Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: George Thorogood

Who Do You Love

Written and first recorded by Bo Diddley (1956).
Also recorded by Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks (1963), Quicksilver Messenger Service (1967, released 1999), The Band feat. Ronnie Hawkins (1976).
Hit versions by The Woolies (US #95 1967), Quicksilver Messenger Service (US #97 1969), Juicy Lucy (UK #14 1970), George Thorogood & the Destroyers (1978).

From the wiki: “‘Who Do You Love?’ was written by rock and roll pioneer Bo Diddley, and it remains one of his most popular and enduring works. ‘Who Do You Love?’ was part of Bo Diddley’s repertoire throughout his career, but none of his various recordings reached the record charts. First recorded in 1956 and released as the B-side to ‘I’m Bad’, it did not chart. The song reached a bigger audience when it was included on his first compilation album, Bo Diddley, released in 1958.

“In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Bo Diddley’s original song at #133 on their list of the ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’. In 2010, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences acknowledged it with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, which ‘honor[s] recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance’.

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer

First recorded (as “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer”) by Amos Milburn (R&B #2 1953).
Other popular versions by John Lee Hooker (1966), John Lee Hooker & the Muddy Waters Band (1967), George Thorogood & the Destroyers (1977).

From the wiki: “‘One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer’ (or ‘One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer’ as it was originally titled) was written by Rudy Toombs and first recorded by Amos Milburn in 1953 – one of several ‘drinking’ songs recorded by Milburn in the early 1950s that placed in the Top 10 of the Billboard R&B chart.

“John Lee Hooker recorded the song as ‘One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer’ in 1966. Hooker transformed Milburn’s song, using the storyline and chorus but altering the order. According to historian and critic Charles Shaar Murray, Hooker ‘edited the verse down to its essentials, filled in the gaps with narrative and dialogue, and set the whole thing to a rocking cross between South Side shuffle and signature boogie.’ The song was released on Hooker’s 1966 The Real Folk Blues album. In 1967, a live performance by Hooker with Muddy Waters’ band was recorded at the CafĂ© Au Go Go in 1967 has been described by Murray as ‘dark, slow, swampy-deep, and the degree of emotional rapport between Hooker and the band (particularly Otis Spann, on piano) [is] nothing less than extraordinary.’

Willie and the Hand Jive

Written and originally recorded by The Johnny Otis Show (US #9/R&B #5 1958).
Other hit versions by The Strangeloves (US #100 1966), Eric Clapton (US #26 1974), George Thorogood (US #63 1985).

From the wiki: “The origin of the song came when one of Otis’ managers, Hal Zeiger, found out that rock’n’roll concert venues in England did not permit the teenagers to stand up and dance in the aisles, so they instead danced with their hands while remaining in their seats. The music was based on a song Otis had heard a chain gang singing while touring at a teenager with Count Otis Matthews and the West Oakland House Stompers.

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