Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Georgia Gibbs

Baubles, Bangles & Beads

First recorded by the Original Cast of Kismet (1953).
Hit versions by Peggy Lee (US #30/AUS #9 1954), Georgia Gibbs (B-side US #18 1954), The Kirby Stone Four (US #25 1958), Frank Sinatra (1959), Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim (1967), Deodato (1973).

From the wiki: “‘Baubles, Bangles & Beads’ is from the 1953 musical Kismet, credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest. Like all the music in that show, the melody was based on works by Alexander Borodin, in this case the second theme of the second movement of his String Quartet in D.

“The best-selling version of the song was recorded by Peggy Lee in 1953, charting in 1954. Another popular cover from 1954 was recorded by Georgia Gibbs, released as the B-side to ‘Somebody Bad Stole De Wedding Bell’. A Kirby Stone Four re-make hit the Billboard Top 100 in 1958 and remains the favorite cover heard on Adult Standard (MOR) radio stations. Frank Sinatra recorded the song twice: in 1959 with the Billy May Orchestra, and again in 1967 in a Bossa nova arrangment with guitarist Antonion Carlos Jobim. (Eumir) Deodato recorded an instrumental version for his hit LP of 1973.

“The most curious version mixed the scherzo of Borodin’s ‘String Quartet No. 2’ with the pop arrangement of ‘Baubles, Bangles & Beads’, under the name ‘Borodin, Bangles & Beads’, and arranged by the Argentine Ernesto Acher in 1987 on his album Juegos.”

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’.”

Tweedle-Dee

First recorded by LaVern Baker (US #14/R&B #4 1954).
Other hit versions by Georgia Gibbs (US #2/UK #20 1955), Frankie Vaughn (UK #17 1955), Little Jimmy Osmond (US #59/UK #4 1973).

From the wiki: “‘Tweedlee Dee’ (also ‘Tweedly Dee’ or ‘Tweedle Dee’) is a R&B novelty song with a Latin-influenced riff written by Winfield Scott for LaVern Baker and recorded by her at Atlantic Records’ studio in New York City in 1954. It was her first hit, reaching #4 on Billboard’s R&B chart and #14 on its Pop chart. Although Baker had closely approached a Pop style in this recording, a cover of the song was quickly recorded by Georgia Gibbs on the Mercury Records label. Because a major label like Mercury had a superior distribution system, Atlantic’s independent label could not compete.

“The white cover version used not only the lyrics but closely imitated the style and arrangement of the original and became a Gold Record for Gibbs, thus ruining any chance of Baker’s recording becoming a Top 10 Pop hit. According to Atlantic’s engineer, Tom Dowd, Mercury hired the same arranger, the same musicians and tried to hire the same engineer. Baker attempted to get her congressman to introduce legislation to prevent the copying of arrangements but was unsuccessful.”

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