The biggest-selling version of the song was recorded by Teresa Brewer with the Dixieland All-Stars on December 20, 1949, and released by London Records as catalog number 604. It became a #1 hit and a million-seller in 1950. However, it has been rumored[by whom?] that some radio stations refused to play the record because of the thought that the lyric "I'd do anything for you/Anything you'd want me to" might be construed as indecent. It became Brewer's signature song and earned her the nickname "Miss Music".
A version recorded by British singer Petula Clark was popular in Australia the same year. Bing Crosby recorded a version for his Chesterfield radio show on 5 April, 1950.
An instrumental version was recorded by Bill Haley & His Comets in 1959 and released as a single in 1960; it was the band's final release for Decca Records and was only a minor hit. The R&B group the Sensations released an updated rendition in 1961. The song was also covered by the Happenings in the late 1960s. Melanie sampled the song in her 1972 hit "The Nickel Song", also included on her 1976 album Photograph. Guy Mitchell also released a version that can be found on several of his greatest hits albums.
Teresa Brewer recorded several renditions of the song during her career. In addition to the London version, the Coral label made a recording for their catalog, which had a larger orchestral arrangement and stronger beat. When she moved to the Philips label in 1962, Brewer made a new recording in Nashville. In 1973, she recorded a rendition with a strong rock and roll beat on the Amsterdam label. When Brewer was with the RCA label in 1974–75, she recorded yet another new version. Finally, in 1976 she recorded a disco version for her husband Bob Thiele's Signature imprint. Only the original London release was a national chart hit, although the 1973 version was a regional hit in some markets, including Milwaukee (it charted on Top 40 station WOKY's survey).
The Nickelodeon in the song is a coin-operated music maker—player piano, jukebox, or radio—and "Nickelodeon" is usually capitalized as though it is a brand name. However there is no record of "Nickelodeon" being used as a brand or common name for a coin-operated device, and the trademark was a chain of silent movie theaters from 1905 to 1915. All use of "nickelodeon" to refer to a jukebox appears to trace to this song.