List of Billboard number-one R&B singles of the 1940s

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The first Billboard R&B chart appeared in the issue dated October 24, 1942, as the Harlem Hit Parade.[1] Reportedly, chart positions were determined by a informal poll of record store owners in Harlem, New York.[2] In February 1945, the primary R&B chart became the Most Played Juke Box Race Records, which was based on reports from juke box operators throughout the United States. The companion chart, Best Selling Retail Race Records, compiled based on a survey of record stores nationwide in which the majority of customers purchased R&B records, was introduced in May 1948. In June 1949, the term "race" in the two charts was replaced with "rhythm and blues".[3]

Below is the list of songs that reached number one on each of these charts from its inception in 1942 through December 1949. Because of the existence of multiple charts, some dates have more than one number-one song for the week.[4]

Number-one R&B songs[edit]

Issue date Song Artist(s) Weeks at No. 1
1942
October 24 "Take It and Git" Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy 1 week
October 31 "Mr. Five by Five" Freddie Slack and His Orchestra featuring Ella Mae Morse 2 weeks*
November 7 "Trav'lin' Light" Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra featuring Billie Holiday 3 weeks*
November 14 "Stormy Monday Blues" Earl Hines and His Orchestra featuring Billy Eckstine 1 week
November 28 "When the Lights Go on Again" Lucky Millinder and His Orchestra 2 weeks*
December 19 "White Christmas" Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter and Ken Darby 3 weeks
1943
January 16 "See See Rider Blues" Bea Booze 4 weeks*
January 23 "What's the Use of Getting Sober (When You Gonna Get Drunk Again)" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 1 week
January 30 "That Ain't Right" Nat King Cole Trio 1 week
February 13 "Apollo Jump" Lucky Millinder and His Orchestra 2 weeks
March 6 "Don't Stop Now" Bonnie Davis and the Bunny Banks Trio 5 weeks*
March 27 "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" The Ink Spots 2 weeks*
April 17 "I've Heard That Song Before" Harry James and His Orchestra 1 week
April 24 "I Can't Stand Losing You" The Ink Spots 7 weeks*
May 29 "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" ("Never No Lament") Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra 3 weeks*
July 17 "You'll Never Know" Dick Haymes 4 weeks
August 14 "Don't Cry Baby" Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra 14 weeks*
September 25 "A Slip of the Lip (Can Sink a Ship)" Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra 1 week
October 2 "Sentimental Lady" Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra 1 week
November 20 "All for You" The Nat King Cole Trio 2 weeks*
December 18 "ShooShoo Baby" Ella Mae Morse 2 weeks*
December 25 "Sweet Slumber" Lucky Millinder and His Orchestra 1 week
1944
January 1 "Ration Blues" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 1 week
January 15 "Do Nothing till You Hear from Me" Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra 8 weeks*
January 22 "G.I. Jive" Johnny Mercer with Paul Weston And His Orchestra 1 week
March 11 "Solo Flight" Benny Goodman and His Orchestra 1 week
March 25 "Cow-Cow Boogie (Cuma-Ti-Yi-Yi-Ay)" The Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald 1 week
April 1 "Main Stem" Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra 4 weeks*
April 15 "When My Man Comes Home" Buddy Johnson and His Band 1 week
April 29 "Straighten Up and Fly Right" The Nat King Cole Trio 10 weeks*
July 15 "G.I. Jive" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 6 weeks*
August 19 "Till Then" The Mills Brothers 1 week
September 2 "Hamp's Boogie Woogie" Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra 6 weeks*
September 30 "I'm Lost" Benny Carter and His Orchestra 2 weeks*
October 21 "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You" The Nat King Cole Trio 4 weeks
November 18 "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" The Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald 11 weeks*
1945
February 10 "Somebody's Gotta Go" Cootie Williams and His Orchestra 1 week
February 17 "I Wonder" Pvt. Cecil Gant 2 weeks
February 24 "I Wonder" Roosevelt Sykes 7 weeks
April 14 "Tippin' In" Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra 6 weeks*
April 21 "Mop! Mop!" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 1 week
June 2 "Caldonia" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 7 weeks
July 14 "Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well" Lucky Millinder and His Orchestra 8 weeks
September 8 "The Honeydripper" (Parts 1 & 2) Joe Liggins and His Honeydrippers 18 weeks
1946
January 12 "Buzz Me" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 9 weeks
March 16 "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra 16 weeks*
March 23 "Don’t Worry 'bout That Mule" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 1 week
June 29 "The Gypsy" The Ink Spots 3 weeks*
July 10 "Stone Cold Dead in the Market" Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 5 weeks
August 24 "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 18 weeks*
November 23 "Ain't That Just Like a Woman" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 2 weeks*
1947
17 January "Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 17 weeks*
26 April "Texas and Pacific" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 2 weeks*
17 May "I Want to Be Loved" Savannah Churchill and the Sentimentalists 8 weeks*
24 May "Old Maid Boogie" Eddie Vinson and His Orchestra 2 weeks*
28 June "Jack You’re Dead" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 7 weeks*
30 August "Boogie Woogie Blue Plate" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 14 weeks*
22 November "Snatch and Grab It" Julia Lee and Her Boy Friends 12 weeks*
1948
21 January "I Love You Yes I Do" Bull Moose Jackson and His Buffalo Bearcats 3 weeks*
20 March "King Size Papa" Julia Lee and Her Boy Friends 9 weeks
22 May "Tomorrow Night" Lonnie Johnson 7 weeks*
19 June "Good Rockin' Tonight" Wynonie Harris 1 week
10 July "Long Gone (Parts I & II)" Sonny Thompson 3 weeks*
10 July "Run Joe" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 2 weeks*
24 July "I Can't Go on Without You" Bull Moose Jackson and His Buffalo Bearcats 8 weeks
4 September "Messin' Around" Memphis Slim and His House Rockers 2 weeks*
11 September "My Heart Belongs to You" Arbee Stidham 1 week
18 September "Pretty Mama Blues" Ivory Joe Hunter 3 weeks
2 October "Corn Bread" Hal Singer Sextette 4 weeks*
2 October "Late Freight" Sonny Thompson Quintet 1 week
9 October "Am I Asking Too Much" Dinah Washington 1 week
6 November "Blues After Hours" Pee Wee Crayton 3 weeks*
27 November "It's Too Soon to Know" The Orioles 1 week
4 December "Chicken Shack Boogie" Amos Milburn 5 weeks*
4 December "Bewildered" Red Miller Trio 5 weeks*
18 December "'Long About Midnight" Roy Brown 1 week
25 December "Bewildered" Amos Milburn 3 weeks*
1949
19 February "Boogie Chillen" John Lee Hooker 1 week
19 February "The Deacon's Hop" Big Jay McNeeley's Blue Jays 1 week
5 May "The Huckle-Buck" Paul Williams and His Hucklebuckers 14 weeks*
4 June "Trouble Blues" The Charles Brown Trio 15 weeks
20 August "Ain't Nobody's Business" (Parts 1 & 2) Jimmy Witherspoon 1 week
10 September "Roomin' House Boogie" Amos Milburn 2 weeks
17 September "All She Wants to Do Is Rock" Wynonie Harris 2 weeks*
17 September "Tell Me So" The Orioles 1 week
24 September "Baby Get Lost" Dinah Washington 2 weeks
8 October "Beans and Corn Bread" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 1 week
15 October "Saturday Night Fish Fry" Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 12 weeks*
24 December "For You My Love" Larry Darnell 8 weeks*

An asterisk (*) after a song title means that the song lost and then regained the number-one spot.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Chart Book Chronicles History of R&B Hitmakers". Billboard. Vol. 112 no. 9. February 26, 2000. p. 104. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  2. ^ Campbell, Michael (2012). Popular Music in America:The Beat Goes On. Cengage Learning. p. 160.
  3. ^ George, Nelson (June 26, 1982). "Black Music Charts: What's in a Name?". Billboard. Vol. 94 no. 25. p. 10. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. xi-xiv. ISBN 0-89820-115-2.