Our Top 10 Sammy Davis Jr. Songs list looks back at the career of one of the most famous all around entertainers in show business history. Sammy Davis Jr was a talent that succeeded in every aspect of show business from Vaudeville to Vegas from the silver screen to the living room television. He could sing, dance, act and above all entertain. Of course he came up in a time when issues of race and religion were longstanding problems for many black Americans as well as Jewish citizens. Still are. Sammy Davis Jr. was both and he often joked about it. Nonetheless, he was one of the most loved personalities in show business and he had some pretty powerful friends. While we could write a book on the life of Sammy Davis Jr. and all his achievements, this article is just a simple list of ten of our favorite Sammy Davis Jr. songs. There are many, as his recording career stretched from 1950 into the 80s. We picked ten that would give a nice representation of the various styles of music he released.
# 10 – Hey There
We open up our top 10 Sammy Davis Jr. Songs list with the crooner entitled “Hey There.” This one is as smooth as smooth can get on vinyl. It’s the perfect song to open this list because “Hey There,” stands as Sammy Davis Jr.’s first number one single of his career. It’s also his first charting song of his musical journey.
“Hey There,” was released on the album entitled Starring Sammy Davis Jr. It was the first single released from the album. The album was released in 1954. The song was a hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number sixteen. However it was on the US Cashbox charts where it went all the way to number one. In the United Kingdom the song was also a hit peaking at number nineteen. “Hey There,” was composed by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.
# 9 – Something’s Gotta Give
Swinging along on our top 10 Sammy Davis Jr. Songs list we sway to the song entitled “Something’s Gotta Give.” There is nothing like the big band sounds of the 50s and Sammy leads this dynamic group through the hit single Something’s Gotta Give just simply torching the room they are rocking in. The song “Something’s Gotta Give,” was released on the album entitled Forget-Me-Nots for First Nighters.
# 8 – Baretta’s Theme
Come on, you remember Baretta, don’t you? I love ya man! The classic detective show from the 1970s starring Robert Blake had a great theme song and it was sung by the wonderful Sammy Davis Jr. The show was popular in the early 1970s. The song was also released on the Sammy Davis Jr. album entitled The Song and Dance Man. The album was released in 1975.
# 7 -That’s Entertainment
In the number seven position on our top 10 Sammy Davis Jr. Songs list is the legendary song entitled “That’s Entertainment.” This classic song which has been mostly associated with Judy Garland and for good reason, has been done by so many artists. Sammy Davis Jr. did a killer version in the 1970s that just made sense because the man has been called Mr Entertainment his entire life. The song was released on the album also entitled That’s Entertainment. The album was released in 1974. The song was composed by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz in 1952.
# 6 – Mr. Bojangles
Landing in the number six spot on our top 10 Sammy Davis Jr. Songs list we present the song “Mr. Bojangles.” You know you remember the sound of that legendary whistle that open up this sensational cover of the Jerry Jeff Walker classic song. A great song is a great song and a fantastic singer is simply a fantastic singer so it doesn’t matter if it does not make sense on paper, you put magic together and you get sparks and smiles. That’s what you get with this one……simply stunning!
# 5 – Me And My Shadow
At one point it was hard to seperate the Rat Pack that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. The shows the three of them put on are timeless. At the halfway point on our top 10 Sammy Davis Jr. Songs list we present part of their history. This recording features Sammy Davis Jr. and the Chairman Of The Board himself Mr. Frank Sinatra. Listen to the two of them rhythmically play of each other. It’s just perfect. The song was released as a single from the album At the Cocoanut Grove in 1962.
# 4 – Sam’s Songs
When Frank Sinatra says how about a little “Sam’s Song,” you make sure you play a little “Sam’s Song.” That’s what I’m talkin about! At the number four spot on our top 10 Sammy Davis Jr. Songs list we present the song entitled “Sam Song.” This time it’s Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. on another legendary duet by these iconic singers. Comedy up front is always as center as the brilliant vocal performances these two lay out.
# 3 -That Old Black Magic
We go way back once again on our top 10 Sammy Davis Jr. Songs list as we present the jubilant song entitled “That Old Black Magic.” Its opens up with an intensity like the exploding of Krakatoa East Of Java and then settles into easy street with the cool swinging sounds of Sammy. The song was released on the album entitled Sammy Swings. The album was released in 1955. This classic song was written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer.
# 2 – I’ve Gotta Be Me
Just of the number two spot on our top 10 Sammy Davis Jr. Songs list we hold up high the song entitled “I Gotta Be Me.” This is classic Sammy Davis Jr. “I Gotta Be Me,” was released as a stand alone single by Sammy Davis Jr. in 1968. It was then placed as the title track on his 1968 album I Gotta Be Me. It was originally performed in the Broadway play Golden Rainbow. One get chills listening to Sammy Davis Jr. hit those high notes on the chorus. His vibrato is simply off the charts.The song was a hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number eleven. “I Gotta Be Me,” was composed by Walter Marks.
# 1 – The Candy Man
“The Candy Man,” was the biggest hit of the career of Sammy Davis Jr. and that’s the reason we placed it in the number one spot on our top 10 Sammy Davis Jr. Songs list. This song was huge! “The Candy Man,”was released on the album entitled Sammy Davis Jr. Now. The album was released in 1972. It was the first and only single released from the album. The song would become Sammy Davis Jr.’s first and only number one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. It would also hit number one on the Cashbox charts as well as the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts.
“The Candy Man,” was written for the grand motion picture Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The movie was released in 1971. The version of the song that appeared in the movie was originally recorded by Aubrey Woods. Sammy Davis Jr. would record the song after the film was released and turned it into the massive hit that it became. Over 50 years later the song is still popular at many kid events, candy stores, amusement parks and so many more festive places. It has become a part of culture.
Top 10 Sammy Davis Jr. Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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