Songs from the Year 1939

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This page lists the top songs of 1939 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.

During this era music was dominated by a number of "Big Bands" and songs could be attributed to the band leader, the band name, the lead singer or a combination of the them. It is common, for example, to see the same song listed with three different artists. And, just to stop us from getting bored, the success of a song was tied to the sales of sheet music, so a popular song would often be perfomed by many different combinations of singers and bands and the contemporary charts would list the song, without clarifying whose version was the major hit. Where we have found such issues we have attempted to consolidate the entries using the most widely accepted value for the artist in each case.

The top ten song artists of 1939 were:

1:Glenn Miller2:Judy Garland3:Tommy Dorsey4:Bing Crosby5:Artie Shaw
6:Kay Kyser7:The Ink Spots8:Billie Holiday9:Kate Smith10:Larry Clinton
# Artist Song Title Year Chart Entries
1 Judy Garland Over the Rainbow 1939 US BB 1 of 1939, Oscar in 1939 (film 'The Wizard of Oz'), Grammy Hall of Fame in 1981 (1939), AFI 1, POP 1 of 1939, RIAA 1, Music Imprint 1 of 1930s, ASCAP song of 1938, DMDB 3 (1939), nuTsie 3 of 1930s, US Billboard 5 - 1939 (12 weeks), Europe 5 of the 1930s (1939), Your Hit Parade 19 of 1939, Scrobulate 71 of vocal, WXPN 269, Acclaimed 497 (1939), Visconti song of 1939, RYM 1 of 1939
2 Glenn Miller Moonlight Serenade 1939 Your Hit Parade 1 of 1939, Grammy Hall of Fame in 1991 (1939), ASCAP song of 1939, US Billboard 3 - 1939 (15 weeks), US BB 5 of 1939, POP 5 of 1939, nuTsie 9 of 1930s, UK 12 - Mar 1954 (1 week), Europe 12 of the 1930s (1939), Brazil 19 of 1941, Scrobulate 53 of jazz, Italy 74 of 1954, Acclaimed 1202 (1939), RYM 5 of 1939, Party 74 of 1999
3 Kate Smith God Bless America 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 1982 (1939), Library of Congress artifact (1939), US BB 2 of 1939, POP 2 of 1939, nuTsie 2 of 1930s, Your Hit Parade 3 of 1939, US Billboard 5 - 1940 (11 weeks), US 1940s 5 - Aug 1940 (3 weeks), Music Imprint 7 of 1940s, Europe 18 of the 1930s (1939), RIAA 19, Acclaimed 568 (1938), RYM 33 of 1939
4 Billie Holiday Strange Fruit 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 1978 (1939), Library of Congress artifact (1939), nuTsie 7 of 1930s, US Billboard 16 - 1939 (2 weeks), Music Imprint 18 of 1940s, Scrobulate 25 of jazz, Europe 92 of the 1930s (1939), Acclaimed 180 (1939), RIAA 273, WXPN 717, Visconti song of 1939, RYM 2 of 1939
5 Coleman Hawkins Body & Soul 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974 (1939), Library of Congress artifact (1939), US BB 4 of 1940, POP 4 of 1940, US Billboard 13 - 1940 (6 weeks), nuTsie 16 of 1930s, Your Hit Parade 18 of 1940, RIAA 310, Acclaimed 683 (1939), Song of 1938
6 The Ink Spots If I Didn't Care 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987 (1939), US Billboard 2 - 1939 (9 weeks), Your Hit Parade 9 of 1939, nuTsie 10 of 1930s, US BB 12 of 1939, POP 12 of 1939, RIAA 271, Acclaimed 951 (1939), one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 500
7 Larry Clinton Deep Purple 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (13 weeks), US BB 15 of 1939, POP 15 of 1939, Your Hit Parade 18 of 1939, Brazil 25 of 1939, nuTsie 28 of 1930s, Europe 98 of the 1930s (1939)
8 Martha Tilton And the Angels Sing 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (14 weeks), Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987 (1939), US BB 14 of 1939, POP 14 of 1939, Your Hit Parade 20 of 1939, nuTsie 41 of 1930s
9 Will Glahe & his Orchestra Beer Barrel Polka (Roll out the Barrel) 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (21 weeks), US BB 6 of 1939, POP 6 of 1939, Your Hit Parade 8 of 1939, Brazil 20 of 1939, Europe 24 of the 1930s (1939)
10 Shep Fields & his Rippling Rhythm Orchestra South of the Border (Down Mexico Way) 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (18 weeks), US BB 10 of 1939, POP 10 of 1939, Your Hit Parade 16 of 1939, Europe 75 of the 1930s (1939), Brazil 86 of 1940
11 Kay Kyser Three Little Fishies 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (9 weeks), US BB 3 of 1939, POP 3 of 1939, Your Hit Parade 4 of 1939, Europe 23 of the 1930s (1939)
12 Art Tatum Tea For Two 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 1986 (1939), US Billboard 18 - 1939 (1 week), Music Imprint 20 of 1930s, nuTsie 25 of 1930s, DMDB 82 (1939), RIAA 226, Acclaimed 1394 (1939)
13 Gene Autry Back in the Saddle Again 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 1997 (1939), Music Imprint 5 of 1930s, nuTsie 47 of 1930s, RIAA 98, Acclaimed 491 (1939), RYM 7 of 1939, Song of 1938
14 Woody Herman At the Woodchopper's Ball 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002 (1939), US Billboard 9 - 1939 (7 weeks), Your Hit Parade 12 of 1939, POP 20 of 1939, nuTsie 30 of 1930s, RYM 34 of 1939
15 Glenn Miller Blue Orchid 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (12 weeks), Australia 1 for 3 months - May 1940
16 Carmen Miranda & Dorival Caymmi O Que & Que a Baiana Tem? 1939 Brazil 1 of 1939, Library of Congress artifact (1939)
17 The Andrews Sisters Beer Barrel Polka (Roll out the Barrel) 1939 Australia 1 for 1 month - Apr 1940, US Billboard 4 - 1939 (7 weeks), nuTsie 85 of 1930s, RYM 28 of 1939
18 Louis Armstrong When the Saints Go Marching In 1939 US BB 4 of 1939, POP 4 of 1939, US Billboard 10 - 1939 (4 weeks), RIAA 13, Scrobulate 33 of swing, RYM 18 of 1939
19 Glen Gray Heaven Can Wait 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (13 weeks), US BB 16 of 1939, POP 16 of 1939, Europe 91 of the 1930s (1939)
20 Charlie Barnet Cherokee 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 (1939), Your Hit Parade 13 of 1939, US Billboard 15 - 1939 (3 weeks), nuTsie 35 of 1930s, RYM 19 of 1939
21 Tommy Dorsey Our Love 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (11 weeks), Your Hit Parade 17 of 1939, Europe 45 of the 1930s (1939), Song of 1938
22 Glenn Miller Wishing (Will Make it So) 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (14 weeks), US BB 13 of 1939, POP 13 of 1939, RYM 67 of 1939
23 Fats Waller Your Feets Too Big 1939 Peel list 1 of 1939, US Billboard 15 - 1939 (2 weeks)
24 Glen Gray Sunrise Serenade 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (16 weeks), Your Hit Parade 24 of 1939, Europe 86 of the 1930s (1939)
25 Glenn Miller Stairway to the Stars 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (13 weeks), US BB 18 of 1939, POP 18 of 1939, RYM 31 of 1939
26 Red Norvo & his Orchestra Says My Heart 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1938 (12 weeks), US BB 8 of 1939, POP 8 of 1939
27 Glenn Miller Little Brown Jug 1939 US BB 9 of 1939, POP 9 of 1939, US Billboard 10 - 1939 (7 weeks), nuTsie 92 of 1930s, RYM 13 of 1939, Song of 1938
28 Frankie Masters & his Orchestra Scatter-Brain 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (16 weeks), US BB 19 of 1939, POP 19 of 1939
29 Glenn Miller Over the Rainbow 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (15 weeks), Brazil 35 of 1940, RYM 30 of 1939
30 Lale Andersen Lied eines jungen Wachtposten (Lili Marlen) 1939 Australia 1 for 1 month - Jan 1945, RYM 6 of 1939
31 Guy Lombardo Penny Serenade 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (11 weeks), Europe 43 of the 1930s (1939)
32 The Cats & the Fiddle I miss you so 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 (1939), DDD 32 of 1940, RYM 35 of 1939
33 Count Basie Lester Leaps In 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 2005 (1939), Acclaimed 1481 (1939), Song of 1938
34 Mildred Bailey Darn That Dream 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1940 (11 weeks), Your Hit Parade 6 of 1939
35 Glenn Miller Sunrise Serenade 1939 US Billboard 7 - 1939 (11 weeks), US BB 7 of 1939, POP 7 of 1939, RYM 5 of 1939
36 The Ink Spots My Prayer 1939 US Billboard 3 - 1939 (12 weeks), nuTsie 49 of 1930s, Europe 67 of the 1930s (1939)
37 The Ink Spots Address Unknown 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (9 weeks), Your Hit Parade 23 of 1939
38 Solomon Linda & The Evening Birds The Lion Sleeps Tonight 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007 (1939), Visconti song of 1939
39 Vera Lynn We'll Meet Again 1939 Europe 3 of the 1930s (1939), US Billboard 29 - Jan 1954 (1 week), RYM 9 of 1939
40 The Andrews Sisters Hold Tight, Hold Tight (Want Some Seafood, Mama) 1939 US Billboard 2 - 1939 (11 weeks), Your Hit Parade 10 of 1939, RYM 2 of 1938
41 Glenn Miller Faithful Forever 1939 Oscar in 1939 (film 'Gulliver's Travels') (Nominated), US Billboard 5 - Dec 1939 (11 weeks), RYM 105 of 1939
42 Bing Crosby & Connee Boswell An Apple For The Teacher 1939 US Billboard 2 - 1939 (14 weeks), Europe 38 of the 1930s (1939)
43 Bing Crosby What's New? 1939 US Billboard 2 - 1939 (10 weeks), Europe 41 of the 1930s (1939)
44 Glenn Miller Moon Love 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (16 weeks), RYM 23 of 1939
45 Artie Shaw I Poured My Heart into a Song 1939 Oscar in 1939 (film 'Second Fiddle') (Nominated), US Billboard 4 - 1939 (12 weeks)
46 Frankie Masters & his Orchestra All the Things You Are 1939 Jazz Standard 2, US Billboard 14 - 1940 (3 weeks)
47 Bob Hope & Shirley Ross Two Sleepy People 1939 Your Hit Parade 2 of 1939, US Billboard 15 - 1939 (2 weeks)
48 Sammy Kaye Penny Serenade 1939 US Billboard 2 - 1939 (9 weeks), Your Hit Parade 15 of 1939
49 Cripple Clarence Lofton I Don't Know 1939 Peel list 2 of 1939
50 Orlando Silva A Jardineira 1939 Brazil 2 of 1939
51 Bob Crosby & his Orchestra Day-In Day-Out 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (13 weeks)
52 Glenn Miller The Man With The Mandolin 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (10 weeks)
53 Artie Shaw Thanks for Everything 1939 US Billboard 1 - 1939 (8 weeks)
54 Tommy Dorsey Indian Summer 1939 US Billboard 1 - Dec 1939 (16 weeks)
55 Marian Anderson My Country 'tis of Thee 1939 Grammy Hall of Fame in 2009 (1939)
56 Dick Jurgens & his Orchestra Careless 1939 US Billboard 6 - Dec 1939 (12 weeks), Brazil 98 of 1940
57 Tommy Dorsey The Lamp is Low 1939 US Billboard 3 - 1939 (11 weeks), Jazz Standard 530
58 Juan Daniel Frenesi 1939 Brazil 46 of 1941, Jazz Standard 438
59 Mildred Bailey I Thought About You 1939 US Billboard 17 - Dec 1939 (2 weeks), Jazz Standard 108, Song of 1938
60 Silvio Caldas No Rancho Fundo 1939 Brazil 3 of 1939

Comment on the contents of the 'Songs from the Year 1939' page
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Previous Comments (newest first)

26 Nov 2014

1939?

Daddy let we wear the mink Doesn't matter what the neighbours think


4 Sep 2014

Carmen Miranda

O Que & Que a Bahiana Tem (#31) was also selected for Library of Congress (NRR) in 2008.

You are correct the entry has been added, thanks


29 Aug 2014

And the Angels sing by Martha Tilton is in fact the same recording as the Benny Goodman single (not in the list of 60 tracks, but it appears in the artist list). Tilton sung on the Goodman hit.

The Billboard list has two distinct entries, one mentions Martha Tilton while the other doesn't. However the label number is the same for both entries, so that suggests that the 1944 one is a reentry. We've changed the title to "And the Angels Sing (1944)" for the reentry.

Thanks for the suggestion


2 Aug 2014

1937 & 1939

What was the popular song for Nov. 1937 & Feb. 1939. +Thank you, +Nola

That is an impossible question to answer. See the "Number Ones" listing to see why


13 Jul 2014

Solomon linda

Do you mean "Solomon Linda & The Evening Birds" who sang "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (which was copied by The Weavers and called "Wimoweh" because they misheard the lyrics)

Because that was 1939 not 1950


14 May 2014

song

Need lyrics of the song that goes: May the good Lord bless and keep you, wether near or far away.may your days be filled with gladness..... (I don't know the singer or what year, please help!)


27 Jul 2013

feb 3,1939

no one hit that day

There were no regular charts before 1940


24 Jul 2013

Shirley Temple songs

The other day a song popped into my mind from many years ago. I wanted to sing it to my grandchildren but I can't remember after the first verse or the title. I think it was from one of Shirley Temple's movies. It goes," I don't want to play in your yard, I don't like you anymore. You'll be sorry when you see me Sliding down my cellar door......" then it talks about a "rain barrel" and not wanting them to come to their house. It was a catchy and cute little song. I used to sing all those catchy little funny songs such as "Doing what comes naturally." Fuedin', a fightin' and a fussin', and all the songs from Shirley Temple movies. Those were happy days!


18 Jun 2013

Bing crosby 1939

There is a similar issue on this page for bing being at fifth place while on the actual 1939 page he is at fourth. Can you clarify these conflicting datas please?

Thanks :)

There are two different issues, one is that some of the pages are based on the most recent version of the data and others on older sets. "The worlds greatest song chart act" page was based on the 2.1.044 data (as it says on the page).

The other issue is that we apply a number of different algorithms and parameters values to get as many different ways to view the results as possible.

Obviously as we correct issues with the source data, or add extra sources, these positions change. We'd be happy to say that Glenn Miller was the top artist of 1939 (he is top in most of the calculated lists), and that Bing Crosby is one of the top 5 artists of that year (again he is in all the lists), but we would be unsure if Bing should be number 4 or 5 (that depends much more on the details of how you calculate)


26 May 2013

Could you tell me what was number one on 17th november 1939?

We know of no good weekly charts from before 1940


10 May 2013

"I long to belong to you"

Can you please tell me who the writer(s) were on "I Long To Belong To You" performed by Horace Heidt and his Musical Knights.

Thanks,

Eddie


17 Apr 2013

Do you have Billy Holiday songs?


7 Mar 2013

Songs that defined the era

At a high school reunion for a class from the mid-forties, we were asked to name the songs we best remembered. Oddly enough, the two that won were actually popular before we were in high school --"Moonlight Serenade" and "In the Mood". On second thought, that may not be so strange as those two songs more than any others better define the World War II era.

Would you agree?

("Sentimental Journey" finished third, by the way)

We suspect that here in the UK the song "We'll meet again" (by Vera Lynn) would be the definitive one.


28 Dec 2012

Martha Tilton - When the Angels Sing

I like to believe that When the Angels Sing by Martha Tilton (number 8) was infact a song recorded by Benny Goodman with Tilton on vocals. So it would be correct to credit Benny Goodman as well. Always difficult to point out wether a song should credit the band leader of the vocalist. After 1942 (the famous US musicians strike) songs credited the vocalist instead of the orchestra. Before then, it was more or leass the other way round.

For the songs of the 1930s and 1940s this is always a difficult decision. We have tried (and continue to try) to be consistent but as your comment hints there is no way to do that in every case.

See the comments on Benny Goodman's page.


18 Jun 2012

Denny Farrell , I think your site is wonderful

I have been doing a radio show that covers all the great music of the 20's 30's and 40's for over 40 years now. We have listeners from the early teens up to 100 who tune in every week. Music was a big part of everyones life long before 1940. It did matter.

Big Band Hall of Fame Inductee, Denny Farrell


11 Jun 2012

X Marks The Spot

I have been looking for a song that was recorded on a Recordio disc off the radio. One side had Kate Smith singing "Tradewinds",and the other side had a male vocalist with what sounds like "X Marks The Spot". I don't know who recorded it;"X marks the spot,where my heart did reside,untill you came along,and took it for a one way ride,Once it used to be,mine exclusively,now what have I got?,ooh ooh darlin you,x marks the spot". I assume it was from 1940,the same year as Kate Smith recorded "Tradewinds".


6 May 2012

The Ink Spots - Who Wouldn't Love You

Never a hit in Billboard, we have it as 1942 (see The Ink Spots page)


4 Apr 2012

a lost memory

can you remember the title of a song that had the words "who couldn't love you, who couldn't care?" PLEASE HELP !


5 Jan 2012

1939 was outstanding!

Love this site; 1939 was outstanding. To three: Somewhere over the Rainbow; Moonlight Serenade; and God Bless America.


29 Nov 2011

Use of the Chart to Help Score a Film

Hello! How wonderful to discover your site and this chart. I'm the Creative Director of feature film about the life of Vivien Leigh. Our script begins in 1938. We are beginning to talk about the music direction, have a theme concept, and are identifying potential movie supervisors/editors. Your charts will be very useful to us. Happy days!


3 Nov 2011

# 32 We'll Meet Again

Kay Kyser, Guy Lombardo and Benny Goodman all hat hits of this song in the early 40s. But since Vera Lynn's Recording dates from 1954, it seams that it should properly listed under that yoar.

There are two different reasons for not listing Vera Lynn's version under 1954.

First of all the most popular version of this British song in the first years of WWII was that by Vera Lynn, she went on to star in a 1943 British film of the same name. It wasn't just a hit of the early war in the UK, if you ask most British people for the song that characterises the early 1940s this would be it. That's why it was in "Dr Strangelove", "The Singing Detective" and "The Wall". The fact that she released a US version in 1954 is somewhat peripheral.

But, more importantly, we don't "assign" songs to years. The year a song is allocated to is set by the rules of the site. In this case there are two European charts that suggest 1939 as the year and one US one that suggests 1954. That's why the year is 1939. As administrators here we get to select the approach but that is applied without any "adjustment" from us. In this case, as in most cases, the result turns out to be right.

Of course the problem here, as it mentions at the top of the page, is that there is little evidence for this period which is not US based. But those are the restrictions we have to live with.


21 Aug 2011

6 And the Angels Sing

Thanks for the correction. My only issue with how you have it listed, is that it should prperly be credited to Benny Goodman. He is the featured artist on the record label. Martha Tilton is listed as 'vocal refrain'.


14 Aug 2011

Confused

I love the charts, but I wonder why removing the duplicate entry for "And The Angels Sing" can drop the previously #24 entry "Artie Shaw's Jeepers Creepers" completely off the charts?

...I meant Al Donahue not Artie Shaw

The answer is that it didn't, it was a completely different change that affected it.

The list of Oscars was expanded from just the songs that won to all those nominated, previously "Jeepers Creepers" had three entries: US Billboard 1 from Dec 1938; US BB 11 of 1939; and POP 11 of 1939. This assigned it a year of 1939.

The way we work out the year is to select the median of all the years suggested by charts, having been released in December 1938 this song is on the borderline. With two "votes" for 1939 and one for 1938 the song had been placed in 1939.

When we added the fact that it was nominated for an Oscar in 1938, that changed its assigned year to 1938. The song is still in the chart (at position 17 no less) but its in the chart for 1938 rather than for 1939.


20 Jul 2011

10 & 48 And the Angels Sing

These two entries are the same recording - Benny Goodman with Martha Tilton doing the vocal.

You are correct, the data has been fixed. Thanks for the suggestion


30 Dec 2010

This is a great way for me to show my grandchildren what music was like when I was a kid. It brings back memories...


29 Sep 2010

tell me more

I'm so interested in Indian summer, its like totaly my fave song homie!!!


5 Sep 2010

song

Who was the lady who sang "We'll meet again" in the early 1900s.

The most famous song with that title was written in 1939 (by Ross Parker & Hughie Charles) and was a hit for many including the Ink Spots, Guy Lombardo, Peggy Lee and (of course) Vera Lynn

We don't have any record of a hit from before 1939 with that title.


22 Aug 2010

Index

Hello,

This is a fascinating site. I wanted to make sure I was reading the index correctly. Did Dorothy Lamour fail to chart any singles whatsoever? It seems that way in the index, but when I was looking at the comments included for the year 1939 it looks like she had a single that charted but did not make the cut for the top 60 songs of that year.

This site does not list all the entries of all charts, for one thing that would make the lists too long to be easily navigated. However more importantantly we focus on showing the songs that were hits in multiple charts, that provides an insight that is not avaliable elsewhere. In addition it does not infringe on the copyright holders of each chart.

Dorothy Lamour is a case in point, in fact she had 5 hits in the Billboard charts "Swing High Swing Low" and "Moonlight & Shadows" in 1937, "Lovelight in the Starlight" in 1938 and "I Go for That" and "Strange Enchantment" in 1939. However she didn't appear in any other charts.

The best way to investigate her career is to examine the Billboard chart, either by visiting their site or by following the link we have to the Bullfrog data.

The page http://tsort.info/music/faq_missing_data.htm explains why some artists, songs and titles are not listed.


2 Apr 2010

Waht was the #1 song in June of 1939

First question would be "Number 1 where?"

Second question would be "according to who?"

Starting in mid 1941 Billboard's number 1 records can be found on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number-one_hits_of_1940_(United_States)

There really is no "Number 1" from June of 1939


2 Feb 2010

What was the #1 song on December 26 1939

The first question is "where?", the number one song would vary from one country to the next.

We assume, since you have not specified a location you mean the number 1 song in the USA.

So the next question would be "according to who?", there were no official charts published in the 1930s, the closest would be some occasional charts published by Billboard magazine. Billboard produced a variety of different charts starting in 1936 these were finally consolidated in 1958 into the "Hot 100" which has been published ever since (although the way they are calculated has changed of course).

Unfortunately before July 1940 all we have access to are annual summaries of the Billboard charts, they tell us for example, that "Beer Barrel Polka" by Will Glahe & His Orchestra was in the Billboard charts for 21 weeks in 1939 and reached number 1 but they don't tell us which months it was released.


19 Dec 2009

"_____for That"

The song is "I Go for That" which had three entries in the Billboard chart in 1939. Red Norvo & His Orchestra got to number 20, Dorothy Lamour got to number 15 with two weeks in the charts, Eddy Duchin got to number 15 with 5 weeks in the charts.

None of the versions did well enough to be in the 40 biggest hits of the year.


15 Sep 2009

cool