First recorded by “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins (1955).
Re-recorded by “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins (1956).
Hit versions by Nina Simone (US #120/R&B #23/UK #49 1965 |UK #28 1969), The Alan Price Set (US #80/UK #9 1966), The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (UK #111 1968), Creedence Clearwater Revival (US #58 1968), Bryan Ferry (UK #18 1993), Sonique (UK #6 1998 |UK #8 2000), Annie Lennox (US #97/UK #63/FRA #29 2014).
Also recorded by Bette Midler (1995), Jeff Beck & Joss Stone (2010).
From the wiki: “‘I Put a Spell on You’ was written in 1956 by Jalacy ‘Screamin’ Jay’ Hawkins. Hawkins first recorded the song as a ballad during his stint with Grand Records in late 1955. However, that version was not released at the time (it has since been reissued on Hawkins’ UK compilation The Whamee 1953–55).
“The following year, Hawkins re-recorded the song for Columbia’s Okeh Records. Of the latter recording, Hawkins remembers producer Arnold Maxin bringing in ‘ribs and chicken and got everybody drunk, and we came out with this weird version … I don’t even remember making the record. Before, I was just a normal blues singer. I was just Jay Hawkins. It all sort of just fell in place. I found out I could do more destroying a song and screaming it to death.’
Written and first recorded by Allen Toussaint (1975).
Hit version by Glen Campbell (US #1/MOR #1/C&W #1/CAN #1/UK #28/AUS #36/NZ #10/IRE #3 1977).
From the wiki: “‘Southern Nights’ was written and recorded by Allen Toussaint, from his 1975 album, Southern Nights. It was later recorded by Glen Campbell, with a more up-tempo arrangement and modified lyrics (and a unique guitar lick that Campbell had learned from his friend, Jerry Reed), and released as the first promotional single from Campbell’s 1977 album, also titled Southern Nights.
“The lyrics of ‘Southern Nights’ were inspired by childhood memories Allen Toussaint had of visiting relatives in the Louisiana backwoods, which often entailed storytelling under star-filled nighttime skies. When Campbell heard Toussaint’s version, he immediately identified with the lyrics because they too reminded him of his own youth growing up on an Arkansas farm.
Written and first recorded by Walter Egan (US #55/CAN #56 1978).
Other hit version by Night (US #18/CAN #23/AUS #3/NZ #28/NETH #21 1979).
From the wiki: “Walter Egan wrote and first released ‘Hot Summer Nights’ (produced by Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham) in 1978 for his album Not Shy. Released as the album’s second promotional single (US #8 ‘Magnet and Steel’ was first), ‘Hot Summer Nights’ peaked at #55 on the Billboard Hot 100.
First recorded by The King Cole Trio (1946, released 1989).
Other popular versions by The King Cole Trio (US #/R&B #3 1946), Bing Crosby (1947), Mel Tormé (1955 et al.), Stevie Wonder (1967), The Carpenters (1978), Christina Aguilera (US #18 1999), Michael Bublé (MOR #6 2003).
From the wiki: “‘The Christmas Song’ is sometimes known as ‘Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire’ and was co-written by Mel Tormé (with Robert Wells) in the summer of 1944 when Tormé was 19.
“According to Tormé, the song was written in July (1944) during a blistering hot summer. In an effort to ‘stay cool by thinking cool,’ the most-performed Christmas song was born. ‘I saw a spiral pad on his (Wells’s) piano with four lines written in pencil’, Tormé recalled. ‘They started, ‘Chestnuts roasting… Jack Frost nipping… Yuletide carols… Folks dressed up like Eskimos.’ Bob didn’t think he was writing a song lyric. He said he thought if he could immerse himself in winter he could cool off. Forty minutes later that song was written. I wrote all the music and some of the lyrics.’
“The first recording and the original arrangement of the song was recorded in June 1946 by the The King Cole Trio – without strings, because Capitol Records didn’t want to risk losing Cole’s core R&B audience with orchestration. But Cole insisted, so strings were scored for a session two months later, in August 1946, This was the recording released in November 1946 with great success, peaking at #3 on both the Hit Parade and R&B music charts. (The original non-string arrangement was not issued until 1989, when it was accidentally included on the various-artists compilation Billboard Greatest Christmas Hits (1935–1954).)
“Cole would go on to record two further arrangements of ‘The Christmas Song’ in the 1950s: the first magnetic tape recording of the song, in 1954; and the first stereo recording of it, in 1961, the version which has gone on to become the most heard version of the song.
“Mel Tormé himself made several recordings of the song, including versions released in 1955 (on his live Coral Records album At the Crescendo), 1961 (on his Verve Records album My Kind of Music), 1970 (on a promotional single), 1990 (in a medley with ‘Autumn Leaves’, on his live Concord Records album Mel Tormé Live at the Fujitsu–Concord Festival 1990), and 1992 (on his Telarc Records album Christmas Songs).”
The King Cole Trio, “The Christmas Song” with string arrangement (1946):
Based on “The Killers Main Theme” by Miklos Rozsa (1946).
Hit versions (as “Dragnet”) by Ray Anthony & His Orchestra (US #3/UK #7 1953), Ted Heath Orchestra (UK #9 1953), Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers (as “Dragnet Blues” R&B #8 1953), The Art of Noise (UK #60/NZ #25/SWZ #29 1997).
Also recorded (as “St. George and the Dragonet”) by Stan Freberg (US #1 1953).
From the wiki: “Miklós Rózsa was a Hungarian-American composer known for his dramatic film scores.
“His career in Hollywood gained him tremendous fame: Rózsa received 17 Oscar nominations and won the award three times for his music for the films Spellbound (1945), A Double Life (1947) and Ben-Hur (1959). But the only musical motif he wrote that is easily recognizable to the general public was not part of an award-winning composition. In fact, the motif is often not associated with Rózsa at all, since the more popular version is credited to another composer.
“The famous four-note motif was originally composed by Rózsa for the 1946 American film noir, The Killers. In 1951, the same motif appeared in the ‘Main Title’ theme music for the radio and television drama, Dragnet, composed by Walter Schumann. The music became the subject of a copyright lawsuit when Abeles & Bernstein, lawyers representing Robbins Music Corporation, the publishers of Rózsa’s score for The Killers, filed for copyright infringement on Rózsa’s behalf in January 1954.
Based on ‘Jimmy Crack Corn’ by The Sons of the Pioneers (1934).
Also based on “Blue Tail Fly” by Burl Ives & the Andrew Sisters (1947).
Hit version by Johnny & the Hurricanes (US #15/UK #8 1959).
From the wiki: “‘Jimmy Crack Corn’ and its derivative, ‘Blue Tail Fly’, were songs which first became popular during the rise of blackface minstrelsy in the 1840s through performances by the Virginia Minstrels. Often credited to Dan Emmett, who also wrote ‘Dixie’, both ‘Jimmy Crack Corn’ and ‘Blue Tail Fly’ regained currency as folk songs in the 1930s at the beginning of the American folk music revival and have since become popular children’s songs.
“Over the years, variants of ‘Jimmy Crack Corn/Blue Tail Fly’ appeared – among them, a ‘rock ‘n roll’ arrangement by Johnny & the Hurricanes released in 1959.
First recorded by The Valentine Brothers (R&B #41 1982).
Other hit version by Simply Red (UK #13/CAN #51/AUS #21/NZ #8/IRE #9/ITA #4 1985 |US #28 1986).
From the wiki: “‘Money’s Too Tight (to Mention)’ (sometimes stylized ‘Money$ Too Tight (to Mention)’ on some of its single and album releases) was written and first recorded by The Valentine Brothers, John and Billy, and released as a single in 1982. The song was ranked at #6 among the top ten ‘Tracks of the Year’ for 1982 by NME.
First recorded by The Buffalo Springfield (1966).
Hit versions The Mojo Men (US #36/CAN #26 1967), The Executives (AUS #28 1967).
From the wiki: “‘Sit Down, I Think I Love You’ was written in 1966 by singer-songwriter Stephen Stills, and was first recorded by his group Buffalo Springfield.
“Stills recalls he wrote ‘Sit Down, I Think I Love You’ prior to the formation of Buffalo Springfield, when he had just settled in Los Angeles and had begun writing songs that he felt ‘were personal statements and [he] had something to say.’ First recorded in 1966, it was included on Buffalo Springfield’s eponymous debut album, but because Stills had sold the song’s publishing rights, he never received any writer’s royalties. It was not released as a single.
First recorded by Manfred Mann (USA #124 1965).
Other hit version by Love (US #52 1966).
From the wiki: “In the wake of the British Invasion, Burt Bacharach (‘Message to Michael‘, ‘Reach Out for Me‘, ‘What the World Needs Now is Love’) began working hands-on with British beat groups of the era such as Manfred Mann.
“‘My Little Red Book’ was composed by Bacharach with lyrics by his songwriting partner, Hal David, as part of the film score for the 1965 film What’s New Pussycat?, and recorded by the group Manfred Mann. Keyboardist Mann recalls having great difficultly playing the deceivingly simple but frustrating piano part written by Bacharach (a notorious perfectionist) which led to Bacharach actually becoming the (uncredited) pianist on the final recording.
First recorded by The Laurels (1958).
Hit version by The Echoes (US #12/CAN #8 1961).
From the wiki: “‘Baby Blue’ was written by Long Island assistant high school principal Sam Guilino and music teacher Val Lagueux. Brooklyn vocal group the Laurels (not to be confused with the Laurels who first recorded the similarly-titled ‘Baby Talk‘ in 1959) cut ‘Baby Blue’ in 1958 as a demo but couldn’t find any takers for the song. A bit more than two years later, in early 1961, the Laurels replaced a couple of members, changed their name to the Echoes, rerecorded ‘Baby Blue’ and had a hit.
“The Echoes’ single spent 12 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart peaking at #12.
First recorded by Don Covay & the Goodtimers (US #44/R&B #5 1965).
Other hit version by Aretha Franklin (US #14/R&B #9 1968).
From the wiki: “‘See Saw’ is a song written by Don Covay (‘Pony Time‘, ‘Chain of Fools‘) and Stax Records session guitarist Steve Cropper (‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay’, ‘In the Midnight Hour’) and was first recorded by Covay with his group, the Goodtimers, in 1965.
“In 1968, Aretha Franklin covered ‘See Saw’ for her Atlantic Records album Aretha Now. Released as a promotional single, Aretha’s ‘See Saw’ peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.”
First recorded and released by The Colts (R&B #11 1955).
Other hit version by The Drifters (R&B #1 1955).
From the wiki: “‘Adorable’ was written by Buck Ram, best known as the manager of, the producer and prolific songwriter for, and the guiding force behind the Platters (‘Only You‘, ‘The Great Pretender’). But, in 1955, the Colts had also caught the attention of Ram who then signed the group and got them a deal with an indie record label, Mambo Records. Ram used the group to do a recording session for a song he wrote called ‘Adorable’.
First performed (as “Les Feuilles Mortes”) by Iréne Joachim (1946).
First released by Cora Vaucaire (1948).
Also recorded by Yves Montand (1949).
First English-language release (as ‘Autumn Leaves’) by Jo Stafford (1950).
Also recorded by Bing Crosby (1951). Erroll Garner (1955).
Hit instrumental version by Roger Williams (US #1 1955).
From the wiki: “‘Autumn Leaves’ is a popular French song and jazz standard with music composed by Joseph Kosma. The original French song title was ‘Les Feuilles mortes’ [‘The Dead Leaves’]. But, it had its genesis as a poem, written in 1945 by Jacques Prévert for a French ballet called Le Rendezvous.
“Transformed into a song, it would first appear as the main theme of French movie before being released on record. ‘Les Feuilles mortes’ would later be translated into English by lyricist Johnny Mercer as ‘Autumn Leaves’. An instrumental version in 1955 by pianist Roger Williams became a #1 best-seller in the US, for four weeks.
Written and first released by Kim Carnes (MOR #35 1975).
Other hit version by Gene Cotton & Kim Carnes (US #36/MOR #6/C&W #78 1978).
From the wiki: “‘You’re a Part of Me’ was written by singer-songwriter Kim Carnes, and was first recorded by her, and produced by Mentor Williams, in 1975 for her second album, Kim Carnes, (an album which also held one of the four arrangements by different artists of ‘Somewhere in the Night‘ that appeared almost simultaneously in 1975). Released as a promotional single, it peaked at #35 of the Adult Contemporary singles chart but did not appear on Billboard‘s Hot 100.
“Three years later, in 1978,’You’re a Part of Me’ received wider popularity – this time as a duet performance between Carnes and another singer-songwriter, Gene Cotton (‘Let Your Love Flow‘). This arrangement did chart on the Hot 100, peaking at #36, scoring Top-10 success on the Adult Contemporary chart, and crossing-over to the Hot Country singles chart. This duet arrangement would be released on Cotton’s 1978 album, Save the Dancer.”
Gene Cotton & Kim Carnes, “You’re a Part of Me” (1978):
First recorded by The Young Rascals (US #20/CAN #22 1966).
Also recorded by Listen (1966), The In-Be-Tweens (1966).
Other hit version by Pat Benatar (US #42/FRA #55/AUS #31/NZ #42 1980).
From the wiki: “‘You Better Run’ was written by Young Rascals group members Eddie Brigati and Felix Cavaliere, and was released as the band’s third single in 1966. It reached the top 20 in the United States – a disappointment being that the group’s previous hit, ‘Good Lovin”, had topped the chart in both the US and Canada.
“‘You Better Run’ did not chart in the UK, but it did not go unheard. In 1966, with the band Listen, Robert Plant made his recording debut singing lead vocals on a cover version of ‘You Better Run’ released on CBS Records. Simultaneously, the group the In-Be-Tweens (aka ‘The N’Betweens’), who would later evolve into the band Slade, also released a UK single, produced by Kim Fowley, also on the CBS label which charted regionally but had no great national impact in the UK. Although the groups were familiar with each other and both were distributed by the same record label, neither knew the other had recorded ‘You Better Run’ until their efforts were released.
“In the 1999 BBC documentary It’s Slade, band member Dave Hill recalled ‘I seem to remember we tried to get the local record store to stock 500 copies or something, and try to get people to buy them to try and get it in the charts. It didn’t work!’ Don Powell later recalled in his 2013 biography, Look Wot I Dun, ‘Even though the single got plenty of airplay, it didn’t sell well.’
“Pat Benatar recorded “You Better Run” for her second album, Crimes of Passion (1980). The song was released as the album’s lead single, peaking at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100. On August 1, 1981, Benatar’s music video for ‘You Better Run’ became a part of pop culture history – the second video ever broadcast on MTV (following the network premiere of ‘Video Killed the Radio Star‘).”
First recorded (as a demo) by Ritchie Adams (1974).
First released by Rick Chambers (1975).
Also recorded by Jack Jones (1975), Barbara Mandrell (1977).
Hit version by Engelbert Humperdinck (US #8/MOR #1/C&W #40/CAN #7/AUS #13/NZ #1 1976).
From the wiki: “‘After the Lovin” was written by Ritchie Adams and Alan Bernstein in 1974, and first recorded as a demo by Adams. In 1975, Adams, recording under his stage name, Rick Chambers, would record and release the song as a promotional single which did not chart. Adams had earlier co-written hits for Bobby Lewis (‘Tossing and Turning’), Ronnie Dove (‘Happy Summer Days’), and The Banana Splits (‘The Tra La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)’) on which whose TV program Adams was also the music director.
“Jack Jones would cover ‘After the Lovin” in 1975, for his album What I Did For Love (and attributed only to Bernstein).
“Recorded and released by Engelbert Humperdinck in 1976, ‘After the Lovin” would go Top-10 in the US and Canada, and top the New Zealand music chart. The song failed, however, to chart in the UK, despite Humperdinck’s earlier successes there.
“Barbara Mandrell would cover ‘After the Lovin” for her 1977 album Friends and Strangers. Although never released as a single, her performance would garner a Grammy nomination for Mandrell for Best Country Vocal Performance (Female) in 1978.”
First recorded (in English) by The Hawaii Calls Orchestra & Chorus (1962).
Performed (as “Pupu a ‘o ‘Ewa”) in Donovan’s Reef (“1963).
Hit version by Burl Ives (US #60/MOR #12 1964).
Also recorded (as “First Night of the Full Moon”) by Jack Jones (US #59/AUS #8 1964).
Hit album version by Don Ho (1965).
From the wiki: “The song’s history can be traced traced to the discovery of pearl oysters at Pu’uloa (Pearl Harbor), Hawaii. Webley Edwards, of ‘Hawaii Calls’ fame, and Leon Prober wrote English lyrics to the traditional Hawaiian song ‘Pupu a ‘o ‘Ewa’, creating the popular hapa-haole hit ‘Pearly Shells’, first recorded in 1962 by the Hawaii Calls Orchestra and Chorus for the album Webley Edwards Presents: Hawaii Calls, Waikiki After Dark.
“In 1928, Edwards had relocated from Oregon to Hawaii where he became an auto salesman. It was during this time he developed a keen interest in native Hawaiian musical traditions. In 1935 he became the producer for a radio show which showcased authentic island music, Hawaii Calls, originating from the Moana Hotel on Waikiki Beach and later distributed to radio stations worldwide.
“In 1963, the last John Ford movie to star John Wayne, Donovan’s Reef,was scored by the legendary Cyril Mockridge. The opening main title theme uses ‘Pupa O Ewa’ as its basic motif, appearing throughout the movie.
“The light-hearted comedy, filmed in Kauai, Hawaii (but set in French Polynesia), was what director Ford termed ‘a spoof picture – a whammy, crazy sort of thing. We [were] not going for any prizes.’ Although it became only a modest financial success, Donovan’s Reef was still the 24th highest-grossing film of 1963 (a year with included such stellar releases as Cleopatra, How the West Was Won, Tom Jones, and The Great Escape among the top ten).
First recorded (as “Cerisiers Roses et Pommiers Blancs”) by André Claveau (1950).
Also recorded by Tino Rossi (1950), Léo Marjane (1950).
Hit versions by Perez Prado (US #1/UK #1 1955), Eddie Calvert (UK #1 1955), Alan Dale (US #14 1955), Modern Romance (UK #15 1982).
Advertisement for “Cerisier Roses et Pommier Blanc”, ca. 1950, recorded by André Clabeau.
From the wiki: “‘Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White’ (aka ‘Cerezo Rosa’, ‘Ciliegi Rosa’, ‘Chanson rumba’ or ‘Gummy Mambo’) is the English-language version of ‘Cerisiers Roses et Pommiers Blancs’, a popular French song with music by Louiguy (Luis Guglielmi, best known for composing ‘La Vien Rose’), written by him with lyrics by Jacques Larue. First recorded in France by André Claveau in 1950, ‘Cerisiers Roses …’ was also recorded the same year by Tino Rossi, and Léo Marjane.
“The song crossed the Atlantic Ocean via its inclusion in the soundtrack to the adventure motion picture Underwater!, released by RKO Films in February 1955, appearing first in the opening credits as a lush orchestral instrumental arranged by Roy Webb; later in the movie performed by ‘mambo king’ Perez Prado Y Su Orchestra while star Jane Russell is seen dancing.
First recorded (as “Keep A-Knockin’ An You Can’t Get In”) by James “Boodle It” Wiggins (February 1928), and (as “You Can’t Come In”) Bert Mays (October 1928).
Other versions by Lil Johnson (as “Keep on Knocking” 1935), Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies (as “Keep a Knockin'” 1936), Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys (as “Keep Knockin’ (But You Can’t Come In)” 1938), Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five (as “Keep A-Knockin'” 1939).
Hit version by Little Richard (US #8/R&B #2/UK #21 1957).
From the wiki: “‘Keep A-Knockin” has one of those confounding origin pedigrees more common than not in the early days of recorded music. Several recordings used similar lyrics and similar melody, with a baffling merry-go-round of credits … or non-credits.
“In 1928, a few months apart, James ‘Boodle It’ Wiggins and Bert Mays, each independent of the other, recorded the similarly-titled and similarly-sounding songs ‘Keep a-Knockin’ An You Can’t Get It’ and ‘You Can’t Come In’ – but neither recording listed a writer’s credit. This was followed by recordings in the 1930s by Lil Johnson, Milton Brown, and Bob Wills, respectively titled ‘Keep on Knocking’ (credited to Wiggins), ‘Keep a Knockin” (uncredited), and ‘Keep Knockin’ (But You Can’t Come In) (uncredited)’.
First recorded by The Byrds (1971).
Also recorded by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1972).
Hit album version by Jackson Browne (1972).
From the wiki: “‘Jamaica Say You Will’ (alternately ‘Jamaica, Say You Will’) was written by Jackson Browne, but was first recorded for release by The Byrds on their Byrdmaniax album, produced by Kim Fowley, the year before Browne’s version came out. ‘Jamaica Say You Will’ was also recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for their All the Good Times, released the same month as Browne’s self-titled debut album (aka Saturate Before Using) in January 1972.
First recorded by The Laurels (1958).
Hit version by Jan & Dean (US #10/R&B #28 1959).
From the wiki: “‘Baby Talk’ was written by Melvin Schwartz, and was first recorded and released by Schwartz’s group, The Laurels, from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC, in 1958. Released on the tiny Spring Records label, promotion and distribution were limited and the recording had no chart impact … but it did not go unnoticed.
“Fast forward one year. A chance encounter backstage would provide ‘firsts’ for two different, but professionally related, pairs of people who would wind up working together to record a hit version of ‘Baby Talk’: Lou Adler and Herb Alpert (their first co-production); Jan Berry and Dean Torrance (their first Top-10 single).
First recorded by Shadden and the King Lears (released February 1967).
Hit version by Bobby Vee (released June 1967 US #3).
From the wiki: “‘Come Back When You Grow Up’ was written by Martha Sharp, who would later become an executive at Warner Records and us credited with discovering Randy Travis.
Shadden and the King Lears’ original distribution notice for ‘Come Back When You Grow Up’, published in Billboard, Feb. 11, 1967, four months ahead of the Bobby Vee release date.
“Shadden and the King Lears, formed by Shad Williams, hailed from Memphis, TN, and performed together from the early 1960’s until 1968 when Shad quit the band to go to Seminary. The group was best known for several regional hit records, including ‘Come Back When You Grow Up’, which topped local radio charts up and down the Mississippi River ahead of the Bobby Vee cover version. Shad had happened across the song in a publisher’s music demo catalog. He liked the words but did not like the musical arrangement, so Shad and a couple of band members reworked the arrangement and the end result was the song you know today.
First recorded (as “Now We’re Starting Over Again”) by Dionne Warwick (UK #76 1981).
Other hit version by Natalie Cole (MOR #5/CAN #12/UK #56 1990).
From the wiki: “‘Starting Over Again’ was composed by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin as ‘Now We’re Starting Over Again’, and was first recorded in 1981 by Dionne Warwick to augment the live performance tracks released on her album Hot! Live and Otherwise. Produced by co-writer Masser, and not released in the US as a promotional single, ‘Now We’re Starting Over Again’ did see distribution as a single in other countries and did chart in the UK where it peaked at #76.
“Natalie Cole’s arrangement of ‘Starting Over Again’, also produced by Masser, was released in late 1989 in the UK and early 1990 in the US, the fifth of five promotional singles released from her 1989 album Good to Be Back. Although the single did not chart Hot 100 or R&B, it did peak at #5 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and also charted in Canada and the UK.”
First recorded (as “It’s the Same Old Feeling”) by The Foundations (1969).
Hit versions by The Fortunes (US #62 1970), Picketywitch (US #67/MOR #34/UK #5/CAN #39/IRE #5/NZ #7 1970).
From the wiki: “‘That Same Old Feeling’ was composed by songwriters and producers John Macleod and Tony Macaulay, and was included on The Foundations’ final album, Digging the Foundations (1969). As with the group’s previous three albums, Digging the Foundations was produced by Macleod and Macaulay and consisted largely of compositions by the duo. The original recording of the song introduced the song’s standard chorus but its verses were radically different – musically and lyrically – from those of the better-known followups.
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.