All of the yearly volumes in Time-Life Music's Your Hit Parade series take liberties, presenting many of the actual hit parade leaders of the year, but also including recordings that were not the biggest hits but are better remembered than those that were, as well as memorable non-hits. The compilers have done more editorializing on the 1941 volume than on most others, but, unless you are looking for strict adherence to history, the results are better than what would have resulted by just following the hit parade. Eleven of the year's most popular songs are included among the 24 selections, ten of them in their most popular performances. That accounts for the year's most popular recording artist, Glenn Miller, on "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and "Elmer's Tune," runner-up Jimmy Dorsey's "Green Eyes," "Maria Elena," and "Amapola," and third-place finisher Tommy Dorsey's "Oh! Look at Me Now," plus the hits of Charlie Barnet ("I Hear a Rhapsody"), Sammy Kaye ("Daddy"), Bing Crosby ("Dolores"), and Xavier Cugat ("Perfidia"). Had the compilers stuck with the actual hits, they would have included three more Glenn Miller selections (among them such fruity items as "The Song of the Volga Boatmen") and two by Jimmy Dorsey, as well as a raft of now-forgotten songs. Instead, they have used some of the same artists, but improved the choices, using Tommy Dorsey's "Yes Indeed!" even though it wasn't as big a hit as his "This Love of Mine," and Gene Krupa's "Let Me Off Uptown" even though it was outpaced at the time by his "High on a Windy Hill" and "It All Comes Back to Me Now." And one can hardly object to the exclusion of the likes of Freddy Martin, Horace Heidt, and Will Bradley when they make room for lesser hits by Duke Ellington ("Take the 'A' Train" and the 1942 chart entry "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good"), Harry James ("You Made Me Love You"), the Andrews Sisters ("Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time"), the Ink Spots ("I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire"), Benny Goodman ("There'll Be Some Changes Made"), Artie Shaw ("Star Dust"), and Bob Wills ("New San Antonio Rose"), and a classic non-hit by Billie Holiday ("God Bless the Child"). This is selective history, to be sure (maybe it should be called Our Hit Parade), but it makes for a better, and better-balanced, album than would have resulted from just going by the charts.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann