of 1922
25 Art Hickman Avalon 1920 Peel list 4 of 1920, US Billboard 11 - Jan 1921 (1 week)
26 Al Jolson Chloe 1920 US Billboard 5 - Apr 1920 (4 weeks), Brazil 40 of 1920
27 Jascha Heifetz Nocturne in E Flat 1920 US Billboard 8 - Jun 1920 (2 weeks), Brazil 13 of 1921
28 Charles Harrison That Old Irish Mother of Mine 1920 US Billboard 6 - Jul 1920 (3 weeks), POP 7 of 1920
29 Sergei Rachmaninoff Prelude in G Minor 1920 US Billboard 10 - Aug 1920 (1 week), Brazil 11 of 1921
30 Nora Bayes Prohibition Blues 1920 US Billboard 7 - Feb 1920 (3 weeks), Brazil 27 of 1924
31 John Steel Girl of My Dreams 1920 US Billboard 5 - Nov 1920 (4 weeks), POP 17 of 1920
32 Frank Crumit My Little Bimbo Down on the Bamboo Isle 1920 US Billboard 6 - Nov 1920 (4 weeks), POP 15 of 1920
33 The Philadelphia Orchestra Invitation To The Waltz 1920 US Billboard 9 - Jan 1920 (2 weeks), POP 9 of 1920
34 John McCormack Barefoot Trail 1920 US Billboard 6 - Jul 1920 (3 weeks), POP 19 of 1920
35 Lewis James & Elizabeth Spencer Look For The Silver Lining 1920 US Billboard 12 - Jun 1921 (1 week), Jazz Standard 673
36 Billy Murray I'll See You in CUBA 1920 US Billboard 3 - May 1920 (5 weeks), RYM 17 of 1920
37 Frank Crumit Oh! By Jingo! (Oh! By Gee, By Goosh, By Gun, By Juu) 1920 US Billboard 3 - Jul 1920 (5 weeks), RYM 25 of 1920
38 Charles Harrison Pretty Kitty Kelly 1920 US Billboard 3 - Sep 1920 (6 weeks), RYM 70 of 1920
39 Art Hickman Peggy 1920 US Billboard 2 - Jan 1920 (7 weeks)
40 Elizabeth Spencer & Charles Hart Let the Rest of the World Go By 1920 US Billboard 2 - Feb 1920 (7 weeks)
41 Art Hickman Sweet & Low 1920 US Billboard 2 - Jan 1920 (8 weeks)
42 Van & Schenck After You Get What You Want 1920 US Billboard 2 - Oct 1920 (6 weeks)
43 Mayfair Dance Orchestra Wyoming Lullaby 1920 Peel list 2 of 1920
44 Bahiano & Izaltina Quem Vem Atras Fecha a Porta 1920 Brazil 2 of 1920
45 Mamie Smith You Can't Keep A Good Man Down 1920 US Billboard 4 - Jul 1921 (5 weeks), RYM 2 of 1920
46 Ben Selvin My Island of Golden Dreams 1920 US Billboard 4 - Feb 1920 (6 weeks), RYM 8 of 1920
47 Marion Harris Sweet Mama (Papa's Getting Mad) 1920 US Billboard 4 - Dec 1920 (6 weeks), RYM 31 of 1920
48 Frank Crumit Lonesome Little Raindrop 1920 US Billboard 4 - Feb 1921 (4 weeks), RYM 40 of 1920
49 Ben Selvin Afghanistan 1920 US Billboard 4 - Jun 1920 (4 weeks), RYM 66 of 1920
50 Paul Whiteman Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere 1920 US Billboard 5 - Jan 1921 (4 weeks), RYM 3 of 1920
51 Eddie Cantor Palesteena 1920 US Billboard 5 - Feb 1921 (4 weeks), RYM 54 of 1920
52 Al Jolson Wonderful Kid from Madrid 1920 US Billboard 5 - May 1920 (3 weeks), RYM 98 of 1920
53 Joseph Smith & his Orchestra Alexandria 1920 US Billboard 6 - Jul 1920 (2 weeks), RYM 18 of 1920
54 Joseph Smith & his Orchestra The Love Nest 1920 US Billboard 6 - Sep 1920 (4 weeks), RYM 35 of 1920
55 Frank Crumit So Long, Oo-Long (How Long You Gonna Be Gone) 1920 US Billboard 7 - Aug 1920 (2 weeks), RYM 25 of 1920
56 Marion Harris Grieving for You 1920 US Billboard 7 - Mar 1921 (2 weeks), RYM 30 of 1920
57 Frank Crumit Margie 1920 US Billboard 7 - Feb 1921 (2 weeks), RYM 40 of 1920
58 Nora Bayes The Japanese Sandman 1920 US Billboard 7 - Jan 1921 (2 weeks), RYM 69 of 1920
59 John Steel Tell Me, Little Gypsy 1920 US Billboard 3 - Oct 1920 (5 weeks)
60 Nora Bayes Just Like a Gypsy 1920 US Billboard 3 - Apr 1920 (5 weeks)
61 Joseph Smith & his Orchestra That Naughty Waltz 1920 US Billboard 3 - Apr 1920 (6 weeks)
62 Bert Williams 10 Little Bottles 1920 US Billboard 3 - Aug 1920 (6 weeks)
63 George Formby Sailing 1920 Peel list 3 of 1920
64 Mario Pinheiro Caboca Bunita 1920 Brazil 3 of 1920
65 Nora Bayes Patches: Freckles 1920 US Billboard 8 - Jul 1920 (2 weeks), RYM 97 of 1920
66 Mamie Smith Fare Thee Honey Blues 1920 US Billboard 9 - Feb 1921 (2 weeks), RYM 11 of 1920
67 Billy Murray & Ed Smalle Dardanella 1920 US Billboard 9 - Nov 1920 (1 week), RYM 38 of 1920
68 Ben Selvin Now & Then 1920 US Billboard 9 - Apr 1921 (1 week), RYM 46 of 1920
69 Henry Burr You're the Only Girl That Made Me Cry 1920 US Billboard 9 - Dec 1920 (1 week), RYM 51 of 1920
70 Eddie Cantor All the Boys Love Mary 1920 US Billboard 9 - May 1920 (1 week), RYM 56 of 1920
71 Eddie Cantor When It Comes To Lovin' the Girls, I'm Way Ahead of The Times 1920 US Billboard 9 - Mar 1920 (2 weeks), RYM 57 of 1920
72 Ben Selvin Venetian Moon 1920 US Billboard 9 - Jul 1920 (1 week), RYM 66 of 1920
73 Eddie Cantor Snoops the Lawyer 1920 US Billboard 9 - Oct 1920 (1 week), RYM 87 of 1920
74 Nora Bayes Argentines, Portuguese & the Greeks 1920 US Billboard 9 - Dec 1920 (2 weeks), RYM 96 of 1920
75 Joseph Smith & his Orchestra Whose Baby Are You 1920 US Billboard 10 - Jun 1920 (1 week), RYM 34 of 1920
76 Billy Murray He Went in Like a Lion & Came out Like a Lamb 1920 US Billboard 10 - Jun 1920 (1 week), RYM 42 of 1920
77 Nora Bayes Why Worry? 1920 US Billboard 10 - Apr 1921 (1 week), RYM 73 of 1920
78 Nora Bayes Broadway Blues 1920 US Billboard 10 - Jan 1921 (1 week), RYM 74 of 1920
79 Nora Bayes Without You 1920 Brazil 40 of 1924, RYM 97 of 1920
80 Marion Harris Oh Judge (He Treats Me Mean) 1920 US Billboard 11 - Oct 1920 (1 week), RYM 16 of 1920
81 Frank Crumit Palesteena 1920 US Billboard 11 - Feb 1921 (1 week), RYM 21 of 1920
82 Eddie Cantor Argentines, Portuguese & the Greeks 1920 US Billboard 11 - Aug 1920 (1 week), RYM 86 of 1920
83 Enrico Caruso A Dream 1920 US Billboard 13 - Mar 1921 (1 week), RYM 28 of 1920
84 Ben Selvin The Japanese Sandman 1920 US Billboard 15 - Jan 1921 (1 week), RYM 68 of 1920
85 Paul Biese Trio & Frank Crumit Chili Bean 1920 US Billboard 4 - Sep 1920 (4 weeks)
86 Paul Biese Trio Mystery 1920 US Billboard 4 - Apr 1920 (4 weeks)
87 Irving Kaufman & Jack Kaufman Nobody Knows (and Nobody Seems to Care) 1920 US Billboard 4 - Jan 1920 (4 weeks)
88 Isham Jones Kismet 1920 US Billboard 4 - Oct 1920 (5 weeks)
89 Ted Lewis & his Orchestra I'll See You in C-U-B-A 1920 US Billboard 4 - Jun 1920 (5 weeks)
90 Joseph Smith & his Orchestra Yellow Dog Blues 1920 US Billboard 4 - Feb 1920 (4 weeks)
91 Orquestra de Eduardo Souto Pois Nao 1920 Brazil 4 of 1920
92 Ted Lewis & his Orchestra Blues (My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me) 1920 US Billboard 5 - Jan 1920 (3 weeks)
93 Peerless Quartet I'd Love to Fall Asleep & Wake up in My Mammy's Arms 1920 US Billboard 5 - Nov 1920 (4 weeks)
94 John McCormack When Night Descends 1920 US Billboard 5 - Oct 1920 (3 weeks)
95 John McCormack That Tumble-Down Shack in Athlone 1920 US Billboard 5 - Apr 1920 (5 weeks)
96 Henry Burr & Albert Campbell I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time 1920 US Billboard 5 - Oct 1920 (5 weeks)
97 Olive Kline I Might Be Your Once In a While 1920 US Billboard 5 - Mar 1920 (4 weeks)
98 Mabel Garrison Hymn to the Sun (Coq D' Or) 1920 US Billboard 5 - Jan 1920 (5 weeks)
99 Henry Burr Rose of Washington Square 1920 US Billboard 5 - Jul 1920 (3 weeks)
100 Ben Selvin Wondering 1920 US Billboard 5 - Sep 1920 (3 weeks)

Comment on the contents of the 'Songs from the Year 1920' page
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Previous Comments (newest first)

21 Apr 2016

im looking for a song about dreams. i need it for a paer im am writing for school. two of them would be nice

Type "Dreams" into the search box, or try looking up "Dream" in the index pages?

Or download the data file and search it?


28 Jan 2016

Expanded Lists

I know you have been asked this before but ... Isn't there any way you wouldconsider expanding your Yearly Lists of Songs? For example 1920 - 1939 from 50 or 60 to 80. From 1940 - 1949 from 80 to 100. It seems like a lot of important recordings from Europe, UK & Brazil have dropped off these lists over the last few months. I know you have those expanded Excel files but it's not the same as seeing them chronologically. Please!!!

We have always been wary of making the earlier years too long, if you want longer lists it is easy for us to change the limits. Of course the significance of songs lower down the list is questionable (since they normally come from just a single chart) but given that you are aware of that we will expand the lists.

We've changed the limits to the top 75 songs before 1920 and top 100 after that.


10 Jan 2016

Double Listing - Black Bottom

#18 - The Kentucky Serenaders & #50 - Johnny Hamp should be combined. Per Joel Whitburn & John Peel this group was originally called Johnny Hamp & The Kentucky Serenaders.

We've assigned all songs credited to either Johnny Hamp or the Kentucky Serenaders to "Johnny Hamp & The Kentucky Serenaders". We realise this is not quite correct but it should help when searchng for related songs

Thanks


21 Aug 2014

Am I Blue

what year was this written? Do you haave the words?


30 Apr 2014

I need more

Hi, i'm doing a project for school on songs from the 1920s and need some help I listened to all of these and I need something with more jazz can you help me please!

You could look at the listings for individual years as well, that would give you more candidates


16 Nov 2013

song of the bells

A lady i know is just turning 102 next week, she sang me this song but acouldn't make out the words, can you help? Please


10 Sep 2013

+looking for song

Hi, I am looking for a song; lyrics WALKIN MY BABY BACK HOME


18 Jun 2013

Paul whiteman+

There are also similar issues to Paul whiteman's ranking on this page compared to the actual year pages.like 1920 and 1933 for example

Yes. Different versions of the input data and a range of ways of calculating.

We see this as a strength (getting a range of different views)


21 Mar 2013

# 15 Black Bottom

This is a different band than the one listed as # 23 in 1920. That band was led by Bill Pike.

The entries are grouped by name, the fact that there are two distinct groups with the same name is impossible to determine from the data. Just like the fact that we list all hits by Tommy Dorsey together despite the fact that this name was shared by two different people.

Thanks for the clarification


13 Jan 2013

More informnation on # 17

OK 4113 was recorded in on Feb. 14, 1920 as master #7276-D. It did not chart. OK 4305 was recorded on Feb. 22, 1921 as master #7793-B. It first made the charts on Jul. 9, 1921 and topped out at # 4. It is credited as Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds and has no vocal.

Thanks for the info. As it mentions in the FAQs we consolidate some names between charts and between tracks to make it easier to see connections.


30 Sep 2012

Downloading music

Good day, My father is having his 90th birthday on November 12th, and I was hoping to download the # 1 song for the week of November 12th for each decade beginning with 1922. Is there a way on your site to do such a thing?

I appreciate your help in this matter, Regards, Marc

Before 1940 there was no reliable charts to be number one in. From that date forward you can use the "Number One" page to find the right songs.

If you just want the US number ones then you might find that the Wikipedia page that we use as a source is better suited to your purpose


22 May 2012

# 17 You Can't Keep a Good Man Down

Mamie Smith recorded this song twice. The 1920 recording OKay 4113 is a vocal by Mamie. The 1921 recording OKay 4305 is an instrumental by her Jazz Hounds and is the recording that charted. If this is the recording you are targeting, it should properly belong in the 1921 listing.

We suspect you are correct, however the RYM listing has Mamie Smith as the artist for the 1920 hit (probably wrongly as you say). The year a song is assigned to is the median of all the years of charts it shows up in, the median of 1920 & 1921 is 1920, that is why it is listed here.

This is one of those cases where the data looks wrong but we feel the case is (as they say in Scotland) "unproven". So we are going to add a note (this one) but leave the data as it was originally found.


15 Aug 2011

My Parents Song

I have no idea what year this song was released, and the only lines of the lyrics I remember are: "Your teeth are yellow who's your fellow your some ugly child"

Hope someone can help !!


29 May 2011

Error Found - Marion Harris

You have an incorrect song title listed for Marion Harris.

Your database listing: "Sweet Mama (Papa's Getting Mad)" - 1920 US Billboard 4 - Dec 1920 (6 weeks), RYM 31 of 1920 - this This song was recorded and attributed to the Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) Broadway Rose/Sweet Mama (Papa's Getting Mad)/Strut, Miss Lizzie, 1920, Victor 18722 See Wikipedia, Original Dixieland Jass Band

The Correct Song title for the Marion Harris Song is "Sweet Papa, Your Mama's Getting Mad." She evidently recorded this Rose/Little/ Frost song on 8-31-1920 in New York, NY on for Columbia A3300.

I don't know if your US Billboard information is attributable to the ODJB band or to Marion Harris. I didn't research it any further.

K. Kapral

The song is listed under the Original Dixieland Jass Band as well as Marion Harris' version.

Both the original source for the Billboard data (the Bullfrog spreadsheet) and the current RYM web site list Columbia A3300 as "Sweet Mama (Papa's Getting Mad)". By seraching for "Columbia A3300" on Google we found a 78 for sale on eBay which has a picture of the label from Columbia A3300 which clearly shows the title as "Sweet Mamma (Papa's Getting Mad)" (we ignore the extra 'M' of course).

So we think your information is wrong, Marion Harris may well have recorded a song called "Sweet Papa, Your Mama's Getting Mad" but we think that is not "Columbia A3300" and it is not the song that reached number 4 in the Billboard charts.


23 Apr 2011

I am looking for a song and the only words I know from it are 'since mother got a facelift'. I am presuming it is a 1920's song as the music is reminiscent of Charleston/ Black bottom type of tempo.

I wonder if you can identify this song with so little to go on?

Thanks for your help!

It was not a hit anywhere we can find


5 Apr 2011

missing Page yr1920.htm

Hi: I've tried to read yr1920.htm and can't find it.

Very good site -- Thanks.

We've checked the file "/music/yr1920.htm" and it looks OK to us.