Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Belle Stars

Iko, Iko

Written and first recorded (as “Jock-a-mo”) by Sugar Boy & His Cane Cutters (1953).
Hit versions by The Dixie Cups (US #20 1965), Dr. John (US #71 1972), The Neville Brothers (1981), Natasha (UK #10 1982), Belle Stars (UK #35 1982 |US #14 1989), BeauSoleil (1989).

From the wiki: “The song, under the original title ‘Jock-A-Mo’, was written and released as a single in 1953 by James Crawford as ‘Sugar Boy & His Cane Cutters’ that failed to make the charts. The song that tells of a parade collision between two ‘tribes’ of Mardi Gras Indians and the traditional confrontation of a ‘spy boy’ (i.e. a lookout for one band of Indians) encountering the ‘flag boy’ or guidon carrier for another ‘tribe.’ He threatens to ‘set the flag on fire.’ Crawford set phrases chanted by Mardi Gras Indians* to music for the song but himself states that he had no idea what the words meant, and that he originally sang the phrase ‘Chock-a-mo’. But, the title was misheard by Chess Records president Leonard Chess, who misspelled it on the label as ‘Jock-a-mo’ for the record’s release.

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