The Number One Hits of 1940

January 27, 1940 – February 9, 1940
Tommy Dorsey
All The Things You Are
“All The Things You Are” is a song composed by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Tommy Dorsey’s version became a hit in 1940.
February 24, 1940 – March 2, 1940
Tommy Dorsey
Indian Summer
“Indian Summer” is a song composed by Victor Herbert and Al Dubin, which became a hit for Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra in 1940.
March 16, 1940 – March 29, 1940
Benny Goodman
Darn That Dream
Benny Goodman was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the “King of Swing”. “Darn That Dream” is a song composed by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Eddie DeLange, which became a hit for Benny Goodman and his orchestra.
March 30, 1940 – May 3, 1940
Glenn Miller
When You Wish Upon a Star

May 4, 1940 – July 19, 1940
Glenn Miller
Tuxedo Junction (9 weeks*)

May 4, 1940 – June 28, 1940
Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller – The Woodpecker Song (7 weeks*)

Glenn Miller was an American big band leader, trombonist, and composer who gained immense popularity during the swing era of the 1930s and 1940s. Born on March 1, 1904, in Clarinda, Iowa, Miller started his music career by playing in various school and local bands. He eventually studied music at the University of Colorado before pursuing a career as a professional musician.

In the late 1920s, he worked as a freelance trombonist and arranger in New York City, collaborating with notable bandleaders like Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers, and Red Nichols. In 1937, Miller formed his own band, which initially struggled to succeed. However, with perseverance and a unique sound characterized by the clarinet playing lead over the saxophone section, Miller’s band skyrocketed to fame in 1939.

July 10, 1940 – July 19, 1940
Mitchell Ayers
Make-Believe Island (1 week)*
Mitchell Ayres (1910-1969) was an American orchestra leader, music arranger, and composer. In the late 1930s and 1940s, he led a popular dance band, Mitchell Ayres and His Fashions in Music. Although “Make-Believe Island” is not as well known today as some other hits of the era, it is a lovely example of the romantic ballads that were popular during the Big Band era.
July 20, 1940 – July 26, 1940
Glenn Miller
Fools Rush in (Where Angels Fear To Tread)
The Glenn Miller Band’s music was characterized by its catchy melodies, tight arrangements, and danceable rhythms, which made it incredibly popular among the American public during World War II.
(*effective July 20, 1940, dates became (mostly) more consistent)
August 24, 1940 – September 6, 1940
Charlie Barnet
Where Was I?
Charlie Barnet (1913-1991) was an American jazz saxophonist, composer, and bandleader. “Where Was I?” is a song that became a hit for Charlie Barnet and his orchestra in 1940.
September 7, 1940 – September 13, 1940
Jimmy Dorsey
The Breeze and I
“The Breeze and I” is a song composed by Ernesto Lecuona, with English lyrics by Al Stillman, which became a hit for Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra.
November 23, 1940 – November 27, 1940
Glenn Miller
Blueberry Hill
“Blueberry Hill” is a song composed by Vincent Rose, with lyrics by Al Lewis and Larry Stock. Glenn Miller’s version became a hit in 1940.
November 28, 1940 – December 20, 1940
Andrews Sisters
Ferryboat Serenade
The Andrews Sisters were an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. “Ferryboat Serenade” is a song composed by Mario Panzeri and Eldo Di Lazzaro, with English lyrics by Harold Adamson, which became a hit for the Andrews Sisters.
December 21, 1940 – March 14, 1941
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra
Artie Shaw (1910-2004) was an American clarinetist, composer, bandleader, and actor. “Frenesi” is a song composed by Alberto Dominguez, which became a hit for Artie Shaw and his orchestra.

*ties, and sometimes interrupted by competing songs

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1940 include:
Andrews Sisters, Mitch Ayers and His Fashions in Music, Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra, Count Basie, Connee Boswell, Will Bradley, Bing Crosby, Bob Crosby, Xavier Cugat and His Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Eddie Duchin, Duke Ellington, Shep Fields, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Glen Gray, Erskine Hawkins, Horace Heidt, Woody Herman and His Orchestra, The Ink Spots, Harry James, Dick Jurgens, Sammy Kaye, Hal Kemp, Gene Krupa, Kay Kyser, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, Frankie Masters, Glenn Miller, The Mills Brothers, Vaughn Monroe, Ozzie Nelson, Artie Shaw and His Orchestra, Dinah Shore, Kate Smith, Dick Todd

Charts based on Billboard music charts.

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