5 Classic Tunes You Didn’t Know Turned 100 This Year

A song that stands the test of time is deserving of the title “classic.” For a tune to endure the test of 100 years and come out on the other side, however, that’s a feat all its own, one deserving of a new crown.

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The songs of 1923 were products of the time. A post-World War I, pre-Great Depression era, the Roaring Twenties – brimming with change, prosperity, decadence, and a refreshing optimism – were in full swing and the tunes reflected it. Some of the popular ditties of the age have not endured, but the ones that have can be heard today. They may have been tweaked for the times, but they still glitter with the memory of the bygone era.

Here are five classic tunes celebrating their 100th this year.

1. “Who’s Sorry Now?”

The dreamy big band hit “Who’s Sorry Now?” was first introduced to the world in 1923 by Isham Jones Orchestra. The song was a success then; and for a century, it has continued to capture hearts. “Who’s Sorry Now?” has lived many lives – once as a part of the 1946 Marx Brothers film, A Night in Casablanca, again as the late ’50s staple in pop singer Connie Francis’ repertoire, and beyond.

2. “Swingin’ Down the Lane”

Another Isham Jones hit, the 1923 tune “Swingin’ Down the Lane,” was a triumph when the bandleader released it as an instrumental. Lyrics were added along the way and vocals greats like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and Frankie Avalon have all taken turns making the classic a standard over the years.

3. “What’ll I Do”

The Irving Berlin classic, “What’ll I Do,” is also celebrating its centennial this year. Since its publishing in 1923, the heart-aching tune has been given new life time and again by everyone from Nat King Cole to Linda Ronstadt to Bob Dylan.

4. “The Charleston”

The jazz classic that accompanied the dance craze of the same name, “The Charleston,” is in its 100th year. Throughout the decades, many composers have redone the ragtime standard to suit television and film, and while it is a symbol of the bygone era, the tune can still insight a boogie or two today.

5. “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”

While the blues standard “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” was written and performed in 1923, it didn’t see its first official recording until later. The song became a smash success in 1929 with blues legend Bessie Smith’s recording; and since then, the tune has been revamped by many, most notably Eric Clapton’s Derek and the Dominos.

(Photo by Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)

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