First recorded by The Laurels (1958).
Hit version by Jan & Dean (US #10/R&B #28 1959).
From the wiki: “‘Baby Talk’ was written by Melvin Schwartz, and was first recorded and released by Schwartz’s group, The Laurels, from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC, in 1958. Released on the tiny Spring Records label, promotion and distribution were limited and the recording had no chart impact … but it did not go unnoticed.
“Fast forward one year. A chance encounter backstage would provide ‘firsts’ for two different, but professionally related, pairs of people: Lou Adler and Herb Alpert (their first co-production); Jan Berry and Dean Torrance (their first Top-10 single).
First recorded by Shadden and the King Lears (released February 1967).
Hit version by Bobby Vee (released June 1967 US #3).
From the wiki: “‘Come Back When You Grow Up’ was written by Martha Sharp, who would later become an executive at Warner Records and us credited with discovering Randy Travis.
Shadden and the King Lears’ original distribution notice for ‘Come Back When You Grow Up’, published in Billboard, Feb. 11, 1967, four months ahead of the Bobby Vee release date.
“Shadden and the King Lears, formed by Shad Williams, hailed from Memphis, TN, and performed together from the early 1960’s until 1968 when Shad quit the band to go to Seminary. The group was best known for several regional hit records, including ‘Come Back When You Grow Up’, which topped local radio charts up and down the Mississippi River ahead of the Bobby Vee cover version. Shad had happened across the song in a publisher’s music demo catalog. He liked the words but did not like the musical arrangement, so Shad and a couple of band members reworked the arrangement and the end result was the song you know today.
First recorded (as “Now We’re Starting Over Again”) by Dionne Warwick (UK #76 1981).
Other hit version by Natalie Cole (MOR #5/CAN #12/UK #56 1990).
From the wiki: “‘Starting Over Again’ was composed by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin as ‘Now We’re Starting Over Again’, and was first recorded in 1981 by Dionne Warwick to augment the live performance tracks released on her album Hot! Live and Otherwise. Produced by co-writer Masser, and not released in the US as a promotional single, ‘Now We’re Starting Over Again’ did see distribution as a single in other countries and did chart in the UK where it peaked at #76.
“Natalie Cole’s arrangement of ‘Starting Over Again’, also produced by Masser, was released in late 1989 in the UK and early 1990 in the US, the fifth of five promotional singles released from her 1989 album Good to Be Back. Although the single did not chart Hot 100 or R&B, it did peak at #5 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and also charted in Canada and the UK.”
First recorded (as “It’s the Same Old Feeling”) by The Foundations (1969).
Hit versions by The Fortunes (US #62 1970), Picketywitch (US #67/MOR #34/UK #5/CAN #39/IRE #5/NZ #7 1970).
From the wiki: “‘That Same Old Feeling’ was composed by songwriters and producers John Macleod and Tony Macaulay, and was included on The Foundations’ final album, Digging the Foundations (1969). As with the group’s previous three albums, Digging the Foundations was produced by Macleod and Macaulay and consisted largely of compositions by the duo. The original recording of the song introduced the song’s standard chorus but its verses were radically different – musically and lyrically – from those of the better-known followups.
First recorded (as a demo) by George Harrison (1968).
Also recorded by The Beatles (1968, released 1996).
Hit album version by George Harrison (1978).
In an interview with Billboard editor Timothy White in 1999, Harrison referred to “the grief I was catching” from Lennon and McCartney post-India, and explained the message behind the song: “I said I wasn’t guilty of getting in the way of their career. I said I wasn’t guilty of leading them astray in our going to Rishikesh to see the Maharishi. I was sticking up for myself …”
From the wiki: “According to author Robert Rodriguez, ‘Not Guilty’ was ‘much-fabled’ among Beatles fans by the late 1970s, since the song was known as a White Album outtake but had never been heard publicly. In their respective books on the Beatles published at that time, Nicholas Schaffner paired it with Lennon’s ‘What’s the New Mary Jane’ as completed recordings that were known to have been left off the White Album, while Harry Castleman and Walter Podrazik wrote that, as far as collectors were aware, Harrison had taped ‘Not Guilty’ with Clapton in summer 1968 before the Beatles attempted to record the song in March 1969.
First recorded by Sheena Easton (1987).
Hit version by Celine Dion (MOR #22/CAN #16 1991).
From the wiki: “‘The Last to Know’, written by Brock Walsh and Phil Galdston, was first recorded by Sheena Easton for her 1987 album, No Sound But a Heart.
“Canadian singer Celine Dion covered ‘The Last to Know’ for her first English-language album, Unison (1990), produced by British record producer, Christopher Neil. The song was released by Columbia Records as the album’s fourth single in Canada in March 1991. Later, in September, it was issued as a single in the rest of the world. While not charting in the Billboard Hot 100, Dion’s recording did chart Top-20 in Canada and on the US Adult Contemporary music chart.”
First recorded by Mike Markel and His Orchestra (1922).
Also recorded by The Original New Orleans Jazz Band (1925), Art “The Whispering Pianist” Gilham (1926), The Golden Gate Orchestra feat. Scrappy Lambert (1927), Emmett Miller and the Georgia Crackers (1929), Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies (1936), Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys (1937).
Hit version by George Strait (C&W #1/CAN #1 1984).
From the wiki: “‘Right or Wrong’ first came into being as a jazz ballad in 1921. Composed by Arthur Sizemore and Paul Biese, with words by Haven Gillespie, the song was described by the original sheet music as ‘a beautiful fox-trot ballad.’
“‘Right or Wrong’ was recorded by many early jazz and swing orchestras. The earliest known recording is by Mike Markel and His Orchestra the same year the song was published (1921). Other early, and varied, arrangements were recorded by the Original New Orleans Dixie Jazz Band (1925), Scrappy Lambert (1927), and Peggy English (1928). But the arrangement with the longest lasting influence was recorded by Emmett Miller and the Georgia Crackers in 1929. Miller was an American minstrel show performer (often performing in blackface, which accounts for his obscurity today) and recording artist known for his falsetto, yodel-like voice.
“Miller’s singing style – the odd nasal pitch tone, along with the breaking of lines and bars in a song into a high yodel-like yelp – has been imitated by scores of singers since he first began to record in 1924. Jimmie Rodgers, Gene Autry, Lefty Fritzell, Tommy Duncan, Woody Guthrie, Howlin’ Wolf, Leon Redbone, and Bob Dylan have all been influenced by Miller’s one-of-a-kind vocal abilities. Of equal importance was Miller’s visionary fusion of blues and jazz, country and swing, black and white, comedy and crooning. His Georgia Crackers band, too, served as something of an incubator. Members at the time Miller recorded ‘Right or Wrong’ included Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, and Eddie Lang.
First recorded by Slade (UK #1 1973).
Other hit version by Quiet Riot (US #5/CAN #8 1983).
From the wiki: “‘Cum On Feel the Noize’ was written by Slade lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler (The Animals, Jimi Hendrix), as a non-album single. It reached #1 on the UK Singles chart, giving the band their fourth number-one single. ‘Cum On Feel the Noize’ would be included on the band’s 1973 compilation album, Sladest. In a 2015 UK poll, the song it was voted #15 on the ITV special The Nation’s Favourite 70s Number One.
“In 1983, the American heavy metal band Quiet Riot recorded their cover of the song, which became a million-selling hit single in the United States and Canada, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.”
First recorded by The Miracles (first recording released September 1960).
Hit versions by The Miracles (re-recording released October 1960 US #2/R&B #1/CAN #11), Captain & Tennille (US #4/MOR #1/CAN #4 1976).
From the wiki: “The original record label for ‘Shop Around’ credits Bill ‘Smokey’ Robinson as the writer, with Motown founder Berry Gordy as producer. Robinson claims he wrote the song ‘in thirty minutes’ and that it had been intended originally for another Motown singer, Barrett Strong (‘Money (That’s What I Want)‘), but that Gordy thought the song was more suited to the Miracles. Subsequent labels list both Robinson and Gordy as co-writers.
“‘Shop Around’ was initially released (as Tamla 53034) locally, in Detroit and the surrounding area, but not intentionally. Motown’s history of the song relates that after the first pressings were distributed to radio stations and record stores ‘in September 1960, [Gordy] couldn’t sleep, worried that it wasn’t good enough (‘too slow, not enough life’). He called Smokey in the middle of the night, and had him bring all the Miracles to the studio at 3 a.m. to lay down a new, slightly faster take of the song. Gordy himself played piano.’
First recorded by Mel & Tim (US #19/R&B #4 1972).
Other hit version by Hall & Oates (MOR #10/CAN #11 1991).
Also recorded by Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole (1996).
From the wiki: “‘Starting All Over Again’ was written by cousins Melvin McArthur Hardin and Hubert Timothy McPherson (‘Backfield in Motion’, 1969), and recorded by them in 1972. Released as a single after the duo switched record labels, from Bamboo to Stax, the song peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the Soul singles chart, and it would become the title track of the second album, Starting All Over Again.
“‘Starting All Over Again’ was covered by ‘blue-eyed soul’ duo Hall and Oates for their album Change of Season. Recorded in 1990 for the album but not released as a promotional single until 1991, their cover arrangement peaked at #10 on the Adult Contemporary singles chart but failed to reach the Top-40. It did go Top-10 in Canada.”
Written and first recorded by Stephen Bishop (1985).
Hit version by Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin (US #1/MOR #1/CAN #1/UK #4/IRE #1/AUS #14 1985).
From the wiki: “‘Separate Lives’ was written and first recorded in 1985 by Stephen Bishop (‘On and On’, 1977; ‘It Might Be You’, 1982). Released only in Hong Kong by Polydor Records on Bishop’s vinyl LP, Sleeping with Girls (a cassette format would later be released in 1986 in the US and Canada), the song would be chosen to be used in the movie White Nights in 1985. Sung by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin, ‘Separate Lives’ would reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts as well as topping the charts in Canada and Ireland.
“Bishop received an Academy Award nomination in 1986 for Best Original Song, losing to Lionel Richie’s ‘Say You, Say Me’ from the same film.”
First recorded (as “Schöner Gigolo”) by Dajos Béla’s Orchestra (1929).
Hit English-language versions by Jack Hylton & His Orchestra (as “Handsome Gigolo” UK 1930), Bing Crosby (US #12 1931), Ted Lewis & His Band (US #1 1931), Louis Prima (1956), David Lee Roth (US #12/CAN #7/AUS #13/NZ #6 1985).
From the wiki: “‘Just a Gigolo’ was from the Austrian tango ‘Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo’, composed in 1928 in Vienna by Leonello Casucci to lyrics written in 1924 by Julius Brammer. ‘Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo’ was first published by Wiener Boheme Verlag in 1929 and performed by several orchestras in Germany that year, including Dajos Béla’s orchestra with the singer Kurt Mühlhardt.
“Back in the 1920s and ’30s, the definition of ‘gigolo’ wasn’t much different from how the word is used today, although the services he provided weren’t always sexual. Most often, the man was just be a paid dancing partner (‘paid for every dance, selling each romance’). Either way, ‘gigolo’ labels him a ‘kept man’ who can’t provide a living for himself without his good looks: he’s ‘just a gigolo.’ The original version, as written by Julius Brammer, was a poetic vision of the social collapse experienced in Austria after World War I, represented by the figure of a former hussar [cavalry officer] who remembers himself parading in his uniform, while now he has to get by as a lonely hired dancer.
First performed (as “Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)”) by the Mike Garson Band feat. Luther Vandross (1974).
Hit album version (as “Fascination”) by David Bowie (1975).
Other hit version (as “Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)”) by Luther Vandross (R&B #34 1976).
From BowieSongs: “Luther Vandross had sung his ‘Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)’ during the opening set of Bowie’s Philly Dogs tour, as part of ‘The Mike Garson Band’ (basically, Bowie’s touring band minus Bowie).
“Bowie had first heard Vandross’ song during the Sigma sessions [in 1974 for Bowie’s Young Americans album], as Vandross sometimes ran his fellow backing singers through it during studio downtime. When Bowie asked Vandross his permission to record ‘Funky Music’, the latter was incredulous. ‘What do you mean, ‘let’ you record it. I’m living in the Bronx in a building with an elevator that barely works and you’re asking me to ‘let’ you record one of my songs?’
First recorded by the Irv Carroll & His Orchestra (1941).
Hit version by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five (R&B #3 1943).
Also recorded by Joe Jackson (1981).
From the wiki: “‘Five Guys Named Moe’ was written by Larry Wynn and Jerry Bresler, and was first recorded in 1941 by the Irv Carroll & His Orchestra. Wynn later explained that the phrase ‘five guys named Moe’ popped into his head one day as he was trying to remember the names of some lesser-known musicians on a recording date with Billie Holiday, Roy Eldridge and Teddy Wilson.
“It was bassist Dallas Bartley who brought the song to the attention of Louis Jordan. Prior to joining Jordan’s band, Bartley had performed ‘Five Guys Named Moe’ while in another band playing at one of Chicago’s transvestite bars, where a deliberately camped-up arrangement of the song proved to be wildly popular. Recorded in July 1942, Jordan’s recording for Decca peaked at #3 on the R&B chart in early 1943, becoming one of his band’s earliest hits and famous signature songs.
First recorded and released by The Attack (1967).
Hit version by Jeff Beck (UK #14/IRE #17/AUS #14 1967 |UK #17 1972).
From the wiki: “‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ was written by American songwriters Scott English (‘Mandy‘) and Larry Weiss (‘Bend Me, Shape Me‘; ‘Rhinestone Cowboy‘) and first released as a single in March 1967 by The Attack, a freakbeat/psychedelic band from London, UK, followed a few days later by Jeff Beck. It was Beck’s version that charted first (backed by ‘Beck’s Bolero’) on the UK Singles chart – the Attack single having no visible chart impact – and the song has become most often associated with Beck because of that.
First recorded by Thomas Wayne with the DeLons (US #5 1958).
Other hit versions by The Fleetwoods (US #10 1961) Brian Hyland (US #56 1969).
Also recorded by Paul McCartney (1971, released 2018).
From the wiki: “‘Tragedy’ was written by Gerald H. Nelson and Fred B. Burch. The first recording of the song, produced in October 1958 by Thomas Wayne with the DeLons, rose to #5 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1959. Recorded in Memphis and produced by Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley’s guitarist, the arrangement was made with a trio of girls recruited from the local high school. A 1961 cover version by The Fleetwoods rose to #10 on the charts. Brian Hyland (‘Sealed With a Kiss’, 1962; ‘Gypsy Woman‘, 1970) also recorded it and released it as a single in 1969, but it only made it to #56.
Written and first recorded by Bo Diddley (1956).
Also recorded by Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks (1963), Quicksilver Messenger Service (1967, released 1999), The Band feat. Ronnie Hawkins (1976).
Hit versions by The Woolies (US #95 1967), Quicksilver Messenger Service (US #97 1969), Juicy Lucy (UK #14 1970), George Thorogood & the Destroyers (1978).
From the wiki: “‘Who Do You Love?’ was written by rock and roll pioneer Bo Diddley, and it remains one of his most popular and enduring works. ‘Who Do You Love?’ was part of Bo Diddley’s repertoire throughout his career, but none of his various recordings reached the record charts. First recorded in 1956 and released as the B-side to ‘I’m Bad’, it did not chart. The song reached a bigger audience when it was included on his first compilation album, Bo Diddley, released in 1958.
“In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Bo Diddley’s original song at #133 on their list of the ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’. In 2010, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences acknowledged it with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, which ‘honor[s] recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance’.
Written and first recorded by the Bee Gees (1975).
Hit version by Olivia Newton-John (US #23/MOR #1/C&W #5/CAN #22/NZ #3 1976).
From the wiki: “‘Come On Over’ was by Barry and Robin Gibb and was first recorded by the Bee Gees for their 1975 album Main Course, produced by Arif Mardin in Miami, FL.
“A year later, in 1976, Olivia Newton-John’s cover of ‘Come On Over’ was released as the title track and promotional single for her album Come On Over. Her recording peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also Newton-John’s sixth #1 in a row on the Easy Listening chart, for one week in April 1976. ‘Come On Over’ also peaked Top-5 on the US Country Singles chart.”
First recorded by Bo Diddley (1955).
Inspired by “Hoochie Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters (1954).
Popular versions by the Yardbirds (1964), the Yardbirds (1965).
From the wiki: “‘I’m a Man’ is a rhythm and blues song written and recorded by Bo Diddley in 1955 (credited to ‘E[llas] Daniels’, Bo Diddley’s birth name), and was one of the first songs Diddley recorded for Checker Records.
“Unlike his self-titled ‘Bo Diddley’, recorded the same day (March 2, 1955 in Chicago), ‘I’m a Man’ does not use the ‘Bo Diddley beat’. Rather, it was inspired by Muddy Waters’ 1954 song ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, written by Willie Dixon. After Bo Diddley’s release, Waters recorded an ‘answer song’ to ‘I’m a Man’, in May 1955, titled ‘Mannish Boy’, a play on words on Bo Diddley’s younger age as it related to the primary theme of the song.
“In a Rolling Stone magazine interview, Bo Diddley recounts that the song took a long time to record because of confusion regarding the timing of the ‘M … A … N’ vocal chorus.
First performed in the movie Svezia, inferno e paradiso [Sweden: Heaven and Hell] (1968).
Popular version performed by The Muppets (US #55/MOR #12/CAN #22 1969).
“Most people know Mahna Mahna as a Muppets sketch, but the song — titled Mah Nà Mah Nà — is actually by Italian composer Piero Umiliani. The Tuscan musician composed scores for exploitation films in the ’60s and ’70s, including spaghetti westerns and softcore sex films, but Mah Nà Mah Nà would be his most famous work.
“The song originally appeared in a racy Italian film called Svezia, inferno e paradiso (Sweden: Heaven and Hell), in a scene where a bunch of Swedish models crowd into a sauna wearing little more than bath towels.
First recorded by Rose Royce (US #32/R&B #5/UK #2/IRE #7/NZ #2 1978).
Also recorded by Madonna (1984).
Other hit versions by Jimmy Nail (UK #3 1985), Madonna (US #78/MOR #29/DANCE #16/CAN #24/POL #9 1996).
From the wiki: “”Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” is a song written by Miles Gregory and originally recorded by Rose Royce. It was produced by former Motown songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield (‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine‘,’War‘,’Smiling Faces Sometimes‘) for Whitfield Records. Lead vocals were sung by Gwen Dickey and the song was released as the second single from Rose Royce’s third studio album Strikes Again.
“The song was developed as a result of producer Whitfield’s interest to work with Paul Buckmaster, the British arranger and composer. Together they asked songwriter Miles Gregory to write a song for them. Gregory’s undergoing medical care for his deteriorating physical health became the inspiration behind the song. ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ was one of the first recordings to make effective use of an electronic drum machine (most likely the Roland CR-78, released in 1977).
First recorded (as “It Must’ve Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted)”) by Roxette (SWE #4 1987).
Hit version by Roxette (US #1/UK #3/CAN #1/AUS #1/NED #3/JPN #2 1990).
From the wiki: “The song, written by Per Gessle, was first released as ‘It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted)’ in December 1987. It was composed after EMI Germany asked the duo to ‘come up with an intelligent Christmas single.’ It became a top five hit in Sweden, but was not released internationally. This version of the song was never included on any Roxette studio album until the 1997 re-release of their debut Pearls of Passion.
Written and first recorded by Hank Williams (B-side C&W #4 1949 |C&W #43 1966).
Other hit versions by B.J. Thomas & the Triumphs (US #8/CAN #2 1966), Charlie McCoy (C&W #23/CAN #21 1972), Terry Bradshaw (C&W #17 1976).
From the wiki: “According to Colin Escott’s 2004 book Hank Williams: A Biography, Williams was inspired to write the song when he saw the title (of a different song) on a schedule of upcoming MGM record releases.
“Music journalist Chet Flippo and Kentucky historian W. Lynn Nickell have each claimed how 19-year-old Kentuckian, Paul Gilley, wrote the lyrics, then sold the song to Williams along with the rights, allowing Williams to take credit for it. They stated that Gilley also wrote the lyrics to ‘Cold, Cold Heart’ and other songs before drowning at the age of 27. However, Williams has stated he wrote the song originally intending that the words be spoken, rather than sung, as he had done on several of his ‘Luke the Drifter’ recordings.
First recorded (as the instrumental “Candlelight Cafe”) by Bert Kaempfert (1959 |1962).
Hit version by Wayne Newton (US #13/MOR #3 1963).
From the wiki: “‘Danke Schoen’ was composed by Bert Kaempfert (‘Spanish Eyes’, ‘Strangers in the Night‘) and was first recorded as a jazzy instrumental titled ‘Candlelight Cafe’ in 1959 with Ladi Geisler on guitar, and again in 1962 in an ‘easy listening’ arrangement. Kurt Schwabach wrote the German lyrics.
“The song gained international fame when, in 1963, Milt Gabler wrote English lyrics and 21-year old singer Wayne Newton recorded an American version. The song was originally intended for singer Bobby Darin as a follow-up to his hit single, ‘Mack the Knife’, but after seeing Newton perform at the Copacabana, in Las Vegas, Darin passed the song along to Newton, transposing the arrangement to fit Newton’s voice. ‘Danke Shoen’ became Newton’s first US Top-20 hit.
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