Have you been looking to make a playlist for the 40s and want to know some of the best tracks from 1946 that you can include? Well, keep reading as we go over the 31 best songs from 1946 that you need to add to your playlist today.
1. Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens – Louis Jordan
First on the list is Louis Jordan with Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens, which is a song that went on the R&B Records Chart at number one and stayed there for 17 weeks. That was the longest one of his singles was on the Billboard charts, and it even made it to the Billboard Hot 100 chart where it ended up in sixth position. In 2013, it was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame.
2. Prisoner Of Love – Perry Como
Calling all fans of Raging Bull, you may remember hearing the song Prisoner Of Love in the movie, which is by Perry Como. This song hit the Billboard Magazine chart and peaked at number one while staying on the chart for a total of 21 weeks. Billboard named this the number-one track for the year, and it’s one of his most famous songs.
3. Rumors Are Flying – Frankie Carle
The next song is Rumors Are Flying by Frankie Carle, which managed to hold the number one spot on the Billboard charts for nine weeks. This track is one of the most well-known pop ballads that is about two people who love each other but have to deal with other people gossiping about them. There is a guitar and piano in the song that adds to the romantic feel you get with this beloved ballad.
4. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) – Nat King Cole
If you love Christmas then you know our next track, which is The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) by Nat King Cole. He recorded multiple versions of the track with the one in 1946 being the first, although the one in 1961 is generally the one you hear on the radio.
The original version of the song was put into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974 and also put into the National Recording Registry in 1961. He made it onto the R&B and pop charts with this tune, and it’s one of the most classic Christmas tracks of all time.
5. The Gypsy – The Ink Spots
Next is The Ink Spots with The Gypsy, which was a huge hit, which featured Bill Kenny. The song stayed on the Billboard chart for over 18 weeks, and it peaked at number one for a while. It also made it onto the Billboard R&B chart where it peaked for three weeks at number one. If you don’t know the track, it’s a ballad that goes into detail about someone who visits a gypsy and is told their lover is being faithful, but both people know that’s a lie; although in desperation to believe it’s not true will return to the gypsy.
6. I’m A Big Girl Now – Sammy Kaye
Next is Sammy Kaye with the hit I’m A Big Girl Now, which features Betty Barclay on vocals. This was a song that instantly became a hit, which went to number one on the Billboard Best Selling Popular Retail Records chart. It also stayed within the top 10 on other charts including the Most-Played On Air, Honor Roll Of Hits, and Most-Played JukeBox Records. This track remains one of the most iconic and well-known songs by Sammy.
7. Blue Skies – Count Basie
Count Basie had a hit with Blue Skies, which is a song about how happy we all feel when the sun is shining and it’s a warm day outside. There is always positivity and optimism abound when it’s sunny outside, and this track delves into those feelings and emotions. This song will make you smile regardless of what’s going on because it’s just that infectious.
8. Ole Buttermilk Sky – Kay Kyser
On the list is Ole Buttermilk Sky, which was released by Kay Kyser, and this song was a huge hit, with it landing at number one on the Billboard Best Selling Popular Retail Records chart. This was a track that multiple artists covered through the years, but her version remains one of the best and highest-charting. If you’re into cowboy songs that deal with romance, then this might be a track to check out.
9. Personality – Johnny Mercer
If you’re a fan of Fallout 4, you might know the next song which is Johnny Mercer and his version of the track Personality. This is a song that uses the word personality to talk about how men actually look at women’s figures and use that to rate them as opposed to their kindness or other qualities. He had a number-one hit with this track, and it’s one of the funniest tongue-in-cheek songs of the decade.
10. As Time Goes By – Dooley Wilson
Next is As Time Goes By, which was recorded by Dooley Wilson for the movie Casablanca. This song is one of the most recognizable and memorable tracks in film, and it was ranked right behind Over The Rainbow by Judy Garland in the AFI 100 Years 100 Songs list. If you’re into jazz then you’re going to love this track because it’s catchy and upbeat and will make you want to dance.
11. Oh! What It Seemed To Be – Frank Sinatra
On our list next is Oh! What It Seemed To Be by Frank Sinatra who had a number one hit with this song on the Billboard charts. It lasted at number one for eight weeks and stayed on the chart for a total of 17 weeks. While his version didn’t do as well as a few others, his is one of the most famous and recognizable.
12. You Keep Coming Back Like a Song – Dinah Shore
Dinah Shore is on the list with You Keep Coming Back Like A Song, which hit number five on the Billboard charts and is one of her most well-liked songs. If you didn’t know, this track was specifically for the movie Blue Skies. In the film, Bing Crosby introduces it, but her version would go on to become the most successful in America.
13. Surrender – Perry Como
Surrender by Perry Como is on our list because it hit number one on the Best Selling Popular Retail Records chart by Billboard and was one of the best songs of the year. This track was performed first by him, and it’s believed to be about how Germany and Japan surrendered during World War II. There are a lot of similarities when you surrender in war and love, and that’s what this song gets into.
14. Five Minutes More – Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra makes the list with Five Minutes More, which comes from the movie Sweetheart Of Sigma Chi. He recorded the song, which went to number one on the Billboard Pop chart and stayed there for four weeks. On the Billboard Year-End chart, his version of the track also kept its place at four.
15. Down The Road Apiece – Amos Milburn
On our list next is Amos Milburn with Down The Road Apiece, which includes horns and piano, and it’s one of those quintessential boogie-woogie songs. This track is all about a party and what kinds of activities might be found at this party. You can feel the energy and excitement build as more potential party activities are discussed, and it’s a song that’s infectious and will leave you ready to party.
16. I Can’t Begin To Tell You – Harry James Feat. Betty Grable
Harry James makes the list with I Can’t Begin To Tell You, which is one of the cover versions of this song. He sang this track with Betty Grable, who was his wife, and it’s one of his memorable songs. It peaked at number nine on the Billboard Best Seller chart but only stayed on the chart for three weeks.
17. Ko Ko – Charlie Parker
If you’re into bebop then you’d love Ko Ko by Charlie Parker, which contains solos, quick runs, saxophone playing by none other than Parker himself, and so much melody. This is one of his significant recordings, and it’s thought to be one of his signature songs. It was added to the National Recording Registry since it was influential in creating the style of jazz known as bebop.
18. Kentucky Waltz – Bill Monroe
Bill Monroe had a hit with Kentucky Waltz, which went to number three on the Billboard Country & Western chart. This track is a bluegrass song, and he’s known as the father of the genre, so it’s one of the most iconic bluegrass tracks you’ll ever hear. He plays mandolin in it, and it’s about wanting to go home to Kentucky and yearning for a lost lover. This would be the most successful song he would have on the charts.
19. Guitar Polka – Al Dexter & His Troopers
Next is Al Dexter & His Troopers with Guitar Polka, which went to number one on the Billboard JukeBox chart and stayed there for 16 weeks. In totality, the song stayed on the charts for 29 weeks. The track is a celebration of dancing and life, and it’s one of the old country songs that you’ll want to get up and dance to every time you hear it.
20. Winter Wonderland – Johnny Mercer & The Pied Pipers
Johnny Mercer had a hit with Winter Wonderland, and this song featured The Pied Pipers. Several artists have covered this track, which is all about how wonderful the Christmas time of year is, and it’s one of the best winter and Christmas songs of all time.
21. Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly – Dinah Shore
Dinah Shore makes the list with Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly, and this song was originally for the movie Annie Get Your Gun. While Ethel Merman first recorded the track, Shore has one of the most successful and well-known versions of the song. Her version went to number three on the Billboard chart.
22. Shake The Boogie – Sonny Boy Williamson
Next up is a great blues song that was a hit for Sonny Boy Williamson called Shake The Boogie. You can get into a great mood listening to this track full of energy and power and the harmonica that he plays is just electrifying in all ways. This song will make you want to cut loose and begin dancing and that is what this style of music was all about.
23. What Is Life Without Love – Eddy Arnold
Next up is Eddy Arnold, and the song What Is Life Without Love, and this track spent over 22 weeks on the Billboard Country chart with it peaking at number one for a week. This is a love song, and it was the first time that he had a track hit the number-one spot on the charts.
24. Christmas Island – The Andrews Sisters Feat. Guy Lombardo Orchestra
Guy Lombardo Orchestra and The Andrews Sisters had a hit with Christmas Island, and this song peaked at number seven on the charts. This track is all about how nice it would be to celebrate Christmas on an island where it’s warmer. It talks about how all of the people on the island would be excited to stay up as late as possible to wait for Santa to arrive.
It is a song you’d put on and dream about if you lived in an area where it snowed and was cold during Christmas. Jimmy Buffett is just one of many artists to cover this track in the years that followed.
25. Gotta Gimme Whatcha Got – Julia Lee
Julie Lee had a hit with Gotta Gimme Whatcha Got, and this song was one of the most popular tracks that really allowed you to feel the power of blues music. The lyrics are very flirty and sexy, which makes sense given this song is about celebrating all of the pleasure you feel when you’re in love and have a burning desire. There are horns and piano in this track and a rhythm section that gives you the jazzy feel, and it’s a song to put on to celebrate the power of love.
26. Rainbow At Midnight – Ernest Tubb
Ernest Tubb is next with Rainbow At Midnight, and this song was first released by The Carlisle Brothers. He recorded a version a few weeks later, and his version went to number one on the Billboard JukeBox Folk chart, whereas the original only went to number five. Safe to say, his version became the more successful of the two and most popular.
27. My Gal’s A Jockey – Big Joe Turner
Big Joe Turner is on the list with his song My Gal’s A Jockey, which went to number six on the Billboard R&B chart. This is a blues song that’s very upbeat, and there are both horns and a piano in this track. The song is about how a guy admires and loves his girlfriend who is a jockey and how skilled she is at her job.
28. I Don’t Know Enough About You – Peggy Lee
Next is Peggy Lee with I Don’t Know Enough About You, which went to number seven on the Billboard Pop chart. This is a jazz tune that is all about having a new romantic fling and the mystery and questions that surround these new romantic situations. There are a lot of flirty vibes in the lyrics, and the smoothness of the instruments and vocals allows you to feel this excitement. If you’re a fan of the big band era in music then you’ll love this song.
29. Passé – Margaret Whiting
Margaret Whiting had a hit with Passé, and this was one of the best songs of the year. When you hear her vocals, you will notice how prominent they are and how well she stands out against the instruments. It’s a track that will let you see just what the big band era was all about.
30. Good Morning Heartache – Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday is on our list with the track Good Morning Heartache, which is a jazz song that goes into the feelings of pain, loss, and heartbreak. It’s all about how you wake up one day and realize that you’ve lost your love, and it’s a powerful and emotional track that was a hit for her in 1946. When you listen to this song, you can relate to the emotional tone conveyed in the vocals and the instruments only help further that feeling of loss and sadness.
31. Reconversion Blues – Louis Jordan
Last on the list is Reconversion Blues by Louis Jordan, and this song went to two on the Billboard Race Record chart and also ended up at 14 on the Most Played Race Records list for the year 1946. This track is all about being able to purchase items that were available after World War II and the freedom of having all of these items, such as gas and butter freely available.
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.