Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Five Guys Named Moe

First recorded by the Irv Carroll & His Orchestra (1941).
Hit version by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five (R&B #3 1943).
Also recorded by Joe Jackson (1981).

From the wiki: “‘Five Guys Named Moe’ was written by Larry Wynn and Jerry Bresler, and was first recorded in 1941 by the Irv Carroll & His Orchestra. Wynn later explained that the phrase ‘five guys named Moe’ popped into his head one day as he was trying to remember the names of some lesser-known musicians on a recording date with Billie Holiday, Roy Eldridge and Teddy Wilson.

“It was bassist Dallas Bartley who brought the song to the attention of Louis Jordan. Prior to joining Jordan’s band, Bartley had performed ‘Five Guys Named Moe’ while in another band playing at one of Chicago’s transvestite bars, where a deliberately camped-up arrangement of the song proved to be wildly popular. Recorded in July 1942, Jordan’s recording for Decca peaked at #3 on the R&B chart in early 1943, becoming one of his band’s earliest hits and famous signature songs.

“British rock artist Joe Jackson revived ‘Five Guys Named Moe’ for his 1981 swing-jazz tribute album, Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive‘.

Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five, “Five Guys Named Moe” (1942):

Joe Jackson, “Five Guys Named Moe” (1981):

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