Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Category: Broadway/Movies

Love for Sale

First recorded by Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians (1930).
Other popular versions by Libby Holman (1931), Sidney Bechet (1947), Billie Holiday (1952), Erroll Garner (1953), Charlie Parker (1954), Ella Fitzgerald (1956), Eartha Kitt (1965), Aretha Franklin (1965), Buddy Rich Big Band (1967), Fine Young Cannibals (1990).

From the wiki: “‘Love for Sale’ was written by Cole Porter from the musical The New Yorkers, satirizing various ‘New York’ types, from high society matrons to con men, bootleggers, thieves and prostitutes during Prohibition. The musical opened on Broadway on December 8, 1930 and closed in May 1931 after 168 performances. The pit orchestra featured a young group that had never before appeared on Broadway as the stage band, Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians, and which also featured the band’s vocalists, The Three Warings, in supporting roles as ‘Three Girl Friends’. ‘Love for Sale’, the most well-known song from the show, was written from the viewpoint of a prostitute advertising ‘love for sale’. Porter’s biographer George Eells refers to it as ‘the minor-keyed song whose lyrics were judged too raw for radio audiences …’

“When the song was first published in 1930, a newspaper called it ‘bad taste’. Radio stations avoided it. Despite this, popular Hit Parade recordings were released, first, in December 1930 by Waring’s Pennsylvanians & the Three Waring Girls (who had performed in the stage musical) and, then, by vocalist Libby Holman in February 1931.

Terry’s Theme (Eternally)

Written by Charles Chaplin and first performed in Limelight (1952).
Hit versions by Frank Chacksfield (as “Terry’s Theme” US #5/UK #2 1953), Rod Goodwin (as “Terry’s Theme” UK #12 1953), Vic Damone (as “Eternally” US #12 1953), Jimmy Young (as “Eternally” UK #8 1953).

From the wiki: “‘Terry’s Theme’ was composed by Charles Chaplin (née Charlie Chaplin), with lyrics by the English lyricists Geoff Parsons and John Turner. The music was first used for Chaplin’s film Limelight (1952) titled ‘Terry’s Theme’. The music for the film was belatedly awarded an Oscar for Best Original Dramatic Score at the 45th Academy Awards in 1973.

“Chaplin spent more than two years writing Limelight. His method was remarkable, and unique in his work. As a preliminary, he wrote the story in the form of a full-length novel – some 100,000 words long and entitled ‘Footlights’. The novel – never published in Chaplin’s lifetime or apparently even intended for publication – relates the story as it appears in the finished film.

Whole New World (Alladin’s Theme)

First recorded by Brad Kane & Lea Salonga (1992).
Hit version by Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle (US #1/UK #12 1992).

From the wiki: “‘Whole New World (Alladin’s Theme)’ is from Disney’s 1992 animated feature film Aladdin, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice. The original version was sung for the film by Brad Kane and Lea Salonga. They also performed the song in their characters at the 65th Academy Awards, where it won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

“A single version of the song was released that year and was performed by American recording artists Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle. This version is played in the movie’s end credits and is referred on the soundtrack as ‘Aladdin’s Theme’. This version peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart on March 6, 1993. The track peaked at #12 in the UK Singles Chart in 1992. The song is the first and so far only song from a Disney animated film to top the US Billboard Hot 100, as well as being the first and so far only Disney song to win a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, at the 36th Annual Grammy Awards.”

Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle, “Whole New World (Alladin’s Theme)” (1992):

Hey, Look Me Over

First performed by Lucille Ball & Paula Stewart (1960).
Popular versions by Peggy Lee (1963), Rosemary Clooney (1963), Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney (1963), Judy Garland (1963), Louis Armstrong (1964).

From the wiki: “‘Hey, Look Me Over’ was from the 1960 Broadway musical Wildcat, and was first performed by comedy actress Lucille Ball in what was the only Broadway appearance of her career.

(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life

First recorded (as a demo) by Franke & the Knockouts (1987, released 1998).
Hit version by Jennifer Warnes & Bill Medley (US #1/MOR #1/UK #6 1987 |UK #8 1991).

From the wiki: “‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’ was composed in late 1986 or early 1987 by Franke Previte, John DeNicola, and Donald Markowitz. Previte, the ‘Franke’ of the group Franke & the Knockouts, had had solo success with the song ‘Sweetheart’ in 1981 but, by 1986, was without a recording contract. Producer and head of Millennium Records, Jimmy Ienner, asked Previte about writing some music for ‘a little movie called Dirty Dancing‘. Previte initially turned the request down because he was still trying to get a record deal, but Ienner was persistent, and got Previte to write several songs for the film, including ‘Hungry Eyes‘, later recorded by singer Eric Carmen.

“After getting further approval, Previte created a demo of the song, performing on it himself with singer Rachele Cappelli. The demo showcased how the harmonies were to be used, employing a ‘cold open’ and a slow build-up of the song to its finale.

Ain’t Misbehavin’

First released by The Charleston Chasers (1929).
Hit versions by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra (US #2 1929), Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five (US #7 1929), Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (US #8 1929), Fats Waller (US #17 1929 |1943), The Teddy Wilson Quartet (US #6 1937), Dinah Washington (R&B #6 1948), Johnnie Ray (UK #17 1956), Tommy Bruce & the Bruisers (UK #3 1960), Hank Williams, Jr. (C&W #1 1986).
Also recorded by King Cole Trio & Anita O’Day (1945), Bill Haley & His Comets (1957), Sam Cooke (1958), Leon Redbone (1975).

From the wiki: “With lyrics by Andy Razaf and score by Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller and Harry Brooks, ‘An’t Misbehavin” was created specifically as a theme song for the Razaf/Waller/Brooks Broadway musical comedy Connie’s Hot Chocolates. In a 1941 interview with Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, of The Jack Benny Show fame, Fats said the song was written while ‘lodging’ in alimony prison, and that is why he was not ‘misbehavin’.’

“The song was first performed at the premiere of Connie’s Hot Chocolates at Connie’s Inn in Harlem as an opening number by Margaret Simms and Paul Bass, and repeated later in the musical by Russell Wooding’s Hallelujah Singers. Connie’s Hot Chocolates transferred to the Hudson Theatre on Broadway in June 1929, where it was renamed to Hot Chocolates and where Louis Armstrong took over as orchestra director. The script also required Armstrong to play ‘Ain’t Misbehavin” in a trumpet solo, and although this was initially slated to only be a reprise of the opening song, Armstrong’s performance was so well received that the trumpeter was asked to climb out of the orchestra pit and play the piece on stage.

Pass Me By

First performed by Digby Wolfe (1964).
Also recorded by Frank Sinatra (1964).
Popular version by Peggy Lee (US #93/MOR #19 1965).

(Above): Opening credits clip from ‘Father Goose’.

From the wiki: “‘Pass Me By’ was composed by Cy Coleman with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh for the 1964 romantic comedy film Father Goose, set in World War II, starring Cary Grant. The film would go on to win an Academy Award for its screenplay. Although ignored by Oscar, the film’s theme song, ‘Pass Me By’, would later become a hit for his collaborator, Peggy Lee. Coleman has said that he based the song’s tempo on Grant’s jaunty walk in the movie.

Almost Like Being in Love

First performed and recorded by David Brooks & Marion Bell (1947).
Hit versions by Mildred Bailey (US #21 1947), Mary Martin (US #21 1947), Frank Sinatra (US #20 1947), Gene Kelly, (1954), Michael Johnson (US #32/MOR #4 1978).
Also recorded by Lester Young (1952), Nat “King” Cole (1953), Frank Sinatra (1961), Shirley Bassey (1979).

From the wiki: “‘Almost Like Being in Love’ was written by the songwriting team of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner in 1947, for the musical Brigadoon. The song was first performed on Broadway and recorded by David Brooks and Marion Bell from the original cast. It would later be performed by Gene Kelly in the 1954 film version of Brigadoon.

“Mildred Bailey first charted ‘Almost Like Being in Love’ in 1947, along with an equally-popular cover by Mary Martin. Frank Sinatra recorded two popular versions: first in 1947 and, again, in 1961 for the album Come Swing With Me, the version generally heard today. Lester Young’s instrumental cover was released in 1952; Nat ‘King’ Cole recorded his version in 1953, a recording used years later, in 1993, for the soundtrack of Groundhog Day.

“‘Almost Like Being in Love’ was revived, as a downbeat ballad, in 1978 by singer Michael Johnson. British singing sensation Shirley Bassey covered Johnson’s arrangement in 1979.”

Ease On Down the Road

First recorded by “The Wiz” original cast (1975).
Hit versions by Consumer Rapport (US #42/R&B #19/Dance #1 1975), Diana Ross & Michael Jackson (US #41/R&B #17/UK #45 1978).

From the wiki: “‘Ease On Down the Road’ isthe 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz, an R&B re-interpretation of L. Frank Baum’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. The Charlie Smalls–composed tune is the show’s version of both ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’ and ‘We’re Off to See the Wizard’ from the 1939 movie version of The Wizard of Oz. In the song, performed three times during the show, Dorothy and her friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion dance their way down the Yellow Brick Road and give each other words of encouragement.

“‘Ease On Down the Road’ was performed in the original Broadway production by Stephanie Mills (Dorothy), Hinton Battle (Scarecrow), Tiger Haynes (Tin Man), and Ted Ross (Cowardly Lion), who also performed the song on the original 1975 cast album for The Wiz. Released as a single in 1975 by the studio group Consumer Rapport, the song became a #1 Disco hit for five non-consecutive weeks.

“A second cover of the song was recorded by Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, for the 1978 feature-film adaptation of The Wiz. It charted #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Top-20 on the R&B chart.”

On the Street Where You Live

First performed by John Michael King (1956).
Hit versions by Vic Damone (US #4/UK #1 1956), Eddie Fisher (US #18 1956), Andy Williams (US #28/MOR #3 1964).

From the wiki: “‘On the Street Where You Live’ was composed by Frederick Loewe with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, from the 1956 Broadway musical, My Fair Lady. It is sung in the musical by the character Freddy Eynsford-Hill, portrayed by John Michael King in the original Broadway production. The most popular single of the song was recorded by Vic Damone in 1956 for Columbia Records. Eddie Fisher also had a Top-20 Billboard hit with the song in 1956. Andy Williams’ recording appeared in the Billboard Top-40 in 1964.”

Swinging on a Star

First performed and recorded by Bing Crosby (US #1 1944).
Other hit versions by Big Dee Irwin & Little Eva (US #38/UK #7 1963), Spooky & Sue (NL #2 1974).

From the wiki: “The Pop standard ‘Swinging on a Star’ was composed by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Burke, and was first introduced by Bing Crosby in the 1944 film Going My Way, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song that year.

“Composer Van Heusen was at Crosby’s house one evening for dinner, to discuss a song for the movie. During a meal with the family, one of the children began complained about how he didn’t want to go to school the next day. Crosbyr turned to his son and said to him, ‘If you don’t go to school, you might grow up to be a mule. Do you wanna do that?’

Strangers in the Night

First recorded (as “Beddy Bye”) by Bert Kaempfert (1965).
Possibly based on “Stranci u noći” by Ivo Robić (1966)
First English-language recording by Jack Jones (1966).
Also recorded (in German, as “Fremde in der Nacht”) by Ivo Robić (1966).
Hit version Frank Sinatra (US #1/MOR #1/UK #1 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Strangers in the Night’ is credited to Bert Kaempfert with English lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder. It is sometimes claimed that the Croatian singer Ivo Robić was the original composer of ‘Strangers in the Night’ (performed as ‘Stranci u noći’), and that he sold the rights to Kaempfert after entering it without success in a song contest in Yugoslavia. These claims have not been substantiated.

“Robić, a pioneer of popular Yugoslav music from the early 1950s on, was the only artist from Yugoslavia whose records were available in the record shops of Europe and the rest of the world. He performed and collaborated with Kaempfert, Freddy Quinn, and Dean Martin. Robić would go on to record Yugoslav and German versions of ‘Strangers in the Night’, ‘Stranci u Noći’ with lyrics by Marija Renota and ‘Fremde in der Nacht’ with lyrics by Kurt Feltz.

“Kaempfert originally recorded the melody under the title ‘Beddy Bye’ as part of the instrumental score for the movie soundtrack to A Man Could Get Killed, which went on to win a Golden Globe Award in 1967 for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.

You Only Live Twice

First recorded by Julie Rogers (1967).
Also recorded by Lorraine Chandler (1967).
Hit movie version by Nancy Sinatra (1967).

From the wiki: “The title track from the James Bond movie, You Only Live Twice, was composed and produced by veteran James Bond composer John Barry, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. Julie Rogers was asked to perform the song, and recorded it with a 50- or 60-piece orchestra at CTS Studios, London. Her version was quite different from the later Sinatra version, with a more Oriental flavor. Jazz singer Lorraine Chandler also recorded a version of the song that differed greatly from the other two – a more bombastic, Shirley Bassey-sound, differing from the more mellow alternate versions. John Barry recalls, ‘It was usually the producers that said ‘this isn’t working, there’s a certain something that it needed’. If that energy wasn’t there, if that mysterioso kind of thing wasn’t there, then it wasn’t going to work for the movie.’

“Instead, the film’s producer, Cubby Broccoli, wanted his friend Frank Sinatra to perform ‘You Only Live Twice’. Frank suggested that they use his daughter instead. Barry wanted to use Aretha Franklin, but the producers insisted that he use Nancy instead, who was enjoying great popularity in the wake of her single, ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin”.

Endless Love

First performed by Shea Chambers (1981).
Hit versions by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie (US #1/MOR #1/R&B #1/UK #7 1981), Mariah Carey & Luther Vandross (US #2/R&B #7/CAN #6/UK #3/IRE #4/AUS #2 1994).

From the wiki: “‘Endless Love’ was written by Lionel Richie, and was first performed in the 1981 movie Endless Love by Shea Chambers (lip-synced by uncredited actress in a singing role) but whose vocal did not appear on the subsequent soundtrack album. The song was then recorded as a duet by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, and was released as the single from the soundtrack album; released while Richie still officially was a member of The Commodores. The success of the duet encouraged Richie to branch out into a full-fledged, and very successful, solo career.

“The Ross/Richie duet became a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and nearly 30 years after its release it still remains the best-selling single of Ross’ career. The single stayed at #1 for no less than nine weeks from August 9 to October 10, 1981, making it the biggest-selling single of the year in the US. It also topped the Billboard R&B chart and the Adult Contemporary chart as well as becoming a Top ten hit single in the UK, peaking at #7.

On the Sunny Side of the Street

First recorded by Roger Wolfe Kahn & His Orchestra with Harry Richman (US #13 1930).
Other popular versions by the Ted Lewis Orchestra (US #2 1930), Lionel Hampton (R&B #10 1938), Jo Stafford & the Pied Pipers (US #13 1944), Tommy Dorsey & the Sentimentalists (US #1 1945).
Also recorded by Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong & Jack Teagarden (1938).

From the wiki:”‘On the Sunny Side of the Street’ is to Jimmy McHugh, with lyrics by Dorothy Fields. But, some authors believe that Fats Waller was the composer, selling his rights for the money. (Fats Waller & His Rhythm would later perform the song live with Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden in a radio broadcast from Martin Block’s Make Believe Ballroom in October 1938.)

“The song was first recorded in 1930, in the Broadway musical Lew Leslie’s International Revue starring Harry Richman and Gertrude Lawrence. Richman first recorded ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street’ in 1930 and a recording by the Ted Lewis Orchestra released the same year came close to topping the Hit Parade.

“Other hit versions were recorded by Lionel Hampton (1938), Jo Stafford & the Pied Pipers (1944), and Tommy Dorsey & the Sentimentalists (1945).”

They Say It’s Wonderful

First recorded by Bing Crosby (US #12 1946).
Other popular versions by Ethel Merman & Ray Middleton (1946), Frank Sinatra (US# 2 1946), Perry Como (US #4 1946)

From the wiki: “‘They Say It’s Wonderful’ was written by Irving Berlin for the musical Annie Get Your Gun (1946), where it was introduced on Broadway by Ethel Merman and Ray Middleton. The song was first recorded and released on a 78 rpm by Bing Crosby in 1946, a version that say modest chart success. Merman and Middleton released a recorded ‘cast’ version later in 1946. Frank Sinatra and Perry Como both charted in 1946 with covers of ‘They Say It’s Wonderful’.

“In 1979, Merman recorded a ‘camp’ version for The Ethel Merman Disco Album but it was not released until issued as a bonus track on the CD reissue in 2002.”

Hair

First recorded by the Original Off-Broadway Cast of Hair (1967).
Hit versions by Zen (NETH #1 1968), Doug Parkinson in Focus (AUS #7 1969), The Cowsills (US #2 1969).

From the wiki: “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical wass a Rock musical with a book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, and music by Galt MacDermot. The musical broke new ground in musical theater by defining the genre of ‘rock musical’, using a racially integrated cast, and inviting the audience onstage for a ‘Be-In’ finale. After an off-Broadway debut in October 1967 at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and a subsequent run in a midtown discothèque space, the show opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre on April 29, 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances. A cast album recorded by the original off-Broadway cast was released in 1967; the original Broadway cast recording, released in 1968, received a Grammy Award for Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album.

“The musical’s title song, ‘Hair’, begins as character Woof slowly croons his reason for his long hair, as tribe-mate Berger joins in singing they deem they ‘don’t know.’ They lead the tribe, singing ‘Give me a head with hair,’ ‘as long as God can grow it,’ listing what they want in a head of hair and their uses for it. A cover of ‘Hair’ became a major hit single for The Cowsills in 1969 and was their most successful charted single.”

Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In

First recorded by The Off-Broadway Cast of Hair (1967).
Hit version by The 5th Dimension (US #1/R&B #6/CAN #1/UK #11/AUS #3 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In’ is a medley of two songs written for the 1967 musical Hair by James Rado & Gerome Ragni (lyrics), and Galt MacDermot (music). Originally recorded as separate performances by the cast of Hair, the medley recorded by The 5th Dimension became one of the most popular songs of 1969 worldwide. ‘Aquarius’ was ranked #33 on the 2004 American Film Institute’s 100 Years … 100 Songs listing (in the motion-picture adaptation of Hair, produced in 1979).

“The lyrics of this song were based on the astrological belief that the world would soon be entering the ‘Age of Aquarius’, an age of love, light, and humanity, unlike the then-current ‘Age of Pisces’. The exact circumstances for the change are ‘When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars.’ This change was presumed to occur at the end of the 20th century; however, major astrologers differ extremely widely as to exactly when: Their proposed dates range from 2062 to 2680. ”

Any Dream Will Do

First recorded by The Joseph Consortium (1968).
Hit versions by Max Bygraves (AUS #1 1970), Jason Donovan (UK #1 1991).

From the wiki: “In 1967, the Head of the music department of Colet Court School, London, asked a then-unknown Andrew Lloyd Webber (and Tim Rice) to compose a song for the boys choir to sing for their end-of-semester concert. First performed as a 15-minute Pop cantata at Colet, Decca Records recorded it in 1969 as part of a concept album after which ‘Any Dream Will Do’ would eventually become a fully-realized stage production, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Following in the wake of the next Lloyd Webber and Rice success, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph received stage productions beginning in 1970; produced first for the stage in the West End in 1973, and opening on Broadway in 1982.”

Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips

First recorded by The Nick Lucas Troubadors (US #1 1929).
Other hit versions by Roy Fox & His Montmartre Orchestra (US #11 1929), Johnny Marvin (US #11 1929), Tiny Tim (US #17 1968).
Also recorded by The Humane Society (1967).

From the wiki: “‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips’ was written by Al Dubin and Joe Burke, and first published in 1929. Nick Lucas’ recording of ‘Tip-Toe’ hit the top of the Hit Parade in May 1929, first introduced to the public by Lucas in the 1929 musical talkie Gold Diggers of Broadway. His recording held the #1 position for 10 weeks. The song was also used in ‘Sinkin’ in the Bathtub’, the first Looney Tunes cartoon ever, in 1930.

“The song was revived in 1967 by the California rock group The Humane Society and again, in 1968, by Tiny Tim, whose version charted in the US Top 20.”

Night and Day

First recorded by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra with Fred Astaire (1932).
Hit versions by Fred Astaire (US #1 1932), Eddie Duchin (US #2 1933), Frank Sinatra (US #15 1944).

From the wiki: “‘Night and Day’ was written in 1932 by Cole Porter for the 1932 musical play Gay Divorce. It is perhaps Porter’s most popular contribution to the Great American Songbook and has been recorded by dozens of artists.

“It was Fred Astaire who first introduced ‘Night and Day’ on stage. It would be Leo Reisman & His Orchestra (with an uncredited performance by Astaire) who released the first recording of ‘Night and Day’, on November 22, 1932. Astaire reprised ‘Night and Day’ in the 1934 motion picture production of the show, retitled The Gay Divorcee.

“Frank Sinatra recorded the song at least five times – it became one of his signature pieces – including his first solo session in 1942 (it was after Harry James heard a then-unknown Sinatra sing ‘Night and Day’, he signed him), in 1944 (Sinatra’s most popular version), with Nelson Riddle in 1956 for A Swingin’ Affair!, with Don Costa in 1961 for Sinatra and Strings, and even a disco version with Joe Beck in 1977.”

Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)

First performed by Iréne Bordoni (1928).
First recorded by Irving Aaronson & His Commanders (1928).
Hit versions by The Paul Whiteman Orchestra (US #5 1929), Dorsey Brothers & their Orchestra (US #9 1929).

From the wiki: “‘Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love’ (also known as ‘Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)’ or simply ‘Let’s Do It’) was written in 1928 by Cole Porter. It was introduced in Porter’s first Broadway success, the musical Paris (A Play with Songs) (1928), by French chanteuse Irène Bordoni for whom Porter had written the musical as a starring vehicle, and was first recorded B.A. Rolfe & His Palais D’or Orchestra. The song was later used in the English production of Wake Up and Dream (1929) and was also used as the title theme music in the 1933 Hollywood movie, Grand Slam.

“‘Let’s Do It’ was the first of Porter’s famous ‘list songs’, featuring a string of suggestive and droll comparisons and examples, preposterous pairings and double entendres, dropping famous names and events, drawing unexpectedly from highbrow and popular culture.

As Time Goes By

First recorded by Rudy Vallee (1931 |US #1 1942).
Also recorded by Jacques Renard (1931)
Popular version by Dooley Wilson & Elliot Carpenter (1942).

From the wiki: “Herman Hupfeld wrote ‘As Time Goes By’ for the 1931 Broadway musical Everybody’s Welcome. In the original show, it was sung by Frances Williams. It was recorded that year by several artists, including Rudy Vallée and an orchestra recording by Jacques Renard. In terms of popularity at the time, it was a modest hit. The song was re-introduced in 1942 in the film Casablanca, sung by Dooley Wilson accompanied by pianist Elliot Carpenter and heard throughout the film as a leitmotif. Wilson was unable to record his version of the song at the time due to the 1942–44 musicians’ strike, leading Brunswick to reissue the Jacques Renard’s 1931 recording; Victor also re-issued Vallée’s 1931 recording, giving Vallee a #1 hit in 1942. The song was voted #2 on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs special, commemorating the best songs in film. ”

I’ve Gotta Be Me

First recorded (as “I Gotta Be Me”) by Steve Lawrence (MOR #6 1968).
Also recorded by Della Reese (1968).
Other hit versions by Sammy Davis, Jr. (US #11/MOR #1 1968), Tony Bennett (MOR #29 1969).

From the wiki: “‘I’ve Gotta Be Me’ appeared in the Broadway musical Golden Rainbow, which starred Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé. The musical opened in New York City at the Shubert Theatre on February 4, 1968. The music and lyrics for the musical were by Walter Marks and were composed in 1967. Lawrence released the song as a single in 1967, and the following year it hit #6 on the Billboard MOR chart, with little or no support from traditional Top 40 radio.

“Sammy Davis, Jr. recorded the song in 1968 while the musical was still running on Broadway, altering the title slightly to ‘I’ve Gotta Be Me’ and releasing it as a single late in the year. This version of the song was a surprise hit for Davis, since the musical was not among the more successful shows on Broadway that season. It became Davis’ third-highest charting single in his career on the Hot 100.”

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