Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Russ Morgan & His Orchestra

Dipsy Doodle

First recorded by Tommy Dorsey feat. Edythe Wright (#1 1937).
Other hit versions by Russ Morgan and His Orchestra (US #2 1937), Johnny Maddox & the Rhythmasters (US #15 1953).
Also recorded by Larry Clinton & His Orchestra feat. Bea Wain (1937), Ella Fitzgerald & the Chick Webb Orchestra (1937), Bill Haley & His Comets (1957).

“Larry Clinton was an arranger for the Dorsey Brothers big band at the he came up with ‘Dipsy Doodle’, hanging out at the Onyx Club, a jazz club on 52nd Street in New York City, where the back of the menus were printed with blank music scores. One evening Clinton wrote the melody on a menu. It wasn’t until baseball season rolled around that he came up with the lyrics.

“He was a baseball fanatic and Clinton got the idea [for lyrics] from New York Giants left-handed pitcher Carl Hubbell. Hubbell had a screwball pitch that had been dubbed ‘dipsy doo’ for the crazy way it dipped over the plate and befuddled the batters.

“Clinton originally wrote ‘Dipsy Doodle’ for Tommy Dorsey [whose 1937 recording featuring vocalist Edythe Wright topped the Hit Parade ahead of the Russ Moran Orchestra cover version]. Dorsey then made Clinton so well known that Clinton was able to start a band of his own with the financial backing of Dorsey. Then Clinton’s own band further popularized ‘Dipsy Doodle’ by using it as its theme song.

Blue Christmas

First recorded by Doye O’Dell (1948).
Hit versions by Ernest Tubb (C&W #1 1949), Hugo Winterhalter & His Orchestra with Choir (US #9 1949), Russ Morgan & His Orchestra (US #11 1949), Hugo Winterhalter & Billy Eckstine (US #20 1950), Elvis Presley (1957/UK #11 1964), Beach Boys (XMAS #3 1964), Shakin’ Stevens (UK #2 1982), Harry Connick Jr. (MOR #21 2004).

From the wiki: “‘Blue Christmas’ song was first recorded by Doye O’Dell in 1948. It was popularized the following year in three separate recordings: one by Country artist Ernest Tubb, which the Country singles chart; one by instrumental bandleader Hugo Winterhalter and his orchestra that charted US Top-10; and one by bandleader Russ Morgan and his orchestra (the latter featuring lead vocals by Morgan and backing vocals by singers credited as the Morganaires) that charted US Top-15. In 1950 Hugo Winterhalter released a new version, this time sung by Billy Eckstine, with shortened lyrics in a variation close to what is now the common standard for this song. This re-recording charted Top-20 in the US.

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