Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: The Crystals

Parade of the Wooden Soldiers

First US recording by The Vincent Lopez Orchestra (1922).
Popular versions by The Andrews Sisters (1950), The Crystals (1963).

From the wiki:”‘The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers’ (originally titled ‘Parade of the Tin Soldiers’) was composed in 1897 for solo piano by Leon Jessel who later published it for orchestra in 1905, as ‘Opus 123’. In 1911, Russian impresario Nikita Balieff chose Jessel’s whimsically rakish ‘Parade of the Tin Soldiers’ for a choreography routine in his ‘The Bat’ vaudeville revue, changing the title to ‘The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers’. (A link below goes to a 1911 Berlin recording of ‘The Parade of the Tin Soldiers’ for Russian distribution.) Balieff’s wooden-soldier choreography referenced a legend regarding Tsar Paul I: that he left his parade grounds without issuing a ‘halt’ order to the marching soldiers, so they marched to Siberia before being remembered and ordered back.

“In December 1920 Nikita Balieff’s La Chauve-Souris (The Bat) revue reached Paris, to great acclaim, and in 1922 it was brought to Broadway. In 1922, the instrumental version of ‘The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers’ was a hit single performed by The Vincent Lopez Orchestra in 1922; A Betty Boop cartoon, Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, was created with the music in 1933. Also in 1933, The Rockettes began annually performing their own choreographed version of the piece, based on Balieff’s original, in their Radio City Christmas Spectacular.”

He’s a Rebel

First recorded by Vikki Carr (US #115/AUS #5 1962).
Hit version by The Crystals née The Blossoms (US #1/UK #19 1962).

From the wiki: “‘He’s a Rebel’ was written by Gene Pitney (‘Town Without Pity’, ‘Only Love Can Break a Heart’), and was originally intended for The Shirelles to record but they declined. Instead, Snuff Garrett produced the recording of ‘He’s a Rebel’ by Vikki Carr that would be released as her debut single. Phil Spector, then employed as Liberty Records’ West Coast A&R head (the same labeled where Garrett was employed), also heard the same Pitney demo being played for Carr. Instinctively knowing the song could be a big hit, Spector promptly resigned from his position at Liberty to avoid any conflict-of-interest, intending to release the song on his own Philles recorded label.

It’s My Party

First recorded by Helen Shapiro (February 1963).
Also recorded by The Crystals (unreleased 1963), The Paris Sisters (1966).
Hit version by Lesley Gore (US #1/R&B #1 March 1963).

From the wiki: “The first recording of the song was by Helen Shapiro for her Helen in Nashville album recorded in February 1963 with Shapiro’s regular producer Norrie Paramor, and Al Kasha. Shapiro would recall: ‘Right from the first time we heard the song on the rough demo back in London, we thought we were going to sock them between the eyes with that one’; however Shapiro’s version was not one of the cuts chosen as an advance single from the album … so, by the time of the album’s release in the UK that October (and the album’s first single, ‘Woe is Me’, in the US in May 1963), Shapiro’s ‘It’s My Party’ recording was perceived as a cover of Lesley Gore’s hit single even though Shapiro’s version was the first recorded.

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