Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Frankie Laine

Cool Water

First recorded by The Sons of the Pioneers (US #25 1941).
Other hit versions by Vaughn Monroe & the Sons of the Pioneers (US #9 1948), Frankie Laine & the Mellomen (UK #2 1955).
Also recorded by Bob Dylan & The Band (1967, released 2014), Fleetwood Mac (B-side 1982), The Replacements (B-side 1987).

From the wiki: “‘Cool Water’ was written in 1936 by Bob Nolan, a founding member of the Sons of the Pioneer, and was first recorded by his group in 1941. It briefly charted, peaking at #25 on the Hit Parade. Seven years later, the Sons of the Pioneers would re-record the song with big-band crooner Vaughn Monroe, and it would go on to become the best-selling version charting for 13 weeks on the Billboard chart, peaking at #9.

Sixteen Tons

Written and first recorded by Merle Travis (1946).
Other hit versions by Johnny Desmond (US #17 1955),Tennessee Ernie Ford (US #1/C&W #1/UK #1 1955), Frankie Laine (UK #10 1956).
Also recorded by The Weavers (1955), B.B. “Blues Boy” King and His Orchestra (B-side 1956).

From the wiki: “‘Sixteen Tons’ was written in 1946 by Merle Travis about a coal miner, based on life in the coal mines of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. First recorded in Hollywood, CA, in 1946, ‘Sixteen Tons’ was released in July 1947 by Capitol on Travis’s album Folk Songs of the Hills, widely regarded as one of Travis’ finest achievements. The album became a gold record.

“According to Travis, the lyric from the chorus, ‘another day older and deeper in debt’, was a phrase often used by his coal miner father. This, and the line ‘I owe my soul to the company store’, are a reference to the truck system and to debt bondage. Under this scrip system, workers were not paid cash; rather they were paid with non-transferable credit vouchers that could be exchanged only for goods sold at the company store. This made it impossible for workers to store up cash savings. Workers also usually lived in company-owned dormitories or houses, the rent for which was automatically deducted from their pay. In the United States the truck system and associated debt bondage persisted until the strikes of the newly formed United Mine Workers and affiliated unions forced an end to such practices in the 1960s.

Dream a Little Dream of Me

First recorded by Ozzie Nelson & His Orchestra (1931).
Also recorded by Wayne King & His Orchestra (1931), Kate Smith (1931).
Hit versions by Frankie Laine (US #18 1950), Jack Owens (US #14 1950), “Mama” Cass Elliot (US #12/MOR #2/UK #11/AUS #1 1968).

From the wiki: “‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’, written by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt and lyrics by Gus Kahn, was first recorded in February 1931 by Ozzie Nelson & His Orchestra (with the vocal by Nelson) and also by Wayne King and His Orchestra (with vocal by Ernie Birchill). ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ was also an early signature tune of Kate Smith (‘God Bless America’).

“Then, in the summer of 1950, seven recordings of ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ were in release, with the versions by Frankie Laine and Jack Owens reaching the US Top 20 at respectively #18 and #14.

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