List of Billboard number-one singles of 1940

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Tommy Dorsey (pictured) achieved the first Billboard number-one single with "I'll Never Smile Again", which topped the chart for twelve consecutive weeks.

This is a list of number-one singles in the United States during the year 1940 according to The Billboard.


Introduced in the issue dated July 27, 1940, the ten-position "National Best Selling Retail Records" (titled "National List of Best Selling Retail Records" for its first five weeks) began Billboard's tracking of music popularity.

Prior to that issue, The Billboard had featured lists of national "Sheet Music Best Sellers"; "Records Most Popular on Music Machines" (compiled from national reports from phonograph operators); and "Songs With the Most Radio Plugs" (based on a select number of New York City radio stations).

The "National Best Selling Retail Records," however, was the first chart to poll retailers nationwide on record sales.

The new chart was termed a "trade service feature" based on the "10 best selling records of the past week" at a selection of national retailers from New York City to Los Angeles.

Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra earned the number-one single for the inaugural retail list with the song "I'll Never Smile Again"; featuring vocals by Frank Sinatra and the vocal group the Pied Pipers, the eventual standard would total 12 consecutive weeks atop the chart.[1][2]

Shown is a list of songs that topped the National Best Selling Retail Records chart in 1940.

Issue date Song Artist(s) Ref.
July 27 "I'll Never Smile Again" Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra with Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers [3]
August 3
August 10
August 17
August 24
August 31
September 7
September 14
September 21
September 28
October 5
October 12
October 19 "Only Forever" Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra [4]
October 26
November 2
November 9
November 16
November 23
November 30
December 7
December 14
December 21 "Frenesi" Artie Shaw and His Orchestra [5]
December 28 [6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Trust, Gary. "Happy Birthday, Billboard Charts! On July 27, 1940, the First Song Sales Chart Debuted". Billboard. Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group. Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2018. 
  2. ^ Kaplan, James. "The Night Sinatra Happened". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 28 February 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2018. 
  3. ^ "Sinatra Sheet Music (1st Frank Sinatra appearance): I'll Never Smile Again. Words & Music by Ruth Lowe. Featured by The Pied Pipers & Frank Sinatra with Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra". Hoboken Historical Museum. Archived from the original on 12 May 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, United States: Record Research Inc. p. 108. ISBN 0-89820-083-0. 
  5. ^ "Music Popularity Chart – Week Ending December 13, 1940" (PDF). The Billboard. Cincinnati, Ohio. 21 December 1940. p. 10. Retrieved 28 April 2018. 
  6. ^ "Music Popularity Chart – Week Ending December 19, 1940" (PDF). The Billboard. Cincinnati, Ohio. 28 December 1940. p. 62. Retrieved 28 April 2018.