Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Category: Pop

Hello Stranger

Written and first recorded by Barbara Lewis (US #3/R&B #1 1963).
Other hit versions by Fire & Rain (US #100 1973), Yvonne Elliman (US #15/R&B #57/MOR #1/UK #26/NETH #20/NZ #12 1977), Carrie Lucas & The Whispers (R&B #20 1985).
Also recorded by Martha & the Vandellas (1963), The Capitols (1966), The Supremes & The Four Tops (1970).

From the wiki: “‘Hello Stranger’ was written by Barbara Lewis herself, who was originally inspired to write the while working gigs in Detroit with her musician father: ‘I would make the circuit with my dad and people would yell out: ‘Hey stranger, hello stranger, it’s been a long time’.’ The song is notable because its title comprises the first two words of the lyrics but is never at any point repeated throughout the remainder of the song.

“Lewis recorded ‘Hello Stranger’ at Chess Studios in Chicago in January 1963. The track’s producer Ollie McLaughlin recruited The Dells to provide the background vocals. The arrangement by Riley Hampton – then working with Etta James – featured a signature organ riff provided by keyboardist John Young. The track was completed after thirteen takes. Lewis would recall that, on hearing the playback of the finished track, Dells member Chuck Barksdale ‘kept jumping up and down and saying, ‘It’s a hit, it’s a hit.’…I didn’t really know. It was all new to me.’

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.

Patches (Dickey Lee)

First recorded by Jimmy Isle (1960).
Hit version by Dickey Lee (US #6 1962).

From the wiki:”‘Patches’ (not to be confused with Clarence Carter’s ‘Patches‘) was written by Barry Mann (‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place‘, ‘Venus in Blue Jeans‘, ‘Never Gonna Let You Go‘) and Larry Kobler imagining a ‘Romeo & Juliet’ scenario. The song tells in waltz-time the story of teenage lovers of different social classes whose parents forbid their love. The girl drowns herself in the ‘dirty old river.’ The singer concludes: ‘It may not be right, but I’ll join you tonight/ Patches I’m coming to you.’

“‘Patches’ was first recorded by Jimmy Isle for Everest Records in 1960 but which did not have any chart impact. Two years later, in 1962, Dickey Lee would cover the song. Because of its teen-suicide theme, the song was banned on a number of US radio stations. Still, it sold over one million copies, was awarded a gold disc, and peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #6.

That’s Rock ‘n Roll

Written and first recorded by Eric Carmen (DEN #7 1976).
Other hit version by Shaun Cassidy (US #3/CAN #1/AUS #2 1978).

From the wiki: “‘That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was written and first recorded by Eric Carmen in 1976. It later became a US Top-10 hit for teen idol Shaun Cassidy.

“Carmen released his version of ‘That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’ in some nations as the third single from his first eponymous self-titled debut album, Eric Carmen. The single’s limited release did not include the United States. The song charted at #7 in Denmark. Parts of the song are autobiographical.

“‘That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was covered in 1977 by Shaun Cassidy on his first solo LP, Shaun Cassidy. The song was Cassidy’s second of three consecutive Top-10 hits in the US. Cassidy’s cover also topped the Canadian singles chart and nudged the top of the Australian singles chart.

“In 1988, ‘That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was featured as the B-side of a subsequent major hit by Carmen, ‘Make Me Lose Control’.”

Shaun Cassidy, “That’s Rock ‘n Roll” (1978):

(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons

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 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.

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.

Alexander’s Ragtime Band

First recorded by Arthur Collins & Byron G. Harlan (US #1 1911).
Other hit versions by Billy Murray (US #1 1911), Prince’s Orchestra (US #3 1912), Bessie Smith (1927), The Boswell Sisters (1935), Louis Armstrong (1937), Bing Crosby & Connee Boswell (1938).

From the wiki: “‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ was written by Irving Berlin in 1911, one of his oldest compositions and his first major hit.

“It is believed by some (especially in New Orlean jazz and ragtime circles) that Berlin was writing about a real band and bandleader, which were popular at the time in New Orleans, and actually was known as Alexander’s Ragtime Band, after its leader, Alexander Joseph Watzke. Others regard the song as a sequel to ‘Alexander and His Clarinet’, which Berlin wrote with Ted Snyder in 1910 (and which was not a hit), with the newer composition telling the story of Jack Alexander, a cornet player and bandleader.

“‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ was first popularized in 1911 by Emma Carus, a big shouter from Chicago, who worked it into her local vaudeville act. (Her picture’s on the oldest sheet music edition.) The song was more widely introduced that same year by Eddie Miller and Helen Vincent performer in the Frolic of Berlin’s New York City ‘Friars Club’ chapter. In 1911-1912, no fewer than four of the first recordings of ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ charted nationally, including #1 hits by Arthur Collins & Byron Harlon, and Billy Murray.

“The 1927 Bessie Smith cover of ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ featured Coleman Hawkins on clarinet, Fletcher Henderson on piano, along with Joe Smith (cornet) Jimmy Harrison (trombone) and Charlie Dixon (banjo).”

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.

Yes! We Have No Bananas

First recorded by Edward Furman & William Nash (1923).
Hit versions by Billy Jones (US #1 1923), Ben Selvin (US #1 1923), The Great White Way Orchestra (US #3 1923).
Also recorded by Benny Goodman & His Rhythm Makers (1935), Spike Jones & His City Slickers (1950), Louis Prima & Keely Smith (1950).
Also recorded (as “I’ve Got the Yes! We Have No Bananas Blues”) by Eddie Cantor (US #2 1923).

From the wiki: “‘Yes! We Have No Bananas’ is a novelty song by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn published July 19, 1923. The song title was inspired by the yell of a Long Island fruit salesman from Greece.

“First introduced by both authors (as Frank Silver’s Music Masters) in a Long Island roadhouse, then later in Murray’s restaurant in New York, ‘Yes, We Have No Bananas’ was widely popularized on stage by Eddie Cantor in his revue Make It Snappy. The song was first recorded in 1923 by Edward Furman & William Nash. Nationally popular recordings were also released in 1923 by Billy Jones, Ben Selvin, and The Great White Way Orchestra, and others, before Cantor released a popular parody titled ‘I’ve Got the Yes! We Have No Bananas Blues’. Covers of ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas’ were recorded a decade later by Benny Goodman & His Rhythm Makers (1935), and in 1950 by Spike Jones & His City Slickers (1950), and Louis Prima & Keely Smith (1950).

“In his book, A History Of Popular Music In America, Sigmund Spaeth noticed a striking similarity between the melodies of ‘My Bonnie Is Over The Ocean’ and Händel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus’. Try for yourself: ‘Hallelujah bananas, oh bring back my Bonnie to me.’ No wonder Spike Jones & His City Slickers cut a version.”

Baby I’m Yours

First recorded (as a demo) by Van McCoy (1965).
Hit versions by Barbara Lewis (US #11/R&B #5 1965), Peter & Gordon (UK #19 1965), Jody Miller (C&W #5 1971), Linda Lewis (UK #33 1976).
Also recorded by The Paramounts (1965, released 1988), Cher (1990).

From the wiki: “Barbara Lewis has stated that Van McCoy wrote ‘Baby I’m Yours’ specifically for her. But, that when she first heard the demo she disliked the song. (She has suggested that she was actually daunted by the high quality of the vocal, by McCoy himself, on the demo, and at the original session recalled ‘I didn’t really put 100% into my vocal performance’ hoping that Atlantic would shelve the track as sub-par.)

“‘[Producer] Ollie [McLaughlin] told me ‘Barbara, we’re gonna have to go back to Detroit and dub you in. We gotta do your vocals over. You’re just not giving like you should on the song.’ We did several takes [in Detroit] and he was wondering ‘How am I going to get this girl to give? She’s so hard-headed.’ He said ‘You know, Barbara, Karen can sing that song better than you.’ That was his little daughter. And it pissed me off. I did one more take, and that was the take that they selected.’

My Way

Co-written and first recorded (as “Comme d’habitude”) by Claude François (1967).
Hit English-language versions by Frank Sinatra (US #27/MOR #2 1969), Dorothy Squires (UK #25 1970), Elvis Presley (US #22/MOR #6/UK #9 1977 |C&W #2 1978).
Also recorded by Paul Anka (1969).

From the wiki: “‘My Way’ was popularized in 1969 by Frank Sinatra. Its lyrics were written by Paul Anka and set to the music of the French song ‘Comme d’habitude’ (‘As Usual’) co-written by Claude François, and first performed in 1967 by François.

“Anka’s English lyrics are unrelated to the original French song. He had heard the original 1967 French pop song by François while on holiday in the south of France. Anka flew to Paris to negotiate the rights to the song, acquiring adaptation, recording, and publishing rights for the mere nominal, but formal, consideration of one dollar, subject to the provision that the melody’s composers would retain their original share of royalty rights with respect to whatever versions Anka or his designates created or produced.

“Some time later, Anka had a dinner in Florida with Frank Sinatra during which Sinatra said ‘I’m quitting the business. I’m sick of it; I’m getting the hell out.’ Back in New York, Anka re-wrote the original French song for Sinatra, subtly altering the melodic structure and changing the lyrics.

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.

Theme of Exodus

First performed by Ernest Gold (1960).
Hit versions by Pat Boone (US #64 1960), Ferrante & Teicher (US #2 1960).
Also recorded by Eddie Harris (1961), Skatalites (1967).

From the wiki: “The soundtrack for Exodus, including ‘Theme of Exodus’ was written by Ernest Gold, born in Austria and Pop songwriter Andrew Gold’s father, and was recorded with the Sinfonia of London for the 1960 film directed by Otto Preminger. In 1961, Gold’s ‘Exodus’ was nominated for a Golden Globe under the Best Original Score category. The film won an Academy Award for Best Original Score and a Grammy for Best Soundtrack Album. For his contributions, Gold had his name engraved in the Hollywood Walk of Fame – the first composer to receive this honor.

“The main theme from the film (‘Theme of Exodus’) was been widely recorded and covered by many artists such as Ferrante and Teicher, whose version went #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. Pat Boone wrote lyrics to Gold’s instrumental and released his recording, titled ‘Exodus Song (This Land is Mine)’, in 1960. Jazz saxophonist Eddie Harris covered the song in 1961; Jamaican ska band, Skatalites, recorded a reggae version of the song in 1967.”

Ain’t She Sweet

First recorded by Eddie Cantor (1926).
Hit versions by Ben Bernie & His Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra (US #1 1927), Johnny Marvin (US #14 1927), Gene Austin (US #4 1927), Mr. Ford & Mr. Goon-Bones (US #14 1947), The Beatles (recording as “The Beat Brothers”, 1961 |US #19/UK #29 1964).
Also recorded by Gene Vincent (1956), Duffy Power (1959).


From the wiki: “‘Ain’t She Sweet’ was composed by Milton Ager (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics). Ager wrote the song for his daughter Shana Ager, who in her adult life was known as the political commentator Shana Alexander. ‘Ain’t She Sweet’ became popular in the first half of the 20th century as one of the hit songs that typified the Roaring Twenties. Like ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ (1929), it became a Tin Pan Alley standard. Both Ager and Yellen were later elected to membership in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Hurt So Bad

First recorded by Little Anthony & the Imperials (US #10/R&B #5 1964).
Other hit versions by The Letterman (US #12/MOR #2/CAN #14 1969), Philly Devotions (Dance #10 1976), Linda Ronstadt (US #8/MOR #25/CAN #27 1980).
Also recorded by Willie Bobo (1965), El Chicano (1970), Bobby Hart, co-writer (1979).

From the wiki: “‘Hurt So Bad’ was written especially for Little Anthony & the Imperials by Teddy Randazzo, Bobby Weinstein, and Bobby Hart. It was the follow-up to the hit single ‘Goin’ Out of My Head’ and, like that single, became a Billboard Top-10 hit as well as a Top Five R&B hit.

“After writing ‘Come A Little Bit Closer’ with Tommy Boyce for Jay & the Americans, Bobby Hart signed with DCP Records and sang background when Randazzo performed in Las Vegas. When label head Don Costa asked for another hit for Little Anthony, Hart, Randazzo and Weinstein went to a conference room between sets and came up with “Hurt So Bad,” a song about a man who feels intense pain when he sees his former love.

It’s Getting Better

First recorded by The Vogues (1968).
Also recorded by Leonard Nimoy (1968), Pierre Lalonde (1968), The Will-O-Bees (1969).
Hit version by “Mama” Cass Elliot (US #30/MOR #13/UK #8 1969).

From the wiki: “‘It’s Getting Better’ was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (‘Make Your Own Kind of Music‘,’Never Gonna Let You Go‘, ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place‘). The earliest evident recording of ‘It’s Getting Better’ was by the Vogues for their August 1968 album release Turn Around, Look at Me for Reprise Records. Also in 1968, the song was featured on the Leonard Nimoy album The Way I Feel released that October. The first evident single release of ‘It’s Getting Better’ was by French-Canadian singer, Pierre Lalonde, in September 1968.

“The folk-rock group, The Will-O-Bees, released ‘It’s Getting Better’ as a single in early 1969 but it failed to chart. (The group had also been among the first to record ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music‘, in 1968, previous to Cass Elliot’s hit recording.)

“‘It’s Getting Better’ was recorded by Cass Elliot for inclusion on her June 1969 album release Bubblegum, Lemonade, and … Something for Mama. The Wrecking Crew (James Burton on guitar, Hal Blaine on drums, Larry Knechtel on keyboards, and Joe Osborn on bass) — who’d regularly backed The Mamas & the Papas — were among the instrumentalists on the album. The song peaked at #30 in August 1969 during what was then considered an unusually lengthy 19-week run on Billboard’s Hot 100. Only five other 1969 releases had longer chart runs on the Hot 100. Elliot’s ‘It’s Getting Better’ had a more pronounced chart impact in the UK, reaching #8 in October 1969.”

(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover

First recorded by The Bunny Berigan Orchestra (1941).
Hit versions Kay Kyser & His Orchestra (US #1 1941), by The Glenn Miller Orchestra (US #6 1942), Vera Lynn (1942), The Checkers (1952), The Righteous Brothers (UK #21 1966).

From the wiki: “So ‘British’ was its diction, imagery and tone, many Americans thought ‘(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover’ was written by an Englishman. Instead, it was composed in 1941 by a couple of Americans, Walter Kent (allegedly based on ‘Over the Rainbow‘) with lyrics by Nat Burton, inspired by an American poem written by Alice Duer Miller and Walter Kent titled ‘The White Cliffs’.

“First introduced on the radio by Kate Smith, the first recorded release of the song was by the Bunny Berigan Orchestra in late 1941. Kay Kyser & His Orchestra topped the Hit Parade with their recording, while Glenn Miller’s recording also charted in the Top-10. There was, for a time in early 1942, fourteen different recordings of ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ vying for public attention. But, the most-famous arrangement was recorded in England by Vera Lynn in 1942, with Mantovani’s orchestra, for Decca Records, becoming one of Lynn’s best-loved recordings and among the most popular World War II tunes, serving to uplift civilian morale at a time when Great Britain ‘stood alone’ against Nazi Germany.

“Symbolically, the White Cliffs of Dover are a guardian and protector of the English, a symbol of England’s strength against potential enemies and a reassuring sight to returning travelers. The lyrics refer to the RAF and RCAF fighter pilots (in their blue uniforms) as ‘bluebirds’ (although bluebirds are not native to Europe, and are not migratory) and expresses confidence that they would prevail. Notable phrases include ‘Thumbs Up!’, which was an RAF and RCAF term for permission to go, and ‘flying in those angry skies’ where the air war between Great Britain and Germany was taking place. The lyrics also looked towards a time when the war would be over and peace would rule over the iconic white cliffs of Dover, Britain’s symbolic border with the European mainland.

“The Checkers’ 1953 R&B treatment of ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ was a Top-5 hit in Los Angeles but did not chart nationally. In 1966 the Righteous Brothers reached #21 in the UK with their cover version of ‘White Cliffs of Dover’.”

It’s My Life

First recorded by Talk Talk (US #31/CAN #30/UK #46/FRA #25/GER #33/ITA #7 1984).
Other hit version by No Doubt (US #10 2003).

From the wiki: “‘It’s My Life’ was written by Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greenem, and was first recorded in 1984 by the English new wave band Talk Talk as the title track on the band’s second album. Released as the album’s first single in January 1984, it would peak at #31 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #46 on the UK Singles chart (but chart higher on several other European charts).

“No Doubt recorded a cover version of the song in 2003 to promote their first greatest hits album The Singles 1992–2003. Because the band was on hiatus, while lead singer Gwen Stefani was recording her solo debut studio album, the group decided to record a cover to avoid having to write an entirely new song.”

I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself

First recorded by Chuck Jackson (1962).
First released by Tommy Hunt (1962).
Hit versions by Dusty Springfield (UK #3/AUS #16/NETH #5 1964), Dionne Warwick (US #26/R&B #20 1966).

From the wiki: “‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself’ was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and was first recorded by by Chuck Jackson (‘Any Day Now‘) in 1962 in a session produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, with Burt Bacharach arranging and conducting. Jackson’s version was shelved and remained unreleased until it appeared on a 1984 compilation titled Mr. Emotion. The same backing track and Bacharach arrangement was then used later the same year when Tommy Hunt (‘Any Day Now‘) covered the song. Hunt’s version was released as single in May 1962, but it did not chart.

“Dusty Springfield recorded ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself’ in 1964 following an overnight trip to New York City where she met up with Bacharach. (Springfield would record a number of Bacharach-David songs, including ‘Wishin’ and Hopin‘.) The third UK single release of Springfield’s solo career, ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself’ was Springfield’s first UK single release to display her signature vocal style; rising to #3 in the summer of 1964. A concurrent US release of the song was preempted by the presence of Springfield’s ‘Wishin’ and Hopin” in the US Top-10 over the summer of 1964. Springfield’s ‘I Just Don’t Know…’ received a belated US release in October 1965 but did not chart in the US.

“Dionne Warwick recorded ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself’ at Bell Sound Studios in August 1966 with Burt Bacharach producing, charting US Top-30 and R&B Top-20.”

When You Wish Upon a Star

First performed by Cliff Edwards (1940).
Hit versions by Cliff Edwards (US #1 1940), Glenn Miller & His Orchestra (US #1 1940), Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians (US #4 1940), Dion & the Belmonts (US #30 1960), Linda Ronstadt (MOR #32 1986).
Also recorded by Mary J. Blige, Barbra Streisand & Chris Botti (2013).

From the wiki: “‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ was written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Walt Disney’s 1940 animated adaptation of Pinocchio. The song won the 1940 Academy Award for Best Original Song, and was also the first Disney song to win an Oscar. It has since become the representative song of The Walt Disney Company (e.g., the ships of the Disney Cruise Line use the first seven notes of the song’s melody as their horn signals).

“The original version was sung by Cliff Edwards (‘Singin’ in the Rain‘) in the character of Jiminy Cricket, and is heard over the opening credits and in the final scene of Pinocchio. Edwards’ original recording for ‘Pinocchio’ won the 1940 Academy Award for Best Song. The American Film Institute ranked ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’ seventh in their 100 Greatest Songs in Film History, the highest-ranked Disney animated film song.

That’s Life

First recorded by Marian Montgomery (1964).
Also recorded by O.C. Smith (1964).
Hit version by Frank Sinatra (US #4/MOR #1/R&B #25/UK #44 1966).

From the wiki: “‘That’s Life’ was written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon, and was first recorded in 1964 by Marion Montgomery. The most famous version is by Frank Sinatra, released on his 1966 album of the same name. Sinatra recorded the song after hearing an earlier cover of it by O.C. Smith (who recorded his version shortly after leaving Count Basie’s orchestra).”

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.”

Honey (I Miss You)

First recorded by Bob Shane (1968).
Hit version by Bobby Goldsboro (US #1/C&W #1/UK #2/AUS #1 1968 |UK #2 1975).

From the wiki: “‘Honey’, also known as ‘Honey (I Miss You)’, was written by Bobby Russell who first produced it with former Kingston Trio member Bob Shane. Then Russell gave it to singer Bobby Goldsboro, who recorded it for his 1968 album of the same name (but originally titled Pledge of Love). Goldsboro’s version was released as a single in the U.S. and spent five weeks at #1 the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, from April 7 to May 11.

“The Hot 100 Top-10 run of ‘Honey’ began the week of the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination (and first hit #1 the week after King’s death) and ended the week of the assassination of Robert Kennedy. No other Hot 100 entry had a top 10 run that spanned that same time interval. ‘Honey’ reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart and a re-release of the single in the United Kingdom in 1975 also reached #2.

“The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the song frequently appears on ‘worst songs of all-time’ lists and, in April 2006, Todd Leopold of CNN named it the ‘Worst Song of All Time.’ In the 1970s. when UK radio DJ Tony Blackburn was going through his divorce with his wife, Tessa Wyatt, which left him inconsolable and sobbing on air, he regularly played ‘Honey’ – later parodied in the ‘mockumentary’ Smashie and Nicey: The End of an Era.”

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