The Most-Played Song in History

Robert (left) and Richard Sherman who composed the most played song in history, ‘It’s A Small World’.

Robert (left) and Richard Sherman who composed the most played song in history, ‘It’s A Small World’.

OK, I’ve got to admit that if I had been asked to name the most played song in history, I would have been miles wide of the mark.

‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’ by The Righteous Brothers has enjoyed over eight million plays on radio and television since it was first released in 1964 while ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles has clocked up seven million plays in the United States alone since 1965.

Then there is Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’ recorded by Bing Crosby in 1942 and numerous others since then and, of course, we mustn’t forget ‘Happy Birthday To You’ originally written by Patty and Mildred Hill as ‘Good Morning to You’.

But, according to the music statisticians, the most played song in history is ‘It’s A Small World’ which was written 50 years ago and has been played at least 50 million times in Disney theme parks all over the world but especially in the United States.

It was composed by Disney staff writers, Richard and Robert Sherman, for the Pavillion Ride at the 1964 New York World’s Fair in the ‘Big Apple’.

The brothers also wrote the Oscar-winning score for ‘Mary Poppins’. Their biggest non-Disney hits were ‘You’re Sixteen’ for Johnny Burnette in 1960 and the songs for the 1967 movie ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.

But there is a twist in the tail of this success story. Because the Sherman brothers were staff writers who were paid a monthly wage by the Walt Disney Corporation, ‘It’s A Small World’ became the property of the company and they never received one cent in royalties!

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