Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Fun Boy Three

Summertime

First recorded by Helen Jepson (1936).
Hit versions by Billie Holiday (US #12 1936), Sidney Bechet (1939), Sam Cooke (US #81 1959), Al Martino (UK #49 1960), The Marcels (US #78/UK #46 1961), Billy Stewart (US #10/R&B #7/UK #39 1966), Fun Boy Three (UK #18 1982).
Also recorded by Janis Joplin (1968).

From the wiki: “‘Summertime’ is an aria composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the, Porgy, on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin. The song soon became a popular and much recorded jazz standard, described as ‘without doubt … one of the finest songs the composer ever wrote … Gershwin’s highly evocative writing brilliantly mixes elements of jazz and the song styles of blacks in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century.’

“Gershwin began composing the song in December 1933, attempting to create his own spiritual in the style of the African American folk music of the period. Gershwin had completed setting Heyward’s poem to music by February 1934, and spent the next 20 months completing and orchestrating the score of the opera.

Our Lips Are Sealed

Co-written and first recorded by The Go-Go’s (US #20/UK #47/CAN #3 1981).
Other hit version by Fun Boy Three (UK #7 1983).

From the wiki: “‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ was written by The Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin and Fun Boy Three singer Terry Hall (formerly of The Specials). The Go-Go’s supported The Specials on the latter’s 1980 US tour. According to Wiedlin, she and Hall had had an affair despite him having a girlfriend and this led to correspondence between Wiedlin and Hall about his ‘complicated situation’ from which the two pulled lyrics for the song. ‘Lips’ was first recorded by The Go-Go’s (and produced by Richard Gottehrer, who had co-written and helmed the recording of The Angels’ ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’ 18 years earlier) as the opening track on their 1981 album Beauty and the Beat and served as the group’s debut American single in June 1981. In 1983, Hall’s band, Fun Boy Three, released a more ominous-sounding cover of ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’. Issued as a UK single, the track became Top 10 there, and remains the best-known version of ‘Lips’ in that country and on the Continent. In 2000, Rolling Stone named ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ one of the 100 Greatest Pop Songs of All Time.

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