10 Best Doris Day Hit Songs

More than fifty of Doris Day’s recordings appeared on the top-100 music popularity charts during her seventeen years at Columbia Records. Her sunny persona was firmly ensconced in the national consciousness and the lilt in her voice is immediately recognizable. Her best ‘should-have-been hits’ and her best ‘songs that-you-never-heard-of’ are discussed in other articles. Here are the best-ten of Doris Day’s most popular songs.

Secret Love 1954 #1
Doris Day introduced her number one hit record Secret Love in the 1953 musical film ‘Calamity Jane’ and it was the Oscar winning song that year.Performed in the film by Doris Day. Secret Love is musically compelling – shifting and changing – and Doris Day’s version is unlikely to ever be surpassed for pure heartfelt drama. It was one of her biggest hits. Sammy Fain wrote the music with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster and the orchestra was conducted by Ray Heindorf.

Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) 1956 #2
Alfred Hitchcock assigned the gifted team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans to write a simple lullaby for his 1956 suspense film ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ and it proved to be the biggest hit of Doris Day’s recording career. Que Sera, Sera received the 1956 Academy Award for best original song.It was performed by Doris Day early in the film and reprised at the climax. The orchestra was conducted by Frank DeVol.

A Guy is a Guy 1952 #1
Based on the 1719 British song A Knave is a Knave, Doris Day’s A Guy is a Guy was a #1 hit in 1952. In this Oscar Brand song, a disarming Doris Day admits that she is not surprised that a man is following her to her door because she knew that is what a guy would do. The orchestra was conducted by Paul Weston.

See also  1950s Hollywood Musicals

It’s Magic 1948 #2
The song It’s Magic was first performed by Doris Day in the film “Romance on the High Seas”, which was Doris Day’s debut film. It’s Magic is truly one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. It became a huge hit for Doris Day, was nominated for Best Song of 1948 at the Oscars, and for years was Doris Day’s official theme song. Jule Styne wrote the music and Sammy Cahn wrote the lyrics. Doris Day re-recorded the song in 1952 with the Percy Faith orchestra.

Everybody Loves a Lover 1958 #6
This peppy, girlish recording utilizes the multi-track voice overdub that lets Doris Day sing a duet with herself. The technique was frequently employed in 50s recordings. The lively, upbeat Everybody Loves a Lover was written by Richard Adler & Robert Allen. The orchestra was conducted by Frank DeVol. Everybody did love Doris Day in the fifties but this would be her last top-forty hit.

If I Give My Heart to You 1954 #3
A chart-topping sentimental hit recording for Doris Day, If I Give My Heart to You was written by Jimmy Brewster, Jimmie Crane, and Al Jacobs. Denise Lor also had a hit version in 1954 and a record by Kitty Kallen charted in 1959. Joan Regan’s recording for the UK market became the highest charting version in that country. Anne Shelton also recorded a version for the UK market, but it lost out to the Doris Day version. The orchestra was conducted by Paul Weston

Tunnel of Love 1958 #43
Driving a convertible through mountain tunnels, Doris Day introduced Tunnel of Love over the opening credits for her 1958 film ‘Tunnel of Love’. With a reverb arrangement and tunnel-echo-effect, the scene is memorable, and the bright breezy song suits Doris Day. The orchestra was conducted by Frank DeVol.

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When I Fall In Love 1952 #20
Doris Day’s dreamy, memorable version of When I Fall In Love, accompanied by the Norman Luboff Choir, took the song to the top-twenty in 1952. Composer Victor Young and lyricist Edward Heyman wrote the song for the 1952 film ‘One Minute to Zero’, where it was performed as an instrumental. Many artists recorded the standard. Nat King Cole had a popular version in 1956, Johnny Mathis recorded it in 1959, and the Lettermen’s version was a top-ten hit in 1962. The orchestra on Doris Day’s 1952 hit was conducted by Carl Fischer.

Teacher’s Pet 1958 #56
Doris Day introduced the catchy title song to perfection over the opening credits of her 1958 film comedy ‘Teacher’s Pet’ co-starring Clark Gable and Gig Young (who was nominated for best supporting actor). The song was written by Joe Lubin and the orchestra was conducted by Frank DeVol.

I’ll Never Stop Loving You 1955 #13
This haunting original song is from Doris Day’s dramatic musical film ‘Love Me or Leave Me’ the turbulent MGM film biography of nightclub singer and Ziegfield Follies star Ruth Etting who flourished during the twenties and thirties. Doris Day brought her special magic to the timeless period pieces from the film. I’ll Never Stop Loving You was a new song especially composed for the film and became a popular hit single for Doris Day. The orchestra was conducted by Percy Faith.

In addition to Doris Day’s ten-best-greatest hits, one more hit song deserves honorable mention:

Sentimental Journey(1945 #1 hit as a vocalist with Les Brown & His Orchestra) (1964 arranged and conducted by Mort Garson from the 1964 ‘Sentimental Journey’ album).

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As a singer with big bands during World War II, Doris Day toured with the Les Brown Orchestra and had several hit records, including one immortal classic in 1945, Sentimental Journey. The superb 1964 arrangement managed to sound contemporary without losing the flavor of the original and the result was simultaneously an exercise in wistful nostalgia and a celebration of timeless music.

In 1956 and 1957, Doris Day was voted ‘most popular singer’ in the national disc jockey poll and her recordings remain so that we can listen to them forever.

See my other Associated Content articles on Doris Day’s ‘Best Albums’, ‘Best Love Songs’, ‘Best Songs from films’, ‘Best Duets’, ‘Best Show Tunes’, ‘Best Christmas Songs’, ‘Worst Songs’, ‘Best Movies’, ‘Worst Movies’ and more.

More information about Doris Day and other popular singers and songs from the 1950s can be found at the website 50sPopMusic.com or in the book “Remembering 1950s EASY-POP Songs and Singers” by Daniel Niemeyer.