10/11/2013 12:49 pm  #1

British Hit Singles of the 1940s

There is an interesting 4 CD set to be released later this month, in conjunction with a book which attempts to recreate the British charts for the 1940s. There were no "official" charts in Britain at that time.

Bing, of course, features very prominently. There has even been a complaint on another discussion board that he features too prominently!  But if that's what some honest research produces, who can gainsay the result?

In addition to Bing there is quite a lot of other interesting content.

A link to a pdf file with full listing here http://www.highnote.co.uk/pdfs/GVC4001.pdf





10/11/2013 1:10 pm  #2

Re: British Hit Singles of the 1940s

This is a listing of Bing's songs in the set. 

 3  CONNIE BOSWELL & BING CROSBY An Apple For The Teacher
 6. BING CROSBY If I Had My Way 
 7. CON­NIE BOSWELL & BING CROSBY Between 18th And 19th On Chestnut Street 
 9. BING CROSBY Maybe 
11. BING CROSBY April Played The Fiddle 
12. BING CROSBY Meet The Sun Halfway 
16. BING CROSBY Only Forever
23. BING CROSBY Dolores 
25. BING CROSBY You And I 
26. BING CROSBY & JACK TEAGARDEN & MARY MARTIN The Waiter And The Porter And The Upstairs Maid.


 1  BING CROSBY Do You Care? 
 2. BING CROSBY & MURIEL LANE The Whistler’s Mother-In-Law 
 3. BING CROSBY You Are My Sunshine 
 5. BING CROSBY Deep In The Heart Of Texas
 6. BING CROSBY Humpty Dumpty Heart 
 8. BING CROSBY Be Careful It’s My Heart
10. BING CROSBY Moonlight Becomes You 
13. BING CROSBY I’m Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes
14. BING CROSBY Be Honest With Me 
17. BING CROSBY If I Had My Way 
19. BING CROSBY Sunday, Monday, Or Always 
26. BING CROSBY San Fernando Valley. 

 1 BING CROSBY I’ll Be Seeing You
 2. BING CROSBY Long Ago And Far Away 
 4. BING CROSBY Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra! (That’s An Irish Lullaby) 
 8. BING CROSBY & THE ANDREWS SISTERS Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive 
11. BING CROSBY More And More 
12. BING CROSBY You Belong To My Heart
15. BING CROSBY June Comes Around Every Year 
18. BING CROSBY On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe 
19. BING CROSBY It’s Been A Long Long Time
22. BING CROSBY Sioux City Sue 
23. BING CROSBY Day By Day 
25. BING CROSBY McNamara’s Band 

  2. BING CROSBY Temptation
11. BING CROSBY Galway Bay 
24. BING CROSBY The Last Mile Home 

Frank, The Inkspots and the Andrews Sisters are trailing far, far back, but even I have to admit to some surprise.

     Thread Starter

10/11/2013 5:48 pm  #3

Re: British Hit Singles of the 1940s

Quite interesting reading...does reflect the impact of American music (and Bing) on Britain in general in the 1940's though......almost like a Bing and Friends compilation.

On a personal note...also glad to see Al Jolson creeping back in again towards the end of the 40's.


24/1/2014 4:35 pm  #4

Re: British Hit Singles of the 1940s

Anyone who gets a look at the companion book, please post your impressions of how it describes and accounts for Bing's absolute dominance of 1940's UK record buyers' attentions.

I found it interesting that some of those Crosby tracks don't tend to appear on other Crosby hit compilations.

That many people today just don't realize how popular Bing was during this period proves the maxim "Hindsight is 20:20" quite false.  A similar book and CD set for the US would no doubt show Bing much more popular than is now understood, too,...but it wouldn't surprise me if he was even more popular in the UK.


07/2/2014 7:19 pm  #5

Re: British Hit Singles of the 1940s

I have been pondering on (and playing) the four CD set entitled "The British Hit Singles, January 1940 - December 1949".


I have not been able to examine the weighty (and quite expensive) book of the same name on which the issue is based, so cannot comment on the methodology used to reconstruct the charts, but I suspect that the CD issue is in fact intended to represent the best selling singles, taken cumulatively, over the period. It is not a selection of the Number One hits from any month (or week).

A set of six CDs (or rather two 3CD sets) issued several years ago employed totally different methodology and not surprisingly reached very different conclusions. It is named "Britain's First Number Ones" and attempts to cover the number ones based on weekly sheet music sales (and Radio Luxembourg air time for the later period)..

For those interested the links here will take you to Amazon's listing)
part one

and part 2
There are several points to make about "British Hit Singles"

1  Supporting information is totally lacking - there is just a listing of title and principal artist. No writers, supporting artists, dates. Nothing (You'd presumably have to buy the book, and I'm not certain what that might give).

2  A footnote states there is no space for "White Christmas", "Warsaw Concerto", "Anniversary Song".and "London Fantasia". However the first three of these are included in the downloads (or at least they are from Amazon).

3 More effort should have been made to search out clean copies of the records. Many are noisy and "coarse grained",  taken from obviously worn copies.  I would suggest that Crosby fans at least could do better finding the tracks elsewhere, (including the Chronological series) and I'm sure that many of the other titles exist on better engineered CDs. (I certainly have some).  

The issue "Britain's First Number Ones" has much higher production quality with informative notes, though the Crosby content is very much less (about 13 titles). In general they have also found some slightly better quality originals. 
Oddly, the format of the packaging differs between the two parts  - one is in foldout card, the other in traditional plastic boxes in a card slip-in sleeve.


     Thread Starter

11/12/2017 12:41 am  #6

Re: British Hit Singles of the 1940s

I was under the impression that the CD box set was a collection of the number one best-selling records of the period, and therefore, those tracks you listed were all number one on this chart. I think the book is now deleted, but there's more information here: http://www.missingcharts.co.uk/ I didn't buy it because a) I wasn't keen on the idea of re-creating historic charts from an unverified source, and b) it was rather expensive, as you say. Apparently the late Colin Brown had data from the record companies showing their sales returns. I think he had data going beyond 1952, which is after the NME started the "official" chart, which would be an interesting comparison to make, though the book stops in that year! It's quite possible that all those Crosby records were #1 in a given week. Many of them are rather obscure now, but then so are many "official" UK #1 hits post-1952.

The major difference between this "Missing Charts" book/CD set and "Britain's First Number Ones" is that the latter is based on contemporary published sheet music charts. I highly recommend the book "First Hits", written by Colin Morgan and Brian Henson (the latter a former member of the ICC) published by Boxtree in 1989. It covers the sheet music charts from 1946 to 1959. The sheet music charts actually go back to 1937, but data is patchy. This chart is of songs though - no performer or recording artist is given, just the song title. "Galway Bay" holds the record for most weeks at #1 on the sheet music chart, with 22 at the top. "First Hits" lists the various recordings available for each song, of which there were usually multiple artist versions. So "Galway Bay" was undoubtedly very popular in Britain at this time. Common consensus is that Bing's version was most popular and well-known. The fact it was also - according to "Missing Hits" - a record best-seller, would confirm that. The compilers of the "Britain's First Number Ones" sets used the recordings thought to have been the most popular version. With multiple versions available, it's open to interpretation, but those of a certain age will remember what was heard back then.


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