Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Etta James

Dance with Me, Henry

First recorded and co-written (as “The Wallflower”) by Etta James (R&B #1 1955).
Other hit version by Georgia Gibbs (US #1 1955).
Also re-recorded by Etta James (1958).

From the wiki:”‘The Wallflower’ (also known as ‘Roll with Me, Henry’ and ‘Dance with Me, Henry’) was one of several answer songs to ‘Work with Me, Annie’, by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters. Written by Johnny Otis (‘Willie and the Hand Jive‘), Hank Ballard (‘The Twist‘) and Etta James, James recorded it for Modern Records, with uncredited vocal responses from Richard Berry (‘Louie, Louie‘), under the title ‘The Wallflower’ and it became a R&B hit, topping the U.S. R&B chart for 4 weeks. More popularly known as ‘Roll with Me Henry’, James’ original version was considered too risque to play on Pop radio stations. In 2008, James received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for her original 1955 recording.

“In 1955, the song was covered for the Pop music market by Georgia Gibbs – with uncredited vocal responses from Thurl Ravenscroft (the booming voice behind Tony the Tiger’s ‘They’re grrreat!’ in Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes television commercials, and as the vocalist for the song ‘You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch’), under the title ‘Dance with Me Henry’.”

Fools Rush In

First recorded by Bob Crosby with Marion Mann (1940).
Hit versions by Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (US #17 1940), Tony Martin (US #16 1940), The Glenn Miller Orchestra (US #1 1940), Billy Eckstine (R&B #6 1949), Brook Benton (US #24/R&B #5 1960), Etta James (US #87 1962), Ricky Nelson (US #12/R&B #24/UK #12 1963).

From the wiki: “‘Fools Rush In’ was written in 1940 by lyricist Johnny Mercer with music by Rube Bloom. First recorded by the Bob Crosby orchestra with Marion Mann, major hits at the time of introduction were recorded by Tony Martin, Glenn Miller with Ray Eberle, and Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra. It was also recorded by Billy Eckstine. In the 1960s, ‘Fools Rush In’ saw a resurgence of popularity, resulting in charted remakes in 1960-61 (Brook Benton), 1962 (Etta James), and 1963 (Ricky Nelson).”

A Sunday Kind of Love

First recorded by Fran Warren w. Claude Thornhill & His Orchestra (1946).
Hit versions by Jo Stafford (US #15 1947), Jan & Dean (US #95 1962), Lenny Welch (MOR #21 1972), Kenny Rankin (MOR #28 1976), Reba McEntire (C&W #5 1988).
Also recorded by Louis Prima (1947), The Harptones (1953), Etta James (1961).

From the wiki: “‘A Sunday Kind of Love’ was composed by Barbara Belle, Anita Leonard, Stan Rhodes, and Louis Prima, and first recorded in 1946 by Claude Thornhill & His Orchestra. It became the signature-song for his vocalist, Fran Warren. Jo Stafford had the first charted recording of ‘A Sunday Kind of Love’, in 1947. Influential Doo-wop group, The Harptones, recorded ‘Sunday’ in 1953. Their arrangement would prove influential for subsequent popular recordings of the song including versions by Etta James, Lenny Welch and Kenny Rankin.”

At Last

First commercial recording by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra (US #9 1942).
Other hit versions by Ray Anthony (US #2 1952), Etta James (US #27/R&B #2 1961), Celine Dion (US #16 2002).

From the wiki: “Unreleased recordings of the song were made in 1941 by Glenn Miller for possible inclusion in the film Sun Valley Serenade. An orchestral version of the song without lyrics appeared first in the movie in 1941. (‘At Last’ originally was going to be a major song on the soundtrack, sung by Pat Friday with actor John Payne.

“However the song was mostly deleted from the release print.) Another recording was made and used extensively in the movie Orchestra Wives (1942), with vocals by Pat Friday and Ray Eberle. In 1942, a vocal version of ‘At Last,’ sung solo by Ray Eberle, was recorded for commercial release by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra in Chicago in May 1942 and first released as the B-side to ‘(I’ve Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo’.

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