Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Allen Toussaint

Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)

First recorded by Sylvester & the Hot Band (1973).
Hit version by Three Dog Night (US #33 1974).
Also recorded by Little Feat (1974, released 2000), Levon Helm (1978).

From the wiki: “‘Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)’ was written by Allen Toussaint, and first recorded in 1973 by Sylvester & the Hot Band for the album Bazaar. Three Dog Night’s version was among several recorded in 1974 but the only recording to reach the US Top 40. Another version of the song was also recorded in 1974 by Little Feat, during the course of the Feats Don’t Fail Me Now recording sessions. This version was not released until 2000, when it was included in the retrospective compilation Hotcakes & Outtakes: 30 Years of Little Feat.”

Whipped Cream

First recorded by The Stokes (1964).
Hit version by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (US #68/MOR #13 1965).

From the wiki: “‘Whipped Cream’ was written by Allen Toussaint. (Naomi Neville, the credited writer, was one of two pseudonyms used by Toussaint to honor his parents, Clarence and Naomi, who had always been supportive of his music.) In 1964, in the midst of a two-year stint in the military, Toussaint took his army band into the studio and, under the name of The Stokes, recorded ‘Whipped Cream’. Herb Alpert jumped on the melody a year later for the Tijuana Brass, recording it note-for-note, creating a memorable album cover, a hit single (and 1965’s #1 hit album), and the original theme song for the TV sensation The Dating Game.”

All These Things

First recorded by Art Neville (1962).
Also recorded by The Uniques (US #97 1966).
Hit version by Joe Stampley (C&W #1 1976).

From the wiki: “‘All These Things’ was written by Allen Toussaint (under the pseudonym of ‘Naomi Neville’) and first recorded by Art Neville in 1962. The most successful chart hit version was recorded by Joe Stampley in 1976, peaking at #1 on the US Country Singles chart. A decade earlier, in 1966, Stampley had recorded a version of the same song with his band, The Uniques, that barely cracked the Billboard Hot 100.”

Fortune Teller

First recorded by Benny Spellman (1962).
Also recorded by The Rolling Stones (1963).
Hit versions by The Rolling Stones (AUS #5 1966), The Throb (AUS #5 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Fortune Teller’ was written by Allen Toussaint (under the pseudonym ‘Naomi Neville’) and first recorded by Benny Spellman (‘Lipstick Traces‘) in 1962. A couple of different versions have been released by The Rolling Stones (‘Time Is On My Side‘, ‘As Tears Go By‘). On 19 August 1963, the band recorded ‘Poison Ivy’ and ‘Fortune Teller’ to be their second single. A few hundred copies were pressed, but the single was withdrawn (replaced by ‘I Wanna Be Your Man‘). The studio recording would be eventually released in 1964 on the UK-only EP Saturday Club), a compilation of tracks from various artists appearing on the Saturday Club (BBC radio) show of the time.

Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley

First recorded by Lee Dorsey (1970).
Hit album versions by Robert Palmer (1974), Ringo Starr (1977).

From the wiki: “‘Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley’ was written by Allen Toussaint (‘Java‘, ‘Working in a Coal Mine’, ‘Lipstick Traces (on a Cigarette)‘) and first recorded by Lee Dorsey (‘Yes We Can Can‘) in 1970 for his album Yes, We Can. The song would later be covered by Robert Palmer (as the title track to his 1974 album Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley), and Ringo Starr on his 1977 album Ringo the 4th.”

Lipstick Traces (on a Cigarette)

First recorded by Benny Spellman (R&B #28 1962).
Other hit versions by The O’Jays (US #48/R&B #28 1965), The Amazing Rhythm Aces (US #104/C&W #88 1979).
Also recorded by Ringo Starr (1978).

From the wiki: “‘Lipstick Traces (on a Cigarette)’ was first recorded by New Orleans singer Benny Spellman in 1962 (with backing vocals done by Imperial Records label mates Irma Thomas (‘Time Is On My Side‘) and Willie Harper). The song was written by Allen Toussaint under the pseudonym ‘Naomi Neville’.”

I Like It Like That

First recorded by Chris Kenner (US #2/R&B #2 1961).
Also recorded by The Nashville Teens (1964).
Other hit version by The Dave Clark Five (US #7 1965).

From the wiki: “‘I Like It Like That’ was written by Chris Kenner (‘Land of 1000 Dances‘) and Allen Toussaint (‘Java‘, ‘Yes We Can Can‘), and first recorded by Kenner in 1961. In 1964, The Nashville Teens recorded the song as a B-side to their hit single ‘Tobacco Road‘. ‘I Like It Like That’ was later covered by The Dave Clark Five in 1965. The Bobbettes (‘Mr. Lee’) recorded an answer-song in 1961 to Kenner’s recording, titling it ‘I Don’t Like It Like That’.”

Yes, We Can Can

First recorded (as “Yes We Can”) by Lee Dorsey (R&B #46 1970).
Hit version by The Pointer Sisters (US #11/R&B #12 1973).
Also recorded by Allen Toussaint (2005).

From the wiki: “‘Yes We Can Can’ was written by Allen Toussaint (‘Java‘, ‘I Like It Like That‘, ‘Whipped Cream‘)and originally recorded as ‘Yes We Can’ by Lee Dorsey on his 1970 album Yes We Can. It was producer David Rubinson’s suggestion that the Pointer Sisters record the song. Coincidentally, ‘Yes We Can’ happened also to be one of the songs the Pointer Sisters had earlier recorded as a demo while seeking a label deal.”

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.

Lady Marmalade

First recorded by Eleventh Hour (1974).
Hit version by LaBelle (US #1/UK #17/CAN #1 1974).
Also recorded by Max Raabe (2002).

From the wiki: “‘Lady Marmalade’ is a song written by Bob Crewe (‘Silhouettes‘, ‘Silence is Golden‘, ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore‘, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’) and Kenny Nolan (‘My Eyes Adored You’, ‘I Like Dreamin”), inspired by Crewe’s first-hand observations of New Orleans. After it was first recorded by Nolan’s group Eleventh Hour in 1974, on Eleventh Hour’s Greatest Hits LP, Labelle’s producer Allen Toussaint decided to record it for LaBelle’s Nightbirds album. Patti LaBelle sang lead vocals on ‘Lady Marmalade’ with backing vocalscontributed by band mates Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash.

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