First recorded (as the instrumental “Candlelight Cafe”) by Bert Kaempfert (1959 |1962).
Hit version by Wayne Newton (US #13/MOR #3 1963).
From the wiki: “‘Danke Schoen’ was composed by Bert Kaempfert (‘Spanish Eyes’, ‘Strangers in the Night‘) and was first recorded as a jazzy instrumental titled ‘Candlelight Cafe’ in 1959 with Ladi Geisler on guitar, and again in 1962 in an ‘easy listening’ arrangement. Kurt Schwabach wrote the German lyrics.
“The song gained international fame when, in 1963, Milt Gabler wrote English lyrics and 21-year old singer Wayne Newton recorded an American version. The song was originally intended for singer Bobby Darin as a follow-up to his hit single, ‘Mack the Knife’, but after seeing Newton perform at the Copacabana, in Las Vegas, Darin passed the song along to Newton, transposing the arrangement to fit Newton’s voice. ‘Danke Shoen’ became Newton’s first US Top-20 hit.
First recorded by Bobby Darin (Jul 1962 |Released Nov 1963).
First released by The New World Singers (Released Jul 1963).
Also recorded by Bob Dylan (Nov 1962 |Released Aug 1963), Eric Clapton (1992).
Inspired by “Who’s Gonna Buy You Ribbons (When I’m Gone)” by Paul Clayton (1960).
Hit version by Peter Paul & Mary (US #9/MOR #2 1963), The Wonder Who? (parodied as “Don’t Think Twice” US #12 1965).
From the wiki: “‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’ was written by Bob Dylan in 1962, recorded by him on November 14 that year, and released on the 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and as his second-ever single in August 1963 with no chart impact.
“But, there were other, earlier recordings and releases prior to Dylan’s because of the music’s availability via Witmark Publishing Co., when Dylan was “just” an aspiring songwriter. Bobby Darin, no slouch in discovering talent (see Tim Hardin), first recorded the song in July 1962, the same month as Dylan, but the New World Singers released their version one month prior Dylan’s own recording and four months prior to Darin’s recording, in July 1963.
First recorded by Merry Clayton (1963).
Also recorded by Ramona King (1963).
Hit versions by Betty Everett (US #6/R&B #1 1963 |UK #38 1968), The Searchers (1964), Bootleg Family Band (AUS #5 1974), Linda Lewis (UK #6 1975), Kate Taylor (US #49 1977), Cher (US #33/UK #1/IRE #1/SPN #1/NOR #1 1990).
Also performed by Linda Ronstadt & Phoebe Snow (1979).
From the wiki: “‘It’s in His Kiss’ was first rejected by the premier girl-group of the early 1960s, the New York-based Shirelles, and was instead first recorded in Los Angeles by Merry Clayton as her first credited single. Clayton had previously provided an uncredited female vocal to the hit ‘You’re the Reason I’m Living’ recorded by Bobby Darin as his debut on Capitol Records, and Darin had subsequently arranged for Clayton herself to be signed to Capitol.
“Clayton recorded ‘It’s in His Kiss’ – whose composer Rudy Clark was a staff writer for TM Music which Bobby Darin headed – in a session produced by Jack Nitzsche with The Blossoms (‘Stoney End‘, ‘He’s a Rebel‘) as chorale: the single was released June 10 1963 with no evident chart success.
Co-written (by Bobby Darin) and first recorded by The Ding Dongs (1958).
Hit version by The Rinky Dinks (US #24/R&B #8 1958), Buddy Holly (US #32/UK #17 1958).
From the wiki: “‘Early in the Morning’ was written by Bobby Darin and Woody Harris. Darin, a member at the time of the Brill Building gang of struggling songwriters, approached Brunswick Records with the song; Brunswick was impressed, but as Darin was still under contract to Atlantic Records’ subsidiary, Atco, the song was released as by ‘The Ding Dongs’ (in reality, Bobby Darin and backing vocalists). New York deejays liked the record but Atco soon discovered the deception. Brunswick was forced to turn over the masters to Atco, who re-released the record in 1958 under the name ‘The Rinky Dinks’. A version by Buddy Holly competed in the UK with Darin’s single, which was released there under Darin’s own name.”
Written and first released by Tim Hardin (1966).
Hit versions by Bobby Darin (US #8/UK #9 1966), The Four Tops (US #20/R&B #17/UK #7 1968), Johnny Cash & June Carter (US #36/C&W #2 1970).
From the wiki: “‘If I Were a Carpenter’ was written by Tim Hardin (‘Reason to Believe‘), and first released by him in 1966 as the B-side to ‘How Can We Hang On to a Dream’. The recording would see a subsequent release in 1967 on the album Hardin 2. According to Mojo magazine (February 2012), the song was partly inspired by engineer John Judnich, who built for Hardin a small recording setup in Lenny Bruce’s Sunset Plaza house.
“Hardin and Bobby Darin attended each others recording session at the studio and swapped songs, with Hardin recording Darin’s ‘Simple Song Of Freedom’ that became Hardin’s only charting recording (US #47 1969). Darin’s Top-10 recording of ‘If I Were a Carpenter’ used the same arrangement and instrumentation as Hardin’s original.
First recorded by The Jan Garber Orchestra (US #1 1926).
Other popular versions by Ipana Troubadours (US #10 1926), Art Mooney (US #3 1948), Little Richard (US #41/R&B #12/UK #2/NOR #1 1958), Bobby Darin (US #42/UK #40 1962), Wing and a Prayer Fife & Drum Corps (US #14/Soul #32 1976).
From the wiki: “‘Baby Face’ was written by Harry Akst, the lyrics by Benny Davis. The song was published in 1926, and first became popular that same year when recorded by the Jan Garber Orchestra. It has since been covered by many recording artists, including Al Jolson, The Revelers, Bobby Darin, and Wing and a Prayer Fife & Drum Corps. Swan Districts, an Australian Rules club in the WAFL since 1934, bases its club song on this tune.
First recorded (as “Die Morität von Mackie Messer”) by Harald Paulsen (1928).
First English-language recording by Gerald Price (1954).
First popular English-language recording Louis Armstrong & His All Stars (US #20 1956).
Other hit version by Bobby Darin (US #1/R&B #6/UK #1 1959).
From the wiki: “First composed in German by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their music drama Die Dreigroschenoper (known in English as The Threepenny Opera), ‘Mack the Knife’ had its original premiere in Berlin in 1928, titled ‘Die Morität von Mackie Messer’ (‘The Ballad of Mack the Knife’). The play opens with the moritat singer comparing ‘Mackie’ (Macheath) unfavorably with a shark, and then telling tales of his robberies, murders, rapes, and arson.
“‘Mack the Knife’ was a last-minute addition to the show, inserted just before its Berlin premiere, because Harald Paulsen, the actor who played Macheath, demanded that Brecht and Weill add a number to the score that would more effectively introduce his character.
First recorded by Dick Haymes (1945).
Also recorded by Nat King Cole (1958), Bobby Darin (1961), Doris Day (1965).
Hit version by Chris Montez (US #16/MOR #2/UK #3 1966).
From the wiki: “‘The More I See You’ was originally recorded by Dick Haymes in 1945, and sung by Haymes in the film Diamond Horseshoe (1945). Other early recordings were made by Nat King Cole, Bobby Darin and Doris Day before the song hit the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966.
“Chris Montez grew up in California, influenced by the success of Ritchie Valens. In 1962, Montez recorded the single ‘Let’s Dance’, a #4 Billboard Hot 100 hit in the US. With the advent of Beatlemania, Montez searched for the same rock and roll formula that would replicate the success of ‘Let’s Dance’. Instead, during a 1965 recording session, A&M Records label co-founder Herb Alpert (who would also go on to arrange and co-produce Montez’s 1966 album, The More I See You) suggested that Montez try a different approach: a middle-of-the-road, soft ballad sound.
First recorded (as “La Mer”) by Roland Gerbeau (1946).
Also recorded (as “La Mer”) by Charles Trenent (1946).
First recorded (in English) by Harry James & His Orchestra with Marion Morgan (1947).
Hit versions Roger Williams (US #37 1955), Bobby Darin (US #6/R&B #15/UK #8 1959), George Benson (UK #60 1984).
From the wiki: “‘Beyond the Sea’ is the English adaptation of a romantic love song (‘La Mer’, ‘The Sea’) popularized in 1946 by French singer Charles Trenet, most famous for his recordings from the late 1930s until the mid-1950s. In an era in which it was unusual for a singer to write their own material, Trenet wrote prolifically and declined to record any but his own songs.
“According to legend, ‘La Mer’ was composed by Trenent on-board a train in 1943 as he was gazing out of the window at the Étang de Thau, a lagoon in the south of France. He jotted it down on a piece of paper and in the afternoon he worked out the details with his pianist Léo Chauliac. That evening they performed it in front of an audience without much of an impact. Trenet explained in an interview that he was told that ‘La Mer’ was not ‘swing’ enough to be a hit, and for this reason the song then sat in a drawer for two years before being recorded for the first time in 1945 by Roland Gerbeau. Trenet would record a cover of his own song also in 1946.
Written and first recorded by Tim Hardin (1965).
Also recorded by Bobby Darin (1966), Marianne Faithful (1967).
Hit versions by Rod Stewart (as “(Find a) Reason to Believe” studio, US #62 1971), Rod Stewart (live, US #19/MOR #2/UK #51 1993).
From the wiki: ‘Reason to Believe’ is a song written and first recorded by American folk singer Tim Hardin in 1965. After having had his recording contract terminated by Columbia Records, after refusing to release an album of material he had recorded for them, Hardin achieved some success in the 1960s as a songwriter based in Greenwich Village. The original recording of ‘Reason to Believe’ comes from Hardin’s first authorized debut album, released on Verve Records, Tim Hardin 1, recorded in 1965 and issued in 1966 when he was 25.
First recorded at Cumins State Prison farm, Gould, Arkansas, by John Lomax (1934).
Popular versions by Lead Belly (1937), Lonnie Donegan (UK #8 1955).
Also recorded by Bobby Darin & The Jaybirds (1956), The Beatles (1969, released as a bootleg 1994).
From the wiki: “‘Rock Island Line’ is an American Blues/Folk song first recorded by John Lomax in 1934 as sung by inmates in an Arkansas State Prison, and later popularized by Lead Belly. Many versions have been recorded by other artists, most significantly the world-wide hit version in the mid-1950s by Lonnie Donegan. The song is ostensibly about the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad.
“Donegan’s recording, released as a single in late 1955, signaled the start of the UK ‘skiffle’ craze. This recording featured Donegan, Chris Barber on double bass and washboard player (Beryl Bryden), but as it was part of a Chris Barber’s Jazz Band session for Decca Records, Donegan received no royalties from Decca for record sales, beyond his original session fee.
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