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Music Anniversaries

A Celebration of Significant Songs and Songwriters


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Popular song hits from 1914





"Days of Wine and Roses"

A very beautiful and melancholy song with lyrics by Johnny Mercer and music by Henry Mancini from the 1962 film with the same title. The song receive an Oscar as Best Song from a Film. The best known version of the song was by Andy Williams and released on an LP album with the the same title as the song. This album was a huge seller and on the Billboard charts for 16 weeks in 1963. For more about the song, see Wikipedia.

YouTube videos:

"Days Of Wine And Roses" --1962 trailer

"Days Of Wine And Roses" -- vocal by Andy Williams





"Waiting For The Robert E. Lee"


This song was published in 1912 with words by L. Wolfe Gilbert and Lewis F. Muir. It was introduced at the Winter Garden in New York by the very popular singer, Al Jolson, who became famous for his starring role in the first film with spoken dialogue and songs, THE JAZZ SINGER (1927). This song was sung in that film but by Bobbie Gordon instead of Jolson. It was later sung by Judy Garland in the Hollywood musical, BABES ON BROADWAY (1941), and by Jolson's dubbed voice in THE JOLSON STORY (1946).

This song was one of the numbers probably played on the fateful first and final voyage of the Titanic in 1912.

Hear "Waiting For The Robert E. Lee" and "Songe d'Automne" on these two recommended CDs:


TITANIC - Music As Heard On The Fateful Voyage
The White Star Orchestra, conducted by Ian Whitcomb


Music From The Titanic: 21 Authentic Songs From The Epic Journey

Music From The Titanic: 21 Authentic Songs From The Epic Journey
Mary Jane Newman and the Southhampton Pier Players


See also this link:

The Last Tune Played On The Titanic



And now for another popular song from 1912...


"When Irish Eyes are Smiling"

This very popular Irish-flavored song was published by M. Witmark & Sons in New York in 1912 was performed in the play, The Isle O' Dreams. The lyrics were written by Chauncey Olcott & George Graff Jr.

The music was composed by Ernest R. Ball and dedicated to his wife, actress Maude Lambert. The song has had long-lasting appeal and was used in several films.

The song was sung by Bernadene Hayes in the Hopalong Cassidy western film, NORTH OF THE RIO GRANDE (1937), which also featured another Irish-themed song, "Wearing of the Green," sung by Walter Long.

In 1944, singer Dick Haymes played songwriter Ernest Ball in WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING (1944). Actor Dennis Morgan played Chauncey Olcott in MY WILD IRISH ROSE (1947).

Both songs published in 1912 ("Waiting for the Robert E. Lee" and "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling") are available in this recommended sheet music collection from Dover Publications:


Peg o' My Heart and
Other Favorite Song Hits


See how many you remember from 50 years ago...

Songs Hits from 1962




Alexander's Ragtime Band Centennial



50th anniversary of Oscar-winning song, "Moon River"

See how many you remember from 50 years ago...

Songs Hits from 1961




70th anniversary of the milestone music event
with dozens of famous songwriters performing their own music
now available on a 4 CD box set titled:

Carousel Of American Music: The Fabled 24 September 1940 San Francisco Concerts

Carousel of American Music:
The Fabled 24 September 1940 San Francisco Concerts


50th anniversary of this multi-million selling hit,

"It's Now Or Never" (1960)

See how many you remember from 50 years ago...

Songs Hits from 1960




For the Lincoln Bicentennial

"Lincoln and Liberty" -
Music of Abraham Lincoln's Era




This song was George Gershwin's biggest hit?

It was written in 1919.

Find out more in this music program:

"Running Wild: Molasses and Music Merriment"


See how many you remember from 50 years ago...

Songs Hits from 1959



A Centennial Tribute

by Roger Lee Hall

Song Background

This famous song had lyrics by Jack Norworth (1879-1959) and
music by Albert Von Tilzer (1878-1956)

Norworth said he wrote his lyrics after seeing a sign that read:

"Baseball Today -- Polo Grounds"

He then gave his lyrics to Albert Von Tilzer who set it to music. Norworth also said he actually wrote both words & music, but that wasn't until the fiftieth anniversary in 1958, a few years after Von Tilzer had died and thus couldn't dispute his claim. Tilzer had said that he was the one who first suggested that Norworth write the lyrics to the baseball song. Which story is true? We may never know. Many of these claims are discussed in the wonderful book, Baseball's Greatest Hit [listed below].

The song was copyrighted on May 2, 1908 and was first sung by Jack Norworth's wife, Nora Bayes. He later wrote different verses for the song in 1927.


Vintage Recordings

One of the first recordings of the song was made in October of 1908 by Edison's National Phonograph Company. The song is actually in waltz tempo and was sung by Edison staff announcer, Edward Meeker.

You can hear this rare cylinder recording at this link:

"Take Me Out To The Ball Game"

But the biggest hit recording was by The Haydn Quartet
which first charted on October 24, 1908 and remained at No. 1 for 7 weeks.
It became the biggest hit of that year.
--from Joel Whitburn's authoritative book, Pop Memories 1890 - 1954

There was a later performance by songwriter Albert Von Tilzer playing piano and singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" with the original 1908 lyrics.

This wonderful rare performance was given at a special ASCAP concert
on San Francisco's Treasure Island in 1940.

Some of the songs were later released on an LP album and then they were included on a terrific 4 CD set, with many well known songs performed by such songwriters as Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan, Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer and many others.

The 4 CD set is titled:

Carousel Of American Music: The Fabled 24 September 1940 San Francisco Concerts

Carousel of American Music:
The Fabled 24 September 1940 San Francisco Concerts

Modern Recordings

"In selecting the musical tracks we have tried to capture the essence of our film series, to recapitulate and distill the progression from traditional folk music to 1990's rock and roll that the film celebrates, and to honor two of our country's treasures -- our music and our national game." -- Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

From the acclaimed PBS TV series is this CD with numerous versions
of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame":

BASEBALL: A Film by Ken Burns - Original Soundtrack Recording


Hollywood Musical

There was a popular 1949 MGM musical using the 1927 lyrics by Norworth starring Esther Williams, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra with the same song title:


Take Me Out to the Ball Game




About the Song

You can read the background about the song in this fact-filled illustrated book, that also has a CD with it:

Baseball's Greatest Hit: The Story of Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Baseball's Greatest Hit: The Story of Take Me Out to the Ball Game
by Andy Strasberg, Bob Thompson, Tim Wiles


Read more about this song at

The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum

Wikipedia (with the 1908 and 1927 lyrics)


"Take Me Out To The Ball Game" was listed at No. 8 on the list of

Songs of the 20th Century





Songwriter Anniversaries

Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993)
(Father of Gospel Music)




  • "Last Night When We Were Young" - Harold Arlen
    (born: 15 February 1905)
  • "The Way You Look Tonight" - Dorothy Fields
    (born: 15 July 1905)
  • "High Noon" - Tex Ritter (born: 12 January 1905)
  • "Small World" - Jule Styne (born: 31 December 1905)
  • "San Antonio Rose" - Bob Wills (born:  6 March 1905)


  • "Tangerine" - Jimmy Dorsey
    (born: 29 February 1904, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania)
  • "Moonlight Serenade" - Glenn Miller
    (born: 1 March 1904, Clarinda, Iowa)
  • "Ain't Misbehavin" - Fats Waller
    (born: 21 May 1904, New York, NY )


  • "Where the Blue of the Night" - Bing Crosby
    (born: 3 May 1903, Tacoma, Washington)
  • "Buttons and Bows" - Bob Hope 
    (born: 29 May 1903, Eltham, England)


  •  "I'll Be Seeing You" - Sammy Fain (born: 17 June 1902)
  •  "You'll Never Walk Alone" - Richard Rodgers
    (born: 28 June 1902)
  •  "Till There Was You" - Meredith Willson (born: 28 May 1902)


  • "The Waltz You Saved For Me" - Wayne King
    (born: 16 February 1901)
  • "Thanks for the Memory" - Ralph Rainger
    (born:  7 October 1901)
  • "I'm Just A Vagabond Lover" - Rudy Vallee (born: 28 July 1901)          


  • "Star Dust" - Mitchell Parrish (100th)
  • " Stella By Starlight" - Victor Young (100th)


  • "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" - Fred Astaire (100th)
  • " Georgia On My Mind" - Hoagy Carmichael (100th)
  • " Moon River" -   Johnny Mercer (90th)
  • "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" - Thomas A. Dorsey (100th)
  • "Mood Indigo" - Duke Ellington (100th)
  • "The Last Round Up" - Billy Hill (100th)
  • "It's Only a Paper Moon" - Billy Rose (100th)  




Names Those Tunes!

What are some of your favorite songs from the past?

Send in your list with brief comments and
you might win a Free CD!

For more details, see

National Carry A Tune Week



Other Tributes


Film Star Centennials

"Easy to Love" -- James (Jimmy) Stewart

"They're Either Too Young Or Too Old" -- Bette Davis

"True Grit" -- John Wayne

Singing Cowboys

"Back in the Saddle Again" -- Gene Autry

"Dust" -- Roy Rogers

"High Noon" -- Tex Ritter

"On the Banks of the Sunny San Juan" -- Eddie Dean



"Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive"
Johnny Mercer in Hollywood


"I Hear Music"
A Centennial Tribute To Frank Loesser


"The Last Roundup" -- A Tribute To Billy Hill


"Moon River" - Memories Of Henry Mancini

"River Of No Return" -- Ken Darby


AMP Song Links





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