Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Written and first released by Mitchell Torok with the Louisiana Hayride Band (US #26/C&W #1 1953).
Other hit version by Mitchell Torok (US #27 1957).

From the wiki: “‘Caribbean’ was written and first recorded in 1953 by Mitchell Torok. It became a Country #1 single, and also charted in the US Top 40. In 1957, Torok recorded an updated but very similarly-arranged version of ‘Caribbean’ and it again charted in the US Top 40.

“One of Torok’s idols, Hank Williams, died suddenly in 1953. Inspired by a need for some happy songs, Torok immediately penned a happy-go-lucky song titled ‘Mexican Joe’, written in thirty-minutes one cold January night, initially intending the song for another one of his idols, Hank Snow. A new record producer and label owner from Hollywood, CA, Fabor Robison, happened by Nacogdoches, Texas, and found Torok and the song. Torok reluctantly gave it to Robison to record with one of his own struggling artists, the then-unknown Jim Reeves, in Shreveport, LA, for Abbott Records. Reeves had been hired to be an announcer on KWKH and The Louisiana Hayride Show, but not allowed to sing. When Reeves was finally offered a chance to sing one number, ‘Mexican Joe’ became a huge #1 hit, spending seven weeks atop the Billboard Country Singles chart.

“Torok himself was then signed to Abbott Records and a month later wrote his own #1 hit. The song was ‘Caribbean’. It remained on the Country chart for a total of 24 weeks – four weeks at #1. As a result, Torok was offered membership in The Louisiana Hayride in 1954.”

Mitchell Torok, “Caribbean” (1957):

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