Living Era's excellent wrap-up of the year in music for 1924 illustrates that dance bands in general, and the Charleston specifically, ruled the roost during this Prohibition year. At the top of the heap were Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians, the college band that found its first two hits -- "Memory Lane" and "Sleep" -- celebrated as among the most popular dozen recordings of the year. Tops for 1924, however, were Al Jolson's pioneer "California, Here I Come!" and Wendell Hall's early hillbilly hit "It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo'," which unlike others by Carson Robison and Vernon Dalhart, actually sounded country (although more minstrel than old-timey). A recording of "The Charleston" by Arthur Gibbs led the way for the dance craze of the year, and Paul Whiteman, meanwhile, enjoyed a breakout year with his orchestra's landmark live performance of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" (the studio recording, from one month earlier, is included here), as well as the pop hits "Somebody Loves Me" and "Linger Awhile." Including all of the above, Hits of '24 has the biggest hits of the year, along with other top performers like Ted Lewis, Marion Harris, and Ted Weems.
AllMusic Review by John Bush