No. 1 Song of 1941: Frenesi

Frenesi was the No.1 song on the 1941 Billboard charts. It was a year that songs with Spanish titles and foreign themed songs would do well on the charts. Frenesi was No.1 from December 15, 1940 till March 8, 1941. It is a catchy tune but to me is not the kind of song I would want to rush to a record store to buy.

Glenn Miller would take over No.1 for the next week with Song of the Volga Boatmen. Then Frenesi returned to the No.1 spot for one more week before giving way to Jimmy Dorsey’s Amapola which held the No.1 spot till the end of May.

It would be June before a non-foreign named or themed song would reach No.1 in Dorsey’s My Sister and I took the top spot in the charts ending a 37 week run of No.1 songs with foreign names or themes dating back to December of 1940.

Big Band music dominated the music charts in 1941 with all 11 No.1 songs recorded by big band leaders Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Freddy Martin and Sammy Kaye.

It is hard to believe this recording by Freddy Martin of  Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor was No.1 66 years after being written by Pyotr Tchaikovsky  in 1875 would remain at the top of the charts for eight weeks in 1941. Can you imagine a piano concerto being No.1 on the pop music charts some 70 years later in 2011? Only 13 years later Bill Haley and the Comets a former country swing band would record Rock Around the Clock more or less ending the era of big bands and many vocalists of that era would not sell their records as they had in the 40’s and early 50’s.

Concerto in B Flat Minor to Rock Around the Clock. Popular music would never be the same again.

The biggest surprise to me was that Freddy Martin’s Concerto in B Flat was No.1 for eight weeks. Glenn Miller ended Martin’s reign with 10 week run of Chattanooga Choo Choo which was No. 1 during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

70 years later the only song I can remember more than a verse of is Chattanooga Choo Choo.

One last note is that 1942 would not have a foreign song title or foreign themed song the entire year.

Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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