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31 Best Songs From 1949

There are so many great tracks from the end of the 40s that it can be hard to know which ones were the biggest on the charts and had the highest success. We’re going to tell you the 31 best songs from 1949, so keep reading to find out who we included on our list! 

1. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – Hank Williams 

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

First up on our list is I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, which was performed by Hank Williams and recorded in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the Herzog Studio. He had planned originally for it to be a spoken song and not actually sung. It landed on the Billboard Country Singles chart and is one of his most well-known tracks, with several artists including Elvis Presley later covering this massive hit.

2. There’s No Tomorrow – Tony Martin 

There's No Tomorrow

Tony Martin makes our list next with There’s No Tomorrow, which is a song that comes from O Sole Mio, a famous Italian tune. His version was by far the most popular, and it peaked at number two on the Billboard charts and stayed on the charts for 27 weeks!

3. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry 

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Calling all fans of the television show Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, did you know that Gene Autry released this song in 1949? It was his wife that had convinced him to do the track and use it for an upcoming record. Well, he did, and it was well worth his time because it went to number one on the charts during Christmas that year.

It became the first song to leave the chart completely after going to number one. With the success of this song, he would go on to make other holiday tunes, such as Here Comes Peter Cottontail.

4. You’re Breaking My Heart – Vic Damone 

You're Breaking My Heart

Up next is You’re Breaking My Heart by Vic Damone, which is one of his biggest hits. The song went to number one and is thought to be one of the best versions of the track. While most of the lyrics are in English, some of the singing is done using lyrics in Italian. 

5. [Ghost] Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend) – Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra

Vaughn Monroe & His Orchestra - Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend) 1949

Vaughn Monroe And His Orchestra released a version of [Ghost] Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend), which is one of the most well-known versions of the track. It was so popular that it hit number one on the Billboard charts and stayed on the charts for 22 weeks. It was also named the best song of the year by Billboard.

This track is a folk song that talks about a cowboy who visioned cattle with red eyes being chased by cowboy spirits that were eternally damned. One of these cowboys was warning him that if he didn’t change then he would be stuck eternally damned like they were chasing these red-eyed cattle. 

6. Some Enchanted Evening – Perry Como 

Some Enchanted Evening

Perry Como is next on the list with Some Enchanted Evening, which went to number one on the charts. The song comes from the musical South Pacific and is about finding someone who you believe is your true love and knowing that you need to find a way to make them yours or else you’re going to be alone your entire life because you’re meant to be with them.

7. That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day) – Frankie Laine 

That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day)

Frankie Laine had a hit with That Lucky Old Son (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day), and his version is the most well-known and popular version of the song. It hit the Billboard Best Seller chart and peaked at number one and ended up staying on the chart for more than 22 weeks! It’s a track that is talking about how oblivious we are to the natural world and compares it to how hard his life is, and it’s similar in lyrical content to Ol’ Man River. 

8. Forever And Ever – Russ Morgan 

Russ Morgan had a hit with Forever And Ever, and this jazz and pop song was one of the biggest hits of 1949. The vocals were done by The Skylarks, and this quickly became one of the most popular tracks that Morgan ever performed. While a lot of other versions of this song existed before and after he covered it, his version remains one of the most iconic. 

9. A Little Bird Told Me – Evelyn Knight 

A Little Bird Told Me

Next is Evelyn Knight with A Little Bird Told Me, which landed on the Billboard Best Seller chart and stayed there for 21 weeks, peaking at number one. The other side of the record also hit the charts but only managed to make it to 24, which means A Little Bird Told Me was the biggest chart-topping hit from this record. 

10. Lovesick Blues – Hank Williams 

Hank Williams makes the list again with Lovesick Blues, which instantly became a hit and went to number one on the Top Country & Western Singles chart by Billboard. It also went on the Most Played JukeBox song chart where it landed at 24 but peaked at number one for 16 weeks. It stayed on this chart for more than 42 weeks and was then named Hillbilly Record of the Year by Cashbox. This track would become the biggest song of his entire musical career. 

11. Trouble Blues – Charles Brown Trio

Charles Brown Trio is on our list with Trouble Blues. It landed on top of the R&B chart and stayed there for 15 weeks. This led it to become the most successful R&B track of the year after staying that long on the chart. In 1972, they would re-record the song for their album Blues ‘N’ Brown.

12. I’ll Get Along Somehow – Larry Darnell 

I’ll Get Along Somehow (Part 1)

Larry Darnell’s version of I’ll Get Along Somehow is different from the ones before as it was a spoken interlude. He talks about his girl who was dependent on him at the beginning but changed after he helped her get her professional break. She left him when she became a star, realizing she was on the road to success. It was a topic that was great at clubs during that time.

13. She Wore A Yellow Ribbon – Eddie “Piano” Miller 

1949 HITS ARCHIVE: She Wore A Yellow Ribbon - Eddie ‘Piano’ Miller

Eddie “Piano” Miller had a hit with She Wore A Yellow Ribbon where he joined up with The Andrews Sisters for this popular song. It went to number 22 on the Billboard charts and remained one of the biggest tracks of his career. The Andrews Sisters had multiple charting hits through the years, but their version of this song with Miller was a success for them as well. 

14. Beans and Cornbread – Louis Jordan

Beans And Cornbread

Calling all fans of Dinner And A Movie, you might know the next song by Louis Jordan called Beans And Cornbread since it was used as the theme song. If you watched Malcolm X, the track was featured in that movie as well. This was one of the biggest songs of 1949, and it’s one of the classic examples of jump blues music that became popular thanks to Louis Jordan and other similar artists. 

15. Careless Hands – Mel Tormé 

Mel Tormé is up next with the hit song Careless Hands, with his version being the one to chart the highest out of the multiple versions released that year. It reached number one on the Billboard Pop chart while the version by Sammy Kaye only peaked at number three. For him, this was his first monumental success. 

16. Again – Doris Day 

Again by Doris Day was recorded in 1949 and was one of the most successful versions of the song to be made. It hit the Best Seller Billboard chart where it peaked at number two and stayed on the chart for a total of 19 weeks. Several musicians that year recorded this track and multiple were hits, but one of the more well-known versions was the one by Day. 

17. Baby It’s Cold Outside – Margaret Whiting And Johnny Mercer 

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer are on the list with Baby It’s Cold Outside, and this song was featured in the movie Neptune’s Daughter. It went to number four on the Billboard chart and other versions that were made that year also ended up on the Billboard charts. While multiple versions of this track were made that year, this one became some of the most well-known. 

18. Powder Your Face With Sunshine – Sammy Kaye 

Powder Your Face With Sunshine

Speaking earlier of Sammy Kaye, he’s on the list with his version of Powder Your Face With Sunshine. This song went onto the Best Seller Billboard chart and peaked at the number eight spot with it staying on the chart for more than eight weeks. While the Evelyn Knight version made it to number one on the Billboard chart, this version became one of the most popular. 

19. Cruising Down The River – Jack Smith 

Jack Smith - Cruising Down The River

Next is Cruising Down The River, which was recorded by Jack Smith, although his version was one of many covers to hit the charts. Staying for 11 weeks on the Billboard Best Selling chart, it peaked at number 14 and became one of the biggest hits that he would have. 

20. Far Away Places – Bing Crosby 

Bing Crosby had a hit with Far Away Places, which hit the Billboard Best Seller chart at the end of 1948 and stayed on the chart for 18 weeks. It peaked on that chart at number two, and it became one of the most popular versions of the song with it being the only one to make it to second position. 

21. I Can Dream (Can’t I) – The Andrews Sisters 

I Can Dream (Can't I)

The Andrews Sisters are on the list with I Can Dream (Can’t I). This song featured the Gordon Jenkins Orchestra And Chorus, and it hit the Billboard charts and stayed in the number one position for around five weeks. The track actually ended up on all three Billboard charts at once, including Most Played by Jockeys, Best Seller In Stores, and Most Played in Jukeboxes. It stayed on the charts altogether for more than 25 weeks and remains one of the most well-known versions of the song. 

22. When Things Go Wrong With You (It Hurts Me Too) – Tampa Red 

When Things Go Wrong with You (It Hurts Me Too) (Remastered)

Next on this list is When Things Go Wrong With You (It Hurts Me Too) by Tampa Red, which was a cover, and it was done in a Chicago blues style that proved to be a successful move for him. It went onto the Billboard R&B charts and hit number nine, and the slide guitar element made this version one of the most successful and well-known versions to date. 

23. Hey Little Girl – Professor Longhair 

Hey Little Girl (Remastered Version)

Professor Longhair makes the list with the hit song Hey Little Girl, which mixes R&B, rock, and jazz to create a unique and interesting song that, while it didn’t chart, remained one of the biggest tracks of the year. It was a hit in his home city of New Orleans where it stayed within the top 10 of the charts for several weeks. 

24. Bamboo -Vaughn Monroe 

Vaughn Monroe had a smash hit with Bamboo in 1949, and this song went to number four on the Billboard charts. This track was one of his biggest hits that year, and it deserves a spot on this list because he was so talented and remains one of the most talented stars of the 40s and 50s. 

25. Room Full Of Roses – Eddy Howard

Room Full of Roses

Eddy Howard had a hit with Room Full Of Roses, which hit number four on the Billboard charts and was one of the biggest songs of the year. Not only that, but it was the only track of his in 1949 to make it to number four, with the other songs landing at number nine and higher on the Billboard chart. 

26. Ricky’s Blues – The Ravens 

The Ravens are on our list with their hit song Ricky’s Blues, and this group was one of the best and most well-known R&B quartets from the 40s, who also had success into the 50s. There were two tracks they released in 1949, with the other one being White Christmas. While both songs hit the Billboard charts, it was Ricky’s Blues that had more success and went to number eight on the charts versus nine for White Christmas. This remains one of their more successful tracks to date. 

27. Confession Blues – Ray Charles 

Confession Blues makes the list, and this song was by the McSon Trio, which featured Ray Charles on both the vocals and piano. He wrote this song under his real name, which was Ray Charles Robinson, and if you look at the credits for the recording, you will see it listed with an initial for his first and middle name followed by Robinson. His first track to ever hit the charts was this, and it peaked at number five on the Billboard Best Selling Retail Race Records chart, also later called the R&B Records chart. 

28. Lavender Coffin – Fat Man Robinson 

Fat Man Robinson Lavender Coffin

On the list next is Lavender Coffin by Fat Man Robinson, which was one of his most well-known and beloved songs. This was an R&B track that was a hit regionally, and it was a song that was built around the theme of a gambler who had a dying wish. He recorded the track through Motif, which was a label out of Boston. Since it was an independent label, songs like this never became national hits, but in Boston, he was well-regarded. 

29. So Tired – Kay Starr

Next up is So Tired by pop and jazz singer Kay Starr, which was one of the hottest songs of the year. When she went solo in 1948, she had one track hit the charts, but it only went to number 16. In 1949, she released this, and it would become one of the biggest hits in her career, landing at number seven on the Billboard Pop music chart. 

30. I Never See Maggie Alone – Kenny Roberts

I Never See Maggie Alone

Kenny Roberts makes the list with I Never See Maggie Alone, and this song sold more than one million copies, leading it to become one of his biggest hits. What’s cool about this is that this was the first track he’d released, and it became an instant hit. He had many other hits through the years, but this remained his signature song. 

31. The Last Mile Home – Jo Stafford 

The Last Mile Home

Last on our list is Jo Stafford with The Last Mile Home, and this song went to number 16 on the Billboard charts. Her version is one of the most iconic and successful versions of the track even though it was covered multiple times just in 1949 alone.

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The top songs from 1948

The top songs from 1947

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