Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Chubby Checker

Loddy Lo

Written and first recorded (as “Hey Lolly Lolly”) by Woody Guthrie (1944, released 1952).
Also recorded by Pete Seeger (as “Hey Li-Lee”, 1954), The Vipers Skiffle Group (sa “Hey Liley Liley Lo”, 1957), The Limeliters (as “Hey Li Lee Li Lee”, 1961).
Hit version by Chubby Checker (US #12/R&B #4 1963).

From the wiki: “Woody Guthrie recorded a version of “Hey Lolly Lolly” in 1944 which was not released until 1952. Pete Seeger recorded ‘Hey Li-Lee’ in 1954 but the song did not first gain wide familiarity until The Limeliters recorded their variation, ‘Hey Li Lee Li Lee’, during the early ’60s Folk music revival. Chubby Checker further adapted the song, recording ‘Hey Lolly Lolly’ in 1963 and going Top 20 with it on the Billboard Hot 100 and Top 5 US R&B charts.”

Pony Time

Co-written and first recorded by Don Covay & the Goodtimers (1960).
Hit version by Chubby Checker (US #1/R&B #1 1960).

From the wiki: “‘Pony Time’ was written by Don Covay and John Berry (a member of Covay’s earlier vocal group, the Rainbows), and originally recorded in 1960 by Covay with his group the Goodtimers. The song achieved greater success later that same year when it was recorded by Chubby Checker the following year, becoming his second US #1 (after his 1960 single ‘The Twist.’). It also topped the US R&B chart. ‘Pony Time’ does bear a resemblance to ‘The Twist‘, first recorded in 1959 by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters.”

The Twist

Written and first recorded by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (US #28 1959).
Based on “Is Your Love For Real” by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (1957).
Other hit version by Chubby Checker (US #1 1960/US #1 1962).

From the wiki: “The Midnighters’ Hank Ballard and Cal Green had already had written a song together called ‘Is Your Love for Real’, which was released in 1957 with no apparent chart success, so they created an entirely new song by simply putting new ‘twist’ words to the older melody. ‘The Twist’ was originally released in early 1959 by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters as a B-side (to ‘Teardrops on Your Letter’) and this version was only a moderate 1960 hit, peaking at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100. But, the song, and the dance the Twist, was further popularized in 1960 when the song was covered by Chubby Checker. His single became a hit, reaching #1 in September 1960.

The Hucklebuck

First recorded by Paul Williams & His Hucklebuckers (R&B #1 1949).
Other hit versions by Frank Sinatra (US #10 1949), Chubby Checker (US #14 1960), Coast to Coast (UK#3 1983).

From the wiki: “In his book, Honkers and Shouters, Arnold Shaw credits Paul Williams as one of the first to employ the honking tenor sax solo that became the hallmark of R&B and Rock ‘n Roll in the 1950s and early 1960s. Williams formed his own band in 1947 after first performing with Clarence Dorsey and King Porter. He became best known for his 1949 hit, ‘The Hucklebuck’, a twelve-bar blues that also spawned a dance craze. The single went to #1 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart.

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