The Legends of the Rocking Dutchman - episode 15

The Harlem Hitparade

number ones - 1943-1944

A few weeks ago, in episode number 11 I did a show on the very first year of the Harlem Hit Parade, the chart of Billboard magazine dedicated to music targeted at the African American consumer, later to be know and the Race Records chart or the Rhythm & Blues records chart. This time I continue where I left that time, in the fall of 1943.

These wartime years the big bands were still blooming, and the line between Rhythm & Blues - who had heard of this word by then anyhow - and jazz was still thin. In the segregated society America was, African American music was quite different from mainstream popular music and the white audience was pretty much oblivious of the exciting new styles that grew in black popular music during the forties and early fifties. With this separate chart Billboard helped giving this music exposure it wouldn't have got otherwise as they would have remained unnoticed in the lower regions of the overall pop chart. And in this show I will point out why the modern version of this Billboard list, the R&B and hiphop songs, still has a good reason to exist.



The date indicates when the record was listed number one for the first time.
  1. Duke Ellington feat. Johnny Hodges - Sentimental Lady (October 2, 1943)
  2. Nat King Cole Trio - All For You (November 20)
  3. Ella Mae Morse - Shoo Shoo Baby (December 18)
  4. Louis Jordan - Ration Blues (January 1, 1944)
  5. Duke Ellington - Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me (January 15)
  6. Johnny Mercer with Paul Weston Orch. - G.I. Jive (January 22)
  7. Benny Goodman - Solo flight (March 11)
  8. Ella Fitzgerald & the Ink Spots - Cow Cow Boogie (March 25)
  9. Duke Ellington - Main Stem (April 1)
  10. Buddy Johnson feat. Ella Johnson - When My Man Comes Home (April 15)
  11. Nat King Cole - Straighten Up and Fly Right (April 29)
  12. Louis Jordan - G.I. Jive (July 15)
  13. Mills Brothers - Till Then (August 19)
  14. Lionel Hampton - Hamp's Boogie Woogie (September 2)
  15. Benny Carter - I'm Lost (September 30)
  16. Nat King Cole - Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You (October 21)
  17. Ink Spots - Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall (November 18)
  • Wild Bill Moore Sextette - Bongo Bounce
The following music served as background music during the spoken parts:
  • Kirk Kirkland - The Saxaphone Rag
  • Lucky Millinder - Sweet Slumber (December 25)
  • Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra - Perdido
  • Harry James & His Orchestra - Sleepy Time Gal
  • Charlie Barnet & His Orchestra - Washington Whirligig
  • Lucky Millinder & His Orchestra - Apollo Jump