Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Gene Kelly

Almost Like Being in Love

First performed and recorded by David Brooks & Marion Bell (1947).
Hit versions by Mildred Bailey (US #21 1947), Mary Martin (US #21 1947), Frank Sinatra (US #20 1947), Gene Kelly, (1954), Michael Johnson (US #32/MOR #4 1978).
Also recorded by Lester Young (1952), Nat “King” Cole (1953), Frank Sinatra (1961), Shirley Bassey (1979).

From the wiki: “‘Almost Like Being in Love’ was written by the songwriting team of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner in 1947, for the musical Brigadoon. The song was first performed on Broadway and recorded by David Brooks and Marion Bell from the original cast. It would later be performed by Gene Kelly in the 1954 film version of Brigadoon.

“Mildred Bailey first charted ‘Almost Like Being in Love’ in 1947, along with an equally-popular cover by Mary Martin. Frank Sinatra recorded two popular versions: first in 1947 and, again, in 1961 for the album Come Swing With Me, the version generally heard today. Lester Young’s instrumental cover was released in 1952; Nat ‘King’ Cole recorded his version in 1953, a recording used years later, in 1993, for the soundtrack of Groundhog Day.

“‘Almost Like Being in Love’ was revived, as a downbeat ballad, in 1978 by singer Michael Johnson. British singing sensation Shirley Bassey covered Johnson’s arrangement in 1979.”

I Got Rhythm

First recorded by Fred Rich & His Orchestra (1930).
Hit versions by Red Nichols & His Five Pennies (US #5 1930), Ethel Waters (US #17 1931), Louis Armstrong (US #17 1932), The Happenings (US #3/UK #28 1967).

From the wiki: “‘I Got Rhythm’ was composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin and first published in 1930. It has since become a Jazz standard; its chord progression, known as the ‘rhythm changes’, is the foundation for other popular jazz tunes such as Charlie Parker’s & Dizzy Gillespie’s Bebop standard ‘Anthropology (Thrivin’ From a Riff)’. ‘I Got Rhythm’ was first performed in the musical Girl Crazy. Ethel Merman sang the song in the original Broadway production, and Broadway lore holds that George Gershwin, after seeing Merman’s opening reviews, warned her never to take a singing lesson. A complete list of notable singers who have recorded ‘I Got Rhythm’ would take up several pages. The most popular versions are those by Red Nichols & His Five Pennies (US #5 1930), and The Happenings (#3 on the US charts in 1967). A version of the song, set to a Disco beat, was re-recorded by Ethel Merman for her Ethel Merman Disco Album in 1979.

Singin’ in the Rain

First performed and recorded by Ukulele Ike (1929).
Also performed by Judy Garland (1940).
Most familiar version performed by Gene Kelly (1952).

From the wiki: “‘Singin’ In the Rain’ is a song with lyrics by Arthur Freed and music by Nacio Herb Brown, published in 1929. However, it is unclear exactly when the song was written; it has been claimed that the song was performed as early as 1927.

“We do know it was first performed by Doris Eaton Travis in the 1929 revue The Hollywood Music Box Revue. The song became a hit and was recorded on disc by a number of artists, first and most notably Ukulele Ike (Cliff Edwards) who would also perform the number on-screen with the Brox Sisters in the early MGM musical The Hollywood Revue of 1929. The song was recorded by Annette Hanshaw in her album Volume 6, and on film by Jimmy Durante in Speak Easily (1932), and by Judy Garland in Little Nellie Kelly (1940).”

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