First recorded (as a demo) by Percy Mayfield (1960).
Hit versions by Ray Charles (US #1/R&B #1/UK #6/AUS #3 1961), The Stampeders (US #40/CAN #6 1975).
From the wiki: “‘Hit the Road Jack’ was written by R&B artist Percy Mayfield and was first recorded as an a cappella demo by Mayfield in 1960, before sending it to producer and Specialty Records owner Art Rupe. Rupe passed the song along to one of friends, Ray Charles. It became a worldwide hit after it was recorded by Charles – his sixth R&B #1 hit and second US #1 – with an arrangement featuring Raelettes’ vocalist Margie Hendrix, and would go on to also to win a Grammy award in 1962 for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording.”
First recorded by Alvino Rey & His Orchestra (US #1 Feb 1942).
Also performed by Gene Autry (1942).
Other hit versions by Ted Weems & His Orchestra with Perry Como (US #23 Feb 1942), Bing Crosby with Woody Herman & His Woodchoppers (US #3 March 1942), Horace Heidt & His Musical Knights (US #7 March 1942), The Merry Macs (US #11 March 1942), Duane Eddy (US #78/UK #19 1962).
Also recorded by Gene Autry (1944), Bob Wills (1955), Ray Charles (1960).
From the wiki: “‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ was written by June Hershey with music by Don Swander, with a title taken from a movie Western of the same name starring Tex Ritter. (The song was not performed in that particular movie, but would make an appearance in the Western movie Heart of the Rio Grande, released in 1942, sung by movie cowboy Gene Autry.)
“The first recording was by Alvino Rey and his orchestra, on November 21, 1941. It first charted in early 1942, eventually spending five weeks at #1 on the Hit Parade. The song was covered by Ted Weems & His Orchestra (with Perry Como on vocals) on December 9, 1941 for Decca Records, also released in early 1942 as the flip-side to ‘Ollie Ollie Out’s in Free’.
First recorded by Otis Williams & His Charms (1960).
Hit versions by Ray Charles (US #9/R&B #1 1961), Joe Cocker (US #11/UK #46 1987 |UK #17 1992).
From the wiki: “‘Unchain My Heart’ was written by Bobby Sharp, and first recorded in 1960 by Otis Williams & His Charms. Sharp, a drug addict at the time, sold the song to Teddy Powell for $50. Powell demanded half the songwriting credit. Sharp later successfully fought for the rights to his song. In 1987, he was also able to renew the copyright for his publishing company, B. Sharp Music.
“The song became a hit for Ray Charles when released as a single in late 1961. Accompanied by his Raelettes, Charles’ band also included longtime saxophonist David ‘Fathead’ Newman. The track was further popularized by Joe Cocker when he named his 1987 album after the song. The promotional single nudged the US Top 10 in 1987, and also charted in the UK. Cocker’s recording was re-released in 1992 and, second time around, reached #17 on the UK Singles chart.”
Written and first recorded by Buck Owens (B-side 1964).
Hit version by Ray Charles (US #6/R&B #5/UK #50 1965).
From the wiki: “‘Crying Time’ is a song from 1964 written by Buck Owens. Owens recorded the original version of his song and released it as the B-side to ‘I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail’ in 1964. A cover version of ‘Crying Time’ was then recorded in 1965 by Ray Charles, featuring backing vocals by the Jack Halloran Singers and The Raelettes. His version proved to be a hit strong Top 40 and R&B hit. Charles’ version of ‘Crying Time’ won two Grammy Awards in 1967, in the categories Best R&B Recording and Best R&B Solo Performance.
“Charles and Barbra Streisand together performed the song as a duet on her 1973 album Barbra Streisand … And Other Musical Instruments and on the TV special titled the same.”
First recorded by The Coasters (1965).
Hit versions by Manfred Mann (UK #1 EP 1965), Ray Charles (US #31/R&B #1 1966).
Also recorded by Ronnie Milsap (1965), Joe Cocker (1969).
From the wiki: “‘Let’s Go Get Stoned’ was written by Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson, and Josephine Armstead, and was first recorded by The Coasters in May 1965. It is notable for being one of the first successful compositions by Ashford & Simpson (‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ‘California Soul‘, ‘Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing’). Although a non-charter for The Coasters, ‘Let’s Go Get Stoned’ was most memorable because it became a 1966 #1 R&B and Pop #31 hit for Ray Charles, recorded shortly after Charles was released from rehab after a sixteen-year heroin addiction.
“The year prior, in 1965, the UK group Manfred Mann recorded the song for their #1 British extended-play No Living Without Loving, which topped the UK EP charts in December 1965. Joe Cocker covered the song several times live, most notably at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and on the Mad Dogs & Englishmen live album released 1970.”
Originally recorded by Don Gibson (US #81/C&W #7 1957).
Other hit versions by Kitty Wells (C&W #3 1958), Ray Charles (US #1/MOR #1/R&B #1/UK #1/AUS #1 1962), Conway Twitty (C&W #1 1972).
From the wiki: “‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ was written by Country singer, songwriter and musician Don Gibson, who first recorded it in 1957. It was released in 1958 as the B-side of ‘Oh, Lonesome Me’, becoming a double-sided Country hit single. Kitty Well’s 1958 cover charted even higher on the Country chart.
“The song was most famously covered by Ray Charles in 1962, featured on Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music album and released as a single. Charles’ recording reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962, for 5 weeks and would also top the U.S. R&B and Adult Contemporary charts. (The song, a ‘Country-politan’ ballad with lush, cushioned arrangements, was placed at the 11th spot in the album track listing, assumed by Sid Feller to be the album’s weakest song. After becoming the album’s top-selling single, Charles was disappointed with him, as Feller was in charge of sequencing for the album).
“‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ was ranked #164 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and #49 on CMT’s 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music.”
First recorded by Eddy Arnold (C&W #10 1956).
First released by Jerry Vale (US #14 1956).
Other hit versions by Ray Charles (US #2/MOR #1/R&B #5/UK #9 1962), Mickey Gilley (C&W #1 1981).
From the wiki: “‘You Don’t Know Me’ is a song written by Cindy Walker based on a title and storyline given to her by Eddy Arnold in 1955 and was first recorded by Arnold (who is credited as co-writer) that year, then released by him as a single in September 1956.
“However, the first recording of the song to make the Billboard charts was Jerry Vale’s single release in July 1956, peaking at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. THat was followed by Arnold’s version, charting two months later, backed with ‘The Rockin’ Mockin’ Bird’. Arnold’s recording reached #10 on the Billboard Country chart.
Written and first recorded (as a demo) by George Harrison (1969, released 1996).
First commercial recording by Joe Cocker (1969).
Hit versions by The Beatles (US #1/UK #4 1969), Shirley Bassey (US #55/UK #4 1970), Johnny Rodriguez (C&W #6 1974)
Also recorded by Ray Charles (1971).
From the wiki: “‘Something’ was the first Beatles song written by lead guitarist George Harrison to appear as an A-side single, and the only song written by him to top the US charts while he was in the band. Harrison began working on a song that eventually became known as ‘Something’ during the 1968 recording sessions for The Beatles (aka The White Album). Harrison recorded the demo of ‘Something’ on February 25, 1969, his 26th birthday.
“Producer Glyn Jones, who engineered the Beatles’ Get Back sessions, recalls ‘One morning before the others arrived at the studio, George asked me if I would stay behind at the end of the day to cut a demo with him of a song he had written, as he didn’t want to play it in front of the others. So we waited for everyone to leave and he went out into the empty studio and played ‘Something in the Way She Moves’, which might just be the greatest song he ever wrote. He came into the control room, and after having it played back to him, he asked what I thought of it, as he seemed unsure. I told him it was brilliant and that he must play it to the others. I can only assume that his confidence had been dented as a result of living in the shadow of John and Paul.’ [Source: Sound Man, by Glyn Jones, 2014]
“Harrison’s original intention had been to offer the song to Apple Records signing Jackie Lomax as he had done with a previous composition, ‘Sour Milk Sea’. When this fell through, ‘Something’ was instead given to Joe Cocker to record. Cocker completed his recording at A&M Studios in Los Angeles before The Beatles completed their recording in August 1969 at Abbey Road, but Cocker’s recording was not released (on Joe Cocker!, his second album, on which also appeared another Beatles composition, ‘She Came in Through the Bathroom Window’) until November 1969 – six weeks after the release of The Beatles’ Abbey Road.
Co-written and first recorded by Hoagy Carmichael & His Orchestra (1930).
Hit versions by Frankie Trumbauer (1931), Ray Charles (US #1/R&B #3/UK #24 1960).
Also recorded by The Band (1977).
From the wiki: “Written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael (music) and Stuart Gorrell (lyrics). Gorrell wrote the lyrics for Hoagy’s sister, Georgia Carmichael. However, the lyrics of the song are ambiguous enough to refer either to the state or to a woman named ‘Georgia’.
First recorded (as “Loveless Love”) by Noble Sissle & His Sizzling Syncopaters (1921).
Also recorded (as “Loveless Love”) by W.C. Handy’s Memphis Blues Band (1921), James P. Johnson (1921), Alberta Hunter (1923).
Other popular versions (as “Careless Love”) by Bessie Smith (US #5 1925), T. Texas Tyler (1946), The Ravens (1949), Fats Domino (1951), Ray Charles (1962).
From the wiki: “‘Careless Love’ is a traditional song of obscure origins. The song lyrics change from version to version, but usually speak of the heartbreak brought on by ‘careless love’; most often a girl’s lament for having loved unwisely, worrying what her mother will say when she returns home, ‘wearing her apron high’ (i. e. pregnant) The song was one of the best-known pieces in the repertory of the Buddy Bolden band in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the very start of the 20th century, but it is thought that the first recording of ‘Loveless Love/Careless Love’ was made by Noble Sissle & His Sizzling Syncopaters at a New York City recording session in January, 1921.
“Bessie Smith recorded the first popular version of ‘Careless Love’ in 1925. The song has since gone on to become a jazz and blues standard. Hundreds more recordings Smith’s nationally-popular verson, in blues, jazz, folk, country, and pop styles. T. Texas Tyler recorded a Texas Swing version in 1946 for 4-Star records. Fats Domino made a recording of it in 1951, releasing it as the B-side of ‘Rockin’ Chair’. Ray Charles’ recorded ‘Careless Love’ for his landmark 1962 album, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.
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