Top 100 Songs Of The 1900s

 
Picture of George M. Cohan

George M. Cohan Photo

As the turn of the century came, many were wondering what was to come ahead. Do you know which song was the most popular of this decade? During this decade there was competition between Edison and Columbia to sell their cylinders as music recordings began to take off. The ranking of the top songs during this period were solely made by sheet music sales. The number of positions that were being ranked was from 5-10, up from 3 positions in the prior decade.

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National Headlines

  • The invention of the airplane made huge news as well as the car. The first car to be built in quantity was the Oldsmobile Curved Dash in 1901. The Model-T was created in 1908 by Henry Ford.
  • In politics, William McKinley is assassinated in 1901 and Teddy Roosevelt becomes president.
  • During this decade, George M. Cohan begins his run as a top songwriter & performer in his musical plays and is a big star on Broadway.
  • In sports, the American League is formed in 1901 and the first World Series is played in 1903 with the American League’s Boston Americans prevailing over the Pittsburgh Pirates 5 games to 3.
  • In 1905, Talking Machine World begins publication as the leading journal of the recording industry. In June 1905, Arthur Collins “The Preacher And The Bear” is the first generally recognized million selling record.
Take Me Out To The Ball Game Sheet Music Picture Cover

Take Me Out To The Ball Game Sheet Music Cover

Charts Used To Compile Song Rankings

The following sources were used in this era to compile the ranking of the songs:

  • Jim Walsh columns for Hobbies Magazine on pioneer recording artists.
  • Talking Machine World (monthly record industry periodical).
  • Sheet music sales.
  • ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers).
  • Record label publications: Victor, Edison, Columbia, Zon-o-Phone.
  • Best-Selling records information.

From each of these sources the songs highest peak position is used and the number of weeks at the #1 position.

Interesting Facts About The Songs For This Decade

Here are some very interesting tidbits about the songs from 1900-1909:

  • The year 1901 had the most songs on the chart with 13.
  • There were a total of 105 songs that peaked at the #1 position during this era which meant that every song on the chart peaked at #1.
  • The biggest selling record of this decade as “The Preacher And The Bear” by Arthur Collins in 1905, which sold 2 million copies.
  • The artist with the most songs on the chart is Billy Murray with 12.
  • For a song to make the top 10, it had to be #1 for 9 weeks.
  • Three songs tied with the most weeks on the chart and they are “Put On Your Old Gray Bonnett”, “Sweet Adeline”, and “Wait Till The Sun Shines, Nellie”.
  • The song “Nobody” in 1906, recorded by Bert Williams, was honored by being selected into the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.
  • The biggest selling songs by sheet music sales of this decade were “Bedelia” in 1903, “My Gal Sal” in 1905, and “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now” in 1909, all sold 3 million copies.
  • Finally, the song Take Me Out To The Ball Game in 1908 by Billy Murray & the Haydn Quartet, is still being sung today in many ballparks during the seventh inning stretch.
Billy Murray Artist

Billy Murray Artist

The Criteria Used For The Top 100 Songs

The following criteria were used in determining the top 100 songs from this decade are:

  • Highest peak position
  • Number of weeks at the peak position
  • Total weeks charted

The Top 100 Songs From 1900-1909

Rank      Title / Artist / Peak Weeks / Year of Release

  1. Put On Your Old Gray Bonnett / Haydn Quartet (11) 1909
  2. School Days / Byron G. Harlan (11) 1907
  3. The Preacher And The Bear / Arthur Collins (11) 1905
  4. Arkansaw Traveler / Len Spencer (11) 1902
  5. Sweet Adeline / Haydn Quartet (10) 1904
  6. The Grand Old Rag / Billy Murray (10) 1906
  7. My Gal Sal / Byron G. Harlan (10) 1907
  8. Wait Till The Sun Shines, Nellie  / Byron G. Harlan (9) 1906
  9. Shine On, Shine On Harvest Moon / Harry MacDonough (9) 1909
  10. Meet Me In St. Louis, Louis / Billy Murray (9) 1904
  11. Nobody / Bert Williams (9) 1906
  12. Harrigan / Billy Murray (9) 1907
  13. Shine On, Shine On Harvest Moon / Elsie Stevenson (9) 1909
  14. Yankee Doodle Boy / Billy Murray (8) 1905
  15. Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home / Arthur Collins (8) 1902
  16. I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now / Henry Burr (8) 1909
  17. When You Where Sweet Sixteen / George J. Gaskin (8) 1900
  18. Take Me Out To The Ball Game / Billy Murray & Haydn Quartet (7) 1908
  19. In The Good Old Summer Time / J.W. Myers (7) 1902
  20. In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree / Henry Burr (7) 1905
  21. Ma Blushin’ Rosie / Albert Campbell (7) 1901
  22. Tell Me, Pretty Maiden / Harry MacDonough (7) 1901
  23. Bedelia / Haydn Quartet (7) 1904
  24. Love Me And The World Is Mine / Henry Burr (7) 1906
  25. In My Merry Oldsmobile / Billy Murray (7) 1905
  26. As Long As The World Rolls On / Alan Turner (6) 1908
  27. In The Good Old Summer Time / Haydn Quartet (6) 1903
  28. Let’s Take An Old-Fashioned Walk / Ada Jones & Billy Murray (6) 1907
  29. Ma Tiger Lily / Arthur Collins (6) 1900
  30. A Bird In A Gilded Cage / Steve Porter (6) 1900
  31. Under Any Old Flag At All / Billy Murray (6) 1908
  32. The Right Church, But The Wrong Pew / Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan (6) 1909
  33. On A Sunday Afternoon / J.W. Myers (6) 1902
  34. Mandy Lee / Arthur Collins (6) 1900
  35. Sunbonnet Sue / Haydn Quartet (5) 1908
  36. My Dear / Harry MacDonough (5) 1908
  37. When You Were Sweet Sixteen / Jere Mahoney (5) 1900
  38. Down Where The Wurzburger Flows / Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan (5) 1903
  39. Come Down, Ma Evening Star / Mina Hickman (5) 1903
  40. Navajo / Billy Murray (5) 1904
  41. Give My Regards To Broadway / Billy Murray (5) 1905
  42. Where The Morning Glories Twine Around The Door / Byron G. Harlan (5) 1905
  43. Good Evening, Caroline / Frank Stanley & Elsie Stevenson (5) 1909
  44. A Bird In A Gilded Cage / Jere Mahoney (5) 1909
  45. Ma Tiger Lily / Len Spencer (5) 1900
  46. Good Morning, Carrie / Bert Williams (5) 1900
  47. Way Down In Old Indiana / J.W. Myers (5) 1902
  48. Harrah For Baffin’s Bay / Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan (5) 1902
  49. Cuddle Up A Little, Lovely Mine / Ada Jones & Billy Murray (5) 1903
  50. The Glow-Worm / Lucy Isabelle Marsh (5) 1908
  51. Hello Central, Give Me Heaven / Byron G. Harlan (5) 1908
  52. The Glow-Worm / Victor Orchestra (5) 1901
  53. The Yama Yama Man / Ada Jones (5) 1908
  54. Any Rags? / Arthur Collins (5) 1909
  55. In The Good Old Summer Time / Sousa’s Band (4) 1903
  56. I’ve Got Rings On My Fingers / Ada Jones (4) 1903
  57. The Mansion Of Aching Hearts / Harry MacDonough (4) 1909
  58. Silver Threads Among The Gold / Richard Jose (4) 1902
  59. Are You Sincere? / Elsie Stevenson (4) 1904
  60. Hiawatha / Harry MacDonough (4) 1908
  61. Come Down, Evening Star / Henry Burr (4) 1903
  62. Come Take A Trip In My Air-Ship / Billy Murray (4) 1903
  63. I Pagliacci-Vesti La Glubba / Enrico Caruso (4) 1905
  64. When We Are M-A-Double-R-E-I-D / Ada Jones & Billy Murray (4) 1907
  65. Uncle Josh On An Automobile / Cal Stewart (4) 1908
  66. The Tale Of The Bumble Bee / Harry MacDonough (4) 1903
  67. Any Old Place I Hang My Hat Is Home Sweet Home / Will Denny (4) 1901
  68. Good-Bye Eliza Jane / Arthur Collins (4) 1901
  69. Blue Bell / Byron G. Harlan (4) 1903
  70. The Good Old U.S.A. / Byron G. Harlan (4) 1904
  71. Because / Haydn Quartet (4) 1906
  72. In The Sweet Bye And Bye  / John Bieling (4) 1900
  73. I’ve Got Rings On My Fingers / Blanche Ring (4) 1903
  74. To The End Of The World With You / Henry Burr (3) 1909
  75. The Mansion Of Aching Hearts / Byron G. Harlan (3) 1909
  76. Bedelia / Billy Murray (3) 1902
  77. You’re The Flower Of My Heart / Peerless Quartet (3) 1904
  78. Alexander / Billy Murray (3) 1904
  79. Good-Bye Dolly Gray / Big Four Quartet (3) 1904
  80. Uncle Josh’s Huskin’ Bee Dance / Cal Stewart (3) 1901
  81. Good Evening, Carrie / Dan Quinn (3) 1901
  82. Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder / Harry MacDonough (3) 1901
  83. The Stars And Stripes Forever / Sousa’s Band (3) 1901
  84. Under The Bamboo Tree / Arthur Collins (3) 1901
  85. Love Me And The World Is Mine / Albert Campbell (3) 1902
  86. Everybody Works But Father / Billy Murray (3) 1906
  87. Wouldn’t You Like To Have Me For A Sweetheart? / Ada Jones & Billy Murray (3) 1906
  88. When Cloe Sings A Song / George J. Gaskin (3) 1900
  89. When Ruben Comes To Town / S.H. Dudley (3) 1900
  90. Blue Bell / Haydn Quartet (3) 1901
  91. Nobody’s Little Girl / Byron G. Harlan (3) 1904
  92. Tell Me, Pretty Maiden / Bryon G. Harlan (3) 1907
  93. So Long, Mary / Corrine Morgan (3) 1901
  94. Jim Lawson’s Horse Trade With Deacon Witherspoon / Cal Stewart (3) 1906
  95. Camp Meeting Time / Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan (2) 1901
  96. Toyland / Corrine Morgan & Haydn Quartet (2) 1907
  97. Dearie / Corrine Morgan & Haydn Quartet (2) 1904
  98. All Aboard For Dreamland / Byron G. Harlan (2) 1905
  99. Because You’re You / Harry MacDonough (2) 1905
  100. He’s A Cousin Of Mine / Bert Williams (2) 1907

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 Posted by at 8:10 pm