I Want to Be a Smash: Top Ten Show Tunes to Make the Pop Charts Since 1964

By Ben Rimalower
26 Apr 2014



1. "Hello, Dolly!"

If the era of showtunes as pop songs was already coming to an end in 1964, Louis Armstrong saw it off in style with his mega-hit recording of the title song from Broadway smash Hello, Dolly!, displacing the Beatles from the top of the charts. This was a major comeback for Armstrong, whose jazz had fallen out of fashion with the onslaught of rock and roll and who subsequently continued to find success with special "Louis" versions of theatre songs. The Broadway and worldwide productions of Hello, Dolly! certainly benefited from this as well, enjoying record-breaking runs in cities around the globe, thanks in part to the song's popularity. Over the years, "Hello, Dolly!" was used to promote everything from political candidates to lunch meats and it's clear "Dolly" is staying where she's at: In our hearts.

(Ben Rimalower is the author and original star of the critically acclaimed Patti Issues. Read Playbill.com's coverage of the solo show here. Visit him at benrimalower.com and follow @benrimalower on Twitter.)