Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Guantanamera

First recorded (as “Guajira Guantanamera”) by Joséito Fernández (1940).
Also recorded by Pete Seeger (1963).
Hit versions by The Sandpipers (US #9/MOR #3/UK #7/CAN #10/IRE #3 1966), Los Paraguayos (UK #187 1996), The Fugees & Wyclef Jean (US #62/R&B #23/UK #25 1987).

From the wiki: “‘Guantanamera’ (Spanish: ‘from Guantánamo, feminine’, thus ‘she from Guantánamo’) is perhaps the best-known Cuban song and that country’s most noted patriotic song. The music for the song is sometimes attributed to José Fernández Diaz, known as Joseíto Fernández, who claimed to have written it at various dates (consensus puts 1929 as its year of origin), and who used it regularly in one of his radio programs. After a lengthy copyright dispute, the People’s Supreme Court of Cuba credited Fernández as the sole composer of the music in 1993.

“The version recorded in 1963 by Pete Seeger (‘Turn! Turn! Turn!‘, ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)‘), for his We Shall Overcome album, was based on lyrics written by Cuban patriot José Martí and is said to be the definitive recording of ‘Guantanamera’. Seeger combined Martí’s verse with the tune, with the intention that it be used by the peace movement at the time of the Cuban missile crisis. He urged that people sing the song as a symbol of unity between the American and Cuban peoples. The most commercially-successful version of ‘Guantanamera’ in the English-speaking world was recorded by easy listening vocal group The Sandpipers in 1966.”

Pete Seeger, “Guantanamera” (1963):

The Sandpipers, “Guantanamera ’96” (1966):

Los Paraguayos, “Guantanamera” (1996):

The Fugees & Wyclef Jean, “Guantanamera” (1987):

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