Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Muddy Waters

Baby, Please Don’t Go

First recorded by Big Joe Williams’ Washboard Blues Singers (1935).
Also recorded by Muddy Waters (1953), Mose Allison (1960), Georgia Fame (1963).
Hit versions by The Orioles (R&B #8 1952), Them (US #102/UK #10 1964).

From the wiki: “‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ is a Blues song which has been called ‘one of the most played, most arranged, and most rearranged pieces in Blues history’ by music historian Gerard Herzhaft. Delta Blues musician Big Joe Williams popularized it with several versions beginning in 1935. The song’s roots have been traced back to nineteenth-century slave songs, dealing with themes of bondage and imprisonment. In 1952, a Doo-wop version by The Orioles reached the R&B Top 10 (an early 45 rpm issue available only on red vinyl); Muddy Waters’ 1953 recording recast the song as an electric Chicago Blues ensemble piece, influencing many subsequent renditions.

“‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ became a popular Rock song in 1964 when the Northern Irish group Them recorded it as one of their earliest single releases. (Several music writers have identified Jimmy Page, at that time a studio guitarist, as performing for the recording, although his exact contributions are unclear.) Them’s version was sparked by a 1963 live recording by Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames (issued on Rhythm And Blues at the Flamingo) who, in turn, were inspired by Mose Allison’s 1960 recording. ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ was released as Them’s second single in November 1964. Boosted by the B-side, ‘Gloria’, it became their first hit, reaching #10 on the UK Singles Chart. ‘Gloria’ would be released in the US as an A-side in 1965 and 1966, peaking at #93 & #71 respectively.”

Whole Lotta Love

Inspired by “You Need Love” by Muddy Waters (1963)
and “You Need Loving” by Small Faces (1966).
Hit version by Led Zeppelin (US #4 1969).

From the wiki: “In 1962, Muddy Waters recorded ‘You Need Love’, written for him by peer Willie Dixon. In 1966 British mod band the Small Faces recorded the song as ‘You Need Loving’ for their 1966 debut album. Some of the lyrics of Led Zeppelin’s version were copied from the Willie Dixon song, a favorite of Plant’s. Plant’s phrasing is particularly similar to that of Steve Marriott’s in the Small Faces’ version. Similarities with ‘You Need Love’ would lead to a lawsuit against Led Zeppelin in 1985, settled out of court in favor of Dixon.

Got My Mojo Working (But It Just Won’t Work on You)

First released by Ann Cole & The Suburbans and Orchestra (1957).
Hit version by Muddy Waters (1957).

From the wiki: “Late in 1956 Ann Cole went on a short tour through the Southern states with Muddy Waters, during which she regularly performed a new song written by Preston Foster, ‘Got My Mo-Jo Working’. The song impressed Muddy Waters, who recorded it when he returned to Chess Records, adding some of his own words and allocating himself the songwriting credit. Ann Cole also recorded the song for Baton Records in January 1957, as a follow-up to ‘In The Chapel’. Both versions of the song were released in the same week.

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