First recorded by “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins (1955).
Re-recorded by “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins (1956).
Hit versions by Nina Simone (US #120/R&B #23/UK #49 1965 |UK #28 1969), The Alan Price Set (US #80/UK #9 1966), The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (UK #111 1968), Creedence Clearwater Revival (US #58 1968), Bryan Ferry (UK #18 1993), Sonique (UK #6 1998 |UK #8 2000), Annie Lennox (US #97/UK #63/FRA #29 2014).
Also recorded by Bette Midler (1995), Jeff Beck & Joss Stone (2010).
From the wiki: “‘I Put a Spell on You’ was written in 1956 by Jalacy ‘Screamin’ Jay’ Hawkins. Hawkins first recorded the song as a ballad during his stint with Grand Records in late 1955. However, that version was not released at the time (it has since been reissued on Hawkins’ UK compilation The Whamee 1953–55).
“The following year, Hawkins re-recorded the song for Columbia’s Okeh Records. Of the latter recording, Hawkins remembers producer Arnold Maxin bringing in ‘ribs and chicken and got everybody drunk, and we came out with this weird version … I don’t even remember making the record. Before, I was just a normal blues singer. I was just Jay Hawkins. It all sort of just fell in place. I found out I could do more destroying a song and screaming it to death.’
First recorded by The Laurels (1958).
Hit version by The Echoes (US #12/CAN #8 1961).
From the wiki: “‘Baby Blue’ was written by Long Island assistant high school principal Sam Guilino and music teacher Val Lagueux. Brooklyn vocal group the Laurels (not to be confused with the Laurels who first recorded the similarly-titled ‘Baby Talk‘ in 1959) cut ‘Baby Blue’ in 1958 as a demo but couldn’t find any takers for the song. A bit more than two years later, in early 1961, the Laurels replaced a couple of members, changed their name to the Echoes, rerecorded ‘Baby Blue’ and had a hit.
“The Echoes’ single spent 12 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart peaking at #12.
First recorded and released by The Colts (R&B #11 1955).
Other hit version by The Drifters (R&B #1 1955).
From the wiki: “‘Adorable’ was written by Buck Ram, best known as the manager of, the producer and prolific songwriter for, and the guiding force behind the Platters (‘Only You‘, ‘The Great Pretender’). But, in 1955, the Colts had also caught the attention of Ram who then signed the group and got them a deal with an indie record label, Mambo Records. Ram used the group to do a recording session for a song he wrote called ‘Adorable’.
First recorded (as “Cerisiers Roses et Pommiers Blancs”) by André Claveau (1950).
Also recorded by Tino Rossi (1950), Léo Marjane (1950).
Hit versions by Perez Prado (US #1/UK #1 1955), Eddie Calvert (UK #1 1955), Alan Dale (US #14 1955), Modern Romance (UK #15 1982).
Advertisement for “Cerisier Roses et Pommier Blanc”, ca. 1950, recorded by André Clabeau.
From the wiki: “‘Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White’ (aka ‘Cerezo Rosa’, ‘Ciliegi Rosa’, ‘Chanson rumba’ or ‘Gummy Mambo’) is the English-language version of ‘Cerisiers Roses et Pommiers Blancs’, a popular French song with music by Louiguy (Luis Guglielmi, best known for composing ‘La Vien Rose’), written by him with lyrics by Jacques Larue. First recorded in France by André Claveau in 1950, ‘Cerisiers Roses …’ was also recorded the same year by Tino Rossi, and Léo Marjane.
“The song crossed the Atlantic Ocean via its inclusion in the soundtrack to the adventure motion picture Underwater!, released by RKO Films in February 1955, appearing first in the opening credits as a lush orchestral instrumental arranged by Roy Webb; later in the movie performed by ‘mambo king’ Perez Prado Y Su Orchestra while star Jane Russell is seen dancing.
First recorded by The Laurels (1958).
Hit version by Jan & Dean (US #10/R&B #28 1959).
From the wiki: “‘Baby Talk’ was written by Melvin Schwartz, and was first recorded and released by Schwartz’s group, The Laurels, from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC, in 1958. Released on the tiny Spring Records label, promotion and distribution were limited and the recording had no chart impact … but it did not go unnoticed.
“Fast forward one year. A chance encounter backstage would provide ‘firsts’ for two different, but professionally related, pairs of people who would wind up working together to record a hit version of ‘Baby Talk’: Lou Adler and Herb Alpert (their first co-production); Jan Berry and Dean Torrance (their first Top-10 single).
First recorded by Thomas Wayne with the DeLons (US #5 1958).
Other hit versions by The Fleetwoods (US #10 1961) Brian Hyland (US #56 1969).
Also recorded by Paul McCartney (1971, released 2018).
From the wiki: “‘Tragedy’ was written by Gerald H. Nelson and Fred B. Burch. The first recording of the song, produced in October 1958 by Thomas Wayne with the DeLons, rose to #5 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1959. Recorded in Memphis and produced by Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley’s guitarist, the arrangement was made with a trio of girls recruited from the local high school. A 1961 cover version by The Fleetwoods rose to #10 on the charts. Brian Hyland (‘Sealed With a Kiss’, 1962; ‘Gypsy Woman‘, 1970) also recorded it and released it as a single in 1969, but it only made it to #56.
Written and first recorded by Bo Diddley (1956).
Also recorded by Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks (1963), Quicksilver Messenger Service (1967, released 1999), The Band feat. Ronnie Hawkins (1976).
Hit versions by The Woolies (US #95 1967), Quicksilver Messenger Service (US #97 1969), Juicy Lucy (UK #14 1970), George Thorogood & the Destroyers (1978).
From the wiki: “‘Who Do You Love?’ was written by rock and roll pioneer Bo Diddley, and it remains one of his most popular and enduring works. ‘Who Do You Love?’ was part of Bo Diddley’s repertoire throughout his career, but none of his various recordings reached the record charts. First recorded in 1956 and released as the B-side to ‘I’m Bad’, it did not chart. The song reached a bigger audience when it was included on his first compilation album, Bo Diddley, released in 1958.
“In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Bo Diddley’s original song at #133 on their list of the ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’. In 2010, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences acknowledged it with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, which ‘honor[s] recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance’.
First recorded by Bo Diddley (1955).
Inspired by “Hoochie Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters (1954).
Popular versions by the Yardbirds (1964), the Yardbirds (1965).
From the wiki: “‘I’m a Man’ is a rhythm and blues song written and recorded by Bo Diddley in 1955 (credited to ‘E[llas] Daniels’, Bo Diddley’s birth name), and was one of the first songs Diddley recorded for Checker Records.
“Unlike his self-titled ‘Bo Diddley’, recorded the same day (March 2, 1955 in Chicago), ‘I’m a Man’ does not use the ‘Bo Diddley beat’. Rather, it was inspired by Muddy Waters’ 1954 song ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, written by Willie Dixon. After Bo Diddley’s release, Waters recorded an ‘answer song’ to ‘I’m a Man’, in May 1955, titled ‘Mannish Boy’, a play on words on Bo Diddley’s younger age as it related to the primary theme of the song.
“In a Rolling Stone magazine interview, Bo Diddley recounts that the song took a long time to record because of confusion regarding the timing of the ‘M … A … N’ vocal chorus.
First recorded by Lavern Baker (US #17/R&B #1 1956).
Other hit version by Black Oak Arkansas (US #25 1973).
From the wiki: “‘Jim Dandy’ (sometimes known as ‘Jim Dandy to the Rescue’) was written by Lincoln Chase (‘The Name Game’, ‘The Clapping Song‘), and was first recorded by American R&B singer LaVern Baker (‘Tweedle-Dee‘) in 1956. It reached the top of the R&B chart and #17 on the pop charts in the United States, and has since been named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. Rolling Stone magazine ranked ‘Jim Dandy’ #352 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Written and first recorded by Jack Clement (1957).
Hit version by Johnny Cash (US #14/C&W #1 1958).
Also recorded by Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash & the Everly Brothers (1987).
From the wiki: “‘Ballad of a Teenage Queen’ was written in 1957 by Jack Clement. Clement was, at the time, a producer and engineer for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Subsequently, Clement worked with future stars such as Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. (Most notably, he discovered and recorded Jerry Lee Lewis while Phillips was away on a trip to Florida.)
“The song of ‘… Teenage Queen’ is that of a ‘small town girl’ (the prettiest the townsfolk have ever seen) who loved the boy next door, who is employed at the candy store. She was taken to Hollywood by a movie scout where she became famous, leaving the boy. Eventually she sold all her fame to go back to the boy from the candy store because amid it all she was unhappy without him.
“First recorded by Clement, ‘Ballad of a Teenage Queen’ would be covered by Johnny Cash for his 1958 album, Sings the Songs That Made Him Famous, with background vocals by The Tennessee Two. Cash’s recording hit #1 on the US Country charts and peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Based on “Hot Rod Race” by Arkie Shibley & His Mountain Dew Boys (C&W #5 1951).
Also recorded (as “Hot Rod Race”) by Tiny Hill (US #29/C&W #7 1951).
First recorded as “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Charlie Ryan & the Livingston Brothers (1955).
Also recorded by Charlie Ryan & the Timberline Riders (1960).
Hit versions (as “Hot Rod Lincoln”) by Johnny Bond (US #26 1960), Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen (US #9/MORE #28/CAN #7 1972), Asleep at the Wheel (C&W #65 1988).
From the wiki: “‘Hot Rod Lincoln’ was written by singer-songwriter Charlie Ryan in 1955 as an answer song to the 1951 hit ‘Hot Rod Race’ which describes a race in San Pedro, Los Angeles between two hot rod cars, a Ford and a Mercury, which stay neck-and-neck until both are overtaken by ‘a kid in a hopped-up Model A.’ The importance of ‘Hot Rod Race’, according to Jim Dawson and Steve Propes (in What Was the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record?), lies in the fact that ‘it introduced automobile racing into popular music and underscored the car’s relevance to American culture.’
“Written by George Wilson, ‘Hot Rod Race’ became a major hit for Arkie Shibley and his Mountain Dew Boys, staying on the Country & Western chart for seven weeks, peaking at #5 in 1951. Tiny Hill also released a cover version in 1951 that not only charted C&W but crossed over to the Billboard pop music chart where it peaked at #29.
“The song ‘Hot Rod Race’ ends with:
When it flew by us, I turned the other way.
The guy in Mercury had nothing to say,
For it was a kid, in a hopped-up Model A.
“These lyrics set the stage for ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’, the ‘answer song’ written in 1955 by Charlie Ryan. ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’ is sung from the perspective of this third driver, whose own hot rod is a Ford Model A with ‘… eight cylinders; uses them all [and] overdrive, just won’t stall / With a 4-barrel carb and a dual exhaust, with 4.11 gears you can really get lost / It’s got safety tubes, but I ain’t scared / The brakes are good, tires fair.’
“Ryan’s original rockabilly version of the song was released in 1955 by Charley Ryan & the Livingston Bros. Ryan recorded a second version in 1959, credited to Charlie Ryan & the Timberline Riders. Ryan based the description of the eponymous car on his own hot rod, built on a 1948 12-cylinder Lincoln chassis with a 1930 Ford Model A body fitted to it, which he had raced against a Cadillac sedan in Lewiston, ID, driven by a friend but changing the locale to Grapevine Hill to fit it within the narrative of ‘Hot Rod Race’.
“Another cover of ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’, recorded by country musician Johnny Bond in 1960, was the first charting version of the song. The 1971 version by country-rock band Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, released as the second promotional single from the album Lost in the Ozone, became the most successful version of ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’, peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, #28 Adult Contemporary, #7 in Canada, and was ranked #69 on the U.S. Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972.”
Tiny Hill, “Hot Rod Race” (1951):
Charlie Ryan & the Livingston Brothers, “Hot Rod Lincoln” (1955):
Charlie Ryan & the Timberline Riders, “Hot Rod Lincoln” (1960):
Johnny Bond, “Hot Rod Lincoln” (1960):
Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, “Hot Rod Lincoln” (1972):
First recorded by Bernard Hardison (1954).
Also recorded by Frankie Castro (1956).
Hit version by Elvis Presley (US #1/C&W #3/R&B #3 1957).
From the wiki: “Written by Lee Rosenberg and Bernard Weinman, ‘Too Much’ was built around a teen catchphrase (‘Aw, man, that’s too much!’). First recorded by Bernard Hardison (‘with band’) in 1954, it had no chart impact – possibly due to its lyrics being considered ‘too suggestive’:
I need your lovin’ too much
Want the thrill of your touch
“Recorded again two years later by Frankie Castro for Mercury Records, it again failed to chart – but did garner a ‘rave’ review in Billboard:
‘A personality-packed side with a subtle r&r back-up. For junior hipsters.’ – Billboard, May 19, 1956
“But, covered (with lyrics ‘sanitized’) by Elvis Presley, in 1957, ‘Too Much’ topped the Billboard Hot 100. It also went Top-5 on both the Country and R&B music charts.”
First recorded (as a B-side) by Bobby Day (US #41/R&B #1 1958).
Also recorded by Thurston Harris (US #96 1958).
Other hit version by The Dave Clark Five (US #1/UK #45 1965).
Also recorded by The Righteous Brothers (1965).
From the wiki: “‘Over and Over’ was written by Robert James Byrd and was recorded by him in 1958 using his stage name, Bobby Day (a name he earlier used when a member of the original ‘Bob & Earl’ duo until parting ways in 1957). Day’s version entered the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958, first as the B-side to the hit single ‘Rockin’ Robin’ and, soon after, as an A-side, the same week a version of the same song by Thurston Harris (who had covered Day’s ‘Little Bitty Pretty One‘ the previous year with chart success) entered the chart. Day’s version would reach #41 on the Hot 100 but would top the R&B chart; Harris’ single peaked on the Hot 100 at #96.
First recorded by Bob & Earl (1958).
Hit version by The Innocents (US #18 1960).
From the wiki: “‘Gee Whiz’ was one of two similarly-titled songs that charted in 1960. This version, written by Jeanne Vicki and Jimmie Thomas (the latter an alias for Chess Records owner Leon René), was first recorded in 1958 by Bob & Earl, Bobby Day (née Bobby Byrd) and Earl Nelson. Both authors had also collaborated earlier Day’s #1 hit ‘Rockin’ Robin’ in 1958. (Note: Day left the duo in 1960, and was replaced by Bob Relf. It was the Relf/Nelson ‘Bob and Earl’ who would go on to record ‘Harlem Shuffle‘ in 1963, Bob and Earl’s only chart success.)
“‘Gee Whiz’ was covered in 1960 by The Innocents, the group who had backed up Kathy Young on ‘A Thousand Stars‘, with a single that peaked in the US Top-20.”
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), Sarah Vaughn (US #41/AUS #76 1960).
Also recorded by Li Xianglan (as “心曲 (Heart Song)” 1957).
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.
First recorded by Billy Brown (1959).
Hit versions by Jim Reeves (US #2/C&W #1/R&B #13/UK #12/CAN #1/AUS #1/NOR #1 1959), Solomon Burke (US #51/R&B #17 1964).
Also recorded by Elvis Presley (1976).
From the wiki: “‘He’ll Have to Go’ was written by Joe Allison and Audrey Allison.
“Joe first worked in the early 1940s as a commercial artist before embarking on a career in the entertainment industry, first as a disc jockey on a Paris, Texas radio station. In 1945, after a few years on radio, Allison took a job as the emcee for the North American tour of country music singing star Tex Ritter. While working on tour, he offered Ritter a song he had written called ‘When You Leave, Don’t Slam the Door’, which the singer turned into a #1 hit on the Country music charts. This success ultimately led to Allison moving to a radio station in Nashville, Tennessee where he remained until accepting an offer from a radio station in Pasadena, California.
“In 1959, Joe and Audrey co-wrote their most famous song, ‘He’ll Have to Go’, which was initially recorded by Billy Brown. A subsequent version by Jim Reeves become a platinum record, and the song would be recorded successfully by more than one hundred other artists including Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Tom Jones, Eddy Arnold, and even big band leader Guy Lombardo. That same year, Allison was hired by Liberty Records to create their Country music department. It was at Liberty that Joe signed Willie Nelson to his first recording contract.
Based on “Crescent City Blues” by Beverly Mahr (1953).
Hit versions by Johnny Cash (C&W #4 1956), Johnny Cash (US #32/C&W #1/CAN #1 1968).
From the wiki: “Although ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ is still widely thought to have been a Johnny Cash original, he based its melody and many of the lyrics on Gordon Jenkins’s ‘Crescent City Blues’ (which itself borrowed heavily from the 1930s instrumental ‘Crescent City Blues’ by Little Brother Montgomery) from Jenkins’ 1953 Seven Dreams concept album. Jenkins was not credited on the original ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ release. But, by the early 1970s, after the song had become popular, Cash paid Jenkins a settlement of approximately US$75,000 following a lawsuit.
“Cash heard ‘Crescent City Blues’ during his stint with the U.S. Air Force in Germany. He said ‘At the time, I really had no idea I would be a professional recording artist; I wasn’t trying to rip anybody off.’ One very distinct and memorable lyric of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ that Cash can claim as being wholly original is the line ‘But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die’. Cash later recalled: ‘I sat with my pen in my hand, trying to think up the worst reason a person could have for killing another person, and that’s what came to mind.’
First recorded (as “Sentimental Reasons”) by Deek Watson & His Brown Dots (1945).
Hit versions by The King Cole Trio (US #1 1946), Eddy Howard & His Orchestra (US #6 1947), Dinah Shore (US #6 1947), Ella Fitzgerald & Delta Rhythm Boys (US #8 1947), Sam Cooke (US #17/R&B #5 1957), James Brown (R&B #70 1976).
Also recorded by James Brown (1969), Linda Ronstadt (1986), Rod Stewart (2004).
From the wiki: “‘(I Love You) for Sentimental Reasons’ was written in 1945 by Ivory ‘Deek’ Watson, founding member of the Ink Spots, and William ‘Pat’ Best, founding member of the Four Tunes. The song was first recorded by The Brown Dots, a group Watson had first formed as the ‘New Ink Spots’ after he left the original group in a dispute. The original Ink Spots then filed a lawsuit to force Watson from using its name, resulting in Watson changing his ‘Ink Spots’ name, just barely, to ‘The Brown Dots’.
“The Brown Dots’ original recording of ‘Sentimental Reasons’ was first recorded and released in 1945 as the B-side of their second single, ‘Let’s Give Love Another Chance’. In 1946, it was released again – as an A-side – but it did not chart nationally.
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.
First recorded by Roy Hamilton (R&B #8 1954).
Other hit versions by Timi Yuro (US #4/MOR #2/R&B #22 1961), Little Anthony & the Imperials (US #55 1966), Fausto Leali (as “A Chi” ITA #1 1967), Connie Cato (C&W #14 1975), The Manhattans (US #97/R&B #10/UK #4 1976), Elvis Presley (US #28/MOR #7/C&W #6/UK #37 1976), Juice Newton (C&W #1 1985).
Also recorded by Carly Simon (1981).
From the wiki: “‘Hurt’ was written by Jimmie Crane and Al Jacobs, and was first recorded by Roy Hamilton (‘Unchained Melody‘, ‘Don’t Let Go‘), whose version peaked at #8 on the R&B Best Seller chart and spent a total of seven weeks on the chart.
“The song is considered to be the signature hit of Timi Yuro, whose version peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. But,
Written and first recorded by Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys (1950).
Also recorded by Manassas (1971, released 2009), Goose Creek Symphony (1971), Michael Nesmith (1973), Phish (1997)
Hit versions by Porter Wagoner (C&W #14 1956), Ricky Skaggs (C&W #1/CAN #1 1984).
From the wiki: “James Pendleton Vandiver was a Kentucky fiddler, born there shortly after the American Civil War. He was uncle to Bluegrass legend Bill Monroe, who immortalized him in a song, ‘Uncle Pen’, first recording in 1950.
“Monroe’s parents had both died by the time he was 16, and he lived part of the time with his Uncle Pen. Monroe used to hear his uncle playing fiddle on the hilltop where he lived, while Monroe put away his mules at night. He later said that Vandiver was ‘the fellow that I learned how to play from.’ Bill Monroe’s biographer, Richard D. Smith writes, ‘Pen gave Bill more: a repertoire of tunes that sank into Bill’s aurally-trained memory and a sense of rhythm that seeped into his bones. Sometimes Bill played guitar behind his uncle, sometimes the mandolin.’
First recorded (as a demo) by Percy Mayfield (1960).
Hit versions by Ray Charles (US #1/R&B #1/UK #6/AUS #3 1961), The Stampeders (US #40/CAN #6 1975).
From the wiki: “‘Hit the Road Jack’ was written by R&B artist Percy Mayfield and was first recorded as an a cappella demo by Mayfield in 1960, before sending it to producer and Specialty Records owner Art Rupe. Rupe passed the song along to one of friends, Ray Charles. It became a worldwide hit after it was recorded by Charles – his sixth R&B #1 hit and second US #1 – with an arrangement featuring Raelettes’ vocalist Margie Hendrix, and would go on to also to win a Grammy award in 1962 for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording.”
First recorded as “All My Trials” by Cynthia Gooding (1956).
Popular versions by Glenn Yarbrough (as “All My Sorrows” 1957), Kingston Trio (as “All My Sorrows” 1959), Joan Baez (as “All My Trials” 1960), The Shadows (as “All My Sorrows” 1963), The Searchers (as “All My Sorrows” 1963), Peter Paul & Mary (as “All My Trials” 1963), Dick & Dee Dee (as “All My Trials” US #89 1964).
Also recorded (in medley) by Elvis Presley (1972).
From the wiki: “”All My Trials” is a folk song during the social protest movements of the 1950s and 1960s. It is based on a Bahamian lullaby that tells the story of a mother on her death bed, comforting her children. The message — that no matter how bleak the situation seemed, the struggle would ‘soon be over’ — propelled the song to the status of an anthem, recorded by many of the leading artists of the era.
“Cynthia Gooding first recorded the song in 1956. It quickly became a Folk song staple, with recordings by Glenn Yarbrough (1957), The Kingston Trio (1959), and Joan Baez (1960) following soon thereafter. (Gooding would later go on to host a Folk music show on NYC radio station WBAI and, in 1962, would conduct the first radio interview, ever, with a young Bob Dylan.) In the UK, Cliff Richard’s backing band, The Shadows, recorded an instrumental cover of ‘All My Sorrows’ in 1961 for their first solo outing, The Shadows; The Searchers would also cover the song in 1963 for the album Sugar and Spice.
“Folk music trio Peter, Paul & Mary released ‘All My Trials’ on their best-selling 1963 album, In the Wind, from which yielded the hit singles ‘Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright)‘ and ‘Blowin’ in the Wind‘. But, Dick & Dee Dee’s 1964 recording of ‘All My Trials’ is the only arrangement to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
“A fragment of ‘All My Trials’ is used in the Mickey Newbury anthem ‘An American Trilogy’, also recorded by Elvis Presley and broadcast worldwide in 1972 on Aloha from Hawaii.”
First recorded by The Drifters (R&B #10 1956).
Other hit versions by Dion (US #2/R&B #5 1963), Billy “Crash” Craddock (US #33/MOR #23/C&W #1 1974).
Also recorded by The Beach Boys (1965, released 1993), Donald Fagen (1982).
From the wiki: “‘Ruby Baby’ was written by the hit songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (‘Hound Dog‘, ‘On Broadway‘). It was first recorded by the Drifters, who scored an R&B hit with the song in 1956. Dion covered ‘Ruby Baby’ in 1963, scoring a Top-5 hit. In 1974, Billy ‘Crash’ Craddock topped the US Country chart with his cover version.
“The Beach Boys recorded ‘Ruby Baby’ during sessions for their 1965 album Beach Boys’ Party!, but the recording remained unreleased until the band’s 1993 box set Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys. Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen covered ‘Ruby Baby’ for his 1982 solo album, Nightfly.”
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