Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Auld Lang Syne

First recorded by Emile Berliner (1890).
Popular version by Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians (1939).

From the wiki: “Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote the words of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in about 1789 for use with a piece of Scottish music dating from 1687, The Duke Of Bucclugh’s Tune. ‘Auld lang syne’ is Scots dialect for ‘Old long since,’ so the line, ‘For days of auld lang syne’ means something like ‘For the good old days.’

“In 1855, different words were written for the ‘Auld Lang Syne’ tune by Albert Laighton and titled, ‘Song of the Old Folks’. This song was included in the songbook, Father Kemp’s Old Folks Concert Tunes, published in Boston, Massachusetts in 1860. For many years it was the tradition of the Stoughton Musical Society to sing this version in memory of those who had died that year. Nowadays, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is traditionally sung at the conclusion of New Year gatherings in Scotland and around the world, especially in English-speaking countries.

“Emile Berliner was one of the most important inventors of the modern-day phonograph, and was also the first person to record and sell recordings. In 1886 Berliner began experimenting with methods of sound recording. He was granted his first patent for what he called the ‘Gramophone’ in 1887. The first Berliner Gramophone had a cardboard horn and was operated by a hand crank, and could play a five-inch vulcanised rubber disc at between 100-150 revolutions per minute. One of the records produced for the toy was ‘Auld Lang Syne’, catalogue number 42, recorded in 1890, that was probably sung by Emile Berliner himself.

“The popularity of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as the New Year’s Eve ‘anthem’ can be attributed to Guy Lombardo. Lombardo and his band, His Royal Canadians, performed ‘Auld Lang Syne’ annually on New Year’s Eve for decades until his death in 1977, helping to popularize it in the United States. Lombardo’s tradition of performing it at the stroke of midnight began in 1930 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. His version continues to be played in Times Square every New Years immediately following the dropping of the ball.”

Guy Lombardo, “Auld Lang Syne” (1939):

Guy Lombardo, “Auld Lang Syne” live TV performance from the Roosevelt Hotel (1957):

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