Today we’ll look at the best songs from 1948, a golden age of music filled with timeless classics and unforgettable tunes. Dive into the top charts, jazz standards, and big band hits that defined this era of pop music.
“Twelfth Street Rag” By Pee Wee Hunt
Ragtime music became a sensation in the early 20th century, and one of its popular compositions is “Twelfth Street Rag,” composed by Euday L. Bowman in 1914. This song gained immense popularity in 1948 when Pee Wee Hunt and His Orchestra recorded their version for Capitol Records.
In June 1948, the single made its way to record shops and rapidly climbed the charts as audiences embraced this energetic rendition. Not only did it become one of the top hits of the year, but according to a paleontologist who listened to all the top 100 songs from that era, “Twelfth Street Rag” claimed its spot as number one in 1948.
“Mañana (Is Soon Enough For Me)” By Peggy Lee
Step back in time and enjoy the classic magic of “Mañana (Is Soon Enough for Me)” by Peggy Lee. As one of the best songs from 1948, this enduring hit is a testament to both the golden age of American popular culture and Peggy Lee's immense talent as a singer-songwriter.
Not only did “Mañana” climb up various music charts upon its release by Capitol Records in January 1948, but it also solidified Peggy Lee’s status as an iconic figure during the swing era.
With timeless lyrics that resonated with audiences across generations, this song serves as a perfect example of how powerful music can be when it captures emotions and cultural sentiments.
“Nature Boy” By Nat King Cole
Released as a single by Capitol Records on March 29, 1948, “Nature Boy” became an unlikely pop hit that skyrocketed Nat King Cole to greater heights in the jazz music scene.
This haunting melody was penned by Eden Ahbez and quickly turned into a favorite song for many listeners across the nation.
The success of “Nature Boy” gave Nat King Cole well-deserved recognition in jazz music while also creating waves outside the genre with its enchanting tune. This unique song tells a mystical story, capturing the hearts and minds of fans everywhere.
“I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover” By Art Mooney
“I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover” is a classic swing melody that hit the top of the charts in 1948. Originally written in 1927, it took Art Mooney and His Orchestra 21 years to bring this foot-tapping jazz tune to its peak popularity.
Art Mooney's version of “I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover” features a lively orchestra arrangement that perfectly complements his smooth vocal delivery. The song quickly became one of the most popular tunes of its time, earning its place on the list of “100 Greatest Songs From 1947”.
“A Tree In The Meadow” By Margaret Whiting
Margaret Whiting's “A Tree in the Meadow” is a delightful country song from 1948 that showcases her smooth vocal style. The song features pastoral sound effects and lyrics about a beautiful, peaceful scene complete with a tree swaying gently in the breeze.
The song was very popular when it was released, becoming one of the most famous songs of the year along with other hits like Nat King Cole's “Nature Boy” and Doris Day's “It's Magic.” Today, it remains an Americana classic and is included in various vintage music compilations due to its nostalgic themes and folk music feel.
“Woody Wood-Pecker” By Kay Kyser
One of the most iconic songs of 1948 was “Woody Wood-Pecker” by Kay Kyser. The song was used in the animated short subject “Wet Blanket Policy,” featuring the popular cartoon character, Woody Woodpecker.
The popularity of “Woody Wood-Pecker” has continued for many years, thanks to its catchy melody and humor. As a result, it is still known today as one of Kay Kyser's top hits and remains an all-time classic in American music history.
“You Call Everybody Darlin'” By Al Trace
Al Trace's 1948 hit song “You Call Everybody Darlin'” was a chart-topping success, reaching number one on the Best Selling Singles chart. The catchy tune became an instant favorite among audiences and cemented Trace's place as a popular musical artist of the time.
The lyrics of “You Call Everybody Darlin'” are simple yet relatable, referring to the idea that some people use terms of endearment like “darling” or “honey” with everyone they meet.
Al Trace's smooth vocals perfectly capture the playful tone of the song, making it impossible not to tap your feet along to its upbeat rhythm.
“Buttons And Bows” By Dinah Shore
“Buttons and Bows” by Dinah Shore is a classic song from the golden age of music in 1948. Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, it quickly rose to popularity, becoming one of Shore's most famous hits.
The upbeat melody and catchy lyrics made “Buttons and Bows” an instant hit with audiences across America. It became a cultural phenomenon, inspiring everything from fashion trends to advertising campaigns.
Dinah Shore was known for her rich voice and dynamic stage presence, making her the perfect choice to perform “Buttons and Bows”. She had already established herself as a prolific singer with multiple chart-topping hits before this particular release came out.
Her success helped propel the song to number one where it stayed for many weeks.
“Ballerina” By Vaughn Monroe
“Ballerina” by Vaughn Monroe is a beautiful and romantic song that was recorded in 1948, although it was released the previous year. The song quickly became a huge hit, topping the charts in December 1947, just months after its first recording.
The lyrics of “Ballerina,” which were written by Bob Russell and Carl Sigman, are about a man who falls deeply in love with a ballerina he sees performing on stage. This love story was beautifully expressed through Vaughn Monroe's velvety crooning voice.
Overall, “Ballerina” by Vaughn Monroe showcases not only his singing talent but also his ability to convey emotion through his unique style which made him one of the most beloved crooners of all time.
“Now Is The Hour” By Bing Crosby
One of the most iconic songs from 1948 is “Now Is the Hour” by Bing Crosby. This classic song, which was recorded on November 8, 1947, features beautiful choral music performed by the Ken Darby Choir.
In addition to being popular in the United States, “Now Is the Hour” has also had a significant impact around the world. The song is known as “Māori Farewell Song” and “Pō Atarau” in New Zealand where it became their first million-selling single record.
Bing Crosby's rendition of this beloved song is considered one of his best performances ever recorded. The emotional depth he brings to each verse, combined with the choir's harmonies creates a truly unforgettable listening experience that showcases why he was one of America's greatest crooners.
“You Can't Be True, Dear” By Ken Griffin And Jerry Wayne
An interesting addition to the list of 15 Best Songs from 1948, “You Can't Be True, Dear” is a melancholic tune that speaks about infidelity. The song was recorded in early 1948 by Ken Griffin and featured lyrics by Jerry Wayne.
In April of the same year, Ken Griffin's version with vocals by Jerry Wayne charted, making it one of the most popular songs of that year. Despite its sad theme, the melody was catchy and quickly became a favorite among listeners.
“Little White Lies” By Dick Haymes
“Little White Lies” is a beautiful ballad that was released in 1948, featuring the amazing singing talent of Dick Haymes. The song was recorded with celebrated arranger Gordon Jenkins and features harp strums to open up the tune, giving it a magical feel right from the start.
Dick's rendition of “Little White Lies” is a popular recording because its emotional impact continues to be felt by listeners even today. The song's popularity can be attributed to how well Dick sings, as well as how perfectly arranged it is.
“It's Magic” By Doris Day
“It's Magic” by Doris Day was written in 1948 by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, for Doris Day's first film called “Romance on the High Seas”. The song quickly became a hit, reaching number two on the Billboard charts that same year.
It was one of over 15 songs that Doris Day would have in the Top 20 from 1948 to 1950.
This classic Hollywood track captured audiences with its romantic lyrics and enchanting melody. Its popularity has remained ever since its release, becoming an iconic part of music history.
“All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” By Spike Jones
Spike Jones's 1948 hit song “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” was a hilarious novelty song that delighted listeners of all ages. The song reached number one on the Most Played JukeBox Records chart and became a Christmas classic.
The song tells the story of a child who has lost his two front teeth and wishes for them to grow back in time for Christmas. Spike Jones's comedic vocals and sound effects add to the humor and charm of the song, making it a fun and festive tune to sing along to.
“Forever And Ever” By Perry Como
“Forever and Ever” by crooner Perry Como is a beautiful ballad that was released in 1948. This love song, written by Malia Rosa and Franz Winkler, served as the B-side to “I Don't See Me in Your Eyes.” Despite being the lesser-known track on the single, it managed to reach number two on the charts.
This hit single has stood the test of time and remains a classic today. Its melodic tune is both romantic and nostalgic, reminding listeners of simpler times.
Top Songs From 1948, Final Thoughts
In conclusion, 1948 was a year filled with iconic and timeless music. From the swing era to jazz standards, this year's top hits have graced generations of listeners. Whether you love classic love songs or upbeat tunes, there is something for everyone on this list.