Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Paul Whiteman

Body and Soul

First recorded by Jack Hylton (Feb 1930).
Hit versions by Libby Holman (US #3 1930), Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra (US #1 1930), Louis Armstrong (US #7 1932), Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse (US #87 2011).
Also recorded by Coleman Hawkins (1939), Billie Holiday (1957).

From the wiki: “The popular jazz standard, ‘Body and Soul’, was written in 1930 by Johnny Green (music) with lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton. It was composed in New York City for the British actress and singer Gertrude Lawrence, who introduced it first on stage to London audiences. ‘Body and Soul’ would also be first recorded in London by the orchestra of Jack Hylton, the ‘British King of Jazz’, on February 7, 1930.

“In the US, the song was first performed on stage by Libby Holman in 1930 Broadway revue, Three’s a Crowd. The tune grew quickly in popularity and, by the end of 1930, at least 11 American bands had recorded it, including a release by Holman with the Brunswick Records studio orchestra. The Paul Whiteman Orchestra, featuring Jack Fulton vocals, recorded the most popular version; Louis Armstrong would the first jazz musician to record ‘Body and Soul’, in October 1932.

Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)

First recorded by Irving Aaronson & His Commanders (1928).
Hit versions by The Paul Whiteman Orchestra (US #5 1929), Dorsey Brothers & their Orchestra (US #9 1929).

From the wiki: “‘Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love’ (also known as ‘Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)’ or simply ‘Let’s Do It’) was written in 1928 by Cole Porter. It was introduced in Porter’s first Broadway success, the musical Paris (1928) by French chanteuse Irène Bordoni for whom Porter had written the musical as a starring vehicle. The song was later used in the English production of Wake Up and Dream (1929) and was also used as the title theme music in the 1933 Hollywood movie, Grand Slam.

“‘Let’s Do It’ was the first of Porter’s famous ‘list songs’, featuring a string of suggestive and droll comparisons and examples, preposterous pairings and double entendres, dropping famous names and events, drawing unexpectedly from highbrow and popular culture.

Christmas Night in Harlem

First recorded by The Paul Whiteman Orchestra (1934).
Also recorded The Raymond Scott Quintette (instrumental, 1939).
Popular version by Louis Armstrong & The Benny Carter Orchestra (1955).

From the wiki: “‘Christmas Night in Harlem’ was written in 1934 by Raymond Scott, and the song was first recorded by The Paul Whiteman Orchestra the same year. ‘Christmas Night in Harlem’ has been covered by Perry Como, Benny Carter, Johnny Mercer, Banu Gibson, The Beau Hunks, Clarence Williams, Paul Whiteman, Maria Muldaur, and Jack Teagarden but the most celebrated recording was made by Louis Armstrong & The Benny Carter Orchestra.

Silent Night

First recorded (as “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht”) by Trompeter Quartett (1892).
First English-language recording by Edison Male Quartette (1905).
Popular versions by Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra (US #6 1928), Bing Crosby (US #16 1941), The Ravens (R&B #8 1948), Simon & Garfunkel (as “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night”, 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Silent Night’ (German: ‘Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht’) is a popular Christmas carol, composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. It was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in March 2011. ‘Stille Nacht’ was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village on the Salzach river. In 1859, the Episcopal priest John Freeman Young, then serving at Trinity Church, New York City, published the English translation that is most frequently sung today.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

First recorded by Gertrude Niesen (1933).
Hit versions by Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra (US #1 1934), Artie Shaw & The Gramercy Five (US #24 1941), The Platters (US#1/R&B #3/UK #1/AUS #1/NETH #4 1958), Blue Haze (US #27/NETH #4 1973), Bryan Ferry (UK #17 1974).
Also recorded by Jerry Garcia (1990).

From the wiki: “‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ is a show tune written by American composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach for their 1933 musical Roberta. It was sung in the original show by Tamara Drasin and was first recorded by Gertrude Niesen on October 13, 1933. It was performed by Irene Dunne for the 1935 film adaptation, co-starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger.

“The song has been covered by numerous artists, beginning with Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra with Bob Lawrence on vocal, which went to the top of the charts in 1934. Possibly the most famous version was recorded in 1958 by The Platters, which became a #1 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 — it reached #3 on the R&B charts, and topped both the UK and Australians singles charts.

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