40s Music: The Best Songs of the 1940s

40s Music

Unlike the decades before, solo artists dominated pop music worldwide in the 1940s. The big bands could no longer pay the music clubs because of the lousy economy. After World War II, big bands were gradually replaced by male and female singers.

Pop music in the 40s included swing and jazz.

The most famous singers of the 1940s were Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, who rose to become the best-selling male pop artists of the decade. In addition to music, they were also regularly featured in the significant media of film and radio.

Other important representatives of ’40s music included Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Nat “King” Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ink Spots.

The top 100 songs of the Forties were chosen for their initial and enduring popularity and their impact and influence on the course of music history. Many of the following songs were recorded by more than one artist. We have chosen to perform the most significant version of the song with the associated artist.

Trivia: The song “White Christmas” by U.S. singer and actor Bing Crosby is the best-selling song of all time. The Christmas Carol Has been sold over 50 million times according to the Guinness Book of Records.

(At the end of the article, we have created a Spotify playlist for you with all songs listed here.)

The 100 most successful songs of the 1940s:

Each song is linked to the corresponding music video via the title.

1.White ChristmasBing Crosby1947
2.Besame MuchoJimmy Dorsey1944
3.Into Each Life Some Rain Must FallElla Fitzgerald & the Ink Spots1944
4.AmapolaJimmy Dorsey1941
5.On The Atchison, Topeka And Santa FeJohnny Mercer1944
6.Comin’ In On A Wing And A PrayerSong Spinners1943
7.Rag MopAmes Brothers1949
8.The Christmas SongNat “King” Cole1946
9.Shoo-Shoo BabyAndrews Sisters1943
10.Lovesick BluesHank Williams1949
11.There! I’ve Said It AgainVaughn Monroe1945
12.God Bless The ChildBillie Holiday1941
13.Sleepy LagoonHarry James1940
14.Stormy Weather Lena Horne1943
15.Peg O’ My HeartHarmonicats1947
16.‘Round MidnightThelonious Monk1944
17.Don’t Fence Me InBing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters1944
18.The Breeze And IJimmy Dorsey (Bob Eberly)1940
19.Walking the Floor Over YouErnest Tubb1941
20.Slippin’ AroundMargaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely1949
21.Take The “A” TrainDuke Ellington1941
22.Cruising Down The RiverBlue Barron1949
23.This Land Is Your LandWoody Guthrie1940
24.I’ve Heard That Song BeforeHarry James1942
25.Blues in the Night (My Mama Done Tol’ Me)Woody Herman1942
26.Jingle, Jangle, JingleKay Kyser1942
27.Rum And Coca-ColaAndrews Sisters1944
28.My Sister and IJimmy Dorsey1941
29.As Time Goes ByDooley Wilson1942
30.Tuxedo JunctionGlenn Miller1940
31.I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You)Harry James1941
32.You Are My SunshineJimmie Davis1940
33.Green EyesJimmy Dorsey1941
34.We Three (My Echo, My Shadow, And Me)Ink Spots1940
35.Star DustArtie Shaw1940
36.Pistol Packin’ MamaBing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters1943
37.Bouquet of RosesEddy Arnold1948
38.DaddySammy Kaye1941
39.Nature BoyNat “King” Cole1948
40.Baby It’s Cold OutsideJohnny Mercer & Margaret Whiting1944
41.Candy KissesGeorge Morgan1948
42.Swinging On A StarBing Crosby1944
43.(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs Of DoverVera Lynn1942
44.Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)Tex Williams1947
45.FrenesiArtie Shaw1940
46.There Are Such ThingsTommy Dorsey1943
47.Smoke on the WaterRed Foley1944
48.BrazilXavier Cugat1942
49.Opus № 1Tommy Dorsey1944
50.Till The End Of TimePerry Como1945
51.Cool WaterSons Of The Pioneers1948
52.TangerineJimmy Dorsey1941
53.That Lucky Old SunFrankie Laine1949
54.Anniversary SongAl Jolson1942
55.You Always Hurt The One You LoveMills Brothers1944
56.In The Blue Of The EveningTommy Dorsey (Frank Sinatra)1943
57.Moonlight CocktailGlenn Miller1942
58.A Night In TunisiaDizzy Gillespie1942
59.Buttons And BowsDinah Shore1948
60.Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be)Billie Holiday1941
61.New San Antonio RoseBob Wills and His Texas Playboys1940
62.Prisoner Of LovePerry Como1946
63.(I Love You) For Sentimental ReasonsNat “King” Cole1945
64.I Don’t Want To Set The World On FireInk Spots1941
65.Paper DollMills Brothers1942
66.Near YouFrancis Craig1947
67.I Can Dream, Can’t IAndrews Sisters1949
68.Sentimental JourneyLes Brown (Doris Day)1944
69.Blues In The NightWoody Herman1941
70.A String Of PearlsGlenn Miller1941
71.A Tree In The Meadow Margaret Whiting1948
72.Rudolph, The Red-Nosed ReindeerGene Autry1940
73.To Each His OwnEddy Howard1946
74.The Old Lamp-LighterSammy Kaye1946
75.(I’ve Got A Gal In) KalamazooGlenn Miller1942
76.Don’t Get Around Much AnymoreInk Spots1948
77.Oh! What It Seemed To BeFrankie Carle1945
78.I’ll Never Smile AgainTommy Dorsey (Frank Sinatra)1940
79.Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t (Ma’ Baby)Louis Jordan1943
80.Pistol Packin’ Mama Al Dexter1943
81.LindaRay Noble (Buddy Clark)1946
82.Auld Lang SyneGuy Lombardo1946
83.ImaginationGlenn Miller1940
84.The GypsyInk Spots1946
85.DaddySammy Kaye1941
86.When You Wish Upon A StarCliff Edwards1940
87.Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The PositiveJohnny Mercer1944
88.Chattanoogie Shoe Shine BoyRed Foley1949
89.You’ll Never KnowDick Haymes1943
90.Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition!Kay Kyser1943
91.That’s My DesireFrankie Laine1946
92.I’ll Walk AloneDinah Shore1944
93.Manana (Is Soon Enough For Me)Peggy Lee1947
94.BallerinaVaughn Monroe1947
95.Maria ElenaJimmy Dorsey1941
96.Mule TrainFrankie Laine1949
97.Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!Vaughn Monroe1946
98.Some Enchanted EveningPerry Como1949
99.Blue Moon of KentuckyBill Monroe1947
100.Open The Door, Richard Count Basie1947
Also recommend:   The 104 Best Songs of the 50s - The Most Popular Music From The 1950s

40’s Spotify Playlist:

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