Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Beyond the Sea

First recorded (in English) by Harry James & His Orchestra with Marion Morgan (1947).
Hit versions Roger Williams (US #37 1955), Bobby Darin (US #6/R&B #15/UK #8 1959), George Benson (UK #60 1984).

From the wiki: “‘Beyond the Sea’ is the English adaptation of a romantic love song (‘La Mer’) by Charles Trenet. Trenet was most famous for his recordings from the late 1930s until the mid-1950s. In an era in which it was unusual for a singer to write their own material, Trenet wrote prolifically and declined to record any but his own songs.

“According to legend, ‘La Mer’ was composed with Léo Chauliac on-board a train in 1943. Trenet explained in an interview that he was told that ‘La Mer’ was not ‘swing’ enough to be a hit, and for this reason the song sat in a drawer for three years before being recorded.

“The song was given unrelated English lyrics by Jack Lawrence (‘All or Nothing At All’, ‘Linda’) in 1947 and recorded by Harry James with Marion Mogan under the title ‘Beyond the Sea’. (Trenet’s French version was a homage and ode to the changing moods of the sea, while Lawrence, by just adding one word ‘Beyond’ to the title, turned it into a song of mourning for a lost love.)”

Charles Trenet, “La Mer” (1946):

Roger Williams, “Beyond the Sea (La Mer)” (1955):

Bobby Darin, “Beyond the Sea” (1959):

George Benson, “Beyond the Sea” (1984):

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