Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Paul Anka

The “Tonight Show” Theme (“Johnny’s Theme”)

First recorded (as “Toot Tweet (It’s Really Love)”) by Tutti’s Trumpets (1959).
Also recorded (“It’s Really Love”) by Annette Funicello (1960).
Best-known recording by The Tonight Show Band (1962).

From the wiki: “‘Johnny’s Theme’, performed as the theme song of ‘The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson’ for 30 years, began life as ‘Toot Sweet’, a pop instrumental composed in 1959 by Paul Anka and recorded that same year by Tutti’s Trumpets as the B-side to The Camarata Strings’ single ‘Lost In a Fog’ released on Disney’s Buena Vista label. Salvatore ‘Tutti’ Camarata, bandleader of the Camarata Strings, was Annette Funicello’s producer at the time. He asked Anka to contribute some songs for Funicello’s first album to follow her work on The Mickey Mouse Club. Anka added lyrics to ‘Toot Sweet’ and published them under the title ‘It’s Really Love’.

Silhouettes

First recorded by The Rays (US #3/R&B #3 1957).
Other hit versions by The Diamonds (US #10/R&B #6 1957), Herman’s Hermits (US #5/UK #3 1965), Cliff Richard (UK #10 1990).
Also recorded by Frankie Lymon (1960), Bob Crewe (1961), Paul Anka (1961), The Four Seasons (1964), The Nylons (1982).

From the wiki: “In May 1957, songwriter-producer Bob Crewe (‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)‘, ‘Lady Marmalade‘, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Silence is Golden‘) saw a couple embracing through a window shade as he passed-by on a train. He quickly set about turning the image into a song. Frank Slay, who owned the small Philadelphia record label XYZ with Crewe, added lyrics, and they soon had a complete song ready to record.

“The Rays’ original recording received a break when popular Philadelphia disc-jockey Hy Lit fell asleep at home listening to a stack of newly-released records on his record player. ‘Silhouettes’ happened to be the last record to play, and so it repeated until he woke up. Lit began to playing the song on his show and it became popular enough that Cameo-Parkway picked it up for national distribution. The Rays’ ‘Silhouettes’ eventually reached #3 on Billboard Hot 100, while also hitting the Top-5 on both the sales and airplay charts. It became the group’s only Top 40 hit.

She’s a Lady

Written and first recorded by Paul Anka (1970).
Hit version by Tom Jones (US #2/R&B #42/UK #13 1971).

From the wiki: “‘She’s a Lady’ was written by Paul Anka. It was most-famously performed by Tom Jones, becoming his highest-charting single to date, but was first recorded by Anka for his 1970 album Paul Anka ’70s.”

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