Tag Archives: Elvis Presley

Music: Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey had an amazing 286 songs make the Billboard charts, and 17 went all the way to number one. Three of his recordings are in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Uploaded by wikimedia.org.

America has produced some great American pop and rock performers. I’ve paid tribute to some of them here: Tom Petty, The Rascals, Credence Clearwater Revival, Jack White (see more in the Singer category). But I believe the finest popular music America has ever produced came during the big band era, most notably from Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey.

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Tommy’s first success came with his brother Jimmy in the late 1920s, but they had different musical directions in mind, and split to form their own orchestras in 1935. One of Tommy Dorsey’s hallmarks was his ability to surround himself with great musicians. Among those who sang or played in his band were Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Doc Severinsen, Buddy DeFranco, Buddy Rich, and Gene Krupa.

Tommy Dorsey and his smooth trombone placed a phenomenal 286 songs on the Billboard charts, with 17 making it to number one. Among his most memorable songs:

  • “Marie”
  • “Stardust”
  • “Little White Lies”
  • “I’ll Never Smile Again”
  • “I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You”
  • “Dolores”
  • “Opus One”
  • “Music, Maestro Please”
  • “Hawaiian War Chant”
  • “The Lady is a Tramp”

Dorsey’s recordings of “I’ll Never Smile Again,” “Marie,” and his theme song, “I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You,” have been inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame. One side note…Tommy and Jimmy made up in the 1950s, and had a TV show called Stage Show. Its claim to fame is that it marked the first television appearance of a young Southerner named Elvis – before his famous Ed Sullivan Show gig.

Music: Billboard Milestones

The Billboard Top 100 chart goes back to 1958, which gives us more than half a century of history about our popular songs. Here are some firsts, mosts, bests. Uploaded by mp3sonido.com.

No explanation needed here, except to say that these accomplishments relate to the Billboard Hot 100 chart, created in 1958, and the standard for popular success.

Most weeks at number one: 16 – Mariah Carey and Boys II Men, “One Sweet Day” (1995)

Most total weeks in the top ten: 32 – Leann Rimes, “How Do I Live” (1997-98)

Most weeks charted before reaching number one: 32 – Los del Rio, “Macarena” (1995-96)

Most top 40 hits: 104 – Elvis Presley

Most top 10 singles: 37 – Madonna

Most number one hits: 20 – The Beatles

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Most cumulative weeks at number one: 79 – Elvis Presley and Mariah Carey

Most consecutive number one hits: 7 – Whitney Houston

Most songs on top 100 at the same time: 14 – The Beatles (4.11.64)

Only female artist with four number one songs in one calendar year: 4 – Rihanna (2010)

Most top ten hits without reaching number one: 12 – Bruce Springsteen

Oldest artist to hit number one: 62 – Louis Armstrong, “Hello Dolly” (1964)

Youngest artist to hit number one: 13 – Stevie Wonder, “Fingertips (Part 2)” (1963)

Song with most versions on top 100: 9 –  “Unchained Melody”

Singer: Buddy Holly


He didn't want to be on the Midwest tour, and his bus was cold and broken down. So he chartered a flight to his next show. It was the day the music died. Uploaded by moockmusic.com.


He died at the way-too-young age of 23. He’d only been recognized on the music scene for a year and a half. And yet he managed to create memorable music and an innovative sound that are instantly recognizable half a century later.

Holly had made a name for himself in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas, where he opened shows for both Elvis Presley (Great American Things, July 29, 2009) and Bill Haley and the Comets. He put together a band he called the Crickets, signed a contract with Decca Records, and went to Nashville to record his first songs.

They bombed. Decca dumped him. But he found another manager, signed another contract, and released “That’ll Be the Day.” Decca said, “Come on back,” so he did.

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Of course, you know the sad ending to this story. Holly went on a tour of the Midwest along with Dion and the Belmonts, Richie Valens, and the J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson. The tour was plagued with transportation problems, so Holly chartered a plane to take some of the performers from Iowa to Minnesota. It crashed, killing Holly, Valens, Richardson, and the pilot.

It was “the day the music died.”

We’re left with a number of great recordings Holly made in a short time. His unique singing style influenced future artists as diverse as Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Among his hits were “That’ll Be the Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “Oh Boy!,” “Maybe Baby,” “Rave On,” “It’s So Easy,” “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” “Not Fade Away,” “Raining in My Heart,” and “True Love Ways.”

Buddy Holly was in the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Great American Things, August 31, 2009), and was ranked number 13 by Rolling Stone in its list of Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time.