Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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The Ballad of Davy Crockett

First performed by The Wellingtons (1954).
First released by Bill Hayes (US #1/UK #2 1955).
Other hit versions by Fess Parker (US #6 1955), Tennessee Ernie Ford (US #5/C&W #4/UK #3 1955), Mac Wiseman (US #10 1955), Max Bygraves (UK #20 1955).

From the wiki: “‘The Ballad of Davy Crockett’ was introduced on ABC’s television series Disneyland, in the premiere episode of October 27, 1954, sung by The Wellingtons but performed on-screen by Fess Parker, playing the role of Davy Crockett, accompanied by similarly attired musicians. The song would later be heard throughout the follow-up Disneyland television miniseries, Davy Crockett, first telecast on December 15, 1954. The Wellingtons were originally called The Lincolns, and recorded for Kapp Records. As The Wellingtons, they were signed by Walt Disney to record the theme song for Disney’s The Wonderful World of Color and, subsequently, ‘The Ballad of Davy Crockett’.

“Trivia: Gilligan’s Island producer Sherwood Schwartz, working with composer George Wyle, came up with a Folk song theme song that told the back story of the castaways, and hired The Wellingtons to sing it. The song was a hit. The Wellingtons appear in a second season (1965–66) episode of Gilligan’s Island as a Rock group called ‘The Mosquitoes’.

“The first album version was recorded by Bill Hayes, quickly followed by versions by Fess Parker and Tennessee Ernie Ford (recorded on February 7, 1955). All three versions made the Billboard magazine charts in 1955: Hayes’ version made #1 on the weekly chart, Parker’s reached #6 on the weekly charts, while Ford’s peaked at #4 on the weekly Country chart and #5 on the weekly Pop chart. A fourth version, by Bluegrass singer Mac Wiseman, reached #10 on the radio charts in May 1955. In the United Kingdom, Hayes’ version reached #2 in the New Musical Express chart; Ford’s version achieved #3, and a version by UK singer Max Bygraves reached #20.”

Bill Hayes, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” (1955):

Fess Parker, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” (1955):

Tennessee Ernie Ford, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” (1955):

Mac Wiseman, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” (1955):

Max Bygraves, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” (1955):

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