Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Body and Soul

First recorded by Jack Hylton (Feb 1930).
Hit versions by Libby Holman (US #3 1930), Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra (US #1 1930), Louis Armstrong (US #7 1932), Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse (US #87 2011).
Also recorded by Coleman Hawkins (1939), Billie Holiday (1957).

From the wiki: “The popular jazz standard, ‘Body and Soul’, was written in 1930 by Johnny Green (music) with lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton. It was composed in New York City for the British actress and singer Gertrude Lawrence, who introduced it first on stage to London audiences. ‘Body and Soul’ would also be first recorded in London by the orchestra of Jack Hylton, the ‘British King of Jazz’, on February 7, 1930.

“In the US, the song was first performed on stage by Libby Holman in 1930 Broadway revue, Three’s a Crowd. The tune grew quickly in popularity and, by the end of 1930, at least 11 American bands had recorded it, including a release by Holman with the Brunswick Records studio orchestra. The Paul Whiteman Orchestra, featuring Jack Fulton vocals, recorded the most popular version; Louis Armstrong would the first jazz musician to record ‘Body and Soul’, in October 1932.

“One of the most famous and influential takes was recorded by Coleman Hawkins and His Orchestra on October 11, 1939, at their only recording session for Bluebird, a subsidiary of RCA Victor. The recording is unusual in that the song’s melody is only hinted at in the recording; Hawkins’ two-choruses of improvisation over the tune’s chord progression constitute almost the entire take. Because of this, as well as the imaginative use of harmony and break from traditional swing cliches, the recording is recognized as part of the ‘early tremors of bebop.’In 2004, the Library of Congress entered it into the National Recording Registry.

“In 1957, ‘Body and Soul’ became closely associated with Billie Holiday when she recorded her version for the album Body and Soul

“‘Body and Soul’ was recorded as a duet by Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse on March 23, 2011. It was the final recording made by Winehouse before her death on July 23, 2011 at the age of 27. The single was released worldwide on September 14, 2011, what would have been her 28th birthday, on iTunes, MTV and VH1.

“When the song reached #87 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of October 1, 2011, it made Bennett, at age 85, the oldest living artist ever to chart on the Hot 100, surpassing the previous record set by George Burns (‘I Wish I Was Eighteen Again’, 1980).”

Libby Holman, “Body and Soul” (1930):

Louis Armstrong, “Body and Soul” (1930):

Paul Whiteman, “Body and Soul” (1930):

Coleman Hawkins, “Body and Soul” (1939):

Billie Holiday, “Body and Soul” (1957):

Tony Bennett & Amy Whitehouse, “Body and Soul” (2011):

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