Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

Help support this site! Consider clicking an ad from time to time. Thanks!

 
« Go Back to Previous Page «  

Tagged: Bill Haley & His Comets

Rock the Joint

First recorded by Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians (R&B #6 1949).
Also recorded by Bill Haley & His Saddlemen (1952).
Other hit version by Bill Haley & His Comets (UK #20 1957).

From the wiki: “‘Rock the Joint’, also known as ‘We’re Gonna Rock This Joint Tonight’, is a boogie song first recorded by various proto-Rock and roll singers, most notably by Jimmy Preston and Bill Haley. Preston’s version has been cited as a contender for being ‘the first Rock and roll record’; Haley’s 1952 recording is widely considered to be one of the first Rockabilly records (along with Haley’s cover of ‘Rocket 88‘). The song’s authorship is credited to Harry Crafton, Wendell ‘Don’ Keane, and Harry ‘Doc’ Bagby (who were musicians contracted to the Gotham label in New York, owned by Ivin Ballen). The song was influenced by earlier R&B recordings such as Wynonie Harris’ 1948 R&B hit ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight‘. Label owner Ballen passed the song on to Jimmy Preston, fresh off a hit with ‘Hucklebuck Daddy’ in 1949, who, with his Prestonians, recorded ‘Rock the Joint’ in Philadelphia in May 1949. Preston’s recording charted R&B Top 10 in 1949.

Rock Around the Clock

First recorded by Sonny Dae & His Knights (1954).
Hit version by Bill Haley & His Comets (B-side US #36 1954 |US #1/R&B #3/UK #1 1955).

From the wiki: “‘Rock Around the Clock’ was written (as ‘We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock Tonight!’) in 1952 by Max Freedman and James Myers. Although first recorded by Italian-American band Sonny Dae & His Knights in March 1954, the more famous version by Bill Haley & His Comets is not, strictly speaking, a cover version. Co-writer Myers claimed the song had been written specifically for Haley but, for various reasons, Haley was unable to record it himself until April 1954.

“According to the Haley biographies Bill Haley by John Swenson and Rock Around the Clock by Jim Dawson, the song was first offered to Haley in the wake of his first national success ‘Crazy Man, Crazy’ in 1953. Haley and his Comets began performing the song on stage but Dave Miller, his producer, refused to allow Haley to record it for his Essex Records label. Haley himself claimed to have taken the sheet music into the recording studio at least twice, with Miller ripping up the music each time.

I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter

First recorded by Fats Waller & His Rhythm (US #5 1935).
Other hit versions by The Boswell Sisters (US #3 1936), Billy Williams (US #3 1957), Willie Nelson (C&W #26/CAN #25 1981).
Also recorded by Frank Sinatra (1954 & 1962), Bing Crosby with Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band (1957), Bill Haley & His Comets (1957).

From the wiki: “‘I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter’ was composed in 1935 by Fred E. Ahlert and Joe Young, and has become a standard of the Great American Songbook. The first recording on the song was by Fats Waller & His Rhythm, in a Victor Records recording session on May 8, 1935. It was covered the following year by The Boswell Sisters, reaching #3 on US popular music charts. (Connee Boswell would record a solo version in 1952.)

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Originally recorded by “Big” Joe Turner & His Blues Kings (US #22/R&B #1 1954).
Hit version by Bill Haley & The Comets (US #7 1954).

From the wiki: “In early 1954, Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records suggested to Jesse Stone (writing under his assumed name ‘Charles E. Calhoun’) that he write an up-tempo blues for ‘Big’ Joe Turner, a blues shouter whose career had begun in Kansas City before World War II. Stone played around with various phrases before coming up with ‘shake, rattle and roll’. The shouting chorus on Turner’s version consisted of Stone, Ertegun and Atlantic’s other label executive, Jerry Wexler.

“The song, in its original incarnation, is highly sexual. [Among other salacious lyrics,] Stone stated that the line about ‘a one-eyed cat peepin’ in a seafood store’ was suggested to him by Atlantic session drummer Sam ‘Baby’ Lovett as an on-the-sly sexual reference. Turner’s recording was released in April 1954, reached #1 on the US Billboard R&B chart on June 12 and did not move for three weeks. It peaked at #22, nearly at the same time, on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop chart.

See You Later, Alligator

Written and originally recorded (as “Later Alligator”) by Bobby Charles (1955).
Also recorded by Roy Hall (1955).
Hit version by Bill Haley & His Comets (US #6/R&B #7/UK #7 1956), Dr. Feelgood (UK #93 1986).

From the wiki: “Originally titled ‘Later Alligator’, the song was written by Louisiana songwriter Robert Charles Guidry and first recorded by him under his professional name ‘Bobby Charles’ in 1955. Guidry, a Cajun musician, adopted a New Orleans-influenced blues style to the song, intending it to be recorded by fellow NOLA musician Fats Domino. (Guidry also wrote ‘Walking to New Orleans’, which was recorded by Domino.) The melody for ‘Alligator’ was borrowed from bluesman Guitar Slim’s ‘Later for You Baby’ which was recorded in 1954.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close