Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Baby Let’s Play House

Written and first recorded by Arthur Gunter (1954).
Hit version by Elvis Presley (C&W #5 1955).
Also recorded (as a demo) by Buddy Holly (1955).

From the wiki: “‘Baby Let’s Play House’ was written by Arthur Gunter and was first recorded by him in 1954. It would be covered by Elvis Presley the following year on Sun Records – the fourth issue of a Presley record by Sun … and it became the very first recording by Elvis to appear on any national music popularity chart – in this case, when it peaked at #5 on the Billboard Country singles chart in July 1955.

“In his youth the songwriter, Gunter, formed the Gunter Brothers Quartet with brothers and cousins. In 1954 Gunter signed with Excello Records and recorded ‘Baby Let’s Play House’ in November 1954. It was released on Excello 2047 and became a local hit. Gunter would later say ‘Elvis got that number and made it famous. But I didn’t get a chance to shake his hand.’ Gunter’s first royalty check, received in 1955, was for $6500 (equivalent to $57,000 in 2014).

“Presley’s version differs greatly from the original: Among other changes, Presley replaced Gunter’s line ‘You may get religion’ with the words ‘You may have a pink Cadillac’, referring to his custom-painted 1955 Cadillac automobile that had been serving as the band’s transportation at the time. The original Sun Records label also gives credit to Presley’s sidemen, Scotty Moore and Bill Black, as performers on the recording.

“Buddy Holly saw Elvis Presley sing in Lubbock in 1955, and soon thereafter began to incorporate a Rockabilly style into his performance, similar to Presley’s Sun Records sound. On October 15, 1955, Holly, along with Bob Montgomery and Larry Welborn, opened the bill for Presley in Lubbock, catching the eye of a Nashville talent scout. Holly recorded a cover of ‘Baby Let’s Play House’ in 1955 at the Jim Beck Studio in Dallas, as an audition demo for Columbia Records. Unsuccessful with that label, Holly would in February 1956 successfully sign with Decca Records (who would famously misspell his surname ‘Holly’ vs. his given surname, ‘Holley’).”

Elvis Presley, “Baby Let’s Play House” (1955):

Buddy Holly, “Baby Let’s Play House” (1955):

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