Oval Park 80th Anniversary Music and Film

1930s music   1940s music   1930s films   Photo gallery
Frank da Cruz
10 August 2017, updated 26 June 2024
1937 WPA plaque I made two CDs, about 80 minutes each, for the 80th Anniversary of Williamsbridge Oval Park, Bronx NY, celebrated Saturday, September 9, 2017. One CD with music of the 1930s, around the time the park was built by the New Deal Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression; the other for the first part of the 1940s, through the end of the New Deal, approximately. These are my own selections but I believe they are representative of the kinds of music heard in the Bronx in those times, and I hope they will be fun to listen to. The 1930s CD, in particular, starts with bang. Listen to any song by clicking on its name in the Title column (the links there go mostly to Youtube; the versions there are not necessarily the same as on the CDs and their quality and volume can vary... also, as always with Youtube, expect to see some ads).

By the way... In 1942 quite a few of these artists performed in Oval Park and other parks in the Bronx, such as Poe Park, St. Mary's Park, Crotona Park, Claremont Park, Mullaly Park, and Watson-Gleason Playground in a special series of free wartime dance concerts that included the orchestras of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Cab Calloway, Jimmy Dorsey, Claude Thornhill, and Benny Carter, among others. That was just the first concert series; there were others in 1943 and the following years (e.g. 1946) featuring orchestras such as Cab Calloway, Dizzy Gillespie, Cootie Williams, Lil Green, and Grace Barrie. Also, all thoughout the New Deal there were other concerts featuring the WPA Orchestra as well as local ensembles from schools and companies.

[See longer 1930s-40s music list]   [See Oval Park historical photos]

Popular Music of the 1930s (Revised 19 Aug 2017:  12-minute Sing Sing Sing replaced by 4-minute version; Bésame Aquí added)
Track  Year  Artist  Title  Notes 
1 1937 Benny Goodman Orchestra Sing Sing Sing #1 hit of 1937
2 1933 Billie Holiday w/ Benny Goodman Riffin the Scotch Billie Holiday's first recording session (age 18)
3 1938 Ella Fitzgerald w/ Chick Webb Franklin D Roosevelt Jones (If only we could sing this today)
4 1931 Orquesta Alfredo Brito Siboney
5 1937 Septeto Anacaona Bésame Aquí (see photo)
6 1936 Ella Fitzgerald w/ Chick Webb When I Get Low I Get High (Age 19)
7 1934 Fats Waller Honeysuckle Rose
8 1936 Cleo Brown Quartet Latch On
9 1935 Billie Holiday w/ Teddy Wilson What A Little Moonlight Can Do
10 1936 Cab Calloway Copper Colored Gal
11 1936 Ella Fitzgerald w/ Chick Webb You'll Have to Swing It a.k.a. Mr. Paganini (also Martha Raye)
12 1935 Fats Waller It's a Sin to Tell a Lie
13 1933 Billie Holiday w/ Benny Goodman Your Mother's Son In Law Billie Holiday's first recording session
14 1936 Django Reinhardt Django's Tiger Quintette du Hot Club de France
15 1939 The Ink Spots If I Didn't Care The 10th best selling single of all time
16 1937 Septeto Anacaona Algo Bueno
17 1939 Duke Ellington Orchestra Take the A Train
18 1938 The Andrews Sisters Bei Mir Bist Du Schön #4 hit of 1938
19 1936 Django Reinhardt Lady Be Good Quintette du Hot Club de France
20 1939 Frank Sinatra w/ Harry James Orchestra All or Nothing at All
21 1937 Billie Holiday w/ Count Basie Swing Brother Swing
22 1939 Glenn Miller Orchestra In the Mood #1 hit of 1940
23 1935 Cleo Brown Quartet When Hollywood Goes Black & Tan
24 1936 Django Reinhardt In a Sentimental Mood Quintette du Hot Club de France
25 1939 Coleman Hawkins Body and Soul Some call this the first modern jazz recording

Popular Music 1940-1944
Track  Year  Artist  Title  Notes 
1 1941 Peggy Lee w/ Benny Goodman Orchestra Elmer's Tune
2 1941 Anita O'Day w/ Gene Krupa Orchestra Let Me Off Uptown With Roy Eldredge
3 1944 Ella Mae Morse w/ Freddie Slack Orchestra Patty Cake Man
4 1942 Anita O'Day w/ Gene Krupa Orchestra Harlem on Parade WWII
5 1942 Peggy Lee w/ Benny Goodman Orchestra Why Don't You Do Right?
6 1940 Fats Waller The Joint is Jumpin
7 1940 Billie Holiday and her Orchestra Body and Soul
8 1940 Xavier Cugat Orchestra Perfidia
9 1941 Martha Tilton w/ Ben Pollack Orchestra A Little Jive Is Good For You
10 1941 The Ink Spots I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire
11 1941 The Andrews Sisters Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy WWII
12 1941 Anita O'Day w/ Gene Krupa Orchestra Skylark
13 1941 The Ink Spots Java Jive
14 1942 Glenn Miller Orchestra Kalamazoo #3 hit of 1942
15 1941 Fats Waller All That Meat and No Potatoes
16 1941 Billie Holiday w/ Eddie Heywood God Bless the Child #5 hit of 1941
17 1944 The International Sweethearts of Rhythm Bugle Call Rag see clip
18 1942 Ella Mae Morse w/ Freddie Slack Orchestra Cow Cow Boogie
19 1942 Machito and His Afro-Cubans Paella
20 1943 Ella Mae Morse w/ Dick Walters Orchestra Shoo Shoo Baby WWII
21 1941 Glenn Miller Orchestra Chattanooga Choo Choo #1 hit of 1941
22 1941 Billie Holiday and her Orchestra I Cover the Waterfront
23 1943 Lena Horne Stormy Weather
24 1942 Spike Jones Der Fuehrer's Face WWII

[Video: Carnival of Swing - May 29, 1938, at Randall's Island, NYC - The first open-air jazz festival]

Popular Films of 1937

The 1937 movies that are remembered best today are: Snow White had several hit songs: Shall We Dance also had several hit songs: Other Hollywood films of 1937 include: Big films of 1938: Big films of 1939: (Grapes of Wrath was made in 1939 but wasn't released until 1940)

Wed Sep 13 15:34:23 2017