Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Eddy Arnold

Casey Jones

First recorded by The American Quartet with Billy Murray (1910).
Hit version by Eddy Arnold (C&W #15 1956).

From the wiki: “‘The Ballad of Casey Jones’ is a traditional song about railroad engineer Casey Jones and his death at the controls of the train he was driving. The song helped preserve the memory of Jones’ feat down through the years in its 40+ versions and enhanced Casey’s legendary status to the extent that he has even become something of a mythological figure like Pecos Bill or Paul Bunyan to the uninformed. Soon after Casey’s death, the song was first sung by engine wiper and friend of Casey’s named Wallace Saunders to the tune of a popular song of the time known as ‘Jimmie Jones’.

“But Saunders never had his original version copyrighted, and thus there is no way of knowing precisely what words he sang. Illinois Central Engineer William Leighton appreciated the song’s potential enough to tell his brothers Frank Leighton and Bert Leighton, who were vaudeville performers, about it. They took it and sang it in theaters around the country with a chorus they added. But apparently even they neglected to get it copyrighted.

“Finally, with vaudeville performers T. Lawrence Seibert credited with the lyrics and Eddie Newton the music it was published and offered for sale in 1909 with the title ‘Casey Jones, The Brave Engineer’, and first recorded in 1910 by Billy Murray’s American Quartet.”

Make the World Go Away

First recorded by Timi Yuro (US #24/CAN #11 1963).
Other hit versions by Ray Price (C&W #1 1963), Eddy Arnold (US #6/C&W #1/MOR #1 1965), Donny & Marie Osmond (US#44/MOR #31/UK #18 1975).
Also recorded by Jim Reeves (1964).

From the wiki: “‘Make the World Go Away’ was composed by Hank Cochran (‘I Fall to Pieces’) and first recorded by Timi Yuro in June, 1963. It has become a Top 40 popular success three times: for Yuro (1963), for Eddy Arnold (1965), and for the brother-sister duo Donny & Marie Osmond (1975) and topped the Country Singles chart (Ray Price, 1963). ‘Make the World Go Away’ was also recorded in July, 1964 by Jim Reeves, at his last recording session before dying in a plane crash two weeks later, for what would become the album The Jim Reeves Way.

“For Price, ‘Make the World Go Away’ was one of his first songs to feature an orchestra and female chorus, a trend that he would continue with other songs like ‘For the Good Times’. Arnold’s production was similarly recorded, the so-called ‘Nashville Sound’, an early mixture of Pop with Country music, and became one of the most popular recordings of 1960s Country music and is generally considered to be Arnold’s best-known song.”

You Don’t Know Me

First recorded by Eddy Arnold (C&W #10 1956).
First released by Jerry Vale (US #14 1956).
Hit version by Ray Charles (US #2/MOR #1/R&B #5/UK #9 1962).

From the wiki: “‘You Don’t Know Me’ is a song written by Cindy Walker based on a title and storyline given to her by Eddy Arnold in 1955 and was first recorded by Arnold (who is credited as co-writer) that year, then released by him as a single in September 1956. The first version of the song to make the Billboard charts, however, was by Jerry Vale in July 1956, peaking at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Arnold’s version charted two months later, backed with ‘The Rockin’ Mockin’ Bird’, and reached #10 on the Billboard Country chart.

Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye

First recorded by Don Cherry (1962).
Also recorded by J.D. Loudermilk, writer (1967).
Hit version by The Casinos (US #6/UK #28/CAN #57 1967), Eddy Arnold (C&W #1 1968), Neal McCoy (US #4 1996).

From the wiki: “‘Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye’ was written by John D. Loudermilk (‘Indian Reservation‘, ‘Tobacco Road‘). It was first released in 1962 by Don Cherry, as a country song, and in a Doo-wop style in 1967 by the group The Casinos.”

Misty Blue

First recorded by Wilma Burgess (C&W #4 1966).
Other hit versions by Eddy Arnold (US #57/C&W #3 1967), Joe Simon (US #91/R&B #47 1972), Dorothy Moore (US #3/R&B #2/UK #5/CAN #4/AUS #6 1976).

From the wiki: “Bob Montgomery wrote the song with Brenda Lee in mind. He recalls, ‘I wrote ‘Misty Blue’ in about twenty minutes. It was a gift and it was perfect for Brenda Lee, but she turned it down. Her producer Owen Bradley loved the song [but] as he couldn’t push her to do it, he cut it country-style with Wilma Burgess.’

“Eddy Arnold covered ‘Misty Blue’ in a Chet Atkins-produced session at the RCA Victor Studio, Nashville, in April 1966. Included on his 1966 album The Last Word in Lonesome, Arnold’s ‘Misty Blue’ had a belated single release in May 1967 to introduce The Best of Eddy Arnold compilation album. Besides bettering Burgess’ success on the Country chart with the song, Arnold’s ‘Misty Blue’ became the first version of the song to crossover to the Pop field, reaching #57 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1967.

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