Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Blue Skies

First recorded by Vaughn De Leath (1927).
Popular recordings by Ben Selvin (US #1 1927), Al Jolson (1927, in The Jazz Singer), Benny Goodman (1935), Count Basie & His Orchestra (US #8 1946), Bing Crosby (1946), Willie Nelson (MOR #32/C&W #1/CAN #1 1978).
Inspired Theolonious Monk “In Walked Bud” (1947).

From the wiki: “‘Blue Skies’ was composed by Irving Berlin in 1926 as a last-minute addition to the Rodgers and Hart musical Betsy. Although the show ran for 39 performances only, the song was an instant success, with audiences on opening night demanding 24 encores of the piece from star Belle Baker. During the final repetition, Ms. Baker forgot her lyrics, prompting Berlin to sing them from his seat in the front row.

“In January 1920, inventor and radio pioneer Lee DeForest brought Vaugh De Leath to the cramped studio of his station, 2XG, located in New York City’s World’s Tower, where De Leath broadcast ‘Swanee River’. Although not, as is sometimes stated, the first broadcast of live singing, she established herself as a skilled radio performer. According to some historical accounts of this incident, having been advised that high notes sung in her natural soprano might shatter the fragile vacuum tubes of her carbon microphone’s amplifier, De Leath switched to a deep contralto and in the process invented ‘crooning’, which became the dominant pop vocal styling for the next three decades.

“In 1923, De Leath became one of the first women to manage a radio station, WDT in New York City, on which she also performed. In 1928, she appeared on an experimental television broadcast, and later became a special guest for the debut broadcast of Voice of Firestone Radio Hour. She also was one of the first American entertainers to broadcast to Europe via transatlantic radio transmission.

“In 1927, the music for ‘Blue Skies’ was published and Ben Selvin’s recorded version was a #1 hit. That same year, it became one of the first-ever songs to be featured in a ‘talkie’, when Al Jolson performed it in The Jazz Singer.

“Thelonious Monk’s 1947 composition ‘In Walked Bud’ is based on the chord changes to ‘Blue Skies’.”

Ben Selvin, “Blue Skies” (1927):

Al Jolson, “Blue Skies” from The Jazz Singer (1927):

Benny Goodman, “Blue Skies” (1935):

Count Basie & His Orchestra, “Blue Skies” (1946):

Bing Crosby, “Blue Skies” from Blue Skies (1946):

Thelonious Monk, “In Walked Bud” (1947):

Willie Nelson, “Blue Skies” (1978):

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