Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Johnny Mathis

So Nice (Summer Samba)

First recorded (as “Samba De Verão”) by Eumir Deodato (1964).
First vocal recording (as “Samba De Verão”) by Marcos Valle (1965).
Hit versions (in English) by The Walter Wanderley Trio (US #26/MOR #3 1966), Johnny Mathis (MOR #17 1966), Connie Francis (MOR #17 1966), Vicki Carr (MOR #32 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Summer Samba’ (also known as ‘So Nice’ or its original Portuguese title, ‘Samba de Verão’) is a 1964 Bossa nova song by Brazilian composer Marcos Valle, with English-language lyrics by Norman Gimbel; the original Portuguese lyrics came from Paulo Sérgio Valle, brother to the composer. Brazilian musician, arranger and producer Eumir Deodato, a musical autodidact, starting with the accordion at age 12, first recorded the song in 1964.

“The song was first popularized by the Walter Wanderley Trio in 1966 — the album Rain Forest. Also reaching the U.S. MOR chart in 1966 with versions by Johnny Mathis, Connie Francis, and Vikki Carr. In fact, at least one source claims that three different versions were on the Billboard charts at the same time in 1966. Allmusic has said of Wanderley’s version, ‘His recording … is regarded as perhaps a more definitive Bossa tune than ‘Girl From Ipanema’.’ Wanderley’s version was the biggest seller in the U.S., reaching #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966, (#3 on the MOR chart).”

Gina

First recorded by Johnny Janis (1960).
Hit version by Johnny Mathis (US #6 1962).

From the wiki: “Paul Vance and Leon Carr wrote ‘Gina’ in 1960 and it was first recorded that same year by singer-guitarist Johnny Janis specifically for an episode (titled ‘Gina’) of the CBS TV series Diagnosis: Unknown in which Janis had a small role. In 1962, a cover recording by Johnny Mathis became Mathis’ highest-charting song since 1957’s ‘Chances Are’.”

Misty

First recorded by The Erroll Garner Trio (1954).
Hit versions by Sarah Vaughn (US #106 1959), Johnny Mathis (US #12/R&B #10/UK #12 1959), Lloyd Price (US #21/R&B #11 1963), The Vibrations (US #63/R&B #26 1965), “Groove” Holmes (U S#44/MOR #7/R&B #12 1966), Ray Stevens (US #14/MOR #8/C&W #3/UK #2 1975).

From the wiki: “‘Misty’ was written by Errol Garner in 1954 and first recorded for his 1955 album Contrasts. The song was later paired with lyrics by Johnny Burke and became the signature song of Johnny Mathis. Garner’s recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1991; Mathis’s version of the song was inducted in 2002. The 1975 Country-fied version by Ray Stevens won a Grammy in the category of Music Arrangement of the Year.

Show and Tell

First recorded by Johnny Mathis (US #36 1972).
Hit versions by Al Wilson (US #1/R&B #10/UK #51 1973), Peabo Bryson (R&B #1 1989).

From the wiki: “‘Show and Tell’ was written by Jerry Fuller and first recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1972. A 1973 recording of the song by Al Wilson reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week in January 1974 and was also named a Cashbox Magazine Number One Single of the Year.”

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