Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Java

Written and first recorded by Allen Toussaint (1958).
Hit version by Al Hirt (US #4/MOR #1 1963).
Also recorded by The Angels (1965). Performed by The Muppets (1977).

From the wiki: “‘Java’ is an instrumental adaptation from a 1958 LP of piano compositions, The Wild Sounds of New Orleans, by Tousan, also known as New Orleans producer-songwriter Allen Toussaint (‘Working in a Coal Mine’, ‘Southern Nights’). As was the case of the rest of Toussaint’s LP, ‘Java’ was composed at the studio, primarily by Toussaint.

“In 1963, trumpet player Al Hirt recorded the instrumental, and the track became the lead single from his album, Honey in the Horn. It was Hirt’s first and biggest hit on the US pop charts, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spending four weeks at #1 on the Easy Listening chart in early 1964. Hirt released a live version on his 1965 album, Live at Carnegie Hall. Hirt’s recording won the Grammy Award for Best Performance by an Orchestra or Instrumentalist with Orchestra in 1964.

“The Angels (‘My Boyfriend’s Back’, 1963) released a vocal version in 1965 as the B-side to the song ‘Little Beatle Boy’. The Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut performed her gold medal-winning floor routine at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich to a live piano version condensed to about 1 minute 9 seconds. The Muppet Show featured ‘Java’ at the beginning of Episode 22”

Al Hirt, “Java” (1963):

The Angels, “Java” vocal version (1964):

Olga Korbut, performing floor gymnastics routine to “Java” (1972):

The Muppets, “Java” from The Muppet Show (1977):

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