Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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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.

“In the first half of the 20th century, when a tune was successful in terms of sheet music sold, it was typically recorded by several different artists. All six ‘Ain’t Misbehavin” recordings of 1929 were hits in the ASCAP rankings for that year. The top-3 recordings for the year were recorded by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra, Louis Armstrong, and Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson (featured as a ‘tap dance with orchestra’ recording with Irving Mills & his Hotsy Totsy Gang), as well as an solo instrumental version by co-writer Waller. Waller re-recorded the song with vocals for the 1943 film Stormy Weather, which was recognized with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1984.

“Dinah Washington took advantage of the revival of ‘Ain’t Misbehavin” in the ’40s to record an arrangement that charted Top 10 on the R&B chart in 1948.

“Bill Haley & His Comets recorded a rock and roll version in 1957. Johnnie Ray’s blues-y version reached #17 on the UK Singles Chart in May 1956. In 1960, Tommy Bruce & the Bruisers had a #3 hit on the UK Singles Chart with their cover version of the song. In 1976, after releasing his arrangement on the album On Track, Leon Redbone performed the song on NBC-TV’s Saturday Night Live, bringing the song to wide attention among Baby Boomers. Hank Williams, Jr. topped the Country singles chart in 1986 with his arrangement of ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ ‘.”

Leo Reisman & His Orchestra, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1929):

Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1929):

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1929):

Fats Waller, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” solo instrumental (1929):

The Teddy Wilson Quartet, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1937):

Fats Waller, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” from Stormy Weather (1943):

King Cole Trio & Anita O’Day, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1945):

Dinah Washington, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1948):

Johnnie Ray, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1956):

Bill Haley & His Comets, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1957):

Sam Cooke, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1958):

Tommy Bruce & the Bruisers, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1960):

Leon Redbone, “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1975):

Hank Williams, Jr., “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1986):

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