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: 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.
First recorded (as a demo) by George Harrison (1968).
Also recorded by The Beatles (1968, released 1996).
Hit album version by George Harrison (1978).
In an interview with Billboard editor Timothy White in 1999, Harrison referred to “the grief I was catching” from Lennon and McCartney post-India, and explained the message behind the song: “I said I wasn’t guilty of getting in the way of their career. I said I wasn’t guilty of leading them astray in our going to Rishikesh to see the Maharishi. I was sticking up for myself …”
From the wiki: “According to author Robert Rodriguez, ‘Not Guilty’ was ‘much-fabled’ among Beatles fans by the late 1970s, since the song was known as a White Album outtake but had never been heard publicly.
“Author Nicholas Schaffner paired it with Lennon’s ‘What’s the New Mary Jane’ as completed recordings that were known to have been left off the White Album, while authors Harry Castleman and Walter Podrazik wrote that, as far as collectors were aware, Harrison had taped ‘Not Guilty’ with Eric Clapton in summer 1968 before the Beatles attempted to record the song in March 1969.
First recorded by Sheena Easton (1987).
Hit version by Celine Dion (MOR #22/CAN #16 1991).
From the wiki: “‘The Last to Know’, written by Brock Walsh and Phil Galdston, was first recorded by Sheena Easton for her 1987 album, No Sound But a Heart.
“Canadian singer Celine Dion covered ‘The Last to Know’ for her first English-language album, Unison (1990), produced by British record producer, Christopher Neil. The song was released by Columbia Records as the album’s fourth single in Canada in March 1991. Later, in September, it was issued as a single in the rest of the world. While not charting in the Billboard Hot 100, Dion’s recording did chart Top-20 in Canada and on the US Adult Contemporary music chart.”
First recorded by Mike Markel and His Orchestra (1922).
Also recorded by The Original New Orleans Jazz Band (1925), Art “The Whispering Pianist” Gilham (1926), The Golden Gate Orchestra feat. Scrappy Lambert (1927), Emmett Miller and the Georgia Crackers (1929), Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies (1936), Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys (1937).
Hit version by George Strait (C&W #1/CAN #1 1984).
From the wiki: “‘Right or Wrong’ first came into being as a jazz ballad in 1921. Composed by Arthur Sizemore and Paul Biese, with words by Haven Gillespie, the song was described by the original sheet music as ‘a beautiful fox-trot ballad.’
“‘Right or Wrong’ was recorded by many early jazz and swing orchestras. The earliest known recording is by Mike Markel and His Orchestra the same year the song was published (1921). Other early, and varied, arrangements were recorded by the Original New Orleans Dixie Jazz Band (1925), Scrappy Lambert (1927), and Peggy English (1928). But the arrangement with the longest lasting influence was recorded by Emmett Miller and the Georgia Crackers in 1929. Miller was an American minstrel show performer (often performing in blackface, which accounts for his obscurity today) and recording artist known for his falsetto, yodel-like voice.
“Miller’s singing style – the odd nasal pitch tone, along with the breaking of lines and bars in a song into a high yodel-like yelp – has been imitated by scores of singers since he first began to record in 1924. Jimmie Rodgers, Gene Autry, Lefty Fritzell, Tommy Duncan, Woody Guthrie, Howlin’ Wolf, Leon Redbone, and Bob Dylan have all been influenced by Miller’s one-of-a-kind vocal abilities. Of equal importance was Miller’s visionary fusion of blues and jazz, country and swing, black and white, comedy and crooning. His Georgia Crackers band, too, served as something of an incubator. Members at the time Miller recorded ‘Right or Wrong’ included Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, and Eddie Lang.
First recorded by Slade (UK #1 1973).
Other hit version by Quiet Riot (US #5/CAN #8 1983).
From the wiki: “‘Cum On Feel the Noize’ was written by Slade lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler (The Animals, Jimi Hendrix), as a non-album single. It reached #1 on the UK Singles chart, giving the band their fourth number-one single. ‘Cum On Feel the Noize’ would be included on the band’s 1973 compilation album, Sladest. In a 2015 UK poll, the song it was voted #15 on the ITV special The Nation’s Favourite 70s Number One.
“In 1983, the American heavy metal band Quiet Riot recorded their cover of the song, which became a million-selling hit single in the United States and Canada, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.”
First recorded by The Miracles (first recording released September 1960).
Hit versions by The Miracles (re-recording released October 1960 US #2/R&B #1/CAN #11), Captain & Tennille (US #4/MOR #1/CAN #4 1976).
From the wiki: “The original record label for ‘Shop Around’ credits Bill ‘Smokey’ Robinson as the writer, with Motown founder Berry Gordy as producer. Robinson claims he wrote the song ‘in thirty minutes’ and that it had been intended originally for another Motown singer, Barrett Strong (‘Money (That’s What I Want)‘), but that Gordy thought the song was more suited to the Miracles. Subsequent labels list both Robinson and Gordy as co-writers.
“‘Shop Around’ was initially released (as Tamla 53034) locally, in Detroit and the surrounding area, but not intentionally. Motown’s history of the song relates that after the first pressings were distributed to radio stations and record stores ‘in September 1960, [Gordy] couldn’t sleep, worried that it wasn’t good enough (‘too slow, not enough life’). He called Smokey in the middle of the night, and had him bring all the Miracles to the studio at 3 a.m. to lay down a new, slightly faster take of the song. Gordy himself played piano.’
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