Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Ballad of a Teenage Queen

Written and first recorded by Jack Clement (1957).
Hit version by Johnny Cash (US #14/C&W #1 1958).
Also recorded by Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash & the Everly Brothers (1987).

From the wiki: “‘Ballad of a Teenage Queen’ was written in 1957 by Jack Clement. Clement was, at the time, a producer and engineer for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Subsequently, Clement worked with future stars such as Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. (Most notably, he discovered and recorded Jerry Lee Lewis while Phillips was away on a trip to Florida.)

“The song of ‘… Teenage Queen’ is that of a ‘small town girl’ (the prettiest the townsfolk have ever seen) who loved the boy next door, who is employed at the candy store. She was taken to Hollywood by a movie scout where she became famous, leaving the boy. Eventually she sold all her fame to go back to the boy from the candy store because amid it all she was unhappy without him.

“First recorded by Clement, ‘Ballad of a Teenage Queen’ would be covered by Johnny Cash for his 1958 album, Sings the Songs That Made Him Famous, with background vocals by The Tennessee Two. Cash’s recording hit #1 on the US Country charts and peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“During his brief stint with Mercury Records, Cash re-recorded the song in 1987 featuring guest vocals by his daughter, Rosanne Cash and The Everly Brothers. This version was first released on the 1988 duets album Water from the Wells of Home and is one of only a handful of recordings of Cash performing with his daughter to be released. It received a nomination for Vocal Event of the Year at the 1989 Country Music Association Awards.”

Johnny Cash, “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” (1958):

Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash & the Everly Brothers, “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” (1987):

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