Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Nut Rocker

First recorded by Jack B. Nimble & The Quicks (1961).
Hit versions by B. Bumble & the Stingers (US #23/UK #1 1962| UK #20 1972); Emerson, Lake & Palmer (as “Nutrocker” US #70 1972).
Also recorded by Trans-Siberian Orchestra (2009).

From the wiki: “In late 1961, producer Kim Fowley secured the copyright to an arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s ‘March of the Wooden Soldiers’ from the ballet The Nutcracker, and took this to local entrepreneur and pianist H. B. Barnum. Barnum recorded it as by ‘Jack B. Nimble & The Quicks’ for the small Del Rio label. However, when Rod Pierce of Rendezvous Records heard it, he convinced Fowley that his label could do a better version with their own band, B. Bumble & the Stingers.

“A new recording was arranged, but on the day, Ernie Freeman, who had played piano on ‘Bumble Boogie’, failed to appear, apparently due to heavy partying the night before. In his place, guitarist and arranger RenĂ© Hall rushed pianist Al Hazan into the Rendezvous office, which was rigged up as an improvised studio.

“According to Hazan, ‘Rod decided to record the first take while I was still trying to practice the piece with the other musicians. Because I was so rushed to learn ‘Nut Rocker’, I was not happy at all with my performance on that first take. However, in spite of my asking Rod to let me do it over again, he said he liked it just fine the way it was.’ Released as ‘Nut Rocker’ in February 1962, the record went to #23 in the US and #1 in the UK.

“At the time of its original release in the UK, the BBC had a policy of banning records which parodied classical music. ‘Nut Rocker’ was put to committee, which decided that ‘[t]his instrumental piece is quite openly a parody of a Tchaikovsky dance tune, is clearly of an ephemeral nature, and in our opinion will not offend reasonable people’, and was not therefore banned. Released as ‘Nut Rocker’ in February 1962, the record went to #23 in the US and #1 in the UK. The song was reissued in 1972 in the UK and again made the charts.

“‘Nut Rocker’ was a live favorite when performed by progressive-rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer, whose single was also released in 1972. Spelled as one word, ‘Nutrocker’, the single reached #70 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2009, Trans-Siberian Orchestra released a version of ‘Nut Rocker’, featuring Greg Lake, on their album Night Castle.”

B. Bumble & The Stingers, “Nut Rocker” (1962):

Emerson, Lake & Palmer, “Nut Rocker” (1972):

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “Nut Rocker” (2009):

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