Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Beatnik Fly

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.

“Johnny & the Hurricanes came out of Toledo, Ohio. The group specialized in adapting popular traditional melodies into the rock ‘n roll idiom, using organ and saxophone as their featured instruments. Between 1958 and 1963, the group had a number of hits in both the US and the UK (including ‘Red River Rock’ in 1959), and the band developed quite a following in Europe. In 1962, Johnny & the Hurricanes played at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany, where the Beatles, then a little-known band, were billed as their opening act.”

Burl Ives & the Andrews Sisters, “Blue Tail Fly” (1947):

Johnny & the Hurricanes, “Beatnik Fly” (1959):

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