Jazz was a popular music genre in 1933 with several different musicians rising to the forefront of this American and European wave. If you’ve been wondering what was popular during that year, keep reading as we go over the 31 best songs from 1933 below.
1. You’re Getting To Be a Habit With Me – Bing Crosby
First on our list is Bing Crosby with You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me, and he is one of the most famous musicians of the decade. It is a song that talks about addiction. Harry Warren and Al Dubin wrote the music and lyrics, and it appeared in the movie 42nd Street. A woman had inspired the lyrics because she compared the guy she was dating to a habit. Crosby recorded the track, and it hit number one on the Billboard charts with the song being put into the movie Please.
2. Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin’ All The Time) – Ethel Waters
Next up is Ethel Waters with her version of Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin’ All The Time), which was a song that multiple people covered throughout the 30s. She sang the track at the club called The Cotton Club, and her version of this song was put into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003. The Library of Congress also put it into the National Recording Registry the next year.
3. Lazy Bones – Ted Lewis And His Orchestra
Ted Lewis And His Orchestra was one of the biggest bands of the 30s, and they scored a hit with Lazy Bones. This song went to number one on the Billboard charts, and this was his fourth number-one hit on the charts. His nickname was Mr. Entertainment because he was one of the most popular musicians, band leaders, and entertainers of that decade.
4. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – Paul Whiteman And His Orchestra
On our list next is Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, which was recorded by Paul Whiteman And His Orchestra, but it didn’t hit number one on the music charts until 1934. This song included Bob Lawrence singing the vocals, and it’s one of the most popular versions of the tracks to date.
5. Shadow Waltz – Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby is once again on our list with the song Shadow Waltz, which went to number four on the Billboard charts. This is one of the most iconic pop tracks from that time, and he was one of the most popular and important musicians in the world during the 20s and 30s.
6. Easter Parade – Leo Reisman
Next on the list is Leo Reisman with his cover of Easter Parade, which led him to have a hit record that year. This song was first written in 1917 as a track to cheer up a woman whose boyfriend had gone to fight in World War I. It was then rewritten with Easter lyrics for As Thousands Cheer in 1933, which was a Broadway show.
7. Sophisticated Lady – Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington had a hit with Sophisticated Lady, and this jazz song is one of the biggest instrumental numbers of its time. Three teachers that he had in grade school were the inspiration for the track, and these women had toured throughout Europe during the summer months while teaching all winter long, and he felt these women were sophisticated. It went to number three on the Billboard charts that year.
8. Love Is The Sweetest Thing – Ray Noble
On our list next is Ray Nobile with the song Love Is The Sweetest Thing, which was incredibly popular, and included Al Bowlly on vocals. He had his first successful track in America when it was released, and it was also successful in the UK where he was from.
9. Hold Me – Ted Fio Rito
Reaching number 12 on the Billboard chart is the song Hold Me by Ted Fio Rito, and this track was a cover originally performed by Ira Schuster, Dave Oppenheim, and Jack Little. There were three versions of this song released in 1933, but the version by Rito is special since he was both a Hammond organist and a piano player, which added more value to the track.
10. Did You Ever See a Dream Walking – Eddy Duchin
Eddy Duchin was one of many musicians who covered the song Did You Ever See A Dream Walking. In 1933 alone, there were about four versions of this track that were released but the one by him reached number one on the Billboard chart whereas the others that year did not hit number one.
11. Just An Echo In The Valley – Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby had another hit song with Just An Echo In The Valley, which hit number 18 on the pop charts in 1933. This track was part of a short film that starred him called Just An Echo, and this was his second short movie released that year. Since he was the star of the film, it made sense for this song to be recorded by him, seeing as he was one of the biggest musicians of that time.
12. Lover – Paul Whiteman
A great jazz song from this time was Paul Whiteman’s Lover, which featured Jack Fulton on vocals. This was both a holiday and jazz track that originated from the film Love Me Tonight, which had been released the previous year.
13. The Gold Digger’s Son (We’re In The Money) – Ted Lewis
Next is Ted Lewis with The Gold Digger’s Son (We’re In The Money), which was a song that was for the movie Gold Diggers Of 1933. He was the first musician to have a hit recording of this track, although multiple musicians covered it during the same year.
14. Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf? – Don Bestor And His Orchestra
Don Bestor And His Orchestra makes the list with Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf? This song made it to number 16 on the charts. What’s interesting about him is that he is most well-known for his composition of the Jello jingle but was also the leader of the orchestra in the Jack Benny Program.
15. Yesterdays – Leo Reisman
Leo Reisman makes the list again with the song Yesterdays, which was released in November 1933, which was just one month after Fay Templeton released the original version of the track. He had a massive hit with his version, and it was one of the multiple cover songs he released in his career.
16. The Wedding Of Mr. Mickey Mouse – The B.B.C. Dance Orchestra
On our list next is The B.B.C. Dance Orchestra with The Wedding Of Mr. Mickey Mouse. Henry Hall was running it at that time, and it was one of the most popular big band acts of the decade.
17. It’s The Talk Of The Town – Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra
Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra made the list with It’s The Talk Of The Town, which was a mix of swing and big band. The song, which was released in October, was a success for him, and it went to top 40 on the Billboard chart.
18. April In Paris – Henry King & His Orchestra
Next up is Henry King And His Orchestra with April In Paris, which was one of the most popular songs of the year. His version of the track was one of the earliest versions released that year, and it scored him a massive hit. The song originated from the Broadway show Walk A Little Faster, and Freddy Martin was the original performer of the track with King covering it soon after.
19. The Last Round-Up – Gene Autry
You’ve probably heard the name Gene Autry as he was incredibly popular and one of his smash hit songs was The Last Round-Up, which was a cover of a George Olsen track. The version Autry released was more folk and country, and it was a smash hit later in November 1933.
20. I Like A Guy What Takes His Time – Mae West
Talented singer Mae West is next with I Like A Guy What Takes His Time, which was released as a song on her single Easy Rider. This track is a mix of pop, jazz, and classical, and it’s one of the most intriguing songs on our list. She was known for having a lot of double entendres and was one of the first musicians to experience a lot of censorship of her music due to her sexual lyrics.
21. Shuffle Off To Buffalo – Hal Kemp & His Orchestra
Peaking at number two on the charts was Shuffle To Buffalo by Hal Kemp & His Orchestra, which was incredibly popular in 1933. He was known for having dance music that was sweet and very soothing during the 30s, which was when the Great Depression took over and people were very anxious about the future.
This song was one of many smash hit records that they had over the years, and it was one of the earliest hits. What makes him stand apart is that he would play the instruments, including clarinets through a megaphone, so it was a very unique sound and style.
22. Young And Healthy – Bing Crosby And Guy Lombardo
We’re talking about Bing Crosby and Guy Lombardo this time with the smash hit Young And Healthy, which reached number 45 on the charts in 1933. This is one of those songs that’ll leave you happy and singing or dancing all through your house because of the croons of Crosby plus the sweet musical talents of Lombardo. They made a great team together, and in this track, you can really feel the jazz elements coming through.
23. That’s My Home – Louis Armstrong
Jazz standout Louis Armstrong had a hit tune with That’s My Home, which went to number 47 on the charts. As one of the most influential jazz musicians to ever live, his style and unique voice, which was very gravelly, he was posthumously given a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972.
When you listen to this song, you can really feel the instruments in your ears and can get a sense of how powerful and rich his voice was along with his talent as a jazz musician. No wonder he remains one of the most iconic of all jazz musicians.
24. The Moon Song (That Wasn’t Meant For Me) – Wayne King
On our list next is The Moon Song (That Wasn’t Meant For Me) by Wayne King, which is one of the most well-known jazz standards on the list. His version is the third one with Kate Smith originally singing the track, although her version was for the movie Hello, Everybody. Jack Denny made the second version of the song, yet the King version is one of the most popular and also went to number 53 on the charts that year.
25. The Old Spinning Wheel – Ray Noble And His Orchestra
Up next is The Old Spinning Wheel by Ray Noble And His Orchestra, which went to number one on the charts. Written by Billy Hill, this song features Al Bowlly on vocals, and it was one of the best dance tracks of 1933.
26. Farewell To Arms – Paul Whiteman
On the list again is Paul Whiteman with the song Farewell To Arms, which landed at number 50 on the charts. He was one of the best jazz musicians in the world and was often referred to as the King of Jazz, and in this track, you can really get a sense of how talented he was.
27. Hobo, You Can’t Ride This Train – Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong had another smash hit in 1933 with Hobo, You Can’t Ride This Train, which was one of the biggest jazz, swing, and big band songs of the year. It was ranked as the number 17 track of the year and featured saxophones, trumpets, drums, tuba, bass, and guitars.
At the beginning of the song, you can hear the whistle of the train and hear it moving down the train track, and then the jazz part comes in with the saxophones prominently displayed. He comes in at the end of the song with one of the best trumpet solos ever.
28. Learn To Croon – Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby yet again makes the list with Learn To Croon, which was a part of the film College Humor, and it went to number 57 on the pop charts. He was the first one to record and release this song, although several other artists would cover the track in 1933 and beyond.
29. I Cover The Waterfront – Eddy Duchin
Eddy Duchin makes the list with I Cover The Waterfront, which went to 55 on the Top 100 chart in 1933. It also went to number three on the pop charts, and this version was the most successful one released.
30. How Come You Do Me Like You Do – Spike Hughes And His All American Orchestra
Next up is Spike Hughes And His All American Orchestra with How Come You Do Me Like You Do, which went to number 49 on the charts. He was British and was labeled as one of the earliest British composers of jazz music, and later in life, he was both an author and broadcaster.
31. It’s Only a Paper Moon – Paul Whiteman
Last on our list is Paul Whiteman with It’s Only A Paper Moon, which had Peggy Healy singing the vocals and Bunny Berigan playing the trumpet. This track was first dubbed If You Believed In Me, but it was changed to a more popular song title. Interestingly, this track was written for The Great Magoo, which was a Broadway show in 1932 that bombed, and then was featured in the film Take A Chance in 1933. It was right after that when Whiteman decided to record a version of the song.
From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background. Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B. Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life. More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.