Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Glen Gray & His Casa Loma Orchestra

Moonglow

First recorded by Joe Venuti & His Orchestra (1933).
Hit versions by Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra (US #8 1934), Cab Calloway & His Cotton Club Orchestra (US #7 1934), Duke Ellington & His Orchestra (US #2 1934), Benny Goodman & His Orchestra (US #1 1934), The Benny Goodman Quartet (US #8 1936).
Also recorded by Ethel Waters (1934), Bing Crosby (1956), Sarah Vaughn (1962).
Also recorded (as “Moonglow & Theme from Picnic“) by George Cates (US #4 1956), Morris Stoloff (US #1 1956).

From the wiki: “‘Moonglow’ (also known as ‘Moonglow and Love’) was written in 1933 by by Will Hudson and Irving Mills with lyrics by Eddie DeLange. It was first recorded by Joe Venuti & His Orchestra in 1933, with subsequent recordings in the following year by the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Cab Calloway, Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra, Benny Goodman and his orchestra, Ethel Waters, and Art Tatum. The song has since become a jazz standard, performed and recorded numerous times by a wide array of musical talents.

“In the 1950s a medley of the song and George Duning’s ‘Theme from Picnic‘, orchestrated by Johnny Warrington, became quite popular, especially in instrumental recordings by Morris Stoloff, conductor of the film version by the Columbia Pictures Orchestra. Duning wrote the film’s theme to counterpoint ‘Moonglow’. Stoloff’s ‘Moonglow & Theme from Picnic‘ spent three weeks at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

Written and first recorded (as the instrumental “Never No Lament”) by Duke Ellington (1940).
Hit versions by Glen Gray & His Casa Loma Orchestra (US #7 1943), Duke Ellington (US #8/R&B #1 1943), The Ink Spots (US #2/R&B #1 1943).

From the wiki: “‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’ is a Jazz standard by Duke Ellington. The tune was originally called ‘Never No Lament’ and was first recorded by Ellington in 1940 as a Big-band instrumental. Bob Russell’s lyrics and the new title were added in 1942. Two different recordings of ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’, one by The Ink Spots and the other, an instrumental, by Ellington’s own band, reached #1 on the R&B chart in the US in 1943. Both were Top-10 Pop records, too, along with a #7 hit by Glen Gray & His Casa Loma Orchestra, with the Ink Spots’ recording charting highest on the Pop chart.”

Blue Moon

First recorded by Glen Gray & The Casa Loma Orchestra (1934).
Based on ‘The Bad in Every Man’ by Shirley Ross (1934).
Also recorded by Coleman Hawkins with the Michel Warlop Orchestra (1935), Elvis Presley (1954), Sam Cooke (1959).
Hit versions by Connee Boswell (US #1 1935), Mel Tormé (US #20 1947), The Marcels (US #1/R&B #1/UK #1 1961).

From the wiki: “The melody to ‘Blue Moon’ goes back further than the first recorded version of the song by The Casa Loma Orchestra. Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart were contracted to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in May 1933. They were soon commissioned to write the songs for Hollywood Party. ‘Prayer (Oh Lord, make me a movie star)’ was written for the movie but never recorded.

“Hart wrote new lyrics for the melody to create a title song for the 1934 film Manhattan Melodrama, but it was cut from the film before release. (Manhattan Melodrama wasn’t so much famous for having left what would become ‘Blue Moon’ on the edit room floor but for being the film John Dillinger went to see in the Chicago movie theater where he was gunned down by police bullets at the exit.) Rodgers still liked the melody so Hart wrote a third lyric, ‘The Bad in Every Man,’ which was sung by Shirley Ross. The song, which was also released as sheet music, was not a hit.

“Jack Robbins, the head of MGM studio’s publishing company, decided that the tune was suited to commercial release but needed more romantic lyrics and a punchier title. Hart was initially reluctant to write yet another lyric but was persuaded and the result was ‘Blue moon/you saw me standing alone/without a dream in my heart/without a love of my own’.”

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