Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Norman Gimbel

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

“Brazilian musician, arranger and producer Eumir Deodato, a musical autodidact, starting with the accordion at age 12, first recorded the song in 1964 as an instrumental. Co-writer Valle recorded the first vocal version of ‘Samba De Verão’ in 1965, with the original Portuguese lyrics coming from Paulo Sérgio Valle, Marcos’ brother.

Girl from Ipanema

First released (as “Garota de Ipanema”) by Pery Ribeiro (1962).
Hit versions by Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto (US #5/MOR #1/UK #29 1964), Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto (MOR #1 1964).
Also recorded by Ella Fitzgerald (as “Boy from Ipanema”, 1965), Amy Winehouse (2002).

From the wiki: “‘Garota de Ipanema’ (‘The Girl from Ipanema’) was the worldwide Bossa nova hit song that won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. It was written in 1962, with music by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. English lyrics were written later by Norman Gimbel (‘So Nice‘, ‘Killing Me Softly with His Song‘). The first commercial recording was in 1962, by Pery Ribeiro. The 1964 single, performed by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz and shortened from the album version recorded in 1963 by Getz and Joao Gilberto, became the international hit. The original choice as vocalist was Sarah Vaughan, but when Gilberto heard the English translation, he decided that Astrud – Joao’s wife – should sing it. Her subtle vocal added a nuance to the song.

“Numerous recordings have been used in films, sometimes as an elevator music cliché, and the song has been covered by other singers innumerable times (including a gender-turning version. titled ‘Boy from Ipanema’, sung by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee). ‘Girl from Ipanema’ is believed to be the second most recorded pop song in history, after ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles.

Killing Me Softly with His Song

First recorded by Lori Lieberman (1971).
Hit versions by Roberta Flack (US #1/R&B #2/UK #6/CAN #1 1973), The Fugees (US #2/UK #1 1996).

From the wiki: “According to Lori Lieberman, the artist who performed the original recording in 1972, the song was born of a poem she wrote after experiencing a strong reaction to the song ‘Empty Chairs,’ written, composed, and recorded by Don McLean. However, Charlie Fox has specifically repudiated Lieberman’s having input into the song’s creation, saying: ‘We [ie. lyricist Norman Gimbel (‘Girl from Ipanema‘, ‘So Nice (Summer Samba)‘) and composer Fox] wrote the song and [Lieberman] heard it and said it reminded her of how she felt at [a Don McLean] concert. Don McLean didn’t inspire Norman [Gimbel] or me to write the song but even Don McLean thinks he’s the inspiration for the song according to his official website!’ Instead, the song has its origin in a novel.

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