Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra

Ain’t Misbehavin’

First released by The Charleston Chasers (1929).
Hit versions by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra (US #2 1929), Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five (US #7 1929), Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (US #8 1929), Fats Waller (US #17 1929 |1943), The Teddy Wilson Quartet (US #6 1937), Dinah Washington (R&B #6 1948), Johnnie Ray (UK #17 1956), Tommy Bruce & the Bruisers (UK #3 1960), Hank Williams, Jr. (C&W #1 1986).
Also recorded by King Cole Trio & Anita O’Day (1945), Bill Haley & His Comets (1957), Sam Cooke (1958), Leon Redbone (1975).

From the wiki: “With lyrics by Andy Razaf and score by Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller and Harry Brooks, ‘An’t Misbehavin” was created specifically as a theme song for the Razaf/Waller/Brooks Broadway musical comedy Connie’s Hot Chocolates. In a 1941 interview with Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, of The Jack Benny Show fame, Fats said the song was written while ‘lodging’ in alimony prison, and that is why he was not ‘misbehavin’.’

“The song was first performed at the premiere of Connie’s Hot Chocolates at Connie’s Inn in Harlem as an opening number by Margaret Simms and Paul Bass, and repeated later in the musical by Russell Wooding’s Hallelujah Singers. Connie’s Hot Chocolates transferred to the Hudson Theatre on Broadway in June 1929, where it was renamed to Hot Chocolates and where Louis Armstrong took over as orchestra director. The script also required Armstrong to play ‘Ain’t Misbehavin” in a trumpet solo, and although this was initially slated to only be a reprise of the opening song, Armstrong’s performance was so well received that the trumpeter was asked to climb out of the orchestra pit and play the piece on stage.

My Melancholy Baby

First recorded by Walter Van Brunt (US #9 1915).
Other hit versions by Gene Austin (US #3 1928), Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra (US #6 1936), Bing Crosby (US #14 1939), Sam Donahue & His Orchestra (US #5 1945), Tommy Edwards (US #26/R&B #27/UK #29 1959).

From the wiki: “‘Melancholy Baby’ was written by Ernie Burnett with lyrics by his wife, Maybelle Watson. First publicly performed (as ‘Melancholy’) in 1912 by William Frawley (‘Fred Mertz’ on I Love Lucy), the song was first recorded in 1915 by Walter Van Brunt, Thomas Edison’s favorite tenor. The song title was changed in ‘My Melancholy Baby’ in 1914. The first popular recording was made by Gene Austin in 1928 (Van Brunt’s popularity was based on sheet-music sales). Teddy Wilson’s 1936 recording featured an 18-year Ella Fitzgerald, who was pulled into the session at the last minute when Billie Holiday couldn’t attend the date.

“Songwriter Burnett was seriously wounded in France during World War I. He lost his memory together with his identity dog-tags. While recuperating in hospital, a pianist entertained the patients with popular tunes including ‘Melancholy Baby’. Burnett rose from his sickbed and exclaimed: ‘That’s my song!’

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