Once there was a time when Benny Goodman was the "King of Swing" and Glenn Miller was the "King of Sweet." And though it was a time when the country had been through a decade-long economic depression and was preparing to enter a world war, the music was wonderfully upbeat, positive and ultimately life-affirming. Chattanooga Choo Choo: The #1 Hits, released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its title track, collects the Glenn Miller Orchestra's chart-toppers, all 23 of them, in chronological order. Beginning with the 1939 ballad "Wishing (Will Make It So)," and ending with "That Old Black Magic," which hit the top spot four years later, this disc makes many memorable stops along the way. Miller classics like "In the Mood," which held the number one position for 12 weeks, "Tuxedo Junction," "A String of Pearls," "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo," "Moonlight Cocktail," and of course "Chattanooga Choo Choo," are here to be heard in all their timeless glory. The latter was the first record to be formally certified as a million seller, for which RCA Victor presented Miller with the first gold record in 1941. As with most "hit" collections, some of the tracks are silly or downright maudlin, and many of the band's well-known tunes didn't reach the top of the charts. Nonetheless, the Miller band had more than its share of excellence during its run, and this disc is a worthy sampler of the band's popular work. The consistently fine musicianship and unmistakable arrangements still retain their magic.
AllMusic Review by Jim Newsom