Music: Half-Century's Best?

Half-Century's Best

Music Pundit Sigmund Spaeth had toiled through statistics and produced for the New York Times Magazine a list of the half-century's "most popular" songs. His1 list: Sweet Adeline (1903), School Days (1907), Shine On, Harvest Moon (1908), Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1910), Down by the Old Mill Stream (1910), I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl That Married Dear Old Dad (1911), St. Louis Blues (1914), Smiles (1917), Stardust (1929), God Bless America (1939).

When argumentative mail came in, Spaeth explained that "most popular" did not necessarily mean "the best."...