Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Roy Hamilton

You’ll Never Walk Alone

First commercial recording by Frank Sinatra (US #9 1946).
Other hit versions by Roy Hamilton (R&B #1 1954), Gerry & the Pacemakers (US #48/UK #1 1963).

From the wiki: “‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. Besides the recordings of the song on the Carousel cast albums and the film soundtrack, the song has been recorded by many artists, with notable hit versions by Frank Sinatra, Roy Hamilton (‘Unchained Melody‘), and Gerry & the Pacemakers (‘Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying‘).

Ebb Tide

First recorded (as “The Sea”) by Robert Maxwell (1953).
Hit versions by Frank Chacksfield & His Orchestra (US #2/UK #9 1953), Vic Damone (US #10 1953), Roy Hamilton (R&B #5 1954), The Platters (US #56 1960), Righteous Brothers (US #5/UK #48 1965).

From the wiki: “‘Ebb Tide’ was written in 1953 by the lyricist Carl Sigman and composer Robert Maxwell. Maxwell, also a harpist, first recorded the song as an instrumental titled ‘The Sea’. (The song’s build up is to illustrate the ocean waves coming in and out, to and from the shores; thus, ‘ebb tide’.) The best-known versions are by Frank Chacksfield & His Orchestra (1953), Vic Damone (1953), Roy Hamilton (1954), The Platters (1960), and the Righteous Brothers (1965). For the Righteous Brothers, ‘Ebb Tide’ would be the last recording of theirs produced by Phil Spector.”

Don’t Let Go

First recorded by Roy Hamilton (US #12/R&B #2 1958).
Also recorded by The Four Seasons (1964).
Other hit versions by Mel Tillis & Sherry Bryce (C&W #11 1974), Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen (US #56 1975), Isaac Hayes (US #18/Soul #11 1979).

From the wiki: “‘Don’t Let Go’ was written by Jesse Stone, and was first a hit for Roy Hamilton (‘Unchained Melody‘) in 1958 before covers by Mel Tillis, Commander Cody, and Isaac Hayes charted in the 1970s. One of the more interesting of many cover recordings done of ‘Don’t Let Go’ was produced by The Four Seasons in 1964; very much against their archetypical sound. The 1965 cover by The Graham Bond Organization (including bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker) was one of the first Rock tracks to feature the Mellotron.

“Stone was the leader of a Jazz band during the 1920s that included Coleman Hawkins. In 1936, with the assistance of Duke Ellington, Stone was booked to perform at New York City’s famed Cotton Club, and would later become a staff arranger/writer at the Apollo Theater. He would go on to join Atlantic Records as songwriter and producer, where he wrote ‘Shake, Rattle & Roll‘ under the pseudonym ‘Charles Calhoun’, first recorded by ‘Big’ Joe Turner.”

Unchained Melody

First commercial release by The Lex Baxter Orchestra (US #1 1955).
Other hit versions by Al Hibbler (US #3 1955), Jimmy Young (UK #1 1955), Roy Hamilton (US #6/R&B #1 1955), Liberace (UK #20 1955), The Righteous Brothers (US #1/UK #14 1965 |US #19/UK #1 1990), LeeAnn Rimes (C&W #3 1996).

From the wiki: “‘Unchained Melody’ is a 1955 song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret, used as a theme for the little-known prison film Unchained (hence the name). Todd Duncan sang the vocals for the film soundtrack. ‘Unchained Melody’ has since become one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, by some estimates having spawned over 500 versions in hundreds of different languages.

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