Benjamin Bernard Selvin (March 5, 1898 – July 15, 1980) was an American musician, bandleader, and record producer. He was known as the Dean of Recorded Music.
Selvin was the son of Jewish Russian immigrants. He started his professional life at age 15 as a fiddle player in New York City night clubs. Six years later, as leader of his own dance band, the Novelty Orchestra, he released what was later alleged to be the biggest-selling popular song in the first quarter-century of recorded music. "Dardanella" allegedly sold more than six million copies and an additional million pieces of sheet music—although in a joint interview with Gustave Haenschen, founding director of popular-music releases at Brunswick Records, Selvin described the alleged record-sales total as “nonsensical” and said the actual sales of “Dardanella” and other purported “million-sellers” in the 1920s was 150,000 discs. He was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that was presented to Selvin on his retirement on March 14, 1963.
According to The Guinness Book of World Records, Selvin recorded more musical sides (on 78-rpm discs) than any other person. One reason for this prolific output is that he recorded for dozens of different record labels during this productive time in the industry, using a different name for each label. His output has been estimated at 13,000 to 20,000 song titles.
Birth and Death Data: Born March 5, 1898 (New York City), Died July 15, 1980 (Manhasset)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1919 - 1942
Roles Represented in DAHR: leader, violin, vocalist, songwriter, arranger, composer
= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 1015 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||B-22964||10-in.||7/18/1919||Mandy||Selvin's Novelty Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Victor||B-22965||10-in.||7/18/1919||Novelty one-step||Selvin's Novelty Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||arranger, leader|
|Victor||B-22966||10-in.||7/18/1919||I'm forever blowing bubbles||Selvin's Novelty Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Victor||B-23344||10-in.||11/20/1919||Dardanella||Selvin's Novelty Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Victor||B-23345||10-in.||11/20/1919||In your arms||Selvin's Novelty Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Victor||B-23346||10-in.||11/20/1919||My isle of golden dreams||Selvin's Novelty Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Victor||B-24053||10-in.||5/13/1920||Kamel-land||Selvin's Novelty Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Victor||B-24054||10-in.||5/13/1920||Wond'ring||Selvin's Novelty Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Victor||B-24055||10-in.||5/13/1920||Dance-o-mania||Selvin's Novelty Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Victor||BSHQ-71966||10-in.||3/17/1932||Under the old umbrella||Grant Trio||Male vocal trio, with instrumental ensemble||songwriter|
|Victor||BS-071905||10-in.||2/12/1942||The mem'ry of this dance||Eugenie Baird ; Johnny McAfee ; Tony Pastor Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with female-male vocal duet||songwriter|
|Victor||BS-073432||10-in.||3/13/1942||The mem'ry of this dance||Hal McIntyre Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||songwriter|
|Columbia||81970||10-in.||9/2/1924||Kiss me goodnight||The Cavaliers||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Columbia||81971||10-in.||9/2/1924||Rock a bye my baby blues||The Cavaliers||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Columbia||140081||10-in.||10/3/1924||I'm some-one who's no-one to you||The Cavaliers||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Columbia||140082||10-in.||10/3/1924||Honest and truly||The Cavaliers||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Columbia||140111||10-in.||10/22/1924||All alone||The Cavaliers||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Columbia||140112||10-in.||10/22/1924||I wonder what's become of Sally?||The Cavaliers||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Columbia||140124||10-in.||11/3/1924||Haunting melody||Selvin’s Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Columbia||140208||10-in.||12/24/1924||That soothing melody||Selvin’s Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Columbia||140209||10-in.||12/24/1924||Lover's waltz||Selvin’s Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Columbia||140339||10-in.||2/11/1925||Titina||Franklyn Baur ; Selvin’s Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||leader|
|Columbia||140340||10-in.||2/11/1925||Me neenyah||Franklyn Baur ; Selvin’s Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||leader|
|Columbia||140402||10-in.||2/27/1925||June brought the roses||Selvin’s Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
|Columbia||140403||10-in.||2/27/1925||The midnight waltz||Selvin’s Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||leader|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Selvin, Ben," accessed October 7, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111064.
Selvin, Ben. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111064.
"Selvin, Ben." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 7 October 2022.
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