Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Little Eva

Swinging on a Star

First performed and recorded by Bing Crosby (US #1 1944).
Other hit versions by Big Dee Irwin & Little Eva (US #38/UK #7 1963), Spooky & Sue (NL #2 1974).

From the wiki: “The Pop standard ‘Swinging on a Star’ was composed by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Burke, and was first introduced by Bing Crosby in the 1944 film Going My Way, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song that year.

“Composer Van Heusen was at Crosby’s house one evening for dinner, to discuss a song for the movie. During a meal with the family, one of the children began complained about how he didn’t want to go to school the next day. Crosbyr turned to his son and said to him, ‘If you don’t go to school, you might grow up to be a mule. Do you wanna do that?’

Up on the Roof

First recorded by Little Eva (1962).
Hit versions by The Drifters (US #5/R&B #4 1963), Kenny Lynch (UK #10 1962), Julie Grant (UK #33 1963), Laura Nyro (US #92 1970), James Taylor (US #28 1980), Robson & Jerome (UK #1 1995).
Also recorded by Carole King (1970).

From the wiki: “‘Up on the Roof’ is a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, first recorded in 1962 by Little Eva. The song was also recorded by The Drifters and released late that year, becoming a major hit in early 1963 (reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the US R&B Singles chart).

“In the UK the Drifters’ version of ‘Up on the Roof’ failed to reach the Top 50, being trumped by two local cover versions, sung by, respectively, Julie Grant and Kenny Lynch (‘Mountain of Love‘). The Kenny Lynch version, which largely replicated the Drifters’ original, was the more successful, reaching #10 UK. The Julie Grant version, which reached #33 UK, was reinvented as a Merseybeat number. Its producer, Tony Hatch, would later be inspired to write Petula Clark’s iconic hit ‘Downtown’, which was originally envisioned as being in the style of The Drifters, with whom Hatch had hoped to place it.

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