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?’
First performed by Ella Logan & Donald Richards (1947).
First recorded by Charley Spivak & His Orchestra (1947).
Hit version by Margaret Whiting (US #11 1947).
Also recorded by Miles Davis (1954), Sarah Vaughn (1954), Frank Sinatra (1956), Chet Baker (1958)
From the wiki: “‘Old Devil Moon’ was composed by Burton Lane, with lyrics by E.Y. Harburg, for the 1947 musical Finian’s Rainbow. It was introduced on stage by Ella Logan and Donald Richards. It was first recorded for commercial release by Charley Spivak & His Orchestra; singer Margaret Whiting topped the US Hit Parade in 1947 with her cover recording, from the Margaret Whiting Sings album.
“Another popular rendition of this song was recorded by Frank Sinatra, who included ‘Old Devil Moon’ on his 1956 Capitol Records album Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! which peaked at #1 in the UK. Sarah Vaughn, and Chet Baker also recorded popular vocal arrangements. Miles Davis recorded a popular instrumental version in 1954 for the Blue Haze album.”
First recorded by Lead Belly (1940).
Also recorded by Woody Guthrie (1944), Lonnie Donegan (1956), The Weavers (1960), John Herald & The Greenbriar Boys (1961).
Hit version by Peter, Paul & Mary (US #35/MOR #17 1963).
From the wiki: “There are two major but different arrangements of the sporting ballad, generally titled either ‘Skewball’ or ‘Stewball’; the latter spelling is more popular in America. Versions date at least as far back as the 18th century. In most versions of ‘Stewball’ the winning horse triumphs due to the stumbling of the lead horse; ‘Skewball’ wins simply by being the faster horse in the end. The oldest broadside identified with the ballad is dated 1784 and is held by the Harding Collection of the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford. The song spread to America by 1829 when it was published in a songbook in Hartford. American versions were sung and adapted by slaves in the Southern United States, and have ‘Stewball’ racing in California, Texas, or Kentucky.
First recorded by Dinah Shore (1949).
Hit versions by Jo Stafford (US #14 1950), Harry Belafonte & Millard Thomas (UK #18 1957), The Browns (US #13 1959).
From the wiki: “‘Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)’ is a popular song. The music was written by Evelyn Danzig, with lyrics by Jack Segal, in only 15 minutes in 1949 at Danzig’s home in Port Washington, New York after she invited lyricist Segal to hear the music. The first Recordings of the song by Dinah Shore and Juanita Hall in 1949 made no great impression but, in 1950, Jo Stafford’s recording breached the US Top 20. In 1952, Harry Belafonte, at his third session for RCA Records, covered the song with an arrangement using only his guitarist Millard Thomas and male vocal group. After receiving continually good responses in concert, Belafonte’s four-year-old recording finally became a success in 1956 after it appeared on his second album which reached #1 on Billboard’s album chart for six weeks. Belafonte’s recording also reached the UK Top 20 in late 1957.
“The most successful recording of ‘Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)’ in the USA was recorded b The Browns, who reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1959. ‘Scarlet Ribbons’ has since become a standard with many recorded versions and has appeared on several Christmas albums.”
First recorded by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five (R&B #1 1945).
Other hit versions by Erskine Hawkins (US #12/R&B #2 1945), Woody Herman & His Orchestra (US #2 1945), James Brown (US #95 1964).
Also recorded by Champion Jack Dupree (1967), B.B. King (1971).
From the wiki: “‘Caldonia’ is a Jump Blues song, written by Louis Jordan (but crediting his then-wife, Fleecie Moore, for tax-evading purposes) and first recorded in 1945 by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five. The lyrics may have been inspired by a real character: a tall Crescent City drag queen wearing oversized shoes. A cover version by Erskine Hawkins (‘Tuxedo Junction‘), also in 1945, was described by Billboard magazine as ‘rock and roll’, the first time that phrase was used in print to describe any style of music. Woody Herman and his orchestra also covered ‘Caldonia’ in 1945, arranged by the young Neal Hefti, with Herman singing the lead vocal. Jordan re-recorded the song in 1956, arranged by Quincy Jones and featuring torrid guitar work by Mickey Baker. Baker again recorded the song, in 1967, this time backing up Champion Jack Dupree.
Written and first recorded (as “Hey Lolly Lolly”) by Woody Guthrie (1944, released 1952).
Also recorded by Pete Seeger (as “Hey Li-Lee”, 1954), The Vipers Skiffle Group (sa “Hey Liley Liley Lo”, 1957), The Limeliters (as “Hey Li Lee Li Lee”, 1961).
Hit version by Chubby Checker (US #12/R&B #4 1963).
From the wiki: “Woody Guthrie recorded a version of “Hey Lolly Lolly” in 1944 which was not released until 1952. Pete Seeger recorded ‘Hey Li-Lee’ in 1954 but the song did not first gain wide familiarity until The Limeliters recorded their variation, ‘Hey Li Lee Li Lee’, during the early ’60s Folk music revival. Chubby Checker further adapted the song, recording ‘Hey Lolly Lolly’ in 1963 and going Top 20 with it on the Billboard Hot 100 and Top 5 US R&B charts.”
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.”
First recorded by Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians (R&B #6 1949).
Also recorded by Bill Haley & His Saddlemen (1952).
Other hit version by Bill Haley & His Comets (UK #20 1957).
From the wiki: “‘Rock the Joint’, also known as ‘We’re Gonna Rock This Joint Tonight’, is a boogie song first recorded by various proto-Rock and roll singers, most notably by Jimmy Preston and Bill Haley. Preston’s version has been cited as a contender for being ‘the first Rock and roll record’; Haley’s 1952 recording is widely considered to be one of the first Rockabilly records (along with Haley’s cover of ‘Rocket 88‘). The song’s authorship is credited to Harry Crafton, Wendell ‘Don’ Keane, and Harry ‘Doc’ Bagby (who were musicians contracted to the Gotham label in New York, owned by Ivin Ballen). The song was influenced by earlier R&B recordings such as Wynonie Harris’ 1948 R&B hit ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight‘. Label owner Ballen passed the song on to Jimmy Preston, fresh off a hit with ‘Hucklebuck Daddy’ in 1949, who, with his Prestonians, recorded ‘Rock the Joint’ in Philadelphia in May 1949. Preston’s recording charted R&B Top 10 in 1949.
First recorded by Hank Snow (1949).
Hit versions by Lonnie Donegan (1956), Tony Sheridan & the Beat Brothers (1961 |B-side US #19/UK #29 1964), Karen Young (UK #6 1969), Hank Williams Jr. (C&W #46 1969), The Traveling Wilburys (UK #44 1990).
From the wiki: “‘Nobody’s Child’ was written by Cy Coben and Mel Foree and was first recorded by Hank Snow in 1949, becoming one of his standards although it did not chart for him. The song lyrics are about an orphan whom no one wants to adopt because he is blind, and has been covered a number of times in the UK. It was on Lonnie Donegan’s first album in 1956 (which went to #2 as an album in the UK). It was covered by Tony Sheridan & the Beat Brothers (The Beatles) in 1961 in Hamburg and was used as the B-side to both the ‘Ain’t She Sweet’ and ‘Sweet Georgia Brown‘ singles when released in 1964 as part of Beatlemania. (Beatle George Harrison was also one of the Wilburys twenty-five years later.) In 1969, Karen Young again charted the song in the UK.
“In the US, Hank Williams Jr. recorded a version of ‘Nobody’s Child’ that made it to #46 on the US Country charts in 1969. The Traveling Wilburys’ cover recording made it to #44 on the UK charts as the lead promotional single from the benefit album Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal released in July 1990.”
First recorded by Bob Crosby with Marion Mann (1940).
Hit versions by Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (US #17 1940), Tony Martin (US #16 1940), The Glenn Miller Orchestra (US #1 1940), Billy Eckstine (R&B #6 1949), Brook Benton (US #24/R&B #5 1960), Etta James (US #87 1962), Ricky Nelson (US #12/R&B #24/UK #12 1963).
From the wiki: “‘Fools Rush In’ was written in 1940 by lyricist Johnny Mercer with music by Rube Bloom. First recorded by the Bob Crosby orchestra with Marion Mann, major hits at the time of introduction were recorded by Tony Martin, Glenn Miller with Ray Eberle, and Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra. It was also recorded by Billy Eckstine. In the 1960s, ‘Fools Rush In’ saw a resurgence of popularity, resulting in charted remakes in 1960-61 (Brook Benton), 1962 (Etta James), and 1963 (Ricky Nelson).”
First recorded by Freddy Martin & His Orchestra (US #7 1946).
Other hit version by B. Bumble & the Stingers (US #21 1961).
From the wiki: “Earl Palmer, René Hall and Plas Johnson were the house band at Rendezvous Records. According to Palmer, the three friends ‘always talked about how we could make some money and not leave the studio. One day I said, ‘Let’s do a rock version of ‘In the Mood”.’ The single, credited to the Ernie Fields Orchestra, became a hit, peaking in the US Top 5 in early 1960. Hall then came up with the idea for B. Bumble and the Stingers, taking the same approach to a piece of classical music. Pianist Jack Fina was approached. His 1946 swing arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ for Freddy Martin and his Orchestra, titled ‘Bumble Boogie’, had reached #7 on the Pop charts and was later used in the 1948 Walt Disney animated film Melody Time.
“Using Fina’s arrangement, producer Kim Fowley recorded pianist Ernie Freeman on two tracks, one using a grand piano for the rhythm part, while the other track featured a ‘tack piano’ – a modified upright piano with tacks attached to the hammers that created a tinny ‘honky tonk’ sound. The other musicians on the session, at Gold Star Studios, included Wrecking Crew regulars: Palmer on drums, Red Callender on bass, and Tommy Tedesco on guitar.”
First recorded (as “Mary Anne”) by Roaring Lion (1946).
Hit versions by Terry Gilkyson & The Easy Riders (US #4 1957), The Hilltoppers (US #3 1957).
From the wiki: “‘Mary Ann’ was composed by Calypso artist Roaring Lion and was popular with steelbands and revelers during a spontaneous Carnival celebration on V-J Day in Trinidad in 1945, at the end of World War II. The song was first recorded by Roaring Lion in 1946. The most popular versions were recorded by Terry Gilkyson & The Easy Riders (#4 on the Billboard Top 100) and The Hilltoppers in 1957, with the song incorrectly credited to Gilkyson (‘Memories Are Made of This’, ‘Bare Necessities’), Richard Dehr and Frank Miller.”
Written and first recorded (as the instrumental “Never No Lament”) by Duke Ellington (1940).
Hit versions by Glen Gray & His Casa Loma Orchestra (US #7 1943), Duke Ellington (US #8/R&B #1 1943), The Ink Spots (US #2/R&B #1 1943).
From the wiki: “‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’ is a Jazz standard by Duke Ellington. The tune was originally called ‘Never No Lament’ and was first recorded by Ellington in 1940 as a Big-band instrumental. Bob Russell’s lyrics and the new title were added in 1942. Two different recordings of ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’, one by The Ink Spots and the other, an instrumental, by Ellington’s own band, reached #1 on the R&B chart in the US in 1943. Both were Top-10 Pop records, too, along with a #7 hit by Glen Gray & His Casa Loma Orchestra, with the Ink Spots’ recording charting highest on the Pop chart.”
First recorded (as “Interlude”) by Sarah Vaughn w/ The Dizzy Gillespie Septet (1944).
Also recorded by The Boyd Raeburn Orchestra (1944).
“Night in Tunisia” first recorded by Dizzy Gillespie (1945), The Charlie Parker Septet (1946), Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker (1949), and Miles Davis (1955).
From the wiki: “Dizzy Gillespie began writing the then-unnamed tune while he was performing with Benny Carter in New York in 1942. During a break in a show, Gillespie composed the basics of the song on piano. According to To Be or Not to Bop: Memoirs of Dizzy Gillespie, Dizzy was sitting at the piano playing chord progressions when he noticed the notes of the chords formed a melody with a Latin/Oriental feel. Adding a Bebop-style rhythm to the melody, Gillespie came up with what would become ‘Night in Tunisia’.
First recorded by The Merry Macs (US #4 1942).
Other hit versions by Kay Kyser (US #1 1942), Gene Autry (US #17 1942).
From the wiki: “‘Jingle Jangle Jingle’ was written by Frank Loesser (‘Baby It’s Cold Outside‘, ‘Inch Worm’, ‘What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?‘) and Joseph J. Lilley, and published in 1942. It was introduced first in the motion picture The Forest Ranger, sung by Dick Thomas. The Merry Macs released the first commercial recording of ‘Jingle Jangle Jingle’ in 1942. First formed to play proms in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Merry Macs were made up of the three McMichael brothers – tenors Judd and Joe, and baritone Ted – and vocalist Mary Lou Cook. The Merry Macs were discovered by organist-bandleader Eddie Dunstedter from radio station WCCO. Other popular 1942 versions of ‘Jingle Jangle Jingle’ were recorded by Kay Kyser with Harry Babbitt, and movie cowboy Gene Autry.”
Written and first recorded by The Buddy Johnson Orchestra with Ella Johnson (1946).
Hit versions by Annie Laurie with Paul Gayten & His Trio (US #20/R&B #3 1947), Lenny Welch (US #4 1963).
Also recorded by Dinah Washington (1947), The Harptones (1953).
From the wiki: “‘Since I Fell for You’ is Blues ballad composed by Buddy Johnson in 1945 and first popularized by his sister, Ella Johnson, with The Buddy Johnson Orchestra. It has since gone on to become a Jazz and Pop standard, becoming a particular favorite of vocalists. Dinah Washington recorded it in 1947, Eartha Kitt in 1950, Julie London in 1964, Shirley Horn in 1987, and Etta Jones in 1998. The 1963 Lenny Welch cover of ‘Since I Fell for You’ reached #4 on Billboard Hot 100, far and away Welch’s biggest career hit.
Co-written and first recorded by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys (1946).
Also recorded by The Maddox Brothers & Rose (1950).
Hit versions by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys (C&W #8 1950), Leon McAuliffe (C&W #22 1962 |C&W #22 1971), Patsy Cline (US #97/C&W #7 1963).
From the wiki: “‘Faded Love’ is a Western swing song written by Bob Wills; his father, John Wills; and his brother, Billy Jack Wills. The tune is considered to be an exemplar of the Western swing fiddle component of American fiddle. The song was first recorded as an instrumental in April, 1946 by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys for the Tiffany record label; a 1950 re-recording for MGM Records, with lyrics by Billy Jack, became a major hit for the group, reaching #8 on the Country charts in 1950, becoming one of the Playboys’ signature songs.
Based on “Gran Prairie” by Happy Fats & His Rayne-Bo Ramblers (1940).
Hit versions by Hank Williams (US #20/C&W #1 1952), Jo Stafford (US #3 1952), Fats Domino (US #30 1961), Blue Ridge Rangers (#16 1973), The Carpenters (UK #12 1974).
From the wiki: “The melody of ‘Jambalaya’ is based on the Cajun song ‘Gran Prairie’, first recorded in 1940 by Happy Fats & His Rayne-Bo Ramblers. While ‘Gran Prairie’ is a song about a lost love, the lyrics written by Hank Williams for ‘Jambalaya’ are about life, parties and stereotypical Cajun foods. Released in July 1952, crediting Williams as the sole author (there is some dispute, whether the lyrics were co-written with Moon Mullican), it reached #1 on the US Country music charts and stayed there for 14 non-consecutive weeks. Jo Stafford’s cover peaked at #3 on the Pop music charts, further popularizing the song. Other popular recordings were later charted by Fats Domino, and Blue Ridge Rangers (John Fogerty). The Carpenters released their 1974 recording of ‘Jambalaya’ as an overseas single, with chart success in the UK, Japan, Mexico, Holland and Germany.”
First recorded by Margaret Whiting (1947).
Other popular versions by The Les Paul Trio (1947), The Orioles (R&B #9 1949), Billy Ward & The Dominoes (1953), Ella Fitzgerald (1960), Danté & The Evergreens (US #106 1960), Nancy Wilson (XMAS #17 1965 |XMAS #24 1967), The Carpenters (1985), Rufus Wainwright (2005), Zooey Dechanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt (2011).
From the wiki: “‘What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?’ was written in 1947 by Frank Loesser as an ‘independent song’ — not written for a particular movie or musical. Loesser was an American songwriter who wrote the lyrics and music to the Broadway hits Guys and Dolls and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, among others. He won separate Tony Awards for the music and lyrics in both shows, as well as sharing the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the latter, and was nominated for five Academy Awards for best song, winning once, for ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside‘. Among Loesser’s other notable songs: ‘Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition’, ‘Heart and Soul’, ‘On a Slow Boat to China’, and ‘Luck Be a Lady Tonight’.”
First performed by Judy Garland (1944).
Popular versions by Frank Sinatra (1957), Barbra Streisand (1967), The Pretenders (1987).
From the wiki: “‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ was introduced by Judy Garland in a poignant moment in the 1944 movie musical Meet Me In St. Louis. The filmmakers complained that the first version of the song’s lyrics was too depressing and commissioned a rewrite that became the most popular interpretation.”
First performed by Esther Williams & Ricardo Montalban and Red Skelton & Betty Garrett (Neptune’s Daughter, 1949).
Hit versions by Dinah Shore & Buddy Clark (US #4 1949), Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer (US #4 1949), Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan (US #9 1949), Dean Martin (1959) and Blossom Dearie & Bob Dorough (1979), Dean Martin & Martina McBride (MOR #7/C&W 36 2006).
From the wiki: “Frank Loesser wrote the duet in 1944 and premiered the song with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their Navarro Hotel housewarming party, and performed it toward the end of the evening, signifying to guests that it was nearly time to end the party. Lynn considered it ‘their song’ and was furious when Loesser sold the song to MGM. The movie it appeared in, Neptune’s Daughter, featured two performances of the song: one by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams, and the other by Red Skelton and Betty Garrett, the second of which has the roles of ‘wolf and mouse’ reversed. These performances earned Loesser an Academy Award for Best Original Song.”
Co-written and first recorded by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers (R&B #3 1947).
Other popular versions by Chuck Berry (1958), Elvis Presley (1971), Bruce Springsteen (1987), Bonnie Raitt & Charles Brown (1992), Cee Lo Green & Rod Stewart (2012).
From the wiki: “‘Merry Christmas Baby’ is an R&B Christmas standard written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore. The original 1947 version by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers is the definitive version of this song. Notable cover versions include those by Chuck Berry on his 1958 single and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band recorded live at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, and included on the Christmas album A Very Special Christmas, released in 1987. Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers was one of the hottest Blues attractions on the West Coast when their recording of ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ reached position #3 on Billboard’s R & B Juke Box chart during the Christmas of 1947. Guitarist Johnny Moore commandeered an impressive lineup of players for the recording session, including bassist Eddie Williams, guitarist Oscar Moore (then of the King Cole Trio) and, notably, singer/pianist Charles Brown (‘Please Come Home for Christmas‘).”
First recorded by The Boston Pops Orchestra (1949).
Hit version by Leroy Anderon & His “Pops” Concert Orchestra (1950).
From the wiki: “Leroy Anderson had the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946; he finished the work in February 1948. Lyrics, about a person who would like to ride in a sleigh on a winter’s day with another person, were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950. The orchestral version was first recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops Orchestra.”
First recorded by Doye O’Dell (1948).
Hit versions by Ernest Tubb (C&W #1 1949), Hugo Winterhalter & His Orchestra with Choir (US #9 1949), Russ Morgan & His Orchestra (US #11 1949), Hugo Winterhalter & Billy Eckstine (US #20 1950), Elvis Presley (1957/UK #11 1964), Beach Boys (US #3 1964), Harry Connick Jr. (MOR #21 2004).
From the wiki: “‘Blue Christmas’ song was first recorded by Doye O’Dell in 1948. It was popularized the following year in three separate recordings: one by Country artist Ernest Tubb; one by instrumental bandleader Hugo Winterhalter and his orchestra; and one by bandleader Russ Morgan and his orchestra (the latter featuring lead vocals by Morgan and backing vocals by singers credited as the Morganaires). In 1950 Hugo Winterhalter released a new version, this time sung by Billy Eckstine, with shortened lyrics in a variation close to what is now the common standard for this song.
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