Sam's Song (song)

"Sam's Song (The Happy Tune)" is an American pop song written in 1950 with music by Lew Quadling and lyrics by Jack Elliott.[1] It was first released as a Capitol single by Joe "Fingers" Carr and the Carr-Hops in May 1950. By June of that year, Carr's single had made it to all three of Billboard's music popularity charts, and several other artists had released the song, including bandleaders Freddy Martin and Victor Young.[2][3] Gary and Bing Crosby's release of the song in July 1950 was a hit, ranked as the 4th best selling record of 1950 according to Billboard.[4] Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. also released a hit recording of the song in 1962 (Reprise Records R-20,128 US).

"Sam's Song (The Happy Tune)"
PublishedMay 1, 1950
ReleasedMay 1950 (1950-05)
GenreTraditional pop
Composer(s)Lew Quadling
Lyricist(s)Jack Elliott

In addition, "Sam's Song" may refer to the song written by Jonathan Waite (Zander Nyrond) in collaboration with Sam Armitage

Recording historyEdit

The first recording of the song, released in May 1950 by Joe "Fingers" Carr and the Carr-Hops, stayed on the Billboard charts for 13 weeks, peaking at #7 on the Jukebox chart and #8 on the Best Sellers chart.[5][6][7]

On June 23, 1950, Bing Crosby's son Gary Crosby recorded the song for Decca with his father, along with "Play a Simple Melody" as the A-side, making his record debut at the age of 17.[8][9] After its release in July, the Crosbys' recording stayed on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for 19 weeks, peaking at #3.[10] It was also a hit on the Radio and Jukebox charts, peaking at #3 on both.[11][12] The recording was also ranked #4 on Billboard's list of the top popular records of 1950 according to retail sales.[4]

The next recording to chart was in 1962, when Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. released the song as the B-side of a Reprise single, which peaked at #94 on the Hot 100.[13] The A-side was Davis' duet with Frank Sinatra, "Me and My Shadow," and both tracks include banter between the singers and comical changes to the lyrics.[14] Their recording of "Sam's Song" stayed on the Hot 100 for 3 weeks.[13]


  1. ^ Catalog of Copyright Entries 1950 Published Music Jan-Dec (Vol 4 Pt 5A ed.). Washington D. C.: U.S. Govt. Print. Off. 1950. p. 196. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Jukebox chart run Joe "Fingers" Carr Sam's Song". Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  3. ^ "The Billboard Music Popularity Charts". Billboard (Vol 62 No 26 ed.). Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 1 July 1950. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  4. ^ Jasen, David A. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Taylor & Francis. p. 168. ISBN 9780415937009. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  5. ^ "Song: Sam's Song written by Lew Quadling, Jack Elliott". Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Best Sellers chart run Bing Crosby Sam's Song (The Happy Tune)". Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Bing's Boy, Gary, Makes Record Debut". Billboard (Vol 62 No 26 ed.). Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 1 July 1950. p. 3. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  8. ^ Presnell, Don; McGee, Marty (2014). A Critical History of Television’s The Twilight Zone, 1959–1964. McFarland. p. 191. ISBN 9781476610382.
  9. ^ "Best Sellers chart run Bing Crosby Sam's Song (The Happy Tune)". Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Radio Popularity". Billboard (Vol 62 No 34). Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 26 August 1950. p. 26. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Juke Box Record Plays". Billboard (Vol 62 No 41). Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 14 October 1950. p. 32. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Sammy Davis Jr. Sam's Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  13. ^ Leigh, Spencer (2015). Frank Sinatra: An Extraordinary Life. McNidder and Grace Limited. ISBN 9780857160881.