Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Jack Jones

Strangers in the Night

First recorded (as “Beddy Bye”) by Bert Kaempfert (1965).
First English-language recording by Jack Jones (1966).
Also recorded by Ivo Robić (1966).
Hit version Frank Sinatra (US #1/MOR #1/UK #1 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Strangers in the Night’ is credited to Bert Kaempfert with English lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder. It is sometimes claimed that the Croatian singer Ivo Robić was the original composer of ‘Strangers in the Night’ (performed as ‘Stranci u noći’), and that he sold the rights to Kaempfert after entering it without success in a song contest in Yugoslavia. These claims have not been substantiated. Robić, a pioneer of popular Yugoslav music from the early 1950s on, was the only artist from Yugoslavia whose records were available in the record shops of Europe and the rest of the world. He performed and collaborated with Kaempfert, Freddy Quinn, and Dean Martin. Robić would go on to record Yugoslav and German versions of ‘Strangers in the Night’, ‘Stranci u Noći’ with lyrics by Marija Renota and ‘Fremde in der Nacht’ with lyrics by Kurt Feltz.

“Kaempfert originally recorded the melody under the title ‘Beddy Bye’ as part of the instrumental score for the movie soundtrack to A Man Could Get Killed, which went on to win a Golden Globe Award in 1967 for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.

“It was singer Jack Jone who first recorded a English-language version of ‘Strangers in the Night’ (Bobby Darin was also said to be recording the song) but Frank Sinatra’s recording was rushed into release. Sinatra’s recording reached #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 (bumping the Beatles out of #1) and the MOR charts. The song also reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart. It has been said record producer Jimmy Bowen was the mastermind behind getting the song off the ground and onto the airwaves before anyone else could. According to Charles Pignone, ‘They did the recording session, and then Jimmy actually pressed some acetates and sent them out to disc jockeys. He actually paid people or paid stewardesses in certain cities to take these acetates on a plane then drop them off at a city to disc jockeys because he was aware that Jack Jones had recorded the song, and it was going to come out in a specific time, and he wanted Frank to get airplay on it.’

“‘Strangers in the Night’ also became the title song for Sinatra’s 1966 album Strangers in the Night, his most commercially successful album. Sinatra’s recording won him the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, as well as a Grammy Award for Ernie Freeman for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist or Instrumentalist.

Call Me Irresponsible

First performed by Jackie Gleason (in Papa’s Delicate Condition) (1963).
Also performed by Judy Garland (1963).
Popular versions by Frank Sinatra (1963), Jack Jones (US #75 1963).

From the wiki: “”Call Me Irresponsible” was composed in 1962 by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Sammy Cahn. According to the Mel Tormé book The Other Side of the Rainbow with Judy Garland on the Dawn Patrol, Van Heusen originally wrote the song for Garland to sing at a CBS dinner. At that time, Garland had just signed to do The Judy Garland Show on CBS-TV, and the intent of the song was to parody her well-known problems. Garland later did sing the song, on the seventh episode of her variety show.

“However, in 1988, Sammy Cahn said that the song was originally written for Fred Astaire to sing in the film Papa’s Delicate Condition in which Astaire was to star. Cahn personally auditioned the song for Astaire’s approval, which was given. However, Astaire’s contractual obligations prevented him from making the film and the role went to Jackie Gleason, who introduced the song. It would go on to win the Academy Award for ‘Best Original Song’ at the 36th Academy Awards held in 1964.”

Pearly Shells (Pupu A ‘O ‘Ewa)

First recorded (in English) by The Hawaii Calls Orchestra (1962).
Hit version by Burl Ives (US #60/MOR #12 1964).
Also recorded (as “First Night of the Full Moon”) by Jack Jones (US #59/AUS #8 1964).
Also recorded by Don Ho (1967).

From the wiki: “‘Pearly Shells’ was based on the melody of an old Hawaiian song, ‘Pupu A ‘O ‘Ewa’. English lyrics were written by Webley ‘Web’ Edwards, creator of the radio program Hawaii Calls, and Leon Pober, and was first recorded in English by The Hawaii Calls Orchestra in 1962. In 1928, Edwards had relocated from Oregon to Hawaii where he became an auto salesman. It was during this time he developed a keen interest in native Hawaiian musical traditions. In 1935 he became the producer for a radio show which showcased authentic island music, Hawaii Calls.

Hawaii Calls debuted on July 3, 1935 and was broadcast for 37 years. (Edwards was the first radio announcer to broadcast the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. It was he who said on air: ‘Attention. This is no exercise. The Japanese are attacking Pearl Harbor!’ He was also one of only two broadcast journalists aboard the USS Missouri during the surrender ceremony at Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.)”

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