Tune Tuesday: Tell Me Pretty Maiden 1902

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Levy Sheet Music Image One
Image Credit: jhu.edu

One hundred & twenty years ago, the #1 song of 1902 was Tell Me Pretty Maiden by Byron G. Harlan, whistler Joe Belmont and the Florodora Girls. According to Tsort, there are almost NO charts from before 1920. I plugged in today’s date on Playback FM and this is what I got. You can peruse Tsort’s Site Generation Page, describing source charts and consolidation. They seem to have their own method for old stuff and, apparently, Playback FM agrees.

Wikimedia Image Two
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Florodora is an Edwardian musical comedy. After its long run in London, it became one of the first successful Broadway musicals of the 20th Century. The book was written by Jimmy Davis, under the pseudonym Owen Hall, the music was by Leslie Stuart with additional songs by Paul Rubens and, the lyrics were by Ernest Boyd-Jones, George Arthurs and Rubens.

The original London production opened in 1899, where it ran for a very successful 455 performances. The New York production, which opened the following year, was even more popular, running for 552 performances. After this, the piece was produced throughout the English-speaking world and beyond. The show was famous for its double sextet and its chorus line of “Florodora Girls“.

Wikipedia Summary

It appears that the Harlan & Belmont version, with the Florodora Girls was very, very popular. Second Hand Songs also lists a Frank Stanley as part of the team. UC Santa Barbara lists Frank Banta on piano and calls the group the Edison Sextette.

8 thoughts on “Tune Tuesday: Tell Me Pretty Maiden 1902

    Badfinger (Max) said:
    November 22, 2022 at 10:29 PM

    Did they just go by sales back then?

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      November 22, 2022 at 11:21 PM

      IDK. The folks that run the Tsort website have some method of determining popularity without charts. It’s an interesting site.

        Badfinger (Max) said:
        November 23, 2022 at 12:02 AM

        I’ve read where some things…like The Charleston sold up to a million…

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          November 23, 2022 at 12:20 AM

          They may factor sales. IDK how but, they certainly have a lot of info.

            Badfinger (Max) said:
            November 23, 2022 at 12:21 AM

            Sheet music was huge also…wasn’t it just as popular as the record?

              The Hinoeuma responded:
              November 23, 2022 at 11:13 AM

              I would imagine so. It was the years of live performances and early Edison technology. This was before radio. An early version of a vacuum tube wasn’t invented until 1904.

    doerfpub said:
    November 24, 2022 at 1:08 PM

    Ha, that hiss and thump in the last audio bring back some childhood memories cleaning my LPs and 45s to cut down on the pops and shrills.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      November 24, 2022 at 8:01 PM

      Oh, yeah. That was a thing back then. As a child, my parents got me a group of Disney albums. There was a particular album that I learned how to re-groove a skip…to save my young sanity. 101 Dalmations was a favorite of mine, album-wise. Unfortunately, there was a skip right at the Cruella De Ville car accident and Cruella would repeatedly holler “imbicile” over & over until the needle was adjusted. I finally had to fix that or become a tiny alcoholic. That skill came in handy many times with minor scratches. If a penny didn’t work, it was time to “dig.”

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