Down Memory Lane

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This week …………. I love the 1940’s!

Series 1 – 1940’s E3#

During the 1940’s one of the most popular musical genres was jazz like bebop, followed by country, swing, Latin, blues, R&B and gradually towards the end of the era, the swing movement created by big bands were breaking down and being replaced with more crooners who had originally started to rise in popularity in the 30’s. Teenagers in the 40’s were quite taken with the various styles western styled country and vocal groups like The Andrews Sisters.

Country and Western music was becoming much loved and idolised because of the inclusion in Hollywood films.

By the 1940’s more and more people had their own or had easier access to radios and also the phonographs were becoming more popular and affordable and towards the end of that period combo radiogram record players were also making their introductions known to the world. Many radio stations had banned certain songs especially from the blues movement considering the music and the lyrics inappropriate for certain audiences due to the presence of luridity and sexual innuendo from easy listening also making the 40’s a tough era for the industry.


Songs that were consicdered controversial for example like …. This Land is Your Land, Jim Crow Train, I’ll Be Home for Christmas ….. the latter as it was believed it could lower the morale of the troops fighting abroad, Atomic Cocktail and the list goes on of songs deemed totally unnacceptable for listening ears!

People in the 40’s wanted to explore different musical genres, they yearned for the discovery of new sounds, for escapism and expressionism – in the early to mid 1940’s they wanted an energetic music form to listen to whilst towards the end of the era, they wanted more calming music like that of the cool jazz movement.


Many popular songs of the early to mid 1940’s were those that were considered romantic or those that had a form of resonation to them, and those fighting overseas could think of home, their families and loved ones, sweethearts and friends – music that made them feel they were anywhere but where they really were!
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The most popular music of the 1940’s bebop, jazz, big band swing, romantic crooners, country, western swing, Latin, Blues and R&B.

Today’s Top Twelve most popular songs from the 1940’s period are ……..

Chattanooga Choo Choo” is a 1941 song written by Mack Gordon and composed by Harry Warren. It was originally recorded as a big band/swing tune by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra and featured in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade. It was the first song to receive a gold record, presented by RCA Victor in 1942, for sales of 1.2 million copies.
Chattanooga Choo Choo – Glenn Miller Orchestra
It was written in 1938, but was first recorded three years later by Harlan Leonard and His Rockets. It was covered by several musicians and groups, most successfully by Horace Heidt on Columbia Records, whose version reached number one on the US pop chart; and by The Ink Spots on Decca, whose version reached number 4 on the same listing. Other early versions included those by Tommy TuckerMitchell Ayres, and (in Britain) Vera Lynn. The song, with its lyrics starting with “I don’t want to set the world on fire/ I just want to start a flame in your heart…” became especially popular after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941
I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire-The Ink Spots
Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)” is a popular song that was made famous by Glenn Miller and by the Andrews Sisters during World War II. Its lyrics are the words of two young lovers who pledge their fidelity while one of them is away serving in the war.
Andrews Sisters – Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree
Sylvia Dee (born Josephine Moore, October 22, 1914 – June 12, 1967) was an American lyricist and novelist best known for writing the lyrics to “Too Young“, a hit for Nat King Cole, “The End of the World“, Dee wrote the words to a nonsense song that went to number 1 in 1945 called “Chickery Chick”. The music was written by Sidney Lippman and it was played by Sammy Kaye‘s orchestra.
Chickery Chick – Sammy Kaye (Billy Williams & Nancy Norman, vocal)
Peg o’ My Heart” is a popular song written by Alfred Bryan (words) and Fred Fisher (music). It was published on March 15, 1913 and it featured in the 1913 musical Ziegfeld Follies.

The Harmonicats – Label: Vitacoustic Records 1
Released: March 1947
PEG O’ MY HEART ~ The Harmonicats
Mañana (Is Soon Enough for Me)” is a popular song that was written by Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour and published in 1947. Peggy Lee recorded the song on November 25, 1947, with Dave Barbour’s orchestra as backing. Released by Capitol Records (catalog number 15022), it became her biggest chart hit. For the week ending January 23, 1948, the single entered Billboard‘s Best Sellers chart, where it spent 21 weeks, nine of those at number one
Peggy Lee – Manana (Is Soon Enough For Me)
All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” is a novelty Christmas song written in 1944 by Donald Yetter Gardner while teaching music at public schools in Smithtown, New York. He asked his second grade class what they wanted for Christmas, and noticed that almost all of the students had at least one front tooth missing as they answered in a lisp. Gardner wrote the song in 30 minutes. In a 1995 interview, Gardner said, “I was amazed at the way that silly little song was picked up by the whole country.”  The song was published in 1948 after an employee of Witmark music company heard Gardner sing it at a music teachers conference
Spike Jone & His City Slickers – All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)
“Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief” is a popular song published in 1945, with music by Hoagy Carmichael and lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. The title and lyrics are a play on the popular counting game “Tinker, Tailor.” The biggest-selling version of the song was recorded by Betty Hutton on June 29, 1945. The recording was released by Capitol Records as catalog number 220. The record first reached the Billboard magazine charts on December 6, 1945 and lasted 17 weeks on the chart, peaking at #1
Betty Hutton – Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief
In 1944 the song achieved its biggest success with a version by Harry James and His Orchestra featuring vocalist Dick Haymes – an April 1941 recording re-released owing to a stipulation by the 1942–44 musicians’ strike that prevented recording of new material. The single debuted in April 1944 on Billboard‘s National Best Selling Retail Records chart and reached number one in the chart dated June 10, 1944 – the seventh of Harry James’s nine US number ones; it stayed at number one for four non-consecutive weeks. The single topped Billboard’s Most Played Juke Box Records chart for six weeks.
I’ll Get By – Harry James
Comin’ in on a Wing and a Prayer” is a World War II song with lyrics by Harold Adamson and music by Jimmy McHugh, published in 1943 by Robbins Music Corp
Song Spinners Comin’in On A Wing & A Prayer
I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is a Christmas song written by the lyricist Kim Gannon and composer Walter Kent and recorded in 1943 by Bing Crosby, who scored a top ten hit with the song. Originally written to honor soldiers overseas who longed to be home at Christmas time, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” has since gone on to become a Christmas standard
Bing Crosby – I’ll Be Home For Christmas
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” is a World War II jump blues song written by Don Raye and Hughie Prince which was introduced by The Andrews Sisters in the Abbott and Costello comedy film Buck Privates (1941). The Andrews Sisters’ Decca recording reached number six on the U.S. pop singles chart in the spring of 1941 when the film was in release. The song is ranked No. 6 on Songs of the CenturyBette Midler‘s 1972 recording of the song also reached the top ten on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Andrews Sisters Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

So folks, there we go, some of the most popular songs from the 1940’s – hope you enjoyed the line up for this episode of Down Memory Lane – Series 1 – 1940s E3#

4 thoughts on “Down Memory Lane

Add yours

  1. I know the last two songs, the others were new to me… oh, except 2 front teeth… I know that one too.

    Interesting that so many of the songs were so insensitive… kinda cringey in today’s world. Gives insight into the mindset of folks who heard that music when it was new, or new-ish.

    Thanks for curating such a great list of music Mr DJ, JB!🎶💃🏼

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