Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Jon Hendricks

Desafinado

First recorded by João Gilberto (1958).
Hit versions by Ella Fitzgerald (US #102/UK #38 1962), Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd (US #15/MOR #4/UK #11 1962).

From the wiki: “‘Desafinado’ (a Portuguese word usually rendered into English as ‘out of tune’ or as ‘off Key’) is a Bossa nova song composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim with lyrics (in Portuguese) by Newton Mendonça. English-language lyrics were later written by Jon Hendricks and ‘Jessie Cavanaugh’ (a pseudonym used by The Richmond Organisation). Another English lyric, more closely based on the original Portuguese lyric (but not an exact translation) would later be written by Gene Lees.

“The 1962 recording by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd (from the album Jazz Samba) would become the definitive version, becoming a major Pop hit in 1962 in both the US and the UK. The song was voted by the Brazilian edition of Rolling Stone magazine as the 14th greatest Brazilian song. ‘Desafinado’ was also inducted into the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.”

Yeh Yeh

First recorded by Mongo Santamaria (1963).
Hit versions by Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames (UK #1 1964/US #21 1965), Matt Bianco (UK #13 1985).
Also recorded by Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan (1963), Hugh Laurie (2013), Diana Krall & Georgie Fame (2015).

From the wiki: “‘Yeh Yeh’ is a Latin Soul tune first composed as an instrumental by Rodgers Grant and Pat Patrick, and first recorded by Mongo Santamaría (‘Watermelon Man‘) on his 1963 album Watermelon Man. Lyrics were written for ‘Yeh Yeh’ shortly thereafter by Jon Hendricks for the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, and recorded by them at the 1963 Newport Jazz Festival.

“The vocal arrangement of ‘Yeh Yeh’ was taken to the top of the UK Singles Chart by Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames (‘Peaceful‘), breaking The Beatles’ long-term hold on the #1 spot (five weeks, with ‘I Feel Fine’). A month later, ‘Yeh Yeh’ appeared on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart to peak at #21. (The US single edited out the saxophone solo break.)

Stardust

Co-written and first recorded (as an instrumental) by Hoagy Carmichael (1927).
Hit versions by Irving Mills & His Hotsy Totsy Gang (US #20 1929), Isham Jones & His Orchestra (US #1 1930), Bing Crosby (US #5 1931), Louis Armstrong (US #16 1931), Frank Sinatra with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (US #7 1941), Nat “King” Cole (US #79/UK #24 1957), Billy Ward & His Dominoes (US #12/R&B #5/UK #13 1957), Nino Tempo & April Stevens (US #32 1964).
Also recorded by Jon Hendricks (1990).

From the JazzStandards.com: “On October 31, 1927, Hoagy Carmichael and His Pals recorded ‘Stardust’ at the Gennett Records studio in Richmond, Indiana. Hoagy’s ‘pals,’ Emil Seidel and His Orchestra, agreed to record the medium-tempo instrumental in between their Sunday evening and Monday matinee performances in Indianapolis, seventy miles away. In 1928 Carmichael again recorded ‘Stardust,’ this time with lyrics he had written, but Gennett rejected it because the instrumental had sold so poorly. The following year, at Mills Music, Mitchell Parish was asked to set lyrics to coworker Carmichael’s song. The result was the 1929 publication date of ‘Star Dust’ with the music and lyrics we know today.

“According to the Carmichael, inspiration for the song struck while visiting his old university campus. Sitting on a wall reminiscing about the town, his college days, and past romances, he looked up at the starlit sky and whistled ‘Star Dust’. Richard Sudhalter’s biography ( Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael) contends that the melody may have begun with fragments, evolving over months and maybe years, but Carmichael preferred to perpetuate a myth that sweet songs are conceived in romantic settings.

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