Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Helen Forrest

Deep Purple

First recorded (as an instrumental) by Paul Whiteman & His Concert Orchestra (1934).
First vocal recording by Larry Clinton & His Orchestra with Bea Wain (US #1 1939).
Other hit versions by Artie Shaw with Helen Forrest (US #17 1939), Billy Ward & His Dominoes (US #20/UK #30 1957), Nino Tempo & April Stevens (US #1/UK #17 1963), Donny & Marie Osmond (US #14/UK #25 1976).

From the wiki: “‘Deep Purple’ was the biggest hit written by pianist Peter DeRose, who broadcast, 1923 to 1939, with May Singhi as ‘The Sweethearts of the Air’ on the NBC radio network. ‘Deep Purple’ was first published in 1933 as a piano composition. The following year, Paul Whiteman had ‘Deep Purple’ scored for his suave orchestra that was ‘making a lady out of jazz’ and the song became so popular in sheet music sales that Mitchell Parish added lyrics in 1938.

Taking a Chance on Love

First performed by Ethel Waters (1940).
First commercial recording by Ella Fitzgerald (1940).
Popular versions by Helen Forrest (US #1 1943), Ethel Waters (1946), Frank Sinatra (1954), Anita O’Day (1957).
Also recorded by Dinah Shore (1958).

From the wiki: “‘Taking a Chance on Love’ was written by Vernon Duke with lyrics by John La Touche and Ted Fetter, and has gone on to become a standard recorded by many artists. It was first performed in the Broadway musical Cabin in the Sky which opened at the Martin Beck Theater on October 25, 1940. (‘Taking a Chance on Love’ was added only three days before the New York opening, but it turned into the hit of the show.) The show was choreographed by George Balanchine and was a ground-breaking musical with an all-black cast. The leads were played by Ethel Waters as Petunia, Dooley Wilson (‘As Time Goes By‘) as her husband Little Joe, and Katherine Dunham as the temptress Georgia Brown.

“Waters introduced ‘Taking a Chance of Love’ as a show-stopping solo, reprising it at the end of Act I with Little Joe. Despite the fact that the song never made it to the popular radio show Your Hit Parade, big band performances and many, many cover recordings of the song made it into a Jazz vocal standard.”

How High the Moon

First recorded by Benny Goodman & His Orchestra with Helen Forrest (1940).
Also recorded by The Les Paul Trio (1944).
Hit versions by Stan Kenton & June Christy (US #27 1948), Les Paul & Mary Ford (US #1 1951).

From the wiki: “‘How High the Moon’ is a jazz standard written by Nancy Hamilton and Morgan Lewis. It was first featured in the 1940 Broadway revue Two for the Show. The earliest version to be recorded was by Benny Goodman & His Orchestra and released by Columbia Records in 1940, with the flip side ‘Fable of the Rose’. The Les Paul Trio recorded a version released as a wartime V-Disc, with a spoken introduction, issued in 1944 by the U.S. War Department. The best-known recording of the song is also by Les Paul, with Mary Ford, completed on January 4, 1951. It spent 25 weeks (beginning on March 23, 1951) on the Billboard chart, nine of those weeks at #1.”

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