Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Butterfly

First recorded by Charlie Gracie (US #1/R&B #10/UK #12 1957).
Other hit version by Andy Williams (US #1/R&B #14/UK #1 1957).

From the wiki: “‘Butterfly’ is a popular song written by Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann. The song is credited to Anthony September as songwriter in some sources – a pseudonym of Anthony Mammarella, producer of American Bandstand.

“The original recording of the song by Charlie Gracie reached #1 on the Billboard chart, #10 on the R&B chart and #12 on the UK Singles Chart in 1957. A cover version by Andy Williams (‘Moon River‘,’Happy Heart‘)also reached #1 on the Billboard chart in 1957 – his first chart-topping hit. Williams’ version also reached #1 the UK in May 1957, where it spent two weeks, and also reached #14 on the US R&B chart.

“Charlie Gracie was a rock pioneer and rhythm and blues singer and guitarist from Philadelphia, PA. The owner of Cadillac Records, Graham Prince, heard one of Gracie’s early radio performances, contacted the young musician and signed him to a recording contract. This association yielded the single ‘Boogie Woogie Blues’. By 1956, Philadelphia had given birth to the new Cameo record label. Its founders, in search of a strong talent, signed Gracie later that year. With a $600 budget, this new union went into the recording studio to record ‘Butterfly’. It became a hit record.

“Two other substantial sellers followed: ‘Wandering Eyes’, his third Billboard Top-100 hit, which peaked at #71 (another #6 in the UK), and ‘Cool Baby’ (also a Top-30 hit in Britain). The financial success of these hits bankrolled the Cameo label, which became a dominant force in the music industry for several years.

“Gracie’s personal appearances grew until he performed and headlined some of the biggest venues of that time: Alan Freed’s rock and roll shows at the Brooklyn Paramount, The Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand and the 500 Club in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He appeared in the 1957 film Jamboree and toured with Chuck Berry, the Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley and his close friend Eddie Cochran.

“Gracie became only the second American rock and roller to bring this new art form to the British concert stage (Bill Haley & His Comets were the first, in February 1957). Gracie’s two extensive tours in 1957 and 1958 were topped off by headlining the Palladium and the Hippodrome in London. In the audiences, among Gracie’s fans, were future rock musicians Graham Nash, and members of the Beatles. These performers and many other well-known acts have credited Gracie as an influence. George Harrison referred to Gracie’s guitar technique as ‘brilliant’ in a March 1996 interview with Billboard magazine; Paul McCartney invited Gracie to the premiere party of his 1999 release of the album Run Devil Run, which paid tribute to the early pioneers of rock music.”

Andy Williams, “Butterfly” (1957):

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