Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: LaVern Baker

Jim Dandy

First recorded by Lavern Baker (US #17/R&B #1 1956).
Other hit version by Black Oak Arkansas (US #25 1973).

From the wiki: “‘Jim Dandy’ (sometimes known as ‘Jim Dandy to the Rescue’) was written by Lincoln Chase (‘The Name Game’, ‘The Clapping Song‘), and was first recorded by American R&B singer LaVern Baker (‘Tweedle-Dee‘) in 1956. It reached the top of the R&B chart and #17 on the pop charts in the United States, and has since been named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. Rolling Stone magazine ranked ‘Jim Dandy’ #352 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Tweedle-Dee

First recorded by LaVern Baker (US #14/R&B #4 1954).
Other hit versions by Georgia Gibbs (US #2/UK #20 1955), Frankie Vaughn (UK #17 1955), Little Jimmy Osmond (US #59/UK #4 1973).

From the wiki: “‘Tweedlee Dee’ (also ‘Tweedly Dee’ or ‘Tweedle Dee’) is a R&B novelty song with a Latin-influenced riff written by Winfield Scott for LaVern Baker and recorded by her at Atlantic Records’ studio in New York City in 1954. It was her first hit, reaching #4 on Billboard’s R&B chart and #14 on its Pop chart. Although Baker had closely approached a Pop style in this recording, a cover of the song was quickly recorded by Georgia Gibbs on the Mercury Records label. Because a major label like Mercury had a superior distribution system, Atlantic’s independent label could not compete.

“The white cover version used not only the lyrics but closely imitated the style and arrangement of the original and became a Gold Record for Gibbs, thus ruining any chance of Baker’s recording becoming a Top 10 Pop hit. According to Atlantic’s engineer, Tom Dowd, Mercury hired the same arranger, the same musicians and tried to hire the same engineer. Baker attempted to get her congressman to introduce legislation to prevent the copying of arrangements but was unsuccessful.”

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