From the Land of Band Box Records

The ‘Race’ is On….

September 16, 2019

Trackin’ Those R&B Charts & The Pioneer Artists

The two major trade magazines from back in the 1940’s and on – primarily Billboard and to a much lesser degree, Cashbox – always presented special categories for rhythm and blues recordings, initially labeling them “race records” and then constantly tweaking the chart titles to be more acceptable or in step with the times.  (See the chart presentation section which follows the artist/song listings.

What I have put together here is a listing of black musicians who made an appearance on the r&b charts back in the mid to late 1940’s when Billboard first began tabulating the genre.  In fact, the R&B charts contained much material beyond rhythm and blues.  Jazz was prominent and big band swing by both black and white band leaders was common.

When mainstream rock and roll made it’s entrance, the R&B charts reflected a black record buying audience did not restrict their purchases or record spins to black musicians.

Almost Everyone Welcome Here….

Annette placed “First Name Initial” on the R&B Charts in early 1960.  Before that the Andrew sisters made three appearances in the mid 1940’s.  Paul Anka’s “Diana” sat at number 1 for two weeks in 1957.  Country music’s Browns placed “The Three Bells” in 1959 and reached number 10.  Van Halen’s “Jump” squeaked into the number 88 position in 1984.

Image result for young elvis

“King” of Many Charts

Ray Anthony’s “Peter Gun” made it to number 12 in 1959.  “Mr. Blue” by the Fleetwoods would peak at number 3 in 1959.  The Beatles never entered the R&B charts but the Rolling Stones were invited in four times “(I Can’t Get No Satisfaction)” reached number 19.   The Beatles weren’t funky enough for R&B it appears but Bobby Rydell placed three songs on the charts – His version of “Volare” made it to number 9.  Good Grief!  Bobby Vinton’s “Roses are Red” reached number 5.

Paul McCartney changed some minds later on with three hit R&B songs when accompanied by Jackson and or Wonder.  His “The Girl Is Mine” reached number 1.

R&B Friendly

The Ronettes had four R&B hits but did better on the Hot 100 with nine.  Elvis held his own – with 35 R&B hits including six number 1’s!  Connie Francis made it on nine occasions.  Vintage rockers from the 1950’s had their moments:  Eddie Cochran (2); Ritchie Valens (2); Gene Vincent (3); Johnny and the Hurricanes (2) – Ronnie Hawkins and the future Band (Hawks) hit number 7 with “Mary Lou” in 1959.

Crooner Bing Crosby  charted six times – and yes, “White Christmas” reached number 1 in 1943.  Colorado’s own Paul Whiteman had one R&B success with his “Trav’lin’ Light” in 1942 – holding the top spot for three weeks.

Image result for paul whiteman

White ‘doo wop’ artists such as the Capris, the Belmonts and the softer Cascades all had their moments with R&B acceptance.  The Fab Four couldn’t quite cut it but Utah’s darling Osmonds hit number 5 with “One Bad Apple”.  The Righteous Brothers placed five singles – and Ricky Nelson was cute enough to enjoy 12 R&B hits with five going Top Ten.  The Everly Brothers were mainstays with 9 R&B charting singles including three number 1 chart toppers!

Image result for the osmond brothers

One Good Apple

And finally – who would have thought it – Culture Club featuring “Boy George” were regulars with nine chart recordings.

Selected R&B Discography

Included here are artists who charted on the R&B charts prior to 1950 but failed to place a record not on the mainstream charts during that time period, with a few exceptions. There wasn’t a large number of these 1940’s artists who were managing to chart.  Many among them failed to secure recording contracts.  Almost all of them are represented here with one recording entry.

Most R&B charting songs from the 1940’s had a very brief chart run since so few positions were listed – anywhere from 8 to 15.  Even some number 1 songs remained on the charts for one for two weeks.  So when a song like “Trouble Blues” by Charles Brown remained in the top position for 15 straight weeks – the accomplishment was exemplary!

(Highest charting position single only listed):

Albert Ammons and His Rhythm Kings – “Swanee River Boogie” – Mercury 8022 – Charted Number 47 February, 1947

From Chicago, IL

Image result for albert ammons

Gene Ammons and His Sextet – “Red Top” – Mercury 8048 – Charted Number 3 September, 1947

From Chicago, IL

Image result for gene ammons

The Angelic Gospel Singers – “Touch Me, Lord Jesus” – Gotham 605 – Charted Number 13 August, 1949

From Philadelphia, PA

Image result for angelic gospel singers

Blue Lu Barker – “A Little Bird Told Me” – Capitol 15308 – Charted Number 4 December, 1948

From New Orleans, LA

Image result for blue lu barker

Barney Bigard – “C Blues” – Bluebird 11581 – Charted Number 7 November, 1942

From New Orleans, LA

Image result for barney bigard

Big Maceo (Merriweather) – “Things Have Changed” – Bluebird 0735 – Charted Number 4 December, 1945

From Atlanta, Georgia

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The Big Three Trio – “You Sure Look Good To Me” – Columbia 38093 – Charted Number 10 April, 1948

From Chicago, IL – Willie Dixon was a member

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Boone’s Jumpin’ Jacks – “Please Be Careful (If You Can’t Be Good) – Decca 8644 – Charted Number 4 May, 1943

From Harlem, NY

Bea Booze (Muriel Nicholls) – “See See Rider Blues” – Decca 8633 – Charted Number 1 for 4 Weeks

From Baltimore, MD

The Hadda Brooks Trio (Hadda Hopgood) – “What Have I Done” – Modern 602 – Charted Number 3 October, 1948

From Los Angeles, CA

Image result for hadda brooks tril

Charles Brown – “Trouble Blues” – Aladdin 3024 – Charted Number 1 for 15 Weeks April, 1949

From Texas City, TX

Image result for charles brown blues singer

Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown – “Mary Is Fine/My Time is Expensive” – Peacock 1504 – Double Sided Hit – Charted Number 8 and 9 November, 1949

From Vinton, LA

Clarence spent considerable time in the Denver area, playing at Ollie’s Roundup locally.

Image result for clarence gatemouth brown

Cleo Brown – “Cook That Stuff” – Capitol 57-70057 – Charted Number 13 December, 1949

From Meridan, MO

Roy Brown and His Orchestra – “Long About Midnight” – DeLuxe 3154 – Charted Number 1 June, 1948

From New Orleans, LA

Image result for Roy brown and his orchestra


The Don Byas Quintet – “London Donnie” – Savoy 668 – Charted Number 14 September, 1948

Muskogee, OK (Carlos Byas)

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Cab Calloway – “The Honeydripper” – Columbia 36894 – Charted Number 5 November, 1949

From Cincinnati, OH

Image result for cab calloway

Benny Carter & His Orchestra – “I’m Lost” – Capitol 165 – Charted Number 1 for 2 Weeks August, 1944

From Harlem, NY (Bennett Lester Carter)

Image result for benny carter musician

The Cats ‘N Jammer Three – “I Cover The Water Front” – Mercury 2003 – Charted Number 3 April, 1946

From Chicago, IL

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Eddie Chamblee and Band – “Back Street” – Miracle 133 – Charted Number 9 May, 1949

From Atlanta, GA

Image result for eddie chamblee

Savannah Churchill & The Sentimentalists – “I Want To Be Loved (But By Only You” – Manor 1046- Charted Number 1 for 8 Weeks March, 1947

From Austin, TX (Clara Harris)

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Pee Wee Crayton & His Guitar – “Blues After Hours” – Modern 624 – Charted Number 1 for 3 Weeks October, 1948

From Rockdale, TX (Connie Crayton)

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Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup – “Rock Me Mama” – Bluebird 34-0725 – Charted Number 3 May, 1945

From Forest, MS

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Frank “Floorshow” Culley and His Band – “After Hour Session” – Atlantic 888 – Charted Number 10 – December, 1949

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Bonnie Davis – “Don’t Stop Now” – Savoy 102 – Charted Number 1 for 5 Weeks January, 1943

From Bessemer, AL (Melba Smith)

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Martha Davis – “Daddy-O” – Decca 24502 – Charted Number 7 – October, 1948

From Wichita, KS

Mercy Dee – “Lonesome Cabin Blues (Log Cabin Blues)” – Spire 11-001 – Charted Number 7 December, 1949

From Waco, TX (Mercy Dee Walton)

Floyd Dixon – “Mississippi Blues” – Modern 20-700 – Charted Number 14 December, 1949

From Marshall, TX

The 5 Red Caps – “I Learned A Lesson I’ll Never Forget” – Beacon 7120 – Charted Number 3 February, 1944

From Los Angeles, CA

(They released one single on Denver’s Band Box label)

Image result for the 5 red caps

“Dusty Fletcher – “Open The Door, Richard” – National 4012 – Charted Number 2 February, 1947

From Des Moines, IA (Clinton Fletcher)

The Four Jacks – “I Challenge Your Kiss – Allen 21000 – Charted Number 8 May, 1949

From Los Angeles, CA

The Four Vagabonds – “It Can’t Be Wrong” – Bluebird 30-0815 – Charted Number 3 July, 1943

From St. Louis, MO

Private Cecil Grant – “I Wonder” – Gilt-Edge 500 – Charted Number 1 for Two Weeks October, 1944

From Nashville, TN

The Paul Gayten Trio & Annie Laurie – “Since I Fell For You” – DeLuxe 1062 – Charted Number 3 October, 1947

From Kentwood, LA

Great Gates – “Late After Hours” – Selective 103 – Charted Number 6 September, 1949

From Georgetown, British Guyana (Edward Gates White)

Lil Green – “Let’s Be Friends” – Bluebird 8895 – Charted Number 8 October, 1942

From Mississippi (Lillian Green)

The Tiny Grimes Quintet – “Midnight Special” – Atlanta 865 –  Charted Number 12 November, 1946

From Newport News, VA (Lloyd Grimes)

Image result for tiny grimes

Dan Grissom – “Recess In Heaven” – Jewel 2004 – Charted Number 8 May, 1948

From Detroit, MI

Felix Gross & His Orchestra – “Love For Christmas” – Savoy 720 – Charted Number 9 December, 1949

From Dallas, TX

Toni Harper – “Candy Store Blues” – Columbia 38229 – Charted Number 15 August, 1948

From Los Angeles, CA (Rocquelle Toni Harper)

Wynonie Harris – “Good Rockin’ Tonight” – King 4210 – Charted Number 1 May, 1948

From Omaha, NE

Coleman Hawkins and His Orchestra – “Body and Soul” – Bluebird 30-0825 – Charted Number 4 July, 1944

From St. Joseph, MO

Erskine Hawkins – “Don’t Cry Baby” – Bluebird 30-0813 – Charted Number 1 for 14 Weeks July, 1943

From Birmingham, AL

Image result for erskine hawkins

Edgar Hayes and His Stardusters – “Blues at Dawn” – Exclusive 110x – Charted Number 12 September, 1949

From Lexington, KY

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Earl Hines and His Orchestra – “Stormy Monday Blues” – Bluebird 11567 – Charted Number 1 October, 1942

From Duquesne, PA

Image result for earl hines

Smokey Hogg – “Long Tall Mama” – Modern 574 – Charted Number 9 August, 1948

From Westconnie, TX (Andrew Hogg)

Billie Holiday – “Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)” – Decca 23391 – Charted Number 5 May, 1945

From Philadelphia, PA (Eleanor Gough) – This was to be Holiday’s only single to enter the R&B charts.

John Lee Hooker – “Hobo Blues” – Modern 663 – Charted Number 5 May, 1949

From Coahoma County, MS

Lightnin’ Hopkins – “Model ‘T’ Blues” – Gold Star 662 – Charted Number 8 October, 1949

From Centerville, TX (Sam Hopkins)

The Floyd Hunt Quartette – “Fool That I Am” – Miracle 104 – Charted Number 3 September, 1947

From Chicago, IL

Ivory Joe Hunter – Blues At Sunrise” – Exclusive 209 – Charted Number 3 December, 1945

From Kirbyville

The Ink Spots – Decca 18817 – “The Gypsy” – Charted Number 1 for Three Weeks May, 1946

From Indianapolis, IN

Image result for original ink spot

Bull Moose Jackson and His Buffalo Bearcats – “Sneaky Pete” – King 4181 – Charted Number 10 March, 1948

From Cleveland, OH (Benjamin Jackson)

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Illinois Jacquet and His Orchestra – “Wynonie’s Blues” – Apollo 1104 – Charted Number January, 1946

From Broussart, LA (Battiste Illinois Jacquet)

Herb Jeffries – “Left A Good Deal In Mobile” – Exclusive 208 – Charted Number 2 November, 1945

From Detroit, MI

Bill Johnson and His Musical Notes – “Don’t You Think I Oughta Know” – Queen 4171 – Charted Number 3 September, 1947

From Jacksonville, FL

Buddy Johnson and His Band – “When My Man Comes Home” – Decca 8655 – Charted Number 1 February, 1944

From Darlington, SC (Woodrow Wilson Johnson)

Don Johnson and His Band – “Jackson’s Blues” – Specialty 323 – Charted Number 14 April, 1949

From Los Angeles, CA

Lonnie Johnson – “Tomorrow Night” – King 4201 – Charted Number 1 for 7 Weeks February, 1948

From New Orleans, LA (Alonzo Johnson)

Image result for lonnie johnson singer

Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five – “I’m Gonna Leave You On the Outskirts of Town” – Decca 8638 – Charted Number 3 October, 1942

Rev., Kelsey’s Congregation of Temple Church of God and Christ – “Little Boy” – Vocalion 1020 – Charted Number 13 July, 1948

From Washington D.C. (Samuel Kelsey)

Saunders King and His Orchestra – “Stay Gone Blues” – Rhythm 301 – Charted Number 14 March, 1949

From Staple, LA

Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy – “Take It and Git” – Decca 4366 – Charted Number 1 October, 1942

From Newport, KY

Marie Knight with Sister Rosetta Tharpe – “Up Above My Head, I Hear Music In the Air” – Decca 48090 – Charted Number 6 December, 1948

From Brooklyn, NY

Herb Lance & The Ray Abrams Sextet – “Close Your Eyes” – Sittin’ In With 514 – Charted Number 4 April, 1949

From Pittsburgh, PA

Image result for herb lance

Julia Lee and Her Boy Friends – “(Opportunity Knocks But Once) Snatch and Grab It” – Capitol Americana 40028 – Charted Number 1 for 12 Weeks October, 1947

From Boonville, MO

Lennie Lewis & His Orchestra – “Blue Flame” – Queen 4133 – Charted Number 5 December, 1946

From New York, NY

Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers – “Got A Right To Cry” – Exclusive 210 – Charted Number 2 January, 1948

From Guthrie, OK

Little Willie Littlefield – “It’s Midnight (No Place To Go)” – Modern 686 – Charted Number 3 August, 1949

From El Campo, TX

Joe Lutcher’s Jump Band – “Shuffle Woogie” – Capitol American 40071 – Charted Number March, 1948

From Lake Charles, LA

Nellie Lutcher and Her Rhythm – “Hurry On Down” – Capitol American 40002 – Charted Number 2 August, 1947

From Lake Charles, LA

Big Jay McNeeley’s Blue Jays – “The Deacon’s Hop” – Savoy 685 – Charted Number 1 January, 1949

From Los Angeles, CA (Cecil James)

Jay McShann & His Orchestra – “Get Me On Your Mind” – Decca 4418 – Charted Number 7 July, 1943

From Muskogee, OK (James McShann)

The Red Miller Trio – “Bewildered” – Bullet 295 – Charted Number 1 for 5 Weeks November, 1948

From Atlanta, GA

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Lucky Millinder and His Orchestra – “Apollo Jump” – Decca 18529 – Charted Number 1 for 2 Weeks February, 1943

From Anniston, AL (Lucius Millinder)

Roy Milton and His Solid Senders – “Milton’s Boogie” – Juke Box 503 – Charted Number 4 December, 1946

From Wynnewood, OK

Freddie Mitchell and His Orchestra – “Doby’s Boogie” – Derby 713 – Charted Number 4 August, 1949

From Orlando, FL

Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – “Drifting Blues” – Philo 112 – Charted Number 2 February, 1946

From Austin, TX

Rose Murphy – “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” – Majestic 1204 – Charted Number 3 January, 1948

From Xenia, OH

Chubby “Hip Shakin'” Newsom – “Hip Shakin’ Mama” – DeLuxe 3199 – Charted Number 8 February, 1949

From Detroit, MI (Velma Newsom)

The Orioles – “Tell Me So” – Jubilee 5005 – Charted Number 1 April, 1949

From Baltimore, MD

The Johnny Otis Orchestra – “Double Crossing Blues” – Savoy 731 – Charted Number 1 for 9 Weeks

From Vallejo, CA (John Veliotes)

Charlie Parker’s All Stars – “Barbados” – Savoy 936 – Charted Number 15 December, 1948

From Kansas City KS (This was this Jazz giant’s only appearance on the R&B Charts

Image result for charlie parker

Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians – “Rock The Joints” – Gotham  188 – Charted Number 6  September, 1949

From Philadelphia, PA

The Ravens – “Write Me a Letter” – National 9038 – Charted Number 5 January, 1948

From Harlem, NY

The Ray-O-Vacs – “I’ll Always Be In Love With You” – Coleman 100 – Charted Number 8 January, 1949

From Newark, NJ

Rudy Render – “Sneakin’ Around” – London 17000 – Charted Number 2 October, 1949

From Indiana

Image result for rudy render singer

The Todd Rhodes Orchestra – “Blues for the Red Boy” – King 4240 – Charted Number 4 October, 1948

From Hopkinsville, KY

The Robins with Johnny Otis – “Double Crossing Blues” – Savoy 731 – Charted Number 1 February, 1950

From Los Angeles, CA (this big hit was from 1950 but cut in 1949)

The Fat Man Robinson Quintet – “Lavender Coffin” – Motif 2001 – Charted Number 9 May, 1949

From Boston, MA (Paul Robinson)

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Sugar Chile Robinson – “Numbers Boogie” – Capitol 57-70037 – Charted Number 4 October, 1949

From Detroit, MI (Frank Robinson)

The Royal Harmony Quartet – “Praise the Lord And Pass The Ammunition” – Keynote 101 – Charted Number 10 November, 1942

From New York, NY

Image result for royal harmony quartet praise the lord

Luis Russell and His Orchestra – “The Very Thought of You” – Apollo 1012 – Charted Number 3, October, 1946

From Careening Clay, Panama

Doc Sausage and His Mad Lads – “Rag Mop” – Regal 3251 – Charted Number 4 February, 1950

From Chicago, IL (Lucius Tyson) From early 1950 but had to include it due to this wonderful name!

Image result for doc sausage and his mad lads

Mabel Scott – “Elevator Boogie” – Exclusive 35 – Charted Number 6 July, 1948

From Richmond, VA

The Hal Singer Sextette – “Corn Bread” – Savoy 671 – Charted Number 1 for 4 Weeks September, 1948

From Tulsa, OK (Harold Singer)

The Southern Sons – “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” Bluebird 30-0806 – Charted Number 7 November, 1942

From Newark, NJ

Johnny Sparrow and His Bows and Arrow – “Sparrow’s Flight” – Melford 253 – Charted Number 12 January, 1950

From Philadelphia, PA

Related image

The Swallows – “Will You Be Mine” – King 4558 – Charted Number 9 August, 1951

From Baltimore, MD

Joe Swift with Johnny Otis Orchestra – “That’s Your Last Boogie” – Exclusive 51 – Charted Number 10 November, 1948

From Los Angeles, CA

Tampa Red – “Let Me Play With Your Poodle” – Bluebird 34-0700 – Charted Number 4 December, 1942

From Smithville, GA (Hudson Woodbridge)

Sister Rosetta Tharpe – “Strange Things Happening Every Day” – Decca 8669 – Charted Number 2 April, 1945

From Cotton Plant, AR (Rosetta Nubin)

Joe Thomas – “Page Boy Shuffle” – King 4299 – Charted Number 7 September, 1949

From Uniontown, PA

Sonny Thompson with the Sharps and Flats – “Long Gone” – Miracle 126 – Charted Number 1 for 3 Weeks May, 1948

From Centreville, MS (Alfonso Sonny Thompson)

Photo Of The Sharps And Flats

The Three Flames – “Open The Door, Richard” – Columbia 37268 – Charted Number 3 R&B & Number 1 Pop Charts

From Harlem, NY

Andrew Tibbs – “I Feel Like Crying” – Aristocrat 1103 – Charted Number 13 January, 1949

From Columbus, OH (Melvin Grayson)

The Trumpeteers – “Milky White Way” – Score 5001 – Charted Number 8 May, 1948

From Baltimore MD

Joe Turner with Pete Johnson’s All Stars – “S.K. Blues” – National 9010 – Charted Number 3 March, 1945

From Kansas City, MO (Big Joe Turner)

Eddie (“Cleanhead”) Vinson and His Orchestra – “Old Maid Boogie” – Mercury 8028 – Charted Number 1 for 2 Weeks March, 1947

From Houston, TX

T Bone Walker (and His Guitar) – “Bobby Sox Blues” – Black & White 110 – Charted Number 3

From Linden, TX (Aaron Thibeaux Walker)

Fats Waller – “The Jitterbug Waltz” – Bluebird 11518 – Charted Number 6 November, 1942

From Harlem, NY (Thomas Waller) – This would be Fats’ only appearance on the R&B charts

Muddy Waters & His Guitar – “I Feel Like Going Home” – Aristocrat 1305 – Charted Number 11 September, 1948

From Rolling Fork MS (McKinley Morganfield)

Paula Watson – “A Little Bird Told Me” – Supreme 1507 – Charted Number 2 November, 1948

From Mobile, AL

Beverly White and Her Blues Chasers – “Don’t Stop Now” – Beacon 111 – Charted Number 9 May, 1943

Unknown birthplace – Her brother was Josh White who was born in Greenville, SC – Josh also had a daughter named Beverly

Image result for beverly white josh white

Cootie Williams and His Orchestra – “Somebody’s Gotta Go” – Hit 7119 – Charted Number 1 January, 1945

From Mobile, AL (Charles Williams)

The Dee Williams Sextet – “Bongo Blues” – Savoy 684 – Charted Number 13 March, 1949

From Los Angeles, CA (Devonia Ekoyse Williams) – The only image I could find for this recording is a bootleg 45 – and unable to find a photo of Dee or his Sextet

Eddie Williams and His Brown Buddies – “Broken Hearted” – Supreme 1535 Charted Number 2 September, 1942

From St. Augustine, TX

Image result for eddie williams and his brown buddies

L. C. Williams with Conney’s Combo – “Ethel Mae” – Freedom 1517 – Charted Number 8 October, 1949

From Crockett, TX

Paul Williams And His Hucklebuckers – “The Huckle-Buck” – Savoy 683 – Charted Number 1 for 14 Weeks February, 1949

From Lewisburg, TN

Sonny Boy Williams & His Orchestra – “Rubber Bounce” – Decca 8651 – Charted Number 9 June, 1943

From Indianapolis, IN (Enoch Williams)

Image result for sonny boy williams and his orchestra

Sonny Boy Williamson – “Shake The Boogie” – RCA Victor 20-2056 – Charted Number 4 February, 1947

From Jackson, TN (John Lee Williamson) – not to be confused with Sonny Boy Williamson on Checker Records

Jimmy Witherspoon – “Ain’t Nobody’s Business – Supreme 1506 – Charted Number 1 March, 1949

From Gurdon, AR

Billy Wright – “Blues For My Baby” – Savoy 710 – Charted Number 3 October, 1949

From Atlanta, GA

The X-Rays – “I’ll Always Be In Love With You” – Savoy 681 – Charted Number 3 January, 1949

From Houston, TX

Image result for the x-rays i'll always be in love with you

Those Ever-Changing R&B Record Charts

In late 1942, Billboard Magazine began publishing the “Harlem Hit Parade”, which at that time was one of five record popularity charts presented on a weekly basis, the others including “Songs With Most Radio Plugs” and”National and Regional Best Selling Retail Records”.

This continued up until February 1st when the final chart appeared under that title.  Then on February 8th the “Most-Played Juke Box Race Records” made it’s debut and continued on into 1949.  These weren’t lengthy charts.  Sometimes as many as 15 listings were presented but sometimes as few as two.  On June 25, 1949 the chart took on the name “Most-Played Juke Box Rhythm & Blues Records.

And by early 1949 the Billboard primary chart “The Honor Roll of Hits” was going strong.  The magazine couldn’t seem to promote enough charts – A single issue in April of 1949 included:

  • Honor Roll of Hits (top ten positions)
  • Tips on Hits for Jukes, Dealers, Deejays (included “Popular” and “Folk/Western” categories)
  • Best-Selling Sheet Music
  • England’s Top Twenty
  • Records Most Played by Disk Jockeys
  • Songs With Most Vocal and Instrumental Plugs in Key Areas
  • Songs With Greatest Radio Audiences
  • Best-Selling Popular Retail Records
  • Best-Selling Children’s Records
  • Best Selling Records by Classical Artists
  • Best Selling Record Albums by Classical Artists
  • Best-Selling Popular Record Albums
  • Most-Played Juke Box Records
  • Most-Played Juke Box (Country & Western) Records
  • Best-Selling Retail Folk (Country & Western) Records

With the R&B charts shown here generally being listed last of this exhaustive group of charts.

Parallel to the above, Billboard also published the “Best Selling Retail Race Records” starting in May of 1948, as to not ignore vinyl sales.  That title changed to “Best Selling Retail Rhythm & Blues Records” the following year in June.

The designation of “R&B” prevailed through the 1960’s for the most part with various preceded by various descriptors – “Hot R&B”, “Top Selling”, “Best Selling” and so on.  Then we came to “Hot Soul Singles” in the summer of 1973 – most likely in response to an explosion of songs and artists coming into favor with the young record buying public, black and white.  “Black Singles” was introduced in the summer of 1982 and was modified to “Hot Black Singles” in late 1984, which in turn gave way to “Hot R&B Singles” in October of 1990.

Then along comes 1999 and we get “Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks.  Finally on April 30th of 2005 we settled down with “Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs”.

Selected R&B Chart Chronology – Billboard

Selected R&B Chart Chronology – Cash Box


  1. Dee Williams was a she (full name Devonia Eloyse Williams). Her sextette was basically a subset of the Johnny Otis Orchestra, with which she can be seen at the piano in this photo.

    “Bongo Blues” is my favourite of all these records, at least the ones I’ve heard. I also like the cover version (King 4289) by trumpeter Russell Jacquet, Illinois Jacquet’s brother.

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