Written and first recorded by Tom Paxton (1962).
Hit versions by The Chad Mitchell Trio (US #43/MOR #20 1963); Peter, Paul & Mary (1969).
From the wiki: “‘The Marvelous Toy’ was written in 1962 by folk singer Tom Paxton, and was first released on his album of songs recorded live at the ‘Gaslight Cafe’, Greenwich Village, I’m The Man That Built The Bridges. The album liner notes opine that ‘[t]his LP marks Tom Paxton’s achievement. Taped at the Gaslight on a series on a series of warm Autumn afternoons in 1962, it is his own interpretation of the songs he has given America – and a promise of the many fine songs yet to come … The singer is at home in the whimsical world of children, too. ‘THE MARVELOUS TOY’, with its zip, bop noises is a constant favorite with Village audiences.’
First recorded as “All My Trials” by Cynthia Gooding (1956).
Popular versions by Glenn Yarbrough (as “All My Sorrows” 1957), Kingston Trio (as “All My Sorrows” 1959), Joan Baez (as “All My Trials” 1960), The Shadows (as “All My Sorrows” 1963), The Searchers (as “All My Sorrows” 1963), Peter Paul & Mary (as “All My Trials” 1963), Dick & Dee Dee (as “All My Trials” US #89 1964).
Also recorded (in medley) by Elvis Presley (1972).
From the wiki: “”All My Trials” is a folk song during the social protest movements of the 1950s and 1960s. It is based on a Bahamian lullaby that tells the story of a mother on her death bed, comforting her children. The message — that no matter how bleak the situation seemed, the struggle would ‘soon be over’ — propelled the song to the status of an anthem, recorded by many of the leading artists of the era.
“Cynthia Gooding first recorded the song in 1956. It quickly became a Folk song staple, with recordings by Glenn Yarbrough (1957), The Kingston Trio (1959), and Joan Baez (1960) following soon thereafter. (Gooding would later go on to host a Folk music show on NYC radio station WBAI and, in 1962, would conduct the first radio interview, ever, with a young Bob Dylan.) In the UK, Cliff Richard’s backing band, The Shadows, recorded an instrumental cover of ‘All My Sorrows’ in 1961 for their first solo outing, The Shadows; The Searchers would also cover the song in 1963 for the album Sugar and Spice.
“Folk music trio Peter, Paul & Mary released ‘All My Trials’ on their best-selling 1963 album, In the Wind, from which yielded the hit singles ‘Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright)‘ and ‘Blowin’ in the Wind‘. But, Dick & Dee Dee’s 1964 recording of ‘All My Trials’ is the only arrangement to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
“A fragment of ‘All My Trials’ is used in the Mickey Newbury anthem ‘An American Trilogy’, also recorded by Elvis Presley and broadcast worldwide in 1972 on Aloha from Hawaii.”
First recorded by Bobby Darin (Jul 1962 |Released Nov 1963).
First released by The New World Singers (Released Jul 1963).
Also recorded by Bob Dylan (Nov 1962 |Released Aug 1963), Eric Clapton (1992).
Inspired by “Who’s Gonna Buy You Ribbons (When I’m Gone)” by Paul Clayton (1960).
Hit version by Peter Paul & Mary (US #9/MOR #2 1963), The Wonder Who? (parodied as “Don’t Think Twice” US #12 1965).
From the wiki: “‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’ was written by Bob Dylan in 1962, recorded by him on November 14 that year, and released on the 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and as his second-ever single in August 1963 with no chart impact.
“But, there were other, earlier recordings and releases prior to Dylan’s because of the music’s availability via Witmark Publishing Co., when Dylan was “just” an aspiring songwriter. Bobby Darin, no slouch in discovering talent (see Tim Hardin), first recorded the song in July 1962, the same month as Dylan, but the New World Singers released their version one month prior Dylan’s own recording and four months prior to Darin’s recording, in July 1963.
First recorded by Lead Belly (1940).
Also recorded by Woody Guthrie (1944), Lonnie Donegan (1956), The Weavers (1960), John Herald & The Greenbriar Boys (1961).
Hit version by Peter, Paul & Mary (US #35/MOR #17 1963).
From the wiki: “There are two major but different arrangements of the sporting ballad, generally titled either ‘Skewball’ or ‘Stewball’; the latter spelling is more popular in America. Versions date at least as far back as the 18th century. In most versions of ‘Stewball’ the winning horse triumphs due to the stumbling of the lead horse; ‘Skewball’ wins simply by being the faster horse in the end. The oldest broadside identified with the ballad is dated 1784 and is held by the Harding Collection of the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford. The song spread to America by 1829 when it was published in a songbook in Hartford. American versions were sung and adapted by slaves in the Southern United States, and have ‘Stewball’ racing in California, Texas, or Kentucky.
First recorded (as “The Hammer Song”) by The Weavers (1950).
Hit versions by Peter, Paul & Mary (US #10 1962), Trini Lopez (US #3 1963).
From the wiki: “‘If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)’ was written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays in 1949 in support of the progressive movement, and was first recorded by The Weavers in 1950. It was not particularly successful in commercial terms when it was first released.
“The song was first performed publicly by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays on June 3, 1949, at St. Nicholas Arena in New York City at a testimonial dinner for the leaders of the Communist Party of the United States. It was later part of the three songs Seeger played as the warm-up act for Paul Robeson’s September 4, 1949, concert near Peekskill, New York, which subsequently erupted into a riot.
“‘If I Had a Hammer’ went on to become a Top-10 hit for Peter, Paul and Mary in 1962 and, a year later, went to #3 when recorded by Trini Lopez.”
First released by Ian & Sylvia (1965).
Hit versions by Peter, Paul & Mary (US #91/MOR #13 1965), George Hamilton IV (C&W #9 1966), Oliver (MOR #38 1971), Paul Weller (UK #40 2005).
Also recorded by The Grateful Dead (1965, released 2013), Gordon Lightfoot, writer (1966), Elvis Presley (1972).
From the wiki: “‘Early Morning Rain’ (sometimes ‘Early Mornin’ Rain’) was written by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. Lightfoot wrote and composed the song in 1964, but its genesis took root during a 1960 sojourn in Westlake, Los Angeles. Lightfoot sometimes became homesick and would go out to LAX on rainy days to watch the approaching aircraft. The imagery of the flights taking off into the overcast sky was still with him when, in 1964, he was caring for his 5-month-old baby son and he thought, ‘I’ll put him over here in his crib, and I’ll write myself a tune.’
First released by The New World Singers (January 1963).
Also released by The Chad Mitchell Trio (March 1963), Bob Dylan (May 1963), Marlene Dietrich (1963).
Hit versions by Peter, Paul & Mary (US #2/UK #13 1963), Stan Getz (US #110 1964), Stevie Wonder (US #9/R&B #1 1966).
From The Originals: “The timeline of ‘first’ recordings and releases of ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ can sure be a more than confusing. Some sources date the New World Singers’ recording to September 1963, four months after Dylan’s was released. That is patently wrong, however. The New World Singers’ version appeared on a compilation of ‘topical songs’ called Broadside Ballads Vol. 1 which apparently was released on 1 January 1963 on Broadside Records, the recording arm of the folk magazine (you guessed it) Broadside, which was founded by Pete Seeger and printed the lyrics of the song in May 1962. The Chad Mitchell Trio, sometimes credited with recording the song first, released the song on their In Action LP in March 1963.
First released by Peter, Paul & Mary (1966).
Also recorded by Laura Nyro (demo 1966 |1967).
Hit version by Blood, Sweat & Tears (US #2/NZ #1 1969).
From the wiki: “‘And When I Die’ was written by Laura Nyro and first recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1966 after listening to Nyro’s rough demo. The song was one of the first written by Nyro, when she was 17 years old. She then sold the song to Peter, Paul and Mary for $5000, who then recorded the song for their sixth studio album The Peter, Paul and Mary Album.
“Nyro would later produce a studio recording of ‘And When I Die’ for her own 1967 debut album More Than a New Discovery. However, the song is probably best known for the recording by Blood, Sweat & Tears. Their 1969 single release reached #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
First recorded by Peggy Seeger (1957).
Also recorded by The Kingston Trio (1962), Peter, Paul & Mary (1965).
Hit version by Roberta Flack (recorded 1969, US #1/UK #14 1972).
From the wiki: “‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ is a 1957 folk song written by British political singer/songwriter Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger (half-sister of folk singer Pete Seeger), who would later become his wife, to sing. At the time the couple were lovers, although MacColl was married to someone else. Seeger sang the song when the duo performed in folk clubs around Britain.
“During the 1960s, it was recorded by various folk singers before becoming a major international pop hit for Roberta Flack when re-released in 1972 (after its original album release, on First Take, in 1969) following the song’s inclusion in the 1971 movie Play Misty for Me.
First popular version recorded by The Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group (US #40/UK #5 1957).
Other popular versions by Rusty Draper (US #3 1957), Elizabeth Cotten, writer (1958), Peter, Paul & Mary (1963).
From the wiki: “‘Freight Train’ is an American folk song written by Elizabeth Cotten in the early 20th century, and popularized during the American folk revival and British skiffle period of the 1950s and 1960s. By Cotten’s own account in the 1985 BBC series Down Home, she composed ‘Freight Train’ as a teenager (sometime between 1906 and 1912), inspired by the sound of the trains rolling in on the tracks near her home in North Carolina.
“Cotten was a one-time nanny for folk singer Peggy Seeger, who took this song with her to England, where it became popular in folk music circles. British songwriters Paul James and Fred Williams subsequently misappropriated it as their own composition and copyrighted it. Under their credit, it was then recorded by British skiffle singer Chas McDevitt, who recorded the song in December, 1956. The record became a hit in the UK in 1957 at the height of the skiffle boom, reaching #5 in the UK Singles Chart.
First recorded (as “Babe, I Hate to Go”) by John Denver (1966).
First broadcast (as “Babe, I Hate to Go”) by John Denver on WAVA-FM’s Hootenanny at The Cellar Door (1966).
Hit version by Peter, Paul & Mary (recorded 1967 |US #1/MOR #1/UK #2/CAN #1/IRE #2 1969 single release).
Also recorded by The Mitchell Trio (1967), Spanky & Our Gang (1967), John Denver (1969 |1973).
From the wiki: “Chad Mitchell left his trio in 1965 to embark on a solo singing career. An audition process that followed, and which saw 300 musicians try-out, replaced Mitchell with the young (and unknown) singer-songwriter John Denver. The group retained the well-known ‘Mitchell Trio’ name – with Denver writing some of the group’s songs, including ‘Leaving On A Jet Plane’ (found on The Mitchell Trio’s 1967 album Alive!). The song was first recorded in 1966 by John Denver with the title ‘Babe, I Hate to Go’. He remembers composing the song in 1966 during a layover at Washington airport, ‘Not so much from feeling that way for someone, but from the longing of having someone to love.’
“A year earlier, in 1966, ‘Babe, I Hate to Go’ was among fifteen songs Denver recorded himself and, with his own money, had 250 copies pressed onto vinyl and distributed to friends and family. Later that year, while engaged to perform at The Cellar Door in Washington, D.C., Denver performed the song on a live radio broadcast on WAVA-FM, hosted by disc-jockey Dick Cerri for his program Hootenanny, where Denver was backed by fellow Trio guitarist, Bob Hefferan (and handled a heckler in the audience). It was John’s second time singing the song in public and the first radio broadcast of it.
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