Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

Help support this site! Consider clicking an ad from time to time. Thanks!

 
« Go Back to Previous Page «  

Tagged: James Brown

Caldonia (What Makes Your Big Head So Hard?)

First recorded by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five (R&B #1 1945).
Other hit versions by Erskine Hawkins (US #12/R&B #2 1945), Woody Herman & His Orchestra (US #2 1945), James Brown (US #95 1964).
Also recorded by Champion Jack Dupree (1967), B.B. King (1971).

From the wiki: “‘Caldonia’ is a Jump Blues song, written by Louis Jordan (but crediting his then-wife, Fleecie Moore, for tax-evading purposes) and first recorded in 1945 by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five. The lyrics may have been inspired by a real character: a tall Crescent City drag queen wearing oversized shoes. A cover version by Erskine Hawkins (‘Tuxedo Junction‘), also in 1945, was described by Billboard magazine as ‘rock and roll’, the first time that phrase was used in print to describe any style of music. Woody Herman and his orchestra also covered ‘Caldonia’ in 1945, arranged by the young Neal Hefti, with Herman singing the lead vocal. Jordan re-recorded the song in 1956, arranged by Quincy Jones and featuring torrid guitar work by Mickey Baker. Baker again recorded the song, in 1967, this time backing up Champion Jack Dupree.

I Got You (I Feel Good)

First recorded (as “I Found You”) by Yvonne Fair & the James Brown Band (1962).
Also recorded by James Brown (1964).
Hit version by James Brown (US #3/R&B #1/UK #29 1965).

From the wiki: “‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ was developed from an earlier Brown-penned song, ‘I Found You’, with a nearly identical melody and lyrics. ‘I Found You’ was recorded by Brown’s back-up singer, Yvonne Fair, and was released as a single in 1962 with little success. In 1964, Brown recorded an early version of ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ with a different arrangement, including a stuttering rhythm and prominent baritone sax line, under the title ‘I Got You’. This version appeared on the Smash Records album Out of Sight and was used in the 1965 film Ski Party, in which Brown lip-synched his performance. It was intended for a single release but was withdrawn due to a court order from King Records, with whom Brown was involved in a contract dispute.

“Re-recorded and released as a single in 1965, ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ became Brown’s highest-charting song and is arguably his most widely known recording.

(Do the) Mashed Potatoes

First recorded by Nat Kendricks & the Swans (1960).
Also adapted (as “Mashed Potatoes (U.S.A.)”) by James Brown (1961).
Hit version (as “The Pastrami”) by The Dartells (US#11/R&B #15 1963).

From the wiki: “‘(Do the) Mashed Potatoes’ was first released as a two-part single in 1960. For contractual reasons the recording was credited to ‘Nat Kendrick and the Swans’ but was, in fact, recorded by James Brown with his band in 1959. The recording arose out of James Brown’s success in using the Mashed Potato dance as part of his stage show. Brown wanted to record a Mashed Potatoes-themed instrumental with his band in order to capitalize on the dance’s popularity. However, King Records head Syd Nathan, a frequent critic of Brown’s proposals, would not allow it.

Night Train

First recorded by Jimmy Forrest & His All Star Combo (R&B #1 1951).
Inspired by Johnny Hodges “That’s the Blues, Old Man” (1940) & Duke Ellington “Happy Go Lucky Local” (1941).
Other hit versions by Buddy Morrow (US #27/UK #12 1952), Rusty Bryant (as “All Nite Long” 1952), James Brown & the Famous Flames (US #35/R&B #5 1962).

From the wiki: “‘Night Train’ was written by Jimmy Forrest but the song has a long and complicated history. The piece’s opening riff was first recorded in 1940 by a small group led by Duke Ellington sideman Johnny Hodges under the title ‘That’s the Blues, Old Man’. Ellington used the same riff as the opening and closing theme of a longer-form composition, “Happy-Go-Lucky Local”, that was itself one of four parts of his Deep South Suite. Forrest was part of Ellington’s band when it performed this composition, which has a long tenor saxophone break in the middle. After leaving Ellington, Forrest and his All Star Combo recorded ‘Night Train’ for United Records and, in 1951, had a major R&Bs hit. While ‘Night Train’ employs the same riff as the earlier recordings, it is used in a much earthier R&B setting.

Living in America

Co-written and first recorded (as a demo) by Dan Hartman (1984).
Hit version by James Brown (US #4/R&B #10/UK #5 1985).

From the wiki: ‘Living in America’ was written and first recorded as a demo by Dan Hartman (‘I Can Dream About You‘) in 1984, and posthumously released in 1994 on the album Keep the Fire Burnin’. Hartman produced both his original demo and the James Brown cover that would be used in the movie and on the soundtrack album for Rocky IV. ‘Living in America’ would be the last of Brown’s forty-four hit recordings to appear in the Billboard Top 40. (Also, Stevie Ray Vaughn played guitar on both the cover and original recordings!)”

Kansas City

First recorded (as “K.C. Lovin’) by Little Willie Littlefield (1952).
Hit versions by Wilbert Harrison (US #1/R&B #1 1959), James Brown (US #55/R&B #21 1967).

From the wiki: “First recorded by Little Willie Littlefield the same year, ‘Kansas City’ later became a #1 hit when it was recorded by Wilbert Harrison (‘Let’s Work Together‘) in 1959 and, then, went on to become one of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s most recorded tunes, with more than three hundred versions, with several appearing on the R&B and pop record charts.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close